The Border Terrier first appeared in the 18th century and has changed little since. They were used as working terriers in the Scottish Borders hunting foxes which preyed on livestock. Their ancestry is not really known. Their appearance was never of great concern to their owners but their ability to go to ground after a fox was, so they were bred to have strong jaws, to be well boned but not heavy and to have a chest with sufficient capacity but narrow enough to allow them to get back out of any earth they entered. Their extra length of leg enabled them to follow a horse so that they were there when they were needed. During their history they were known as the Reedwater Terriers and the Coquetdale Terriers but nowadays are referred to as Border Terriers. They are still working terriers in the countryside but in urban areas are mainly family companions.



Border are medium sized terriers with characteristic otter-like heads. They have harsh, dense coats with close undercoats. They are primarily working dogs and look it. They are strong, active, keen of eye and all terrier.


Size Small
Colour The Border Terrier comes in a variety of colours including red, wheaten, grizzle and tan, or blue and tan.
Coat Length Short Medium
Weight/Height Range On average dogs measure 30.5cms at the withers and weigh between 6 - 7kgs. Biitches should ideally measure 28cms and weigh between 5 - 7kgs.

The Border Terrier is normally a very healthy dog. Although some breed-specific problems are known to exist they occur in low numbers and buying a puppy from healthy stock should ensure that your puppy is at low risk from these disorders.

Breed Classification Borders are medium sized members of the Terrier Group valued for their good natures and gameness. They are bred as working animals but their adaptability makes them active family companions.

Feeding & Ownership


The Border Terrier is a small dog who requires only small amounts of food. They are not fussy eaters but have a good appetite and will become overweight if overfed or not regularly exercised.


Food Cost $5 to $10
Other Expenses
The Border is generally a fit healthy dog so veterinary expenses are usually low, feeding costs are low and only occasionally will professional grooming be required.



The Border Terrier is an affectionate, fun-loving dog. They are brave, adaptable and good with people, especially with children. They are reliably easygoing but have independent natures and like to make their own decisions. They love to chase rabbits, squirrels etc. but will live in harmony with other household pets. They are equally at home in town or country. Puppies may go through a shy phase and it is particularly important to ensure that they are adequately socialised with humans and other animals.


Intelligence The Border Terrier is very intelligent and trainable. They are independent dogs though so require firmness and patience in their training which should start early.
Energy High
Suitability for Children High
Tendency to Bark Low
Overall Exercise Requirement The Border Terrier is a very active dog, bred to follow the hunt and with keen hunting instincts. They need plenty of exercise on a daily basis and enjoy using their intellect as well as their bodies. They have lots of stamina and will keep going as long as their owners require them to do so. They may chase any small creature that take their fancy regardless of life and limb. This can lead them into trouble but an owner who is aware of this and starts appropriate training at an early age should remain in command.
Suitability as a Guard Dog Low
Ease of Transportation High
Level of Aggression Low
Other Animal Compatibility High



The short dense coat of the Border means that grooming requirements are undemanding, brushing will clean debris gathered during forays into the undergrowth from the coat and they may benefit from stripping occasionally. Eyes, ears and teeth should be checked regularly.


Grooming Requirements Once a week
Amount of Hair Shed Little

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