Updated 10-08-2023

Border Terrier Characteristics, Facts & Traits

To help in the foxhunting process, the Border Terrier was originally developed as an alert and friendly companion for the hounds. In today's society, they are excellent family members who enjoy their human companions.

With their intense desire to hunt and dig, border terriers are still able to keep up with horseback-mounted hunters. Border Terriers can be a frustrating pet for some people because of these characteristics, but they can also be excellent companions who play hard and love harder. Border Terriers are both. As long as they have lots of exercise, they can adjust to apartment life. You'll have a lifelong best friend if you keep this dog active and engaged.

The following section contains detailed information about the Border Terrier dog breed.


  • Border Terriers are prone to obesity, so be sure to weigh your dog and provide him with at least 30 minutes of daily strenuous activity.
  • They flourish when they're with their owners, and are not meant to be left alone in the wilderness without human contact. Noise and destruction can ensue if allowed unchecked by their owners.
  • If given the time and chance, these fence-jumpers will find a way out. They've been known to climb over and dig under fences, and once they've escaped they have no sense of caution to restrain them from running into traffic.
  • It is said that Border Terriers have a high pain tolerance. Behavior changes, such as withdrawal or quietness, may be the only indication your dog is ill.
  • Digging comes naturally to Border Terriers. Play games with your Border Terrier that encourage him to dig, or offer him a special location to dig.
  • Intense activity and vigour characterise Border Terriers. They enjoy greeting people by leaping on top of them.
  • The rough texture of the Border Terrier's coat is maintained by weekly brushing and periodic stripping, the removal of dead hair by hand or with a stripping tool.
  • Border Terriers love to gnaw. Some people outgrow their habit of chewing on things like furniture and shoes, while others continue to do so throughout their life. The easiest approach to avoid costly replacements and avoidable vet bills is to supply them with a wide variety of appropriate chew toys. 
  • When bored, Border Terriers can become nuisance barkers. Border Terriers aren't particularly yappy, but they will bark to let you know if something is amiss.
  • Border Terriers have a high prey drive, and will chase, attack, and even kill neighbourhood cats, squirrels, and other small animals. “If you've got a pet rabbit or a mouse or gerbil, they'll go after them. Make sure your yard is securely secured and don't let your Border off leash in an unfenced area because of their desire to chase.
  • Cats and other dogs get along well with Border Terriers if they were raised together or if they were previously housed with the Border Terrier.
  • Border Terriers can be wonderful family pets, but they can be rowdy and rough with young children if not properly trained.
  • Buying a puppy from a puppy mill, pet store, or breeder who does not provide health checks or assurances is the surest way to get a healthy dog. To ensure that her breeding dogs are free of hereditary illnesses that could be passed on to the puppies, a respectable breeder will conduct testing on her breeding dogs. She should also breed for sound temperaments.


Social Appearance 


It's a common misconception that a little dog is better suited to living in a limited space. Many tiny dogs have too much energy and are too yappy to live in an apartment building. An apartment dog's best attributes include being quiet, low energy, somewhat peaceful indoors, and respectful to the other inhabitants. Your dog's personal space in your apartment can be improved by purchasing one of these fantastic dog cages.

Sensitivity Level

Depending on the dog, a strong rebuke can be taken in stride by some, while others regard even the tiniest hint of disapproval as a personal attack. If you have a loud or pushy owner, a chaotic home, or a routine that is unpredictable or variable, your low-sensitivity dog, often known as "easy-going," "tolerant," "resilient," or even "thick-skinned," will be able to handle it better. Do you have young children, host a lot of parties, or have a hectic lifestyle? Choose a dog that isn't overly sensitive.


You can't tell from looking at them whether or not they're hyperactive, but when they do anything, they do it vigorously. They tug at their leashes (unless you teach them not to), they push their way through barriers, and they down their meals in huge, gobbling gulps. A home with young children or an elderly or feeble person may not be the best place for these dynamos to learn proper etiquette. On the other side, a dog with poor vitality adopts a more reserved demeanor.

Potential for Playfulness

The playful nature of certain dogs never fades away, and they're always ready for a game, whereas the reserved and serious tendencies of other dogs develop through time. Think about how many times a day you want to play fetch or tag with your dog, and whether or not you have children or other dogs who can act as substitutes.

Personality Appearance


In the same way as working dogs, such as those that herd sheep, are bred for intelligence and decision-making, working dogs like those who run all day need to exercise their bodies. The two most common activities that a bored pet engages in are digging and chewing, both of which require mental stimulation. There are several ways to keep a dog's brain active, including obedience training, interactive dog toys like tug of war, and dog sports like agility and search and rescue.

