Border Terrier

Breed History

Border Terrier Headshot

Border Terrier is a small dog with a moderate bone structure and wiry coat. Bred for their speed, agility, and stamina to keep with some of the fastest small predators in their area consisting of the foxes and vermin.

Northumberland, England is the place where they became notorious for their hunting capabilities. Longer legs enable them to cover more ground quicker.

Members of a larger terrier group which features the Border, Cairn, Scottish, Skye and Irish Terrier types. Many of them have the same ancestor and different breeds lead them to the breed standard they currently have today.

Fierce fox hunters who could force a fox out of their holes so that the hunters can get a shot on them. Shepherd flocks were always in danger of getting some type of damage from foxes and these dogs were in need to take care of the problem.

Ratter by nature and they were in use on farms to hunt the vermin and they did it well. Rats were always a great detriment to the farmers in England and having small hunters to kill them 24/7 was one of the ways to combat this problem.

1920 was the year they got recognition in their homeland as a pure dog breed separate from other Terriers. After that there were enough imports into America to get this dog a start overseas and build up their bloodline with the American kennel Club.


In 1930, a decade later, they got recognition in America. Their kennel club was formed the same year and continues to be a wealth of information regarding the Border Terrier.

Top 90 in popularity every year and that is due to a few factors. Farming is commercial and there are many men made rat solutions on the market.

Not only did this dog lose its jobs of killing rats but fox hunting has become less of an issue because farming is more commercial with animals as well.

Terrier Group is where they are put exclusively regardless of the kennel club name. Here are the major kennel clubs and their breed standards for this dog.


Male Height: 12-15 inches

Female Height: 12-15 inches

Male Weight: 13-15 pounds

Female Weight: 11-13 pounds

Boy and girl dogs are almost the exact the same size with a subtle difference. Same sizes with little breeds are more common and way bigger boys with larger dog breeds is more common as well.

Litter Size

4 puppies are the average litter size. Mother dogs are not subject to a c-section unless there is an emergency. They can deliver natural without much assistance from any humans.

Breed after 24 months of age is the recommendation from their official kennel club and can help prevent any issues with the birth.


  • Blue and Tan
  • Blue and Grizzle
  • Black and Tan
  • Grizzle and Tan
  • Grizzle and Black
  • Red
  • Red and Grizzle
  • Red and Tan
  • Red and Wheaten
  • Wheaten

This dog should have some white on the chest and that’s acceptable but any white on the feet is not acceptable. Also, a dark muzzle is one of the common and sought after looks with this breed.


$1,000-$2,000 is the average price of the Border Terrier. In order to receive papers both parents must receive registration with an official kennel club. Bloodline and Kennel Club documentation is important for understand the different prices.

Prices can vary because of championship bloodline, supply, demand, and other factors that affect the quality of puppy you will receive. You should be aware of the differences of buying with and without papers.

Without papers you can expect a dog that may have some crossbreeding over the generations due to no standard of breed. When both parents are not registered you may really have a mess on your hands.

Making sure you fully understand the breed standards for the dog will be of upmost importance. All the different elements should be present in not only the puppy, but all the puppies and the parents.


Moderate hair shedding that needs some attention, but not high maintenance. Their double coat does need servicing. Here are the areas you should focus on to maintain a great coat for the Border Terrier.

  1. Brushing
  2. Combing
  3. Bathing
  4. Ears
  5. Nails
  6. Professional Help

Brushing the dog will help the coat in a few different ways. Routine brushing will keep the coat healthy. Secondly, you will need to remove excess hair during shedding season. They don’t shed heavy, but heavy enough to need to brush excess.

Combing is something that should be done every week along with brushing. Getting to the skin and brushing outwards will be the best way. Finding a comb that can accomplish this is a recommendation.

Bathing the dog should happen once a month. Having a dirt resistant coat should enable the owner not to wash them often because it will soften this part of the coat and what it is designed to do.

Ears need to be clean once a week to avoid infection. Once the ears get an infection you need to take them to the vet often for a preventable condition.

Nails are going to trim naturally during exercise. For owners who have no plan on exercising the dog, which we don’t recommend, you will need nail clippers for the dog.

