The Friendly Border Terrier

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Dog breed info
Border Terrier
Weight: 12 — 16 lbs
Height: 10” — 11”
AKC Rank 2008 #78
Lifespan: 12—15 yrs
Group Terrier
Origin Scotland/England

  • Breeders And Rescue Groups
  • Dog Health, Dog Illness, Medical {Problems

    Dog Breed Info - The Border Terrier

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    Breed Overview

    Origin 1700’s. Original Function: Fox hunting, ratting. Today, Companion. Colors: red, grizzle, tan, blue and tan, or wheaten.

    The breed originated around the Cheviot Hill’s following the border between Scotland and England. It originated to chase the fox that were considered a problem for local farmers. The name Border Terrier, taken from the Border Hunt, was adopted in 1870. By this time the breed had risen from it’s utilitarian roots to take a high value place beside the Foxhounds in the foxhunts. Over time, the Terrier has become more of a personal companion dog while still retaining it’s hunting value for a few folks. After all, the Border Hunt did have a long association with these friendly little terriers. The Terrier was registered by the AKC in 1930 and has become a companion and family dog.


    Very trainable. Intelligent and loves training sessions. Best way to train is with clicker training and positive reinforcement which is easy and very effective.

    Crate Training

    Want to crate train your Border Terriere puppy? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

    Potty Training

    The Border Terrier puppies are fairly easy to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

    If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.


    The Border Terrier is one of the more friendly of the terriers. He is an inquisitive, friendly and busy little dog he loved to hunt and can be quite independent. The B.T. is somewhat of an escape artist and if given the chance, likes to roam and investigate new places. However, he's a loyal family dog. This breed is good with other dogs and cats as well as children. This is a good companion dog for folks of just about any age. As with any terrier, he likes to dig and may bark a tad too much at times. Otherwise, this dog makes a great house pet.

    If you happen to get a puppy or dog with separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

    Border Terrier up close
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    Friendly Toward Other Dogs

    Yes. Not aggressive. Usually gets along with dogs.

    Friendly Toward Other Pets

    Yes. Good with dogs and cats, but NOT small animals like rodents, hamsters, etc.

    Friendly Toward Strangers

    Yes. Border Terriers Get along with most people.


    Yes, quite playful.


    Yes. Affectionate with his family members.

    Good with children?

    Yes. Especially older kids. Closely supervise very young children.

    Good with Seniors over 65?

    Yes. Excellent. The Border Terrier is a moderately affectionate, loyal family dog that will warn of strangers and loves to play, is fairly easy to care for and fun to be around, good with the grandchildren once introduced. This dog needs to be kept busy, something a senior has time to do.

    Living environment

    Apartment, condo, farm, house. Indoor living with family.

    Energy level

    Moderate. Needs to be kept busy. Chew toys, walks, Frisbee, etc.

    Exercise needs, daily

    The Border Terrier is a spunky little fellow who needs reasonable exercise such as a good walk on leash and some vigorous fetch in the yard plus some obedience training sessions. The Border Terrier is active and must be kept busy with plenty of chew toys and other activities.


    Yes, Will announce strangers approaching.

    Guard dog

    No. Too friendly.


    Very little. Low dander and saliva.
    Good with allergy sufferers.


    Yes, some. Has a tough, wiry coat that needs brushing at least once a week. Dead hair needs stripping quarterly.


    Suggested Reading For The Border Terrier
    Click on the cover photos for more book information and reviews.

    3rd book from the left is "101 Dog Tricks" which offers great mental stimulation and activities for your Terrier. There is stuff in this book I had never thought of for a dog!

    The book on the right is by the American National Red Cross and deals with dog emergencies, illnesses and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual for all dog owners and should be kept close at hand.


    Border Terrier Breeders

    In the event you decide to go looking for Border Terrier puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been well socialized and started in obedience training.
    Border Terrier Breeders with puppies for sale.

    Border Terrier Rescue

    In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of an older dog and are looking for a Border Terrier Rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
    Petfinder - Border Terrier Rescue In the event you do adopt one, try to locate the dog health records for possible future use.
    Adopt A Pet This is an interesting site but I did note Petfinder (above) is showing only 112 dogs at this time which will vary but you might have to surf the web for Border Terrier Rescue groups or kennels to find what you're looking for.

    Dog Health Issues For The Border Terrier
    Below: The dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the Border Terrier by various vets.