Energy Level

Energy-draining dogs are always on the lookout for a new activity. There are several jobs that require a lot of stamina from dogs, such as herding livestock or recovering prey for hunters. Children are more likely to engage in activities such as jumping, playing and exploring new sights and smells as a result of this change in their environment

A low-energy dog is more like a couch potato than a dog that needs a lot of exercise. Think about your level of physical activity and whether or not you find a hyperactive dog irritating before making your final choice.

Easy To Train

Easy to train dogs can more easily form associations between a cue (like "sit"), an action (like sitting), and a reward than dogs that are more difficult to train. Dogs that require more time, patience, and repetition are more difficult to train.

Getting your dog interested in training will require incentives and games because many breeds are intelligent but have a "What's in it for me?" mentality when it comes to learning new things.

Family Affection Level

Affectionate With Family

Since puppyhood, some breeds remain aloof and independent; others form deep bonds with one individual but are uninterested in the rest of the family; still other types shower their entire family with affection. Canines raised in homes with people tend to be more open to human interaction and develop stronger ties, regardless of their breed or upbringing.


Kids-friendly dogs are calm, strong enough to bear the hefty hugs and pets kids can dish out, and have an unfazed attitude about rushing, scream-inducing children. There are several names you may not expect to see on the list: Fierce-looking Both Boxers and American Staffordshire Terriers are regarded as family dogs (which are considered Pit Bulls). Chihuahuas, which are small, sensitive, and potentially sharp, are not always family-friendly.

Dog Friendly

Dog friendship and human friendship are two entirely different things. The fact that a dog is friendly with humans doesn't mean it's immune to aggression or aggression from other dogs; some canines choose to play rather than fight; others will just run away. The type of animal isn't the only consideration. Dogs who have spent a lot of time playing with their littermates and their mother at the age of six to eight weeks are more likely to be socially competent.

Physical Appearance

Amount of Shedding

Having a dog in the house means that you'll have to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothing and in the home. It's worth noting, however, that shedding varies widely among breeds. Some dogs shed all year long, while others ``blow" just during specific times of the year, and still others don't shed at all. If you're a stickler for cleanliness, you'll need to choose a breed that sheds less or lower your expectations. You can use a deshedding tool to keep your house a little cleaner.

Drooling Potential

While greeting you, some dogs may cover their arms with ropes of drool and create large, wet patches on your clothing. If you don't mind a little drool, go for it; but if you're a stickler for cleanliness, you may want to look for a dog with a low drool rating.

Easy To Groom

Some breeds of dogs can simply be brushed and left alone, while others require frequent washing, trimming, and other grooming in order to maintain their health and appearance. If you don't have the time or money to take care of a dog that requires a lot of grooming, you may want to look into hiring a professional.

Exercise Needs

Evening walks around the neighbourhood are perfectly acceptable for some breeds. Others, particularly those trained for physically demanding vocations like herding or hunting, require regular, rigorous exercise.

They can gain weight and release their pent-up energy in ways you don't like, including barking, chewing, and digging, if not given enough exercise. Those looking to train their dog for an energetic canine activity, such as agility, should consider getting a dog that needs a lot of exercise.

Average sizes and life expectancy of the breed


25 to 45 pounds


12 to 15 years


16 to 22 inches


The Border Terrier is one of the oldest terriers in the United Kingdom, originating in the Cheviot Hills, which separate Scotland from England. The dog's origins can be traced back to the foxes that were considered a nuisance to farmers and were chased by the dog. In order to be able to keep up with a horse while being tiny enough to pursue the fox once it had gone to ground, the Border Terrier was required to have both speed and agility.

This breed of dog was first documented in the 18th century. Although their ancestors remain a mystery, the Dandie Dinmont and potentially the Bedlington Terrier are likely to be close relatives of these terriers. After being known as Coquetdale Terrier or Redesdale Terrier, the breed was renamed in 1870 to the Border Terrier after the Border Hunt. When it came to foxhunting, the breed had evolved from its utilitarian origins to become a prized companion to the gentry.

The 1870s saw the first Border Terrier on display. In 1930, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognised the breed. Border terriers have always been more popular with hunters than breeders in the show ring since they are less showy than other terrier breeds.

Since it was first recognised, this breed, unlike many others, has seen minimal development. These dogs' popularity has risen in recent years, and they are quickly becoming a much sought-after companion animal. In the United Kingdom, they are among the top ten most popular breeds of dogs.

Personality and Temperament

In comparison to other terrier breeds, the Border terrier is an outlier. Natural foxhound companions, they were developed to be less dog-aggressive than terriers that hunted largely on their own.

