The 10 Top List: Best Terrier Breeds

The 10 Top List: Best Terrier Breeds

Author WDF Staff


Terriers are extremely popular dogs whose name derives from the Latin word for earth, “terra.” These feisty dogs come in different sizes and shapes, but most share some common characteristics and traits. From the tiniest Yorkie to the large Airedale Terrier, these dogs captured the hearts and souls of dog owners around the world.

These dogs were initially bred for hunting, more precisely, for hunting prey that burrows below the surface, in tunnels and burrows. Terrier dogs hunted foxes, raccoons, badgers, wild boar, and some used to hunt larger prey like elk and bears. They are active companions, which can usually be well-trained.

Terriers can be very food-motivated, so it would be a great idea to use delicious treats while training them. Check out the SmartBones Peanut Butter Dog Treats your Terrier will absolutely love. Just make sure they don't have a peanut allergy.

Maybe the best characteristic these dogs share is their sense of humor. A lot of these dogs can be described as being silly and entertaining. They love being entertained, and if you cannot provide that, they will make sure they can entertain themselves. By doing that, they will most likely make you laugh and feeling glad you brought them into your life.

We bring you a list of the popular Terrier breeds.

1. Airedale Terrier

The Airedale Terrier is also known as the “King of Terriers” and is the largest Terrier breed family member. They originated in England and were primarily used for hunting otters, a field “sport” that has since been banned. Otters became a protected European species, so the Airedale Terrier needed to find a new occupation. They reinvented themselves as energetic companions that can be used for hunting other game, or they can play their favorite role of an active family dog who loves going on hikes, hoggings, or any other adventure you can think of.

airedale terrier

2. Miniature Schnauzer

Not many dog lovers know that Schnauzers are actually Terriers. This breed was developed in the late part of the 19th century on German farms, where they played a vermin controller’s role. They are energetic, feisty, and completely unaware of how small they are. Miniature Schnauzers have the confidence and bravery of a much larger dog, and they are not afraid of anyone or anything. They are scrappy and will not back down from a challenge even if they stand no chance of ending up on top. They need to be properly socialized, and if they are, they will be amusing to be around, and they make excellent family dogs.

miniature schnauzer puppy

3. Boston Terrier

The Boston Terrier is known by the nickname of “American Gentlemen” because their coat looks like they are wearing a tuxedo. These dogs are not your typical Terriers; they are not as energetic as some other breeds from this family, and they have a lot calmer and mellower characters. Many people don’t know that their original purpose was to be a fighting dog, and the Boston Terriers of the old were a lot bulkier and more muscular. Modern-day Bostons are friendly, affectionate, funny, and loving companion dogs that will love to follow you wherever you will go.

boston terrier giving a five

4. West Highland White Terrier

The West Highland White Terrier, or Westie, is a popular, small energetic Terrier breed that is a fantastic companion. These little white rascals will adapt to any living situation with ease, as long as you provide them with enough exercise and affection. They are sweet and playful with a high prey drive that the breed needed to successfully perform their original task of vermin control. Westies come from Scotland, where they weren’t only used as vermin control, but for hunting as well. They were useful in hunting foxes, badgers, and otters.

Westies love to play, so make sure you get them a fun toy that can entertain them for hours. Check out the KONG Bone Toy.

west highland white terrier in a meadow

5. Bull Terrier

The Bull Terrier is a unique looking dog breed whose egg-shaped head cannot be mistaken with any other breed in the world. These dogs were created by crossing the Bulldog with a Terrier, and the goal was to create a powerful, agile breed that will be an excellent ratter and bull-baiting dog. Thankfully, bloodsports are forbidden, and the Bull Terrier now has the role of an active family companion that gets along great with kids and active individuals. Modern-day dogs are more lovers than they are fighters and will mostly choose a peaceful way out than an unnecessary scrap.

bull terrier

6. Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier is the smallest Terrier family member, but they certainly have a huge presence. These lovely little dogs are one of the most popular pets in the world and a fierce conformation competitor. Their coats are soft as silk, and they barely shed, which makes them perfect cuddling buddies for everyone in the family. They are proud and can be rather stubborn when it comes to obeying rules and training. Even housebreaking them can require time and patience. They like to let everyone know that they are in the room and will certainly demand your attention. The Yorkie is not the best breed to be around kids because children can easily hurt such a small dog.

Yorkies are really small, so they don't require too much space. It is a good idea to get them a small, comfy bed just for them. Check out the Aspen Pet Bolster Dog Bed.

yorkshire terrier

7. American Staffordshire Terrier

The American Staffordshire Terrier is a powerful, mean-looking breed that is often misunderstood. If the Terriers were a real family, then Amstaffs would be the protective brothers who will not let anyone mess with their family. They are protective and can be territorial, but they are also very affectionate towards their owners and their family. They are brave, intelligent, and curious, which means they need plenty of mental exercises as well as physical. These dogs can be great companions to active individuals who love exploring nature.

american staffordshire terrier walking

8. American Hairless Terrier

The American Hairless Terrier is a bald member of the Terrier family and the only hairless breed originating in the US. These dogs are relatively intelligent and curious like most Terriers are. They are native to the state of Louisiana, where they came to life by a fortunate turn of events. These dogs come from the fully haired Ratt Terriers, and in 1972, a hairless dog was born to a litter of the Ratters. That dog was named Josephine, and their breeders fell in love with her. They started breeding her carefully to create a fully American hairless breed. 

american hairless terrier on grass

9. Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier

The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier is one of the largest Terrier breeds out there, and they are most known for their soft, single-layered coat and not a lot of shedding. These dogs are versatile and adaptable. Their original purpose was to serve as a general farm dog and help with day-to-day life and tasks. These lovable dogs helped with herding, hunting, vermin control, and guarding both the land and livestock. Modern Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers are active family pets that are not as intense as other Terriers might be. They are also ideal dogs for anyone suffering from allergies because they barely shed.

soft coated wheaten terrier in woods

10. Jack Russell Terrier

The Jack Russell Terrier is incredibly cute and can seem like an easy-going and fun dog to be around. That might be true, but only if you know how to handle their quirks and whims. These dogs came to life at the beginning of the 19th century and were mostly used for hunting. The mighty Jack Russell worked alongside the English Foxhounds and was a master of going into burrows to drive foxes out where they could be easily grabbed by dogs or hunters. These dogs are energetic and seem like they are always up to no good, but if you manage to provide them with their physical needs, they will be the most loyal and loving companions one can have.

jack russell profile

World Dog Finder team