The Border Terrier: A Smart and Spunky Pup!

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border terrier mix on couchThe Border Terrier is a popular pet in the United Kingdom, but still relatively uncommon in the United States. Learn all about this plucky little pup, from breed history to health needs and grooming recommendations. We bet you’ll come away wanting one of your own!

On the Border: Who is the Border Terrier?

The Border Terrier is a small, rough-coated breed of terrier dog, originally bred to hunt vermin and foxes. Tough and wiry with a cheeky nature, these dogs now make popular pets.

History of the Terrier Breeds

This breed was originally called the Coquetdale Terrier or Redesdale Terrier, referring to the areas of Northern England where they originated. They were bred to be strong enough to chase and fight foxes, but small enough to get into the fox’s burrow to chase them out.

These dogs were little known outside of North-Eastern England until the early 20th century when they became a popular working terrier. The Border Terrier Breed was first recognized by the British Kennel Club in 1920, and by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1930.

Nowadays, they are very popular pets throughout the United Kingdom, though less widely known in the United States.

Appearance and Personality of these Terrier Dogs

Border Terriers are small dogs, with an average size of 14 to 16 in (36 to 40 cm) for males and 11 to 14 in (28 to 36 cm) for females. Males typically weigh 13 to 16 lb (6 to 7 kg) and females 11 to 14 lb (5 to 6.5 kg).

These dogs are said to have broad, “otter-shaped” heads and v-shaped ears that fall to the cheek. Their eyes are dark hazel with an intelligent expression. They have short, thick, tapering tales and dark paw pads.

pup licking his borders reflection

Their double coats tend to be rough, consisting of a softer undercoat and a wiry, close-lying outer coat that helps to protect them from harsh weather. These dogs come in a variety of colors, including wheaten, red, blue and- an and grizzle and tan.

Darker coloring on the muzzle, around the eyes and on the ears is typical.

These Wire Haired Dogs are Little but Rugged!

Border Terriers are known for their implacable, determined nature when working, and these tough little dogs will keep up with them best of them while out and about. At home, however, these dogs are typically sweet-natured and good with children, making them popular family pets. Due to their high prey drive, however, they are not suitable for homes with cats or other small animals.

4 Reasons Why these Types of Terriers make Amazing Dogs!

  1. Despite the terrier’s stubborn reputation, Borders are typically intelligent and eager to please, making them highly trainable. They often compete in obedience and agility events.
  2. Border Terriers are bred as country dogs, but also adapt well to city life, as long as they get enough exercise.
  3. These little dogs love to play, and love a game of tag or fetch.
  4. Border Terriers tend to get on well with other dogs, as long as they are properly socialized as puppies.

3 of the Cutest Border Terrier Mixes You’ll Ever Meet!

As so-called “designer breeds” become increasingly popular, it’s no surprise that Border Terriers are being bred with other breeds to create new and adorable combinations. Just beware that you’re getting your Border-cross from a reputable breeder, not a puppy farm!

Affen Border Terrier

The Affen Border Terriers is a cross between the Border Terrier and the Affenpinscher, a German terrier breed bred to hunt rats. This cross typically retains the wiry hair of the Border Terrier, and grows to a similar size, though it may have a shorter face thanks to its Affenpinscher heritage.

Border Malamute Terrier

A cross between the Border Terrier and the Alaskan Malamute creates a Border Malamute Terrier. Slightly larger in stature than a pure Border Terrier, the Border Malamute will still have the wiry coat and high prey drive.

Border Collie Terrier Mix

Both the Border Collie and the Border Terrier breeds originated in the border country between England and Scotland, but they were originally bred for very different purposes: the Collie for farming and herding, and the Terrier for hunting.

When bred together, the resulting puppies tend to be very loving and loyal, as well as extremely intelligent. These dogs will need lots of exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy.

Terrier Dog Breeds: Are They Trainable?

