Border Terrier Dog Breed

Country of Origin: Great Britain
Height: 11–16 inches
Weight: Males 13–18 pounds, females 10–16 pounds
Coat: Double coat with very wiry, somewhat broken, close-lying outercoat and short, dense undercoat
Colors: Blue and tan, grizzle and tan, red, wheaten|may have white markings [AKC]
Registries (With Group): AKC (Terrier); UKC (Terrier)

Origin and History

In the Scottish–English border country, raising sheep was common. The Border Terrier was developed to keep vermin at bay—particularly sheep-stealing foxes. He needed legs that were long enough to move quickly and cover ground but short enough that he could easily go to ground after vermin.

He was previously known as the Reedwater Terrier or the Coquetdale Terrier—named for the valleys or localities of his early existence. He acquired his current name in 1880, perhaps because he was so commonly worked with the Border Foxhounds. Terrier lovers who most fancied his working abilities were concerned when he became recognized by various registries around the world, fearing he would be turned into a "prettified" show dog. But he has retained his rough-and-tumble good looks and working attributes to this day.

Personality Profile

The Border Terrier is a small dog with a large amount of pluck and verve. Alert and game, he makes an excellent watchdog. He is less fiery than other terriers at home, and his affectionate, obedient nature makes him easy to live with.

Care Requirements


Bred to be a worker, the Border Terrier's small size doesn't mean that he doesn't want—and need—to get out and move. He is happiest investigating the tree lines, rock walls, and other areas in which he may find small animals hiding. It's important to keep a Border Terrier leashed when not in a secure area because he has a tendency to bolt after anything that catches his eye.


The Border Terrier's close, rough coat can be left in its natural state—kept tidy with occasional brushing and using a slicker brush to remove some of the dead hair. Unlike other terriers, he does not need to be stripped to keep the proper texture (unless he is being shown in the conformation ring).

Life Span

The average life span of the Border Terrier is 13 to 16 years.


Smart, responsive, and eager to please, the Border Terrier is a quick study. He is very sensitive to his owner's voice and should be trained only with positive, gentle methods to bring out his best.

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