Border Terrier

The Border Terrier is a sensible, hard-working terrier developed in northern England to hunt fox. These are some of the calmer terriers, usually able to switch between work and home life quite well. That being said, it is important to provide them with enough work to keep busy. For those that can handle their spunk, this breed makes a lovable, no-nonsense companion. Read on to learn more about the Border Terrier.

Description of the Border Terrier

These dogs are little bundles of joy for owners that appreciate that terrier tenacity.

They have compact trunks with long legs and cute, “otter” shaped heads. Their shiny eyes give off a perpetual look of friendly excitement.

The Border Terrier loves work and is quite good at it. Bred to protect sheep from the wily foxes of northern England, they can both run and dig quite proficiently.

This breed’s wiry coat gives them a scruffy, natural look. This is a wash and wear breed. They do come in various shades including grizzle and tan, blue and tan, wheaten, and red.

Life Expectancy and Size

The Border Terrier generally lives into its early to mid teens, with an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. Well-bred dogs may live even longer.

These dogs are small, but don’t let that fool you. They’re all muscle and can keep up with even the most active owners.

This leggy breed generally stands 12 – 15 inches tall, and weighs between 11 and 16 pounds.

Protective Ability

This breed serves as an adept watchdog. They very well may bark at every and any new sight or sound. That being said, they won’t do much after they tell you there is a problem. This breed is very social, and most well-socialized Border Terriers are friendly with strangers.


Make sure to keep training sessions short and sweet so these intelligent dogs do not become bored. With plenty of positive reinforcement, this breed will complete a task and immediately look for the next one. They are job oriented and training should be treated as such.

Training methods based on reward and relationship theory works best for the Border Terrier. They are very receptive to praise. Of course, they also love treats. However, overfeeding can quickly lead to obesity.

On the other hand, these love bugs are sensitive to harshness. Punishment can quickly make them sad and listless.

Energy Level

These are outdoorsy dogs that do not mind getting their noses in the dirt. They do best with access to plenty of outdoor space. Although not as crazy as most terriers, they enjoy work and should have at least one hour of exercise each day.

What Living with a Border Terrier is Like

This dog is the perfect choice for an athletic owner. Their long legs, well suited to running after foxes, can keep up with just about anything. Unfortunately, some Borders have difficulty off-leash, because their hunting instincts are so strong.

These dogs are social, great with new people and of course loving with their family. Border Terriers are generally better with other dogs than most terriers.

The Border is a wash and wear breed, with an extremely easy-care coat. They do shed their soft undercoat, but this is a seasonal affair.

Care of the Border Terrier

These are hardy dogs that truly suit an outdoorsy, no-fuss lifestyle.

Environmental Needs

This breed was meant to be outdoors. Their coat is specially designed to wick away dirt and water so that they can enjoy themselves in any atmosphere.

That being said, as long as the Border Terrier receives daily play sessions outside, they may be able to adapt to a life of city-dwelling.

Exercise Needs

As a hunting dog and a terrier, the Border Terrier needs adequate exercise. Having a yard or an enclosed space is ideal for this breed.

Otherwise, take these dogs for at least an hour of directed exercise each day. Many individuals like accompanying their owners on walks or jogs. Most enjoy their fair share of games, too. Doggie sports like agility or Earthdog are perfect for this athletic, hard-working breed.

Shedding and Grooming

Shedding and grooming in generally low key in Border Terriers. Unlike most wire-haired breeds, these dogs only need weekly brushing to stay looking their best. Bathing actually damages the special properties of the coat that allow it to wick water and dirt. Instead, try cleaning smelly Borders with a damp towel.

Under that wiry exterior is a soft undercoat. This does shed seasonally, so pups will need more attention during these periods.

Ideal Home Environment

This breed is suited for athletic families or individuals that want to include the Border in their daily activities. However, they can be a great alternative to other, more excitable terriers. As long as these dogs receive some daily exercise, they can generally cool down at home.

Unlike many terriers, Borders are usually great with respectful kids. They love to play games and are generally quite tolerant. The same goes for other dogs, because this breed was meant to hunt interdependently. The only issue may be controlling their hunting instinct around small animals.

These dogs are easy care, but do shed. Owners should not be too fussed about keeping them (and the house) prim and proper.

Health Concerns

This breed is generally healthy. It is important to purchase dogs from responsible breeders, who are able to screen their stock for issues common to the breed.

Health issues may include eye and hip problems. Seizures have been reported, as well as heart problems and allergies.

Behavior Problems

This breed can be barky, there’s no way around it. They can also chase, dig, and jump like many other athletic terriers. This is exacerbated by boredom. Make sure to commit time to exercise your Border Terrier. This will make him healthier and happier at home.