Professional help is not a recommendation for this breed.

Life Span

12-15 years is the average life span for a Border Terrier. That’s a long time for a dog to live especially on the upper end. These dogs would be great for adoption because of how long they live. Owners or future owners should be aware of the length of time their dog, or future dog, will live.

Health Issues

Hips – a common condition that makes dogs uncomfortable is any malfunction of the hips. When trying to exercise a dog you will notice that they don’t want to exercise much. Take them to the vet right away for an x-ray. Otherwise, you will want to take them around 24 months old to get an evaluation.

Eyes – should get an examination from a specialized professional that can see eye issues from all stages. Some eye problems can be minor irritations while others can cause partial or complete blindness.

Patella – kneecaps are a serious issue for all small breeds. Partial or complete dislocation can cause the dog to raise their leg while exercise while trying to run on the other three legs. Another condition to get a professional to look at the structure to determine if it is good or bad in the current condition.

Cardiac – heart problems are common, and a cardiac exam is something the kennel club also thinks this dog’s owner should get. Irregular heartbeats, murmurs, and more serious condition will all be found with this exam.

DNA test – common genetic tests are given to these dogs around two years old. Generations pass down different conditions and it is better to find out before the progress or become grave.

Breed Group

Proud members of the Terrier Group. A group of dogs that all have hunting small animals specifically rats and others. Coming from farmlands in England that were in need of the assistance because of the rats destroying their property or small animals that were stealing from the property as well.

Here are some of the dogs in the Terrier Group

Exercise Needs

Border Terriers are active dogs that need daily exercise. Many people find it difficult to find out how much exercise or they pretend to know. Let me show you exactly how to find out how much exercise is enough.

Look no further than the dog itself. When the dog is misbehaving it is almost exclusively due to lack of exercise or boredom. Let’s look at the areas that should be large signs of concern.

Barking excessively, digging, chewing up items, jumping and over excitement are just some of the symptoms dogs show. Dogs who get the right amount of exercise don’t conduct these activities.

Since owners choose not to exercise dogs then the dogs start doing things to exercise themselves. Once you begin to satisfy your dog, they will not need to conduct themselves in bad behavior.

Good behavior is a function of the current owner meeting or exceeding the dogs needs. Rumor has it that dogs exercise 12 hours in their natural habitat so there is no need to worry about over exercising.

Here is a basic guideline for exercising.

Morning: hour (run, walk, or treadmill)

Evening: 30 min (run, walk, or treadmill)

For immediate relief I would try two 30-minute runs to get the behavior more in check. Young dogs will benefit from more runs than walks, but this all changes as the dog ages.

Adult dogs need to get more of a balance between runs and walks. There are times where they need a run due to their behavior or the owner slacking off on the exercise.

Senior dogs need to get walks more than anything else. Walking them is the best way to not have them recovering for a long time period while still getting them some exercise.


  1. Exercise program
  2. Commands
  3. Socialization
  4. Corrections

Every house should be built on a solid foundation and there is nothing more solid than exercising. Understanding the dynamics between bad behavior and lack of exercise will put you into elite company. I like to use the homeless man as a great example. They exercise their dog all day long or at least a few hours a day and there are little to no treats. These dogs are social, walking off leash, and don’t have any aggression issues. Think about that this homeless man can meet the dogs need and somehow, we can’t figure it out in 1,300 or more square foot homes. Expect to spend a lot of time taking care of their exercise needs.

Commands are less time-consuming, but they don’t teach your dog how to behave. Since it falls short in this category, we find this less important than other aspects of dog training. Repetition is the best method when it comes teaching commands. Basic commands are so easy a child or determined teenager can teach a dog to do it.

Socializing is a function of what to focus on after exercising and command training. Putting these in place will help your dog socialize with the proper control over your dog. Having less energy when meeting other dogs will help your dog. Tire them out before meeting other dogs every time.

Corrections are important to get the dogs attention if you don’t have their attention. Failure to gain the attention will lead the dog to often get aggressive knowing you will leave them alone. Correct and make them sit or lay afterwards. Works wonders.

Additional Resources