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Border Terrier breed Information

Border Terrier: Ultimate Breed Guide (2020)

All you need to Know


Border Terrier Dog Breed Ultimate Guide 2020


To date, Border Terriers have this strong drive to dig and hunt, with a high energy level that aids them to work at the same pace with hunters moving on horseback. Taking a close look at these traits could be aggravating for some humans.

However, others see Border Terriers as wonderful pets that love hard and play hard as well. So far they are given a lot of exercise, they adapt perfectly to apartment life. Give them a lot of physical activity, and then expect an affectionate and loyal pet for life.

The Characteristics of the Border Terrier Dog Breed


Generally, in terms of adaptability, Border Terriers are rated 3 out of 5 stars.

Concerning apartment living, they are rated 4 out of 5 stars, so you will have no problem bringing in your Border Terrier to live with you; this is another reason why they cannot tolerate being alone; for this, they are rated 1 out of 5 stars.

This dog breed, though fairly good for novice owners, it is better to go for more novice-friendly breeds. Regarding its goodness for novice owners, they have a 3 out of 5 star rating.

Their sensitivity level is neither high nor low. For this, they are rated 3 out of 5 stars.

They tolerate both cold and hot weather but tend to tolerate the former more. Here, they are rated 4 out of 5 stars and 3 out of 5 stars respectively.

All Around Friendliness

Generally, in terms of all around friendliness, they are rated 4 out of 5 stars.

They are very loving and affectionate with the family. This is why they always love to be around their people and not left alone. Concerning this, they are rated 5 out of 5 stars.

They are kid-friendly as well, so you can leave them with your kids to have some fun with them. For this, they are rated 4 out of 5 stars.

If you plan using the Border Terrier as a watch or guard dog, then you are mistaken, because they are very friendly towards strangers, and will not even notify you if anyone intrudes. Concerning their being friendly to strangers, they are rated 5 out of 5 stars.

They are not friendly with other dogs; this could be discouraging for pet parents hoping to have more than one dog breed. This accounts for its low rating at 2 out of 5 stars.

Health and Grooming Needs

Generally, concerning the health and grooming needs, Border terriers are rated 3 out of 5 stars.

Their amount of shedding is fair, which is rated 3 out of 5 stars. They also have a low drooling potential rated at 1 out of 5 stars.

Grooming the Border Terrier is difficult. It requires a lot of patience and time. If you are the busy type, then it is advisable to hand over this job to someone else and pay for it. Here, they are 2 out of 5 stars.

Concerning their general health, they are rated 4 out of 5 stars. They are not prone to diseases compared to some dogs bred through poor breeding channels, which makes them very prone to some genetic health issues.

Border Terriers have a very high potential for weight gain. Here, they are rated 5 out of 5 stars. If not properly checked, they could become overweight. So, it is advisable to feed them moderately.

They have a small size, so you should decide if you really want a small dog or one with an intimidating and overpowering size. Concerning the size, they are rated 2 out of 5 stars.


Generally, the trainability of this dog breed is rated 4 out of 5 stars.

They are intelligent, with ratings 5 out of 5 stars, which makes them understand things quickly and easily.

They have a high potential for mouthiness and high prey drive. For this, they are rated 5 out of 5 stars. Owners might want to be careful if you have other pets your dog may try to prey on.

They have a very low tendency to howl or bark, which does not make them suitable as guard dogs. They will rarely alert you if there is an intruder.

They also have a high wanderlust potential at 4 out of 5 star rating. Things easily catch the eyes of Border Terriers, and they could just wander off unknowingly. If you are not comfortable with this, it is better you go for dogs that are less prone to wander.

Physical Needs


Generally, Border Terriers have high physical needs, with ratings 5 out of 5 stars.

They have a high energy level with ratings of 4 out of 5 stars. This is why they require a lot of exercise to use up accumulated energy. They are always set for action. This is well understood since they were initially bred for herding livestock and hunting. They have more than enough stamina to work throughout the day. Before choosing a breed, it is important that you consider your lifestyle and activity level.

Border terriers have high intensity, with ratings 4 out of 5 stars. They do virtually everything with vigor. Until they are trained not to, they can strain on the leash. They require more than enough training to learn the right manners and are not right for homes with the frail or elderly, as well as young kids.

