This is a work dog exclusively, very brave and strong-headed. Following a certain popular fad for the breed, the Border Terrier Clubs have fought to keep this dog’s hunting traits intact- he remains, as a result, a hunter. He is, however, very affectionate towards his owners and family. His biggest vice is that he gets into frequent fights with dogs of the same sex. He is not suitable for small children as he does not tolerate being treated like a ‘teddy bear’, and can react in unpredictable ways.
Key facts about the Border Terrier
Life expectancy :
Temperament :Playful Hunter
Origins and history
Originally hailing from the south of Scotland, from the Borders region which is his namesake, he is reportedly the result of a cross between an ancient version of the Bedlington, the Lakeland Terrier, and the Dandie Dinmont Terrier. The breed was only officially recognised by the English Kennel Club in 1920, but is actually much older than that: it springs from a group of Terriers dubbed ‘working Terriers’. The Border Terrier took part in agricultural trade shows at the beginning of the 19th century, in the Borders county between Scotland and England.
Physical characteristics of the Border Terrier
Female : Between 13 and 14 in
Male : Between 14 and 16 in
Female : Between 11 and 13 lb
Male : Between 11 and 15 lb
The coat can be red, wheaten, grey and tan or blue and tan.
Type of coat
The coat is medium-long.
The coat is dense and coarse to the touch, the undercoat is close.
The eyes are dark, with a very lively expression.
The Border Terrier is a very ‘original’ dog, on account of the shape of his head: strong and short, resembling that of an otter. The body, on the other hand, is rather slender and light. The skull is moderately large, the muzzle short and robust. The eyes are small and lively, exuding a very intense expression. The ears are small, v-shaped, and folded over, close to the cheeks. The limbs are straight, and have a rather dainty bone structure. The tail is moderately short, set high and sported cheerfully, but it should never curve upwards over the back.
Good to know
The border terrier is one of the most popular dog breed in the UK. They were once called Coquetdale or Redescale Terriers and we mainly used to hunt foxes.
Even if he is a work dog only, the Border Terrier can be openly affectionate (within moderation) with members of his social group, but will never stand to be treated like a mere teddy bear.
Very dynamic and rather jovial, this dog loves to play and is particularly keen on strategy games, which allow him to express his full potential. Warning- it is not advised that children be allowed to play unattended with this little, often unpredictable dog.
Calm is a state he can only find himself in if he has had his share of daily activities. Otherwise, he will certainly let it be known that he’s very bored (destruction, barking, etc.).
Work dogs are often more docile and clever than other types of dog, since they have the inbuilt skills needed to carry out very specialised missions as well as stay focused for long bouts of time. This is indeed the case of this particular dog, who is an excellent work partner to Man.
You can’t mention the word ‘terrier’ without thinking of a hunter, and the Border Terrier is indeed a very good hunting dog, originally used in fox hunting or as a companion to hounds.
Fearful / wary of strangers
With his strong character and his courage, this little dog definitely doesn’t fear strangers, with whom he would rather be curious and jovial.
Unlike most hunting dogs, and especially terriers, this dog is not very independent. He does, of course, appreciate his alone time, but must rely on his master a lot to feel fully at peace.
Behaviour of the Border Terrier
Finding himself alone is not a situation that this work dog prefers, though he can learn to manage it if he has been progressively and positively accustomed to loneliness, and especially so if this habituation has taken place from his youngest years.
Easy to train / obedience
The Border Terrier is a work dog, he does therefore absorb rather rapidly what is asked of him and takes great pleasure in interacting with his master if the latter is respectful, coherent and both firm and gentle at the same time.
Some basic discipline must be acquired from the pup’s youngest age in order to stop bad habits from developing. In fact, even if he is generally good-natured, his character remains rather strong, and without a strict framework, this dog could rapidly gain the upper hand and do as he pleases.
This dog is not a big barker. Even when he’s impatient and eager to go out and play with his master, he knows how to remain calm and not solicit attention in this way.
However, if left alone and dissatisfied, this little, generally sensitive dog, could start barking: in part to express his frustrations or, quite simply, to keep himself busy.
Tendency to run away
If he is not sufficiently expended or stumbles across an intriguing trail to follow, this hunting dog could indeed take leave. If he lives in the countryside, it is advised to really secure the home grounds’ perimeter by way of a solid fence.
Actually, even if hailing has been practised and mastered, you must retain that this in fact can never fully be the case with a hunting dog. That is why certain walks (in wide open spaces for instance) will have to take place on a leash.