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The Border Terrier, also called the Border, is a small dog breed of the Terrier Group originally bred to hunt vermin and fox. The Border's origins can be traced back to northeast of England is a cousin of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier and the Bedlington Terrier.
The Border Terrier dog is a spirited family companion with tons of energy to spare for interacting and playing games with his loved ones. This Terrier breed is distinguished by his otter-shaped head, broad skull, and short muzzle with a scissor bite. The breed has an average lifespan of 12–14 years.
Are you planning to own a Border Terrier? Here is a brief background of this highly energetic dog.
The Border Terrier’s origin dates back to the 18th century in Northeast England. This small working Terrier dog was featured in countless great hunt paintings. In fact, the Border is thought to be used for hunting since 1896. This makes this breed one of the oldest Terrier breeds in Great Britain.
The very first Border Terriers were produced on both sides of the Cheviot Hills, which served as a border between England and Scotland. Border Terrier breeders were composed of farmers, hunters, and shepherds.
These Border Terrier breeders aimed to create a working terrier with high stamina and endurance. The breed should also have long legs that can keep up with Foxhounds and hunters on horsebacks. However, he should be small enough to flush out prey from narrow hiding places.
Border Terrier dogs are famously known for being a relentless fox and vermin hunters that can track their prey despite the bad weather and rocky terrain.
The Border Terrier was formerly referred to as the Reedwater Terrier, Coquetdale Terrier, Ullswater Terrier, or Redesdale Terrier after the area where the breed developed and evolved.
However, by the late 1800s, the breed was known as the Border Terrier because of his long history in participating in the border hunts in Northumberland.
In the 19th century, the Border Terrier proved to be invaluable when fox hunting became a favourite sport. The breed's stamina and tenacity in tracking and flushing foxes were highly praised.
It was also around this time when the Border Terrier dogs were first shown in agricultural society shows in Northumberland.
In 1920, the Border Terrier was recognised by the Kennel Club, which is the same year that the Border Terrier Club was also created. Ten decades later, the American Kennel Club officially recognised the Border breed.
The small working Border Terrier garnered many fans in the United States, and the breed even has a breed club called the Terrier Club of America. One of the fans of the breed is an unforgettable artist, Elton John. He is said to own about 9 or 10 Border Terrier dogs in his pack of over 20 pet dogs.
The Border became an onscreen star too. In the movie Anchorman: The Ron Burgundy Story, a Border Terrier named Quince played as Baxter, the steadfast sidekick of Ron Burgundy.
Today, the Border Terrier is still amongst the popular breeds in the UK that excel in competing at championship levels. This Terrier dog is adept at agility, hunting, tracking, and competitive obedience.
The Border Terrier is a small-size dog with a medium bone and classic Terrier appearance. This cuddly dog weighs 5–7 kilos and stands 28–36 centimetres at the withers. A Border Terrier puppy will become fully matured once he reaches 12 months old.
The Border Terrier dog is distinguished by his otter-like head, broad skull, and strong-looking, short, and dark muzzle. He has small and sparkling eyes that are keen and alert. The Border Terrier has a black nose and small V-shaped ears.
The Border Terrier has a double coat that is hypoallergenic. The outercoat is coarse, wiry, and weather-resistant, whilst the undercoat is short, thick, and soft.
Acceptable Border Terrier colours according to the Kennel Club breed standards are red, wheaten, grizzle, and tan, or blue and tan.
The Border Terrier is a low shedder, but he may experience seasonal shedding twice a year. Although he does not shed as heavily as other dog breeds during shedding season, he still loses quite an amount of fur.
Brush your Border Terrier’s coat every week. In spring and autumn, which are the times that he sheds the most, brushing should be done every day. The Border rarely needs a bath unless it's necessary.
The Border Terrier's coat can either be stripped, clipped, or just leave it as it is. Note that which choice you make can affect managing your Border's shedding.
If you opt for hand stripping, this can greatly minimise loose or dead hairs from spreading throughout your home. You can use your hands, rake, or a stripping tool to carry out this task. Designate at least half an hour to strip your Border Terrier’s coat.
Clipping the Border Terrier’s coat can make brushing easier. However, the short length of the coat won't get rid of dead hair. Instead, it only makes more dead hair fall during brushing sessions.
Trimming your Border Terrier’s fur is not recommended. It can lower the quality of its texture and colour.
The Border Terrier’s grooming regimen also includes making sure that the paws are cleaned, the nails are trimmed once or twice a month, and the teeth are brushed at least twice or thrice a week to remove tartar build-up.
Also, check and clean your Border Terrier’s ears. Make sure that there are no signs of infection such as redness or inflammation.
The Border Terrier may be a no-nonsense working dog whilst toiling on the field. But as a family companion, he is sociable, affectionate, and amiable.
Compared to other Terrier breeds, the Border readily extends friendship to strangers. It is worth noting though that some may be shy and indifferent to new faces.
Since the Border Terrier dog loves to be in the company of people, he hates being left alone for any length of time and is prone to separation anxiety. Be sure to spend time with your Border to keep him from getting lonely and avoid the development of destructive behaviours.