They also have high exercise needs; which is very linked to their high potential for playfulness. For both exercise needs and potential for playfulness, they are rated 5 out of 5 stars. Without delivering the amount of exercise required, these dogs may become overweight, and they can end up transferring their energies on negative things like digging, chewing, and barking.

Important Stats about Border Terrier Dogs

The Border terrier was bred to be a working dog. Their height usually falls between 25.4 cm to 27.94 cm, and its weight falls between 4.99 kg to 6.80 kg. Their lifespan is long enough, as it can live between 12 and 15 years.



Dog Breed Group/Purpose

Terrier Dogs

Average Height

Between 25.4 cm to 27.94 cm

Average Weight

Between 4.99 kg to 6.80 kg

Life Expectancy

12 - 15 Years

Breed Popularity

Ranks 5th

More Information about the Border Terrier Dog Breed


Border terriers have a small size, but with a very alert gaze. It also has a high potential to dig and hunt. They also have a good personality. He is loyal, intelligent, loving, fearless, and determined. It is also as aggravating, just like other dogs could be.

 After reading this introduction, you may want to go for another breed, and this may be the right decision. Border Terriers are not meant for everyone. Before deciding to bring one to your home, you must be ready to accept his antics.

For the right category of people, this dog breed is wonderful. Just the way they play harder compared to other dog breeds, they love harder as well. They are great for families that are ready to deliver the required amount of exercise.

There’s a need to build a protective fenced yard, to keep them secure and safe. If they are not supervised or they are left alone for long periods, they will start exploring by climbing over the fence or digging underneath it.

They will find their way out through holes found in fences, open doors, and gates, or whatever means available for them. The fact is that they were bred to find their way through any wire entanglement or wall.

Another part of them is their high prey drive. They don’t care if there’s a car coming in front once he sets his eyes on a rabbit or cat. There’s a high chance a Border terrier dies from an accident than from old age. So owners should try to protect them from themselves at all times.

Boredom should be prevented at all costs. Border Terriers that are left all alone for long, soon become destructive and noisy. He will not do well, being left out all through the day. There’s a chance you meet your neighbors line up waiting for you to return from work to complain about your barking dog, as well as holes, filling the whole yard, indicating that he is ready to take a trip.

What is the History/Origin of Border Terrier Dogs?


The origin of the Border Terrier can be traced to the 18th century in northeast England, close to Scotland’s border. They came to be after a prolonged battle between the foxes and farmers. Border terriers have flexible, long, narrow bodies, helping them squeeze their bodies through small and tiny holes, and reveal the hideouts of foxes. Their legs are also long enough to accompany horses for a foxhunt.

 For sure, they have a lot of stamina, a skin that is loose and thick, a coat that is water-resistant, that will be difficult to pierce by foxes. Some evidence of this breed can be traced to a painting of two Border terriers made in 1754 by Arthur Wentworth.

While the Border terrier was prized in the border country of England due to his implacable and fearless nature, just a few other places knew of their existence. He featured in agricultural shows in the late 19th century in Northumberland but wasn’t really noticed till the start of the 20th century. The Kennel Club of England noticed him in 1920, and there was an establishment of a breed club.

Netherbyers Ricky was the first-ever Border terrier that was registered in the U.S. This happened in 1930. Also, some reports revealed that Border Terriers existed during the 1930s in Australia, but there were no details or records kept. Mrs. Russell of Melbourne was the first person, according to records, in Australia to own a Border Terrier.

The existence of Border Terriers has been unknown for most parts of their history, and their people want it to remain this way if that will ensure they are protected from the ruins of popularity. They are currently ranked 81st among the dog breeds (155 varieties and breeds) registered by AKC.

What is the Average Size of a Border Terrier?

Though Border Terriers have a small size naturally, they are big enough to maintain the pace of hunters on hunters, and their bodies are small enough to get into tight spaces. Generally, male Border Terriers have a weight of 5.89 kg to 7.03 kg, while their female counterparts weigh 5.22 kg to 6.35 kg. They stand 25.4 cm to 27.94 cm.

What is the Personality of Border Terriers?


