Border Terrier

Border Terrier

The Border Terrier originates from...

An inherent working breed, the Border Terrier was first developed in the early 18th century in the Cheviot Hills, situated on the border of Scotland and England. Primarily bred for the purpose of flushing out and killing foxes that were attacking the farmer's livestock, the Border Terrier derived its name in 1880 when it was utilised alongside the Border Foxhounds. Highly valued for its willingness and stamina, the Border Terrier rose to tremendous popularity in the century, also hunting otters, badgers and vermin. Despite its old lineage, the Border Terrier was only officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1920.

The Border Terrier is characterised by...

Boasting a rustic, working appearance, the breed is easily identified. Characteristic traits include a medium-sized, sturdy build, a proportioned head, body and legs, small 'drop' ears and a black nose. The wiry double coat is commonly coloured wheaten, blue, tan, grizzle, red and white, which may have aided the breed's camouflage in the outland terrains of the border. The weatherproof coat will have protected the dog as it worked the volatile landscape, burrowing into fox dens through mud and bracken. The head of the Border Terrier is often likened to that of an otter.

The average Border Terrier...

An intelligent and curious breed, it is not uncommon for the Border Terrier to attempt an escape, often appearing stubborn and disobedient when left to its own devices. When shown firm leadership, consistent training and early socialisation, the Border Terrier is an affectionate, loyal and mannered breed, displaying a relaxed and friendly temperament that makes for an ideal companion. Compatible with children and other house dogs when introduced gradually, the Border Terrier is well suited to active family life or a dedicated sole owner, providing its needs for human companionship and regular exercise are met. On average, a healthy Border Terrier will weigh 5-7 kg, with a life expectancy of 12-15 years, although it is not uncommon for the breed to outlive this expectancy.


The Border Terrier is generally very healthy and long-lived, susceptible to no serious breed-specific diseases. However, as with most canine breeds, there are documented cases of hip dysplasia, skin allergies, optical disorders and epilepsy. One genetic affliction identified in the breed is 'Spike's Disease,' a painful cramping disorder that will require treatment. Behavioural problems are often associated with the smaller breeds, including the Border Terrier.

Our Border Terrier owners have uploaded 218 photos

Our Border Terrier owners' thoughts

Added on 18/07/2015

I own a two year old border called Archie. He has been easy to train including tidying away his toys, closing doors and putting rubbish in the bin. He is friendly and affectionate. He has started doing agility and seems to love it especially the tunnel!

Added on 28/01/2017
Joined 19/04/2016
From England - North Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Bears a gorgeous border :) so intelligent grand champion of agility, so loving he's my baby currently snuggled up to his mummy. The breed is very energetic and very loveable also great around kids

Added on 08/05/2017
Joined 05/02/2012
From Cumbria, United Kingdom

Lovely dog to have around, easily trained. Dislikes cats and tractors.

Added on 04/07/2017
Joined 06/08/2015
From West yorkshire, United Kingdom

With out doubt best dog I've ever had. Got him from border terrier welfare. He is a re- homed dog and settled in straight away. He was a bit of a roamer at first if he got the chance but now 2 yrs on he's a lot more obedient. He goes to work with me every day and can safely say he's my best friend

Added on 16/08/2017
Joined 06/11/2016
From Midlothian, United Kingdom

What was known as 'Spike's Disease' was changed to 'Canine Epileptioid Cramping Syndrome' and latterly, following much good research by veterinarians supported by Border Terrier owners, 'Paroxysmal gluten-sensitive dyskinesia'. In short if the dog is fed no gluten, i.e. from wheat or grains (and some need to come off red meat products) but if fed a food like Turkey and Vegetables symptoms should lesson and disappear. If in doubt, have your vet find and read the papers by Lowrie, Not everyone knows about this life-changing research but it sorted my dog's problems.

Added on 28/10/2017
Joined 30/08/2016
From Merseyside, United Kingdom

Fabulous little dogs, very clever but with a mind of their own. My Buster does things on his own terms. He is a very loving dog and loves his family unconditionally. Would be lost without him, he is my therapy when feeling down. Love him to bits

Added on 22/03/2018

Hi, Haggis is 12 weeks, need help with grooming , what size of rake comb to use on him, what age to start and any other information on this subject. Not going as far as showing him just family pet .Thanks.

