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Border Terrier

BorderTerrier

An Even-Tempered Family Pet

Busy, friendly, inquisitive

Border Terriers are easy to train, agile, and sturdy, small dogs. This devoted and obedient breed is a bit reserved with strangers, but generally gets along with other animals and children. Border Terriers make great companions for families and do well living in an apartment or small home. They only require a moderate daily walk or play session.

Understanding their unique needs will help keep them healthy and create a strong bond between the two of you. Explore this page to learn more about the breed’s history, health concerns, characteristics, and care needs.

Breed Details

Height:10-11 in. Height:11.5-15.5 lb Lifespan:13-15 years

Size
2

1=small 5=large

Grooming requirements
3

1 = little grooming - 5 = much grooming

Energy level
3

1 = low energy - 5 = high energy

Ease of training
3

1 = difficult - 5 = easy

Affection toward owners
3

1 = independent - 5 = very affectionate

Friendliness toward strangers
3

1 = shy - 5 = very friendly

Routine care: Border Terriers are a highly active breed that excels at earthdog, flyball, agility, and tracking competitions. However, with these skills comes a high prey drive, so they need to be leash walked and have a securely fenced yard.

Grooming: Brush their coat as needed, at least weekly. Twice a year stripping is also required for their wiry double coat.

Dental: Border Terriers often have serious problems with their teeth, so you’ll need to brush them at least three times a week!

Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!

Border Terriers are a small and solid working breed with a vivacious personality. They're eager to please their human companions and ready for a job!

Positive Traits:

  • Highly trainable and eager to please

  • Even-tempered; adapts to a wide variety of environments

  • Vigilant watchdog with a ready bark

  • Agile, sturdy, and muscular

  • Obedient and devoted

  • Great with kids and other dogs: a true family pet

Negative Traits:
  • Easily bored if not given something to do, which leads to barking and chewing

  • Needs a lot of activity and mental stimulation to avoid boredom vices

  • Sees cats and small animals as prey unless trained otherwise

  • Likes to dig

  • Coat requires regular brushing and grooming

  • Standoffish toward strangers

Whether you are considering adding a new Border Terrier to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Border Terrier will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. 

By exploring the health concerns specific to the Border Terrier you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They are counting on you to be their health expert.

Some health issues a Border Terrier could encounter:

  • Knee Problems

  • Hip Necrosis

  • Knee Ligament Tear

  • Bone Disease

Border Terriers are one of the oldest British terrier breeds. With an head shaped like an otter’s, these are working terriers bred for protecting sheep from foxes and other predators. They are tenacious on the chase. Border Terriers are a highly active dog, easily trained because of their willingness to please. They are generally a healthy breed with an average lifespan of 13-15 years. Some can suffer from common health concerns such as seizures and cataracts. Early diagnosis is the key to a long and happy life; be sure to schedule routine checkups.

Consult with a veterinarian if your Border Terrier shows signs of the following:

  • General reluctance to run or play

  • Increasing hip pain at less than a year old

  • Pain when opening the mouth or chewing

  • Increased hunger and thirst, weight loss

  • Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain

  • Tiring easily, coughing, a swollen belly or fainting/collapse

  • Coughing, especially at night or upon rising after sleeping, rapid breathing at rest

  • Low heart rate, tiring easily or fainting when exercising

  • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing

  • Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors

  • Care

    Routine care: Border Terriers are a highly active breed that excels at earthdog, flyball, agility, and tracking competitions. However, with these skills comes a high prey drive, so they need to be leash walked and have a securely fenced yard.

    Grooming: Brush their coat as needed, at least weekly. Twice a year stripping is also required for their wiry double coat.

    Dental: Border Terriers often have serious problems with their teeth, so you’ll need to brush them at least three times a week!

    Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!

  • Characteristics

    Border Terriers are a small and solid working breed with a vivacious personality. They're eager to please their human companions and ready for a job!

    Positive Traits:

    • Highly trainable and eager to please

    • Even-tempered; adapts to a wide variety of environments

    • Vigilant watchdog with a ready bark

    • Agile, sturdy, and muscular

    • Obedient and devoted

    • Great with kids and other dogs: a true family pet

    Negative Traits:
    • Easily bored if not given something to do, which leads to barking and chewing

    • Needs a lot of activity and mental stimulation to avoid boredom vices

    • Sees cats and small animals as prey unless trained otherwise

    • Likes to dig

    • Coat requires regular brushing and grooming

    • Standoffish toward strangers

  • Health Concerns

    Whether you are considering adding a new Border Terrier to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Border Terrier will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. 

    By exploring the health concerns specific to the Border Terrier you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They are counting on you to be their health expert.

    Some health issues a Border Terrier could encounter:

    • Knee Problems

    • Hip Necrosis

    • Knee Ligament Tear

    • Bone Disease

  • History

    Border Terriers are one of the oldest British terrier breeds. With an head shaped like an otter’s, these are working terriers bred for protecting sheep from foxes and other predators. They are tenacious on the chase. Border Terriers are a highly active dog, easily trained because of their willingness to please. They are generally a healthy breed with an average lifespan of 13-15 years. Some can suffer from common health concerns such as seizures and cataracts. Early diagnosis is the key to a long and happy life; be sure to schedule routine checkups.

  • Watch Out For

    Consult with a veterinarian if your Border Terrier shows signs of the following:

    • General reluctance to run or play

    • Increasing hip pain at less than a year old

    • Pain when opening the mouth or chewing

    • Increased hunger and thirst, weight loss

    • Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain

    • Tiring easily, coughing, a swollen belly or fainting/collapse

    • Coughing, especially at night or upon rising after sleeping, rapid breathing at rest

    • Low heart rate, tiring easily or fainting when exercising

    • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing

    • Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors

Border Terrier Discussions

Share your thoughts and experiences, ask questions, or just show your love for the Border Terrier breed here!

Select Another Breed

To view the sources for the information listed on this page, see our Dog Breed Guide Reference page.

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