Border Terrier was developed as an all-purpose hunting terrier who was long-legged enough to follow the hunters on horseback yet small enough to crawl into burrows after prey. Her ancestors are all working terriers. The hill men of the border regions of England bred these dogs for performance rather than along breed lines.
The Border Terrier stands 12 to 14 inches tall and weighs between 11 and 15 pounds. Her head is otterlike, eyes are dark, and ears are dropped. Her body is sturdy and narrow. The undercoat is dense and the outer coat is wiry. She has whiskers and a beard. The coat may be red, wheaten, blue and tan, or grizzle and tan. The coat requires hand-stripping, which can be tough to learn. Ask your dog’s breeder for instructions. The coat does shed and should be brushed two to three times a week.
This active breed needs vigorous daily exercise. Although morning and evening walks will be enjoyed, walks alone are not sufficient. These dogs also need to play some catch and fetch games, train on the agility course, or participate in canine sports. All exercise, games, and training should be on leash or in a fenced yard.
The Border Terrier is an instinctive hunter and cannot be trusted off leash in an unfenced area at any time. Early training can help channel some of the breed’s tendency to be busy. This is also a very bright breed who will thrive with varied and fun training. The Border Terrier does well with an active owner who likes canine games and sports or at least enjoys playing with the dog.
The Border Terrier dog breed is also good with children, as long as the kids are not too rough. Border Terriers usually get along with other dogs and can live nicely with the family cat if raised with the cat. This breed should never be trusted with strange cats, however, or other small pets. Health concerns include heart defects, eye problems, and hip and knee problems.
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In the home, the Border Terrier is milder mannered, more laid-back, and more sensible than most terriers. Yet in the field he is “hard as nails, game as they come, and driving in attack.”
Some individuals are more work-oriented, while some are more mellow, but in general he is energetic and athletic. He tends to play rough and prefers vigorous exercise and interactive games.
He must not be let off-leash, for there is no terrier more determined to explore and pursue anything that runs (except, perhaps, for the Jack Russell).
Border Terriers are so inquisitive they often get themselves wedged into tight holes or crawlspaces. A secure yard, kennel run, crate, or personal supervision is essential.
Most individuals who have been extensively socialized are bouncy and kissy with strangers, though there is timidity in some lines.
Unlike most terriers, the Border is usually sociable with other dogs and not given to fiery posturing.
But he may or may not live peacefully with the family cat, and he is a businesslike hunter of anything else.
Generally willing to please and very sensitive to harsh correction, the Border Terrier responds nicely to motivational obedience training, especially if it includes food. But in moderation — Borders live for food and can become pudgy if indulged.
Were there ever a more glamorous pairing than gorgeous actress Eva Green and her much-loved Border Terrier. The star had to leave her pooch in her native Paris when she set up home recently in London because dogs are not allowed on the Eurostar. Eva said at the time: “I’m thinking about faking blindness…because you can’t take your dog on the Eurostar unless you’re blind. I love my dog so much – he’s basically my husband.”