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Border Terrier

About the Breed: Border Terrier


With its scruffy face and beard, the Border Terrier is a friendly, active, sturdy little dog, said to be “hard as nails” and “as game as they come.”


The Border Terrier is one of the oldest and smallest of the working terrier breeds that originated in Great Britain, where it was originally bred to hunt and kill foxes that threatened livestock along the “borders” of Scotland and England. They are friendly to everyone, including strangers, but will sound an alarm when something new or unfamiliar appears in their home territory.

Best With

  • Socially and physically active owners, including families.

  • People who have a securely fenced property of moderate size;

  • People who appreciate independence and free thinking in a dog;

  • People who can devote adequate time to proper socialization and training.

Not For

  • Homes with no fence;

  • People who will not/can not properly train and socialize the dog;

  • Households or farms with other small pets (cats, bunnies, guinea pigs, mice that a Border Terrier would try to chase), or smaller livestock (chickens and/or ducks) that are allowed to roam free;

  • People who prefer keeping an immaculate back yard (Border Terriers are known for digging).


Friendly and outgoing, small and sturdy, intelligent and easy to train, great family dogs, low maintenance grooming, excellent walking/hiking/running partners.


Loves to dig (secure, deep fence required); loves to chase (typically not safe with small animals / cats).




Between 12 and 15 inches in height; between 12 and 15 pounds in weight.



Blue and tan, grizzle and tan, red, and wheaten.

Energy Level:


Moderate to high; loves to play rough and enjoys exercise.

Life Expectancy:

On average, 12-15 years.



Border Terriers thrive on human companionship and do well around children.

Other Animals:


Border Terriers are inclined to chase cats, and should not be in homes with other small animals such as birds, hamsters or mice.



Border Terriers do well in task-oriented activities, and agility training; they have a surprising ability to jump high and run fast given the size of their legs. They are extremely trainable, and capable of learning tricks quickly and competently.



Border Terriers don’t shed much, however they can benefit from weekly brushings. Their harsh, wiry, dense coat naturally repels dirt.


Generally healthy, however some may exhibit health conditions such as hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, juvenile cataracts, seizures, heart problems, and allergies.

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