Border Terrier – dog breed information and pictures

The Border Terrier is a small breed of terrier. It was originally bred to hunt fox and other small vermin. As it originated near the border of England and Scotland, it takes its name from there.


A head shape similar to an otter is characteristic of a typical Border Terrier. The have a broad head and a short blunt muzzle and their ears are typically V-shaped and hang down towards their cheeks. The jaw should meet in a scissor bite. There are a variety of colours in which these dogs may be found. These are grizzle and black, red grizzle, wheaten, and blue and tan. White is rare, apart from a small patch, usually on the chest. This breed has few whiskers, and those it has will be short. The tail is also naturally short and thick.

The Border Terrier, like many terriers, has a double coat. The undercoat is soft and dense to provide warmth. The topcoat is wiry, short and straight and provides protection from the elements and dirt. They shed very little hair, so it’s necessary to take care of its coat with regular grooming, although they should only be bathed when necessary.


These dogs are renowned for being fearless but they are good-natured too. They are affectionate and obedient and, whilst they do usually get along harmoniously with other dogs, it is not uncommon for them to fight if they take a dislike to another dog. They will get along well with other pets that they have known since puppyhood but they have a natural instinct to chase small animals, such as strange cats, squirrels, rabbits and so on. They love exercise and activity but do not need it to remain happy and healthy and are just as content to lie in the sun. This makes them good pets for all ages and types of owner.

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The even temper and affectionate nature of this breed makes them excellent pets as well as good therapy dogs, so they are sometimes used to help the blind or deaf. They respond well to training, especially agility training. They do not work well as guard dogs because, while they bark, they are not aggressive and will act friendly towards strangers.

Health issues

This is a healthy and hardy breed on the whole. Health does need to be monitored carefully, however as this breed has a high tolerance for pain and may not often exhibit symptoms of illness. The Border Terrier is blighted by a number of genetic conditions. These include hip dysplaisia, heart defects, cataracts and seizures. Their instinct to kill and eat other animals may also result in indigestion and stomach problems, as it is not uncommon for them to eat their toys. They generally have a longer life expectancy than many breeds of dog, and they not uncommonly live more than 15 years.

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