"Affectionate, obedient and easily trained" is how the standard describes the border, despite the fact that he is "hard as nails, game as they come, and driving in assault" in the field. Border collies get along well with other dogs and can work and live in the same household as them. The Border collie isn't the dog for you if you're seeking a pet or a kennel dog. Aspiring members of the family are eager to join. As long as you give them your undivided attention, they'll be happy with you.

Despite the fact that border collies aren't known for their barking, they'll let you know when someone's at the door. You should anticipate a border to be a determined digger because they were trained to track foxes to the ground. Border collies were trained to think for themselves, a trait that can be both endearing and annoying to those who live with them.

One of the most friendly and docile Terriers is the Border. These dogs are always on the go and eager to learn, as well as friendly and obedient. They have a tendency to travel if given the opportunity, because they enjoy tracking and are capable of being self-sufficient. While Border Collies get along well with other canines and felines, they do not do well with little creatures. A nice friend for persons of all ages can be found in these dogs. Digging and barking are two of their favourite pastimes. Some people have a knack for evading capture.


Border terriers require a lot of physical activity and playing in order to stay healthy and happy.. In order to be well-behaved dogs, they also need regular training and socialising. Grooming them isn't difficult, although it does get more difficult while they're shedding.


As with any dog breed, Border Terriers are susceptible to a variety of health issues. If you're considering getting a Border Terrier, you should be informed of the ailments that might affect this breed.

Find a reputable breeder who can show you the health clearances for both of your dog's parents before you acquire a puppy. An animal has been given the all-clear after undergoing testing and being found to be free of any health issues. Although not prevalent, the following issues can arise with this breed:

Hip Dysplasia

One of the most common causes of hip pain and disability is dysplasia, a disease where the femur does not fit snugly into the pelvic socket. Hip dysplasia might be present even if no symptoms are present. One or both of a dog's rear legs may be painful and lame in some canines. Arthritis may occur as a dog ages.

An orthopaedic foundation for animals (OFA) or University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program can conduct a hip dysplasia screening (PennHIP). There should be no breeding of dogs with hip dysplasia. Consult your veterinarian if your dog exhibits symptoms of hip dysplasia. In some cases, medication or surgery may be necessary.

Heart defects

More than a dozen different types of cardiac problems can afflict Border Terriers. The narrowing of the valve between the right atrium and respiratory system is most common in Border Terriers. A Border Terrier with a heart murmur may have a cardiac issue that necessitates regular checkups and treatment. Heart murmurs occur when the blood flow through the heart's chambers is disrupted, and this is what causes them.

Their volume is scaled from one to six, with one denoting the softest sound and six denoting the loudest. If the condition is confirmed by x-rays and an echocardiography, your dog may need medication, a particular diet, and/or a decrease in his daily activity level in order to treat it effectively. Checking that the breeder has not utilised dogs with heart problems in her breeding programme is the greatest strategy to avoid heart defects.


 Border Terriers can have malocclusions, which means their jaws don't fit together properly. Incorrect bites can be classified into three categories. Having an overshot bite refers to the upper jaw protruding over the lower one. Lower teeth can damage the roof of the mouth if they come into contact with it, which makes it harder to hold objects. When the lower jaw extends beyond the upper jaw, it is known as an undershot bite.

Even while it is the norm in certain breeds, in Border Terriers it can be problematic and may need to be surgically repaired. Last but not least is wry mouth, a mouth twisting produced by faster growth on one side than the other? It makes it difficult to eat and hold things. Puppy bites that aren't normal by the time they're 10 months old may require surgical correction, although this isn't always the case.

You should wait till the puppy has grown out of this stage. Tooth extraction, crown height reduction, or the use of spacers are all options for corrective surgery. Even if a dog's bite has been surgically fixed, it should not be utilised for breeding purposes.


At any given time, a person may experience a seizure. Seizures can include trembling, shaking, urine, stiffness, gazing, mild muscle spasms, or even unconsciousness. All of these symptoms can indicate a seizure. There is no cure for seizures, although medicine can be used to help treat them.

Patellar Luxation

In little dogs, a condition called "slipped stifles' ' is called patellar luxation. To put it another way, it's brought on by a misaligned patella, which is made up of the thigh bone's patella, patella, and tibia. Leg lameness or an irregular gait, such as a skip or a hop, is the result. Misalignment or luxation does not always develop until much later in life, however the problem itself is present from birth.

Arthritis, a degenerative joint disease, can be brought on by the rubbing that patellar luxation causes. It is possible to have four stages of patella luxation, starting with grade I, which is an infrequent luxation that causes transient lameness and progresses to grade IV, in which the patella cannot be manually realigned. As a result, the dog appears to have bowlegged legs. Patellar luxation that is severe enough may necessitate surgery.