Excessive barking is the Border Terrier’s way of showing his displeasure or catching your attention. However, he can be trained to only bark when it's necessary.
The Border is good with children, but he can be a bit hyperactive for smaller children. As with any other dog breed, playtime needs to be supervised to avoid any accidents or unintentional injuries.
The Border Terrier is very sociable with other dogs, unlike most Terrier breeds. It's because this small dog is used to working with Foxhounds back in the days.
However, as a prolific vermin hunter, the Border cannot be trusted with smaller pets. These include smaller dogs and cats, guinea pigs, mice, squirrels, hamsters, and birds. His high prey drive will lead him to chase small animals.
Training this working terrier is easy because he is obedient and a quick learner. He can easily pick-up cues on things his owner likes or doesn't like.
The Border is a highly active dog that needs to be kept busy to be truly happy. His instinct to chase down prey remains strong, which makes him love the outdoors more.
On the flip side, this working terrier is also stubborn and can even quickly pick-up bad habits if not properly trained. Sometimes the Border Terrier’s strong hunting instinct will overpower any command and he will just go wherever he wants to go.
Due to this Border Terrier trait, equip your home with a securely fenced yard or back garden. Otherwise, he might take his opportunity to explore the outside world.
Feed the Border Terrier with 1 1/8–3 1/8 cups of dry dog food per day. The dog food should be made up of premium-quality ingredients and it is recommended to be divided into two meals.
However, do remember that feeding amounts vary depending on the dog's size, activity level, age, build, and metabolism.
Typical calorie needs of an adult Border Terrier per day:
When feeding your Border Terrier, keep a strict feeding schedule. The Border loves to eat, so ‘free-feeding’ or leaving food out all day is a bad idea and will encourage obesity, even for active breeds.
The Border Terrier has a lifespan of 12–14 years. He is a generally healthy dog, but like any dog breed, he can also suffer from breed-specific health conditions.
As a small terrier dog, the Border is prone to malocclusions. It is a dental problem that results from baby teeth that did not fall off. It prevents adult teeth from growing properly. This leads to the crowding and misalignment of teeth in the mouth.
This Border Terrier breed health problem can be solved by extracting or moving the crooked teeth. The vet may advise surgery to make a space where the misaligned teeth can fill in.
The Border Terrier is susceptible to cryptorchidism, which is common in small purebred dogs. Generally, both testicles of a Border Terrier puppy will drop at a young age of 8 weeks. Cryptorchidism happens when either one or both of their testicles fail to drop into the scrotal sac.
Compared with other Border Terrier health problems, this one is rarely painful. However, it can host numerous diseases including heart problems, hip dysplasia, undeveloped eyelids, and abnormal legs. More than that, dogs with this disease are 13 times more at risk to develop testicular cancer. No other treatment is available for cryptorchidism than neutering.
This Border Terrier disease is also known as canine epileptoid cramping syndrome (CECS). It is a hereditary condition that is closely similar to epilepsy. When a Border Terrier has spike’s disease, it will suddenly experience seizures. This can be very distressing for the dog as it is completely awake whilst having seizures.
A Border Terrier with this condition may suffer from mobility problems and twitching during an episode. Right after, the dog may suffer from diarrhoea and vomiting. Providing the dog with a gluten-free diet is observed to alleviate these symptoms.
Get a Border Terrier puppy from a trustworthy breeder. Make sure to ask if there are any records of epilepsy in the puppy’s parent breeds. This way, you can lower the chances of acquiring a Border Terrier puppy with CECS.
One thing a Border Terrier is is not is a couch potato. The Border must be given plenty of exercises, both physical and mental stimulation such as playing fun and interactive games. He will need over 60 minutes of exercise.
Letting the Border Terrier play in the garden is a great idea. However, make sure that the fencing extends about 18 inches underground since the Border is a natural digger. Do place a digging spot for your dog as well to put his digging habit into good use.
During walks, Border Terrier should be kept on a lead. His inquisitive nature and chasing tendencies can make him bolt off suddenly. He may also end up squeezing through narrow areas and be in danger of getting stuck. Only remove the lead if you are confident of your Border’s recall ability.
This Terrier dog breed enjoys the outdoors more than the indoors, but this does not mean he can't stay chill at home. The Border will surely love it if you play canine sports activities with him, such as a fly ball or a simple fetch.
A Border Terrier puppy costs from £1,000 to £2,500. Expect to pay more if you’ll buy a puppy from a KC-assured breeder.
On top of this, you’ll have to pay an initial £200 for essential dog supplies and equipment including lead, collar, dog bowls, crate, and toys.
The estimated cost for high-quality food and treats is £25–£35 per month. The monthly pet insurance premium for basic cover is £17 a month, whilst a lifetime policy is about £40 a month.
Are you sure the Border Terrier is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz
Are you still unsure if the Border terrier is the perfect breed for you? Feel free to check our Pet Finder to find other suggested breeds to fit your lifestyle.