Is the Border Terrier the Right Dog Breed for You?

by PetCloud / Breed Search / 13 Jul 2020

Border Terrier

Enthusiastically energetic, the Border Terrier was originally bred to chase foxes into the open during fox hunts. As a result, it retains its love for the chase. However, it's sweet and loving temperament make it a charming companion dog--if you can keep up with it! Learn all about this charming breed here. 

Breed Snapshot: 

  • Size: Weight: 5.1 - 7.1kg. Height: 28-41cm
  • Coat: Wiry top coat and dense undercoat. Colors include wheaten (pale yellow), red, blue and tan, and grizzle and tan. Their chests typically feature a patch of white.
  • Energy: High energy--these dogs love to run and play. They also have reputations as 'escape artists' as they enjoy wandering about.
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Country of Origin: Border areas between England and Scotland
  • Breed Type: Terrier
  • Other Names: None
  • Great Breed for: Owners with a fenced yard who have time to devote to this breed's energy needs. 

What Is a Border Terrier?

The Border Terrier hails from the borderlands of England and Scotland. The dog was bred to chase foxes out of fields for farmers, which led to its use in fox hunts. Hunters used the Border Terrier to chase foxes into the open field where the hounds could more effectively chase it. Today, the Border Terrier is a popular pet. It is an affectionate and loving dog, good with children, but it does have a tendency to dig under fences and escape its yard. For this reason, it requires plenty of supervision and interaction to ensure it remains on the straight and narrow path.  

Like many terriers, it boasts high energy, which it needed in order to keep up with hunters on horseback. The breed is known for its loyalty, high intelligence, keen curiosity, and courage. Owing to its need for exercise and its penchant for cutting capers, it's not the dog for everyone. Consider the amount of time you're able to devote to this breed before inviting one into your home. 


What Do Border Terrier Dogs Look Like?

The Border Terrier, like any terrier, is famous for its scruffy good looks. It sports an otter-shaped head and typically grizzled coloring. It features a short--though not stubby--tail and a narrow, well--proportioned build.  


What Makes the Border Terrier Special?

The Border Terrier is relentlessly on the lookout for small animal intruders. Looking to protect your garden? It will chase Peter Rabbit and his kind off your property--and it will stay on the job all day long if necessary. It lives for the chase! However, this can be a problem if you have other small pets such as cats. These dogs can be socialized to live with other pets, but it requires some training. Typically, they do enjoy chasing rabbits, birds, and squirrels.  

This dog is great for owners who want a high-energy breed to run or jog with or take long walks with. Going on hikes requires leashing as this dog is independent-minded and is apt to take off and chase small animals that scamper into its line of vision. The breed is also amusing and loves to play and interact with its family. It does well with children; however, it will need to be trained to ensure it doesn't chase after particularly young children that it could inadvertently knock down.  


How Often Do I Need to Groom My Border Terrier Dog?

Border Terriers require weekly brushing and occasional stripping to thin out their coat. Some owners prefer to have their Border Terrier's coat clipped. Because its wiry coat repels dirt well, it doesn't require bathing too often unless it gets into something especially dirty and smelly. It does love to dig. By grooming your dog at a young age, you'll be able to get it used to the process so that it is less inclined to give you grief when it comes time for brushing, clipping, or trimming its nails. 


How Often Should I Walk My Border Terrier Dog?

The Border Terrier is a high-energy dog. At minimum, it requires 30 minutes of intense exercise such as a brisk walk; however, it is likely to be better behaved and more easily managed if it has at least an hour of walk time and playtime daily. In fact, the more time you can devote to its activity needs, the better. With its natural inclination to chase things, it may enjoy learning the game of fetch--a great way to help it burn off some of that energy. 


How Do I Train My Border Terrier Dog?

Training is frequently essential for these dogs. They can be very stubborn and prone to having their own way without obedience training. Socialize this breed early so that it behaves itself around pets and small children. Pet Cloud offers dog training classes in blocks of six-week, one-hour sessions with registered trainers. An experienced trainer will come to your house or apartment and use positive reinforcement techniques as recommended by the RSPCA to teach your Border Terrier puppy.  


Quickfire Border Terrier Questions: 

Can I leave my Border Terrier alone during the day?

Absolutely. This breed is known for its independent nature. It's loving and adores to be around its family, but it tolerates its alone time quite well. Unfortunately, sometimes it uses that alone time to do mischief. For this reason, it shouldn't be left outdoors alone for part of the day or it may dig under the fence to escape its barriers.  


Are Border Terrier dogs barkers?

Border Terriers are not particularly 'yappy' dogs. They tend to bark when there's a good reason to alert their owners. If your pup is especially vocal, you can talk to your trainer about commands to promote its silence. 


Are Border Terrier dogs prone to health risks I should know about?

Many people favor the Border Terrier because it is not especially prone to health risks and tends to be an overall healthy breed. However, conditions do arise and when they do, they may include: heart defects, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and seizures. If you're concerned about any symptoms your dog is exhibiting, be sure to consult your vet. 


Where can I get a Border Terrier Dog?

If you're open to rescuing and adopting a Border Terrier, check with local rescue organizations. You may be able to find a wonderful pet who simply needs the right living situation and companion. Some people find they simply can't manage this dog or its energy needs and so they turn it in to a rescue organization. With the right setting and owners, this breed is likely to thrive. Check out the RSPCA's adoption guide to see if this is the ideal solution for you. If you want to purchase your Border Terrier dog from a reputable breeder, be sure to use this helpful guide for finding the right breeder from the RSPCA. 


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