Taking into consideration the fact that they are terriers, they are good-tempered, can be trained easily, are obedient, and are affectionate. They are very intelligent and are very smart at learning the cues that tell you are ready to take a walk when it’s your mealtime, what can be chewed, and what cannot be chewed.

However, when it comes to other small animals, they are not that affectionate, and regarding their prey drive, they are relentless and fearless, even if they are not kept as hunting dogs.

Just like other dogs, this dog breed has to be socialized early; this requires exposing them to different experiences, sounds, sights, and people from puppyhood. With early socialization, your Border terrier will grow up to become an all-round dog.

What are the Major Health Concerns of the Border Terrier Dog Breed

Generally, Border Terriers are healthy. However, just like all other dog breeds, they could be negatively affected by some health conditions. Now, we are not saying that all Border Terriers will be affected by these diseases; all we want to do is to inform you before going ahead to buy this dog breed.

If you are going for a puppy, then ensure you get a good breeder that will show you proof of healthy parents for your puppy; this can be in the form of health clearances. With this, you can be sure that your little pup has been tested and marked clean of a certain condition.


For the Border Terriers, you are expected to see the health clearances from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF), confirming the dog’s normal eyes, and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals for the hips.

Due to the fact that some health issues don’t surface until the dog is fully matured, dogs that are below two years of age do not issue health clearances. Search for a breeder that doesn’t breed their dogs until they get to the age of two or three years.

The health problems below may happen to this dog breed:

Heart Defects

Heart defects come in different kinds, and they can affect his dog breed. The most common of them all is the pulmonic stenosis; this is a case whereby the valve narrows and separates the heart’s right chamber from the lungs. If a heart murmur is the case, this heart condition has to be monitored and effectively treated.

The cause of heart murmurs is a disturbance in the flow of blood through the heart’s chambers. They are graded with respect to how large they are; six means very loud, while one means very soft.

However, if this disease is very obvious, through echocardiogram and x-rays, then there may be a need to give your dog a special diet, a medication, and reduced exercise.

Avoiding heart defects entails checking that the breeder has not conducted a breeding program using dogs having heart defects.

Hip Dysplasia

This occurs when the femur fails to fit in properly into the hip joint’s pelvic socket. This condition may occur either with or without any clinical signs. In some dogs, lameness and pain on both or just one of the rear legs are common signs.

 Arthritis can come in as these dogs grow older. Hip dysplasia can be screened by visiting the PennHIP - University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program or the OFA – the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals.

Breeders should not breed dogs having this health condition. If you notice your dog having hip dysplasia signs, it is advisable you see the vet immediately. Surgery or medication may help your Border Terrier.


This health condition means the jaws of your dog no longer stays in place and can be found in the Border Terrier. Incorrect bites come in three types. An overshot bite is a case where there is an extension of the upper jaw past the lower one; this makes it very difficult for your dog to grasp. This case can become severe where the lower teeth can end up biting into the mouth’s roof, resulting in serious injuries.

Undershot bites result whenever there is an extension of the lower jaw past the upper jaw. This is standard in some dog breeds, this could give your border terrier some difficulties, and they may have to undergo surgery to correct this.

A wry mouth is the final incorrect bite, whereby the mouth twists as a result of one of the sides growing much faster compared to the other. This makes it very difficult for the dog to grasp and eat. There are cases where puppies outgrow these incorrect bites; however, if this bite continues even till the puppy reaches ten months, then surgical correction may become very necessary.

All you need to do is to wait patiently until the puppy grows completely. Corrective surgeries include using spacers, crown height reductions, or tooth extraction. Dogs having the incorrect bites issue, even after surgical correction, should not be bred.


This could be caused due to some factors, and it can come up at any time. Some visible signs of seizures are shaking or sudden trembling, staring, stiffness, loss of consciousness, slight muscle spasms, or sudden urination. These seizures cannot be cured, however, with medication, they can be managed successfully.

Patellar Luxation        

This is also referred to as “slipped stifles”. This issue is very common in small dogs. This happens when the patellar that has three parts – the knee cap (patella), calf (tibia), and thigh bone (femur) – is not lined up the right way. This leads to lameness in the abnormal gait or the leg.

This condition is usually present from birth; though luxation or the true misalignment may not come into play until sometime later. This rubbing, which is caused as a result of patellar luxation, can result in the degenerative disease of the joints, known as arthritis.