    This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

    The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

    • Hip dysplasia - Hind end limping, back leg acts lame. Wear and time causes the femur to fit poorly into the pelvic socket with improper rotation causing great pain, lameness, arthritis and difficulty walking for the Border Terrier. You may notice the dog “hopping”” like a rabbit when running plus hesitating to climb stairs, all due to pain in the hind quarters. The problem actually starts as a very young puppy with an abnormal formation of the hip joint and grows progressively. A vet can locate this with a diagnostics test.

    • Progressive Retinal Atrophy—An inherited, untreatable disease of the retina affecting both eyes causing blindness. It’s in the genes of the dog and is not painful. Starts with night blindness and progresses as the retina gradually deteriorates.

    • Lens luxation—Hereditary. Weak fibers holding the lens of the eye allow the lens to dislocate. The eye can not focus. This leads to painful, red eyes that tear a lot and can lead to Uveitis or Glaucoma if not treated right away. If detected early, surgery and medication might solve the problem.

    • Collie eye anomaly—Abnormal eye development. Watch your dog closely, as many will experience retinal detachment causing blindness, usually around 6 to 12 months old. If your Collie is bumping into things, get it to the vet fast. Also, look for abnormal blood vessels or vessels have a twisted appearance, or you find holes or shallow areas in the dog’s eyes which could be inadequate development of a fiber coating Any change in the eyes is reason to call the vet NOW.

    • Patent ductus arteriosis—Canine congenital heart failure. Before birth, blood from the heart passes the lungs by a small vessel called the ductus arteriosis. That small vessel is supposed to vanish after birth and the infant breathes on it’s own. With this disease, the vessel does not go away, resulting in improper circulation of blood.

    • Osteochondritis dissecans—A common type of elbow dysplasia except it can occur in any joint. Flaps of cartilage run against tissue causing irritation, pain, lameness and in time, joint degeneration disease. Pieces can break loose and float around limiting movement, or getting lodged or wedged inside the joint itself of the Border Terrier. Look for lameness, pain and swelling in joints. Treatments include Non-steroid anti-inflammatory meds, weight loss, confinement to rest the joints, and dietary supplements for joint health. Surgery is the last option for very severe cases seen in Border Terriers.

    • Deafness—Hereditary or caused by: Excessive loud noise, Intolerance to anesthesia, drug toxicity, and Otitis (middle ear infection), In some cases, one ear can have no hearing from birth and the other ear can be losing the ability to hear over time, undetected, then suddenly one morning the hearing is totally gone. There is no reversing once that happens.

    • Otitis externa—Ear infections—Inflammation and infection of the outer ear, especially dogs with long, floppy ear flaps. Dirt and moisture collect and breed yeast and bacteria. Ear hair and wax contribute to the infection environment. If left untreated it can become a serious infection. If at home treatments with cleaning and meds don't work and the problem worsens, surgery might be the last resort.

    • Seizures - A serious disorder that shows up around the ages of 2 to 4 or 5 years in dogs.

    • Hypothyroidism—An underactive thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone which reduces the dog's metabolism level. Hypothyroidism stems from the Border Terrier’s immune system attacking the tissues of the thyroid gland. Bottom line is the dog becomes symptomatic. The cause can be a predisposition for thyroid problems, air pollution and allergies. A FEW symptoms of the disorder include lethargy, weight gain, skin infections, dry skin, hair loss, slow heart rate, ear infections, depression. See your set right away.

    • Cerebellar abiotrophy—Brain disorder with no known treatment. It’s a degenerative condition that indicates loss of necessary nutritional substances. Cerebellar nerve cells form normally and then degenerate and die off causing inability to control distance and speed. Loss of muscular control is not seen at birth of the dog but gradually appears over time until finally disabling completely. Cause, unknown. The diagnosis is made when there is increasing neurological dysfunction seen day to day in the dog.

    • Ceroid lipofuscinosis—NCI - A recessive, heredity disease of the central nervous system found in many breeds of dogs like the Border Terrier for which there are no tests and no treatments. The condition is rare and with almost no data available.

    • Atopic dermatitis's—Hereditary. Shows at 1 to 3 years age. Skin allergy triggered by dust mites, pollen, poor quality foods and other garbage we put into the dog’s environment. Many breeds are prone to this. The dog will lick, rub, chew and scratch the infected areas. Allergens can also come from fleas, bacteria and yeast infections. See your vet. There are many treatments ranging from medicines, antihistamines, diets, bathing, cleansing the house of dust mites and so on.

    • Cataracts - Hazy or cloudy vision and if not treated will eventually cause total blindness.

    • Compulsive behavior—Repeated inappropriate behavior interfering with normal behavior.

    Other health problems could occur with your Border Terrier. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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