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Border Terrier Dog Breed Profile

Border Terrier

Other Names
Dog Group Kennel Club
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. 
Cost of Ownership
Average Food Cost
< £4 per week
Feeding Requirements
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. 
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. Puppy prices can vary considerably from around £350 to £500, depending on which part of the country you are purchasing from. 
> 15 years
The Border Terrier is a fairly long lived breed and can expect to reach 15 years or more. 
Average Litter Size
Litter sizes can vary from 2 to 8, but the normal is 4 or 5. 
General Physical Description
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.

Height Min Max
Bitch 28cm (11") 28cm (11")
Dog 31cm (12") 31cm (12")
Weight Min Max
Bitch 5kg (11lbs) 7kg (15lbs)
Dog 6kg (13lbs) 7kg (15lbs)
Size Category
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 - 6.5kgs. 
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. 
Common Ailments

Some congenital heart murmurs.  
Susceptibility To Illness
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. 
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.< 
Show Characteristics
The head of the Border should be otter-like, moderately broad with a short, strong muzzle. The mouth should have a scissor bite. The nose should preferably be black but liver- or flesh-coloured ones are allowed. The eyes should be dark with a keen expression and the ears small, v-shaped and dropping forward, close to the cheek. The neck should be of moderate length and the body should be deep, narrow and fairly long. The legs are moderately long, not heavily-boned and feet are small with thick pads. The tail should be not too long, set high and carried gaily. The coat is harsh and dense with a close undercoat and the skin must be thick. The preferred colours for the show-ring are red, wheaten, grizzle and tan or blue and tan. 
Country Of Origin
Scottish Borders 
Famous Examples
Records Held
Overall Exercise
100 - 120 minutes per day.
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. 
Distress if Left Alone
Personal Protection
Guard Dog Suitability
Risk of Sheep Worrying
Tendency to Bark
Level of Aggression
Compatibility With Other Animals
Suitable For Children


General Character And Temperament
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. 
Coat Length
Grooming Requirement
> Once a week 
Requires Professional Groomer
Borders mostly have quite long coats if left to grow naturally. The short coat is only maintained by weekly stripping (or 'rolling') which can be quite time consuming and there is a technique involved. A specialist groomer is required until this has been learnt. A puppy can be left unstripped until the coat is 'blown', usually at about 6 months of age, but it will then need a full hand strip. Clippers must not be used as they will ruin the coat. A full strip by hand can take 2/3 hours. Eyes, ears and teeth should be checked regularly. 
The Border Terrier comes in a variety of colours including red, wheaten, grizzle and tan, or blue and tan. 
Suffers From Allergies

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