Patellar luxation occurs in four grades. It ranges from grade I, which occurs as occasional luxation that results in temporary lameness to the joints, to the 4th grade, where the tibia’s turning is severe and the realigning of the patella cannot be done manually. The result is a bowlegged look. Serious patellar luxation may need surgical repair.


This health issue occurs when the body fails to maintain the necessary quantity of thyroid hormones in the body. Some visible signs include thinning coat, sensitivity to cold, dry skin, weight gain, and slow heart rate.

This condition is a progressive one, so you need to visit your vet immediately if you notice any of these signs in your dog. With daily medication, hypothyroidism can be managed; this must continue throughout the life of the dog. Due to the fact that this is a middle-age disease, requesting to see the thyroid status of his grandparents will help enlighten you if this issue occurs in its lines.


This condition happens when either one or both of your dog’s testicles refuses to descend; this condition is usually seen in small dogs. Once the puppy clocks 2 months, his testicles ought to descend fully. If it doesn’t, then it may be nonfunctional and if it is not removed, it could become cancerous.

In the process of neutering, the undescended testicle(s) is removed with the aid of a small incision.

How to Take Care of Border Terriers


Generally, Border Terriers are affectionate with the family, and therefore ought to live indoors with other members of the family, not abandoned there in the backyard all alone – though they love it when they can access a yard. Just ensure that the fence is very secure and high enough.

Exercising them for half an hour daily will be great. These exercises can include playing fetch, walking on a leash, etc. If they are not given the required amount of exercise, they can easily gain weight and get bored. When they are bored, they bark a lot and they exhibit some destructive behavior.

This dog breed can be a mixed blessing for a trainer. In one way, they are intelligent and very eager to please. They are fast at learning house rules, as well as other vital dog etiquettes like walking on leash, housetraining, and greeting people in a polite manner - though, the idea of jumping up may never be erased.

As regards advanced training, this is where the real challenge starts. Border Terriers were bred to be independent; this is because, during hunting, they stayed at a distance away from their masters. To date, they still manifest this trait, and although they listen to commands, they can decide when or whether to obey it.

Even so, make use of a light touch; this is because Border terriers are sensitive and they don’t respond well to harsh training routines; this can break their spirit. It is advisable you get a trainer to train him; ensure that this trainer comprehends the mentality of terriers and utilizes positive reinforcements like food rewards, play, and praise.

Housetraining Border terriers come easy, with a regular schedule, and lots of avenues to visit the bathroom outside regularly. With crate training, your housetraining becomes easier and will ensure your Border terrier doesn’t chew anything while you are away. This crate is not a jail, but a tool; so you shouldn’t lock up your Border terrier for long periods. Border terriers do best beside you.

Another important thing is leash training. It is surprising how this dog breed runs off quickly on sighting a prey or just to have an adventure. Even as they grow, this drive doesn’t reduce, if there is any change at all, it only gets stronger.

What is the Ideal Diet for Border terrier Dogs?

The recommended amount of high-quality food to give your Border terrier daily is 1 1/8 to 1 3/8 cups shared into two meals.


The quantity of food consumed by your dog is dependent on his age, size, activity level, metabolism, and build. Just like humans, dogs are individuals, and their food requirements will not all be the same. More active Border Terriers will require more food than less active ones.

Also, another difference is seen in the quality of food you give your dog. The better it is, the more you will achieve in nourishing your pet.

Ensure that your Border terrier is kept in good shape by taking the right measurement for its food. He should also be fed twice daily rather than leave food in his bowl at all times. To know if he has grown overweight, carry out the hands-on test and the eye test. Look down at your dog, you must see his waist.

Next, touch him with your hands from the back, then your thumbs along his spine, spreading your fingers downward. You should feel his ribs without pressing hard, but not see it; if you cannot, then it is very important you give it more exercise and less food.

Best Dog Food for Border Terriers

Fromm Family Foods 727065 12 Lb Grain Free Food

ACANA Duck Dry Dog Food

ACANA Singles Dry Dog Food

IAMS Proactive Health Dry Dog Food

Simply Perfection Dry Dog Food

Coat Color and Grooming Needs for Border Terriers


Border Terriers have a dense, short undercoat, which is covered with a topcoat. They also have loose and thick skin; this feature is very important during the fox-hunting period, as it protects them from fox bites.