Added on 18/09/2018
Joined 18/09/2018
From Devon, United Kingdom

Pip is just 1 year old and has been with us since she was 10 weeks. Pip is our first dog, after 30+ years of cats. Phew(!!) what a difference. We went to puppy training to train US - not Pip, as she pretty much knew what to do. After the first 2 months of mopping a sea of w..e and a mountain of po. she is a wonderful companion for the 2 of us and a delight to be around. I have spent several months training her to associate a whistle (Acme 212, which is apparantly the "Terrier model" - don't ask me, I am just a beginner at this, and the 210 1/2 works fine at feeding times anyhow) with "good things" ie treats. Recall is not bad, 100% on her own, and c75% when distracted by/socialising with other dogs. This gets approving noises from senior B Collie owners on our local dog exercising area - I am massively boyed-up by this and Pip gets lots affection and praise for her behaviour. Based on reading (www) and speaking to experienced dog owners, I have focused on recall as a key skill for Pip - perhaps this high focus has made it more difficult to address some other key behaviours - anyhow too late at this time. Next steps are for an improvement in "greeting skills". Pip is fine on her own for a few hours, travels well in the car for regular 3-4 hour journeys. Pip is a massively social animal. has no real concept of her own size - which was a worry at first when she went right up to a German Shepperd and expected it to play - which it did. In a short space of time, Pip has entered into our hearts, is a part of our small family, and we could not imagine life without her. She has stayed in some very smart dog-friendly hotels, and has not been a trouble to anyone. Unfortunately (fortunately?), she is super-cute and is able to get away with a lot - something of which we are aware!
I am sure a big part of Pip's lovely nature comes from her (KC Reg) breeder. Pip was born into a small family who adored dogs. The children handled and played with all the puppies on a regular basis, and I am sure this is an important and positive factor in Pip's friendliness towards people - never any signs of agression - save for the very rare nip.


Pip takes up the space of a small dog, but has the heart and personality of a giant. Pip is soft, tough, challenging, obedient and massively loyal. Probably not the easiest first breed, but the early challanges have been rewarded it in ways which words cannot express. Would we have another Border Terrier: absolutely yes!!

Added on 07/10/2018
Joined 07/10/2018
From Northumberland, United Kingdom

I have 2 male border terriers, both aged 6.5 years.
They are the most amazing characteristic little dogs you will ever meet....and this goes for the breed as a whole!

Added on 27/12/2018
Joined 12/11/2015
From Leicestershire, United Kingdom

Jack of course is the love of my life, he is loving and fun. He loves his food, so it's easy to over feed him if you are not careful as he has such lovely brown eyes and is a master at manipulating us!
He dislikes the rain, walking in the dark and wearing his coat. He knows where all the local cats hang out and stalks them every day, he hates them with a passion fortunately he's never managed to get close to them.
He loves to play for hours, but also likes his comfort, he loves to snuggle up close, even when you are in bed.
We don't have children in the house, so I'm not sure how he would be with children around, he can be boisterous so I'm guessing he may be a bit rough if children were to play with him He'e very loving though.
He was easy to train, I've taken him training since he was 13 weeks old, and still take him now, he's very quick to learn and eager to please.
He has been attacked twice by other dogs, as a consequence he can be reactive to certain dogs, but not every one, he plays well with dogs that he knows.
He's a fantastic little dog, if you are looking for a loving, loyal, fun little dog and have time to commit to a little pal, then a border would probably suit you.

Added on 23/06/2019
Joined 26/01/2019
From Greater Manchester, United Kingdom

My Archie is 6.5 He is loving and enjoys playing with his humans. He also has a mind of his own but has been very easy to housetrain and has never done any damage when left alone. He enjoys 2 good walks a day and is a very much loved pet.

Added on 02/08/2020
Joined 02/08/2020
From West Yorkshire, United Kingdom

My second border terrier and don’t think I’d ever have any other breed. Very very loyal with tons of character. Fantastic dogs.

Added on 24/10/2020
Joined 24/07/2020
From Essex, United Kingdom

I have 2 borders, loving, loyal cheeky characters, adore them both. Sadly Tom has been diagnosed with CCD at the tender age of 8 but is doing well on Aktivait and Selgian