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Border Terrier

The people-oriented Border Terrier is more laid-back than other terrier breeds. He’s a great companion and watchdog for a moderately active family.

Overall Status

Height 12 to 15 inches
Temperament Affectionate, Happy, Plucky
Weight 11.5 to 15.5 pounds
Life Expectancy 12 to 14 years
Coat Color Blue, Red
Barking Level Medium

Quick Factors

Dog Friendly
Exercise Need
Grooming Needs
Strangers Friendly
Family Affectionate
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Daily Care

Grooming Tips

The Border Terrier has a double coat composed of a short and dense undercoat and a wiry topcoat. His coat fits closely to the body, like a jacket, and comes in a few colors, including red, grizzle and tan, blue and tan, and wheaten.

To keep his coat healthy, simply brush or comb him weekly. Even in the show ring, he only needs a little tidying of his head, neck, and feet, although most breeders “strip” the coat — pluck out dead hair by hand — for a less scruffy look.

The rest is routine care: Trim his nails every few weeks, and brush his teeth for good overall health and fresh breath.

Exercise Tips

Borders are active dogs and need plenty of exercises daily. A brisk half-hour walk or play session with his owner and a ball or flying disc should be enough to keep a Border healthy and happy.

Because of their instinct to chase small animals, a Border Terrier must always be walked on a leash, and play sessions must take place inside a fenced-in yard or another secure area. Terriers are diggers, so ideally any backyard fencing will extend underground for at least 18 inches.

BTs enjoy participating intracking,lure coursing,agility, as well as canine sports such as flyball.

Feeding Tips

Border Terriers can eat a raw/homemade diet or high-quality dog food. Make sure that whatever food you go with, it contains high-quality ingredients such as meat, rice and vegetables, as well as vitamin and mineral supplements.

Health Tips

The Border Terrier is generally a healthy breed, and aresponsible breederwill screen breeding stock for health conditions such aship dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, juvenile cataracts, seizures, heart problems, and allergies.

Some Borders seem less tolerant of hot weather, so outdoor exercise should be kept to a minimum when the temperature gets above 85 degrees F.


Earlysocializationand puppy training classes are a must for Border Terriers.

A Border was bred to think for himself, which can be both his most endearing and most frustrating quality. Told to stay, he will oblige for what he considers enough time, then slip off about his own business.

Confronted, he will act sorry, since he really likes to please. Punish him harshly, and you will break his spirit. If you want a dog that is unfailingly obedient, don’t get a Border Terrier.

Remember that Borders cannot resist a chase and should only be off leash in securely fenced areas.


The battle between farmers and foxes in the border country between England and Scotland called for a rough and ready weapon: the Border Terrier. Developed in the early 18th century, the fearless and implacable Border had a long, narrow, and flexible body that could squeeze through narrow dens in order to reach the quarry. He could also run alongside hunters, following thefoxhoundsuntil they found the fox, at which point the Border would roust the fox out of his den.

Farmers treasured him for his stamina and willingness to take on the toughest of prey, but few other people took much notice of him: The Border Terrier wasn’t recognized by Britain’s Kennel Club until the early 20th century. The Border Terrier Club of America was formed in 1920, and the American Kennel Club began registering the dogs in 1930. The Border Terrier ranks 83rd among the breeds recognized by the AKC.

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