Their coats could be blue and tan, wheaten (fawn or pale yellow), grizzle and tan, or red. Some Border terriers even come with a small white patch on their chest.

Brushing their rough coats weekly, and stripping them periodically (every 5 to 6 months), will keep your dog neat and tidy. Your kit for grooming must include a stripping knife, a bristle brush, and a fine comb. You may hire the professional services of a groomer to help you strip his coat.

Stripping has to do with hand-removing dead hair or taking it off with a stripping tool or knife. This is what you can do with someone within a short while. Your breeder can teach you how the coat is stripped, or you can get a professional groomer to handle this task. By doing this, your pet’s hair will be less on your flooring, furniture, and clothing.

To ensure the care comes easier, the coat can be clippered; however, if you do this, the color and texture will become lighter and softer, and his coat will lose his weather-resistant nature. If you have no issues with the coat’s scruffy look, it can be left that way with no clipping or stripping, but there may be more shedding from the coat.

You don’t have to bath your Border Terrier often. You should only do this when it is deemed necessary. Naturally, their coat repels dirt; so all you need to do is brush his coat weekly by using a damp cloth to wipe-down when needed. When there’s a need to bathe him, you should use a shampoo suitable for the terrier’s rough coat to ensure its texture is well maintained.

Their teeth have to be brushed twice or thrice a week to get rid of tartar buildup as well as accumulated bacteria; if you can do this daily, the better. Endeavor to get his nails trimmed either once or twice monthly. If his nails start clicking on the floor, they have become too long. With short nails, the feet are properly kept, they don’t cause scratches to your legs each time your pet jumps on you, and don’t get entangled in the carpet or cause a tear.

For Border Terriers, grooming should begin once he’s a puppy, so he grows up getting used to it. His paws should be handled frequently – dogs are usually touchy when it comes to their feet. Also, ensure you check his ears and mouth frequently.

Ensure that every grooming process is filled with a positive experience with rewards and praise; this will prepare the ground for easy veterinary examination, as well as other handling when he grows into an adult.

How Do Border Terriers Relate With Children and Other Pets


Naturally, border terriers love to play with kids that stay long playing with them throughout the day. However, they could be rough for households having children under five years of age.

Just like other dogs, pet parents must ensure they teach their kids how best to touch or approach your Border Terrier. Also, ensure that you supervise each time your dog is playing with young children to avoid any ear pulling or biting from any of the parties.

As regards other dogs and cats, Border Terriers easily get along, most especially when they grow up with them. They will do best if paired with opposite sex dogs. There is a high chance that they chase squirrels and outdoor cats, as well as other wildlife; this is why you should never make the mistake of leaving your Border terrier with hamsters, rabbits, and gerbils.

Australian Based Breed Organizations for Border Terriers

Below are some organizations, breed clubs, as well as associations that can give answers to whatever information you might want to know about Border Terriers.

Leema Border Terriers, South Australia

Hamley Bridge, Adelaide, SA


ACT Companion Dog Club


Border Terrier Club of NSW


Rescue Groups for Border Terriers in Australia

At times, some people buy Border Terriers without having a deep comprehension of what it entails, and at the end of the day, they end up in rescue groups needing fostering or adoption.

There are some Border Terriers that find themselves in rescue groups because their initial owners died or divorced. If you wish to get an adult Border Terrier that has already passed through puppyhood (the destructive stage), and may even be trained already, then visiting a rescue group will be great.

The AIREDALE Terrier Rescue


Animal Welfare League of SA Inc.

Samantha Catford Wingfield SA 5013


Irish setter Rescue South Australia

Peter, Bernie, and Sheridan Martin

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

MOOROOK Animal Shelter

Lola McLachlan Swanbury Road, Moorook SA 5332


 Concluding Lines on the Border Terrier Dog Breed

Border Terriers are lovely dogs and are very affectionate with the family. They hate being left alone and require a lot of exercise, as they have to burn up a lot of energy.

Reading through this guide, you may have second thoughts, and you are right. This dog breed isn’t meant for everyone, so be sure you have what it takes to cope with a Border Terrier before bringing one into your home.

Border Terrier Photo Gallery

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