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Home > Dogs > Dog Breeds > Border Terrier Dog Breed: Info, Pictures, Facts, Care Guide & More!

Border Terrier Dog Breed: Info, Pictures, Facts, Care Guide & More!

border terrier

Border terriers are small dogs that usually stand a little taller than 12-inches at the shoulder. It has a uniquely shaped head that gives it an otter-like appearance. It usually has a short but wiry coat available in several colors and a strong, agile body.

Breed Overview


11 – 16 inches


11 – 14 pounds


12 – 15 years


Red, blue, wheaten, black, black and tan

Suitable for:

Families, apartments, allergy sufferers


Affectionate, alert, even-tempered

The fur is weatherproof and repels dirt, so it stays relatively clean and only requires moderate grooming. Border Terriers are hard workers that enjoy spending time with the family and will usually stay close by when you are home.

Border Terrier Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.


Border Terrier Puppies

border terrier puppies_voodoo96_Pixabay
Image Credit: voodoo96, Pixabay

Border Terriers make wonderful family dogs and you will love them if you suffer from allergies, as they don’t shed as much as other breeds. They get along well with children and other pets, though this can depend on how early they are introduced so if you adopt an older dog, some training may be required.

closeup border terrier
Image Credit: No-longer-here, Pixabay

Temperament & Intelligence of the Border Terrier

The Border Terrier is a loving and playful breed that makes them a great dog for families and the single owner. It’s adaptable and can learn to live in a small apartment. It’s extremely intelligent and learns new tricks quickly, but it can also be quite stubborn and difficult to train for someone without experience and plenty of patience. It’s also clever and can figure out how to open gates, doors and get around other things meant to stop it. It also likes to bark, so you will need to start early with training to keep it from getting out of hand. However, the barking helps them be great watchdogs, and you will always know when something strange is going on in your yard. Its fearless behavior will protect you regardless of the danger to its own life but can make it difficult to walk the dog where other dogs go.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

The Border Terrier is a loving and playful dog with plenty of energy for chasing after balls, playing fetch, and running around the yard. It loves to be around children, and they will help it get the exercise it needs. It loves big yards but is adaptable to smaller homes as well. It’s protective and will keep your family safe from intruders. It likes to explore on its own, so it won’t mind as much as many other breeds if you have a long day at work.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

If you start socializing your Border Terrier with other pets, it will likely grow to enjoy their company and even begin to protect them. However, it often sees other dogs as threats, and cats can activate its instinct to hunt. It can also be difficult to bring new animals into the house to replace ones that pass on.


Things to Know When Owning a Border Terrier:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Border Terriers are extremely active dogs, so they will require food with plenty of protein. Most brands that have chicken, turkey, or other real meat listed as the first ingredient should work perfectly. Avoid foods with meat byproduct listed above real meat, chemical preservatives, and artificial colors. Some brands will also contain omega fats that can help produce a shiny coat and reduce inflammation. Probiotics can help balance the digestive system and reduce the frequency of diarrhea and constipation while boosting the immune system. We highly recommend following the portion guidelines listed on whatever food you choose to reduce your dog’s risk of becoming overweight.

Exercise 🐕

Your Border Terrier will require plenty of exercise to stay happy and healthy. It’s one of the most active breeds, and we recommend setting more than one hour aside each day to help your dog stay fit. As we mentioned earlier, this breed enjoys chasing balls and will do it all day long if you keep throwing it, especially when they are still young. Long walks can help if you can find an area where there aren’t a lot of other dogs that might cause your dog to get aggressive.

Training 🎾

It can be difficult to train your border terrier because they can be stubborn and can lose focus if they detect an intruder in the yard. We recommend setting up training sessions at the same time each night to get your dog into a routine. Starting these sessions early in life will help your dog get used to learning, and they might come to enjoy it.

Keep plenty of treats ready as you repeat a command and motion what you want your dog to do. If your dog follows your command, give it a treat and try again. It can take several attempts before your dog commits it to memory and obeys on the first or second try. We recommend keeping the sessions short. Five or ten minutes per day should be more than enough to try out a few commands before your dog loses focus. A positive attitude, patience, and consistency are the most important part of your training program.

Grooming ✂️

The Border Terrier has a double coat that helps it thrive in cold weather. It’s not a heavy shedder but will shed the coat in spring and fall and can leave quite a bit of hair around your home if you don’t frequently brush it at this time to collect the fur. During the offseason, you should only need to brush the coat once or twice per week. We highly recommend brushing the dog’s teeth with a safe pet toothpaste to help slow the progression of dental disease, which affects many dogs. If your dog is an apartment dweller, you may also need to trim the nails if you hear them clicking on the floor.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Serious Conditions:
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy


Minor Conditions:
  • Allergies

Minor Conditions

  • Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a condition in many dogs where the hip joint doesn’t form correctly, and the bones rub together, causing premature wear. Larger dogs and active breeds like the Border Terrier seem to suffer more often because their bones wear down faster. Symptoms of hip dysplasia include difficulty getting up from a resting position and an aversion to stairs. Some dogs might have a bunny hop gait. Weight management and medication can help ease the symptoms.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy: Progressive retinal atrophy affects the rods and cones in your dog’s eyes, affecting its ability to detect light. Symptoms may begin with night blindness, and your pet may also avoid dark rooms and bump into objects in low light conditions. In many cases, the disease will progress until there is a complete loss of vision and there is currently no cure.

Serious Conditions

  • Allergies: Border Terriers are especially prone to allergies in food, so you will need to be careful when trying a new food or treat. Beef, chicken, corn, wheat, eggs, milk, and soy are the most common causes of allergies, along with artificial colors and preservatives. Allergies can cause itchy and dry skin, along with diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting.

Male vs Female

Male Border terriers tend to be slightly larger than females, but there are no differences in temperament or intelligence.

divider-dog paw

3 Little-Known Facts About the Border Terrier

1. Border Terriers needed to feed themselves in the 1800s, so they are highly skilled hunters.

2. The first Border Terrier was registered in America in 1930.

3. Originally, only Border Terriers that could bolt a fox had value.


Final Thoughts

The Border Terrier is a great family best, but it is better suited to an experienced user who can train it and properly socialize the dog so it behaves and can cohabitate with other animals. It makes a great watchdog and s friendly, loyal, and protective of family members. It doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, but you will need to put up with a considerable amount of barking. We hope you have enjoyed reading over this review and have learned some new facts. If we have convinced you to give one of these dogs a try, please share this guide to the Border Terrier on Facebook and Twitter.

Find out more about other popular dog breeds:

Featured Image Credit: Colin Seddon, Shutterstock

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