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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Border Terrier

Border Terrier

Origin: Great Britain

AKC Group: Terrier

Height: 12 - 15 inches (Male)

Weight: 15 - 18 pounds (Male)

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Border Terriers are quiet and obedient. They're usually friendly with strangers, children and dogs, but watch them around cats and rabbits. Borders are inquisitive and curious. They adapt well to city life if walked daily.

Border Terriers are part of the Terrier group. In general, terriers have a very distinctive personality that's unlike any other breed. They're feisty and energetic. Originally bred to hunt and kill vermin, terriers love the chase - don't let your terrier off its leash unless it's in an enclosed area.

Terriers make excellent pets. These tough little canines have an attitude, however, so they usually adapt better to quiet households. Most terriers are usually jealous and snippy around other pets, especially dogs.

While some terriers are good with children, most will snap if provoked. If you want your terrier to be friendly with strangers, you need to accustom it to people at an early age. Terriers are also barkers and diggers.

In terms of health, terriers are very hardy dogs with few health problems. Most live a long time, usually around 15 years. Terriers need to be brushed twice a week and professionally groomed about every three months. While pet terriers are usually clipped, show dogs are stripped, which means the dead hairs are plucked out one by one so the coat color doesn't fade.

Great Britain
Male height: 
12 - 15 inches
Male weight: 
15 - 18 pounds
Short and rough. Short tail that hangs down; ears fold forward.
Wheaten or reddish brown with black-tipped hairs and dark ears. More rare is blue and tan. A little white is allowed on the chest.

In the Scottish-English border country, raising sheep was common. The Border Terrier was developed to keep vermin at bay - particularly sheep-stealing foxes. He needed legs that were long enough to move quickly and cover ground but short enough that he could easily go to ground after vermin. His ancestry is without written history but stems from the same origins as other terriers in northern England. Terrier lovers who most fancied his working abilities were concerned when he became recognized by various registries around the world, fearing that he would be turned into a "prettified" show dog. But he has retained his rough-and-tumble good looks and working attributes to this day.

The Border Terrier is a small dog with a large amount of pluck and verve. Alert and game, he makes an excellent watchdog. He is less fiery than other terriers at home, and his affectionate, obedient nature makes him easy to live with. The Border Terrier is a happy-go-lucky companion.
At home: 
The Border Terrier is an all-weather, all-conditions companion who can adapt to any living situation, provided he's given enough exercise. He loves to be near his family but isn't overly demanding of attention. He will alert you to anyone's approach but is not given to bouts of "yappy-ness." A fenced-in yard is a must, and it's important to keep a Border Terrier leashed when not in a secure area, as he has a tendency to bolt after anything that catches his eye.
Bred to be a worker, the Border Terrier's small size doesn't mean that he doesn't want - and need - to get out and move. Daily exercise outdoors where he can sniff and explore is necessary.
The Border Terrier can gain weight quickly, so it's important not to overfeed him. A high-quality, nutritious diet is best.
Smart, responsive, and eager to please, the Border Terrier is a quick study. He is very sensitive to his owner's voice and should be trained only with positive, gentle methods to bring out his best.
The Border Terrier loves children and can play tirelessly for hours with them, but he may be a bit too boisterous for very young children. He usually gets along well with other dogs and other pets but should be supervised around small pets, like gerbils and hamsters, which he might view as prey.
The average life span of the Border Terrier is 13 to 16 years. Breed health concerns may include allergies; Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome (CECS); heart defects; hip dysplasia; juvenile cataracts; and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).
Fun fact: 

The Border Terrier was originally known as the Reedwater Terrier and the Coquetdale Terrier - named for the valleys or localities of his early existence.

Grooming blurb: 
The Border Terrier's close, rough coat can be left in its natural state - kept tidy with occasional brushing and the use of a slicker brush to remove some of the dead hair.
Copyright by T.F.H. Publications, Inc. This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.