Terriers were originally bred to have an independent streak, as when they were out hunting they would have to work far from their owners and make quick decisions on the move. However, this does not mean that they are untrainable.

border terrier dogs playing

Border Terriers are intelligent dogs and eager to please their owners, albeit on their own terms. This breed is trainable and has been known to compete in various events, including agility and earthdog trials. When training Border Terriers, a gentle but firm approach is key, as harsh treatment can be detrimental.

Border Terrier Puppies: Are these Pups a Healthy Dog Breed?

Terriers, in general, are known as hardy dogs, and the Border Terrier dog is no different. As with any breed, however, there are certain conditions that these dogs are more prone to, including hip dysplasia, heart defects, Perthes disease, cataracts, generalized tonic-clonic seizures, progressive retinal atrophy, patellar luxation, and canine epileptoid cramping syndrome.

Many of these diseases are carried genetically, and can be guarded against with careful breeding and genetic testing: another reason not to buy from puppy farms!

Terrier Lifespan: How Long Does This Dog Live?

The Border Terrier is known as one of the most long-lived dog breeds, and the average lifespan for these dogs is around 14 years.

Do You Want Other Small Terrier Breeds? Check These Puppers Out!

Border Terriers are not the only kind of Terrier—far from it! Here are a few other popular types of Terrier that you might fall in love with.

Cairn Terrier

An ancient Scottish breed, the Cairn Terrier can be traced back to the 12th century. These tough little dogs were used in the Scottish Highlands for hunting. Perhaps the most famous Cairn Terrier is Toto in the Wizard of Oz!

Boston Terrier

Boston Terriers originated in—you guessed it—Boston around 1870. These little black-and-white dogs share lineage with Bull Terrier breeds and French Bulldogs. This breed is a popular therapy dog and pet.

Bedlington Terrier

The Bedlington Terrier is named after the mining town of Bedlington, in northern England, where it was originally bred to hunt vermin in mines. This versatile breed has also been used in dog racing, dog sports, conformation shows and as a companion dog.

Ready To Get A Pooch!

Are you thinking of getting a Border Terrier as your next pet? These sparky little dogs make great companions, but make sure you’re prepared to look after them.

These dogs need a minimum of 30 minutes of vigorous activity every day and can become bored and destructive quickly if understimulated.

These little pups are also well-known escape artists, so will need careful supervision if left out in the yard. Their double coats need yearly hand-stripping to remove dead hair, and regular brushing in between.

Don’t forget nail-clipping and tooth-cleaning too!

border terrier puppies sitting in grass

Border Terrier Rescue

Puppies can be hard work, with all the training and socialization they require. One way to avoid this stress is to adopt an adult dog from specialist Border Terrier rescue groups. North American Border Terrier Welfare can be a good place to start, or just to ask for advice on the breed.

Find A Reputable Breeder

If you do choose to buy a Border Terrier puppy, we can’t stress enough the importance of buying one from a reputable breeder. Not only will it guarantee you a happier, healthier, and better-adjusted pup that’s been tested for genetic disorders, it also means you’re not supporting the cruel and unethical practices of puppy farms.

To find reputable Border Terrier breeders, we recommend the AKC puppy finder or the Border Terrier Club of America.

Border Terrier Puppy Price Tag

Expect to pay upwards of $1,000 for a Border Terrier puppy, or even more for an AKC champion deadline. For this price, most good breeders will include genetic testing for inherited conditions, early vaccinations and deworming socialization, and records of parentage.

Most of all, you’ll get the peace of mind that comes from knowing your pup had the best possible start in life.

Scruffy, Spunky, And Smart! These Little Puppers Are Always So Full Of Life!

You’ll never be bored with a Border Terrier—pardon the pun. These little dogs are bursting with life and raring to go, making them great pets for an active family. Just make sure there are no small animals nearby!

Common Questions on Border Terriers

Where do Border Terriers come from?

How big are these dogs?

Do Border Terriers require a lot of grooming?

How long do these dogs live?

Do Border Terriers need a lot of exercise?

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