Border Terrier

The British called this dog the Reedwater Terrier, the Ullswater Terrier, and the Coquetdale Terrier before finally settling on Border Terrier. A hardy little dog, he loves people and children. While romping outside, walking with his owner, or playing games of fetch, he is determined and energetic. Inside, he is calm and easygoing, less likely to exhibit the feisty and sometimes overbearing behavior that can be seen in many other terriers.

Border Terrier Image

This terrier was bred to hunt fox and vermin. He got his job because the foxhounds owned by most British hunters of the time were too large to successfully enter the burrow of a rodent or small animal and drive it out — a task the Border Terrier could carry out with ease, giving the hunter a clear shot as soon as the game emerged from its lair.


The Border Terrier’s ancestors are the Dandie Dinmont Terrier and the Bedlington Terrier. He was bred to work in cooperation with foxhounds on the hunt, so in addition to being small enough to enter the prey’s burrow, he also was bred to have legs long enough to keep up with the foxhounds and horses on the chase.

The Border Terrier was formally recognized as a distinct breed by The Kennel Club of Great Britain in 1920, and by the American Kennel Club in 1930.

“Baxter,” Ron Burgundy’s best friend in the film comedy Anchorman, is a Border Terrier.


Male Border Terriers stand 13 to 16 inches at the shoulder; females, 11 to 14 inches. Weights range from 13 to 15.5 pounds for males and 11.5 to 14 pounds for females. Coat colors can include blue and tan, grizzle and tan, wheaten, and red. Their wiry double coats offer protection from harsh weather, on the trail or in the backyard.

Given sufficient exercise, a Border Terrier can be an excellent choice as an apartment dog.


The Border Terrier’s love of people, including children, makes him an appealing family pet. Borders are extremely affectionate not only with family, but usually also with strangers and other dogs. Nevertheless, the breed has some tendencies that a potential owner should know about before making a decision. First, the Border Terrier likes to bark, and not necessarily for a reason. Second, because of his irresistible urge to chase anything that runs, he does pose a risk to smaller pets. A family considering a Border should not own any mice, rats, guinea pigs or other small animals incapable of defending themselves.

Borders do very well in agility training and as therapy dogs for children, the elderly, and people with special needs. Therapy dogs require additional training and certification beyond the basics. And don’t think you can get by without basic obedience training at a young age. Borders are extremely trainable, but an untrained dog’s independent streak will be far more apparent.

Borders also enjoy swimming!


Speaking of training, although Borders respond well to reward-based training, an owner must be careful not to give him too many treats. As is true of all of us, too many calories and too little exercise will leave him chubby.

Other health issues sometimes seen with this breed include allergies; heart problems; Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome (CECS), a hereditary disorder with symptoms similar to canine epilepsy; progressive retinal atrophy, a bilateral degeneration of the retina, that causes progressive vision and eventually blindness; and juvenile cataracts. As with any dog, regular visits to the animal clinic will help your veterinarian examine and monitor your pet for any emergence of these conditions.


For a terrier, the Border has kind of a “casual Friday” appearance about him. His unfussy natural coat is easier to groom than that of most other wirehaired terriers. That said, his coat does have some brushing and stripping requirements.

Weekly brushing will keep shedding to a minimum. Borders are identified as a low-shedding dog and therefore less likely to trigger symptoms in people with allergies. However, all dogs shed, whether one hair at a time or many, and there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog.

Border Terriers also will need their hair stripped about twice a year. Stripping, or pulling hair out by the root, is the groomer’s preferred method when working with terriers, spaniels and certain other breeds. It removes the topcoat and leaves behind the soft undercoat, leaving your dog cleaner and probably more comfortable. A stripping tool is used and when it’s done correctly, it should cause no pain to the dog. You can either let the groomer handle this task or ask him or her to teach you how to strip your dog’s coat.

Borders should be bathed only on an as-needed basis. Excessive bathing can alter the texture of the dog’s coat and make him less weather-resistant. Nails should be clipped monthly.


Here is a link totThe Border Terrier Club of America: 

They have a Rescue page on their website. On the main page, hover over BT Rescue and click. Since websites are subject to change, you may need to call the Club for information on how to adopt or rehome a Border Terrier.


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