When one or both testicles fail to descend, it is known as cryptorchidism, and it is most frequent in tiny dogs. By the time the puppy is two months old, the testicles should have totally descended. If a testicle is left behind, it is usually inoperable and, if not removed, can develop into cancer. As part of the procedure for neutering, a minor incision is done in order to remove any undescended testicle.


Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the body's thyroid hormone levels drop below normal. Weight gain, a thin coat, dry skin, a slow heartbeat, and a susceptibility to cold are all symptoms to watch for. As hypothyroidism is a degenerative disease, if you detect any of these symptoms, have your dog examined by a veterinarian.

When a dog's hypothyroidism is treated with a daily prescription, it can last for the rest of its life. It's important to find out if the condition runs in the breeder's family, so be sure to ask about the thyroid status of your puppy's great-grandparents when you meet the breeder.

Recommended Health Tests 

  1. Patella Evaluation
  2. Hip Evaluation
  3. Cardiac Exam
  4. Ophthalmologist Evaluation


Maintain a constant supply of clean, fresh water for your border terrier, and feed him high-quality, nutritionally balanced dog food. The majority of pet owners feed their pets twice a day. A person's age, degree of physical activity, and other factors can influence the type and amount of food they consume. So arrange an appointment with your veterinarian to ensure you're giving your pet the right diet. Remember to include treats and other extra food in your dog's daily calorie intake to avoid overeating, as well.


Border terriers have a wiry exterior coat and a soft undercoat, making them modest shedders. Most of the time, a weekly brushing is enough to remove loose hair and distribute oils. However, there are two times a year when these dogs shed more than usual, usually in the spring and fall. Using a rake or other special stripping tools, you'll have to remove the coat's loose fur by hand every day during this time.

Taking your border terrier for a bath can actually make it less adept at resisting dirt. There may be no need for more than a few baths a year. You can also use a moist cloth and a brush to clean your dog.

It's a good idea to check your dog's nails every month or so to see if they need to be trimmed. Keep an eye on your pet's ears to make sure there are no specks of dirt, debris or redness in them. Brushing your dog's teeth on a daily basis is very important.


At the very least, a border terrier should be given half an hour to an hour of exercise each day. Playing fetch, hiking, jogging, and brisk walks are all activities that they enjoy. Besides agility, flyball, and tracking are all popular canine sports. These sports are ideal for both physical and mental stimulation.

Doggy exercise should be done with your dog on a leash or in an enclosed area with no loose objects. Because border terriers have a strong prey drive, they will chase their prey fast. Because these terriers are excellent diggers, whatever fencing you install should stretch far enough underground to prevent them from getting beneath it.


These dogs are intelligent and eager to please their human companions. The ability to learn obedience commands is a result of this. But they can also be stubborn and independent thinkers when it comes to obeying.

Puppies are easier to train since it's easier to create good habits in them than it is to break negative ones in adults. Start training your puppy as soon as you are able, perhaps with a puppy obedience class. Never use harsh corrections when training a dog; this can cause the dog to become defensive and unable to learn. It's critical that your instructions are clear and unambiguous.

Starting at a young age, expose your dog to a variety of people, dogs, and situations. As long as they've had great early experiences, these dogs tend to be adaptable and receptive to meeting new people and pets. Predatory instincts can make them unsuitable companions for other animals, such as cats.

Children and Other Pets

Love kids and can keep up with them all day, but border terriers are too boisterous for families with young children.

Children should be taught how to approach and touch your Border Terrier in the same way that they should be taught how to engage with any other dog, and they should always be supervised during encounters between dogs and young children.

Border Terriers usually get along with other animals, especially dogs and cats, if socialisation begins early enough in their lives. Dogs of the opposite sex are ideal for them. You should never leave them alone with small furry pets like rabbits, hamsters, and gerbils because they're prone to chase away outdoor cats as well as other types of wildlife.


Aside from the fact that they need constant attention, border terrier puppies have no significant health or care concerns. With their innate athletic ability and strong activity levels, it can be challenging to keep up with them. When your child is old enough to start moving around on their own, you'll need pens and baby gates to help you keep them contained.

Dog breeds similar to Border Terrier

Australian Terrier 

Confidence, stoicism, and intense interactions are all present in their personalities. Also, they're around the same size and respond well to frequent and rigorous training activities."

Bedlington Terrier

Bedlington has many characteristics with the border despite its distinct head and general appearance. They originate from Northumberland, the same area that gave birth to the border terrier.

Airedale Terrier

Another British terrier breed that was initially intended to serve local hunters in their outdoor pursuits. People find them kind and intelligent, much like the nation's borders.