Border Terrier

The Border Terrier is a dog breed belonging to the Terrier family whose original purpose was to drive foxes out of their burrows so larger hounds can hunt them. These days, these lovable, devoted, and active dogs are mostly family pets rather than active hunters. They have a lot of energy so they are best-suited to the countryside. They can adapt to the apartment and urban living as long as their physical needs are met and they get enough exercise. The Border Terrier is a breed that will be devoted to its family and will be a loyal companion for all family members.

Border Terrier


11-15 in (28-40 cm)

Border Terrier


11-15 lb (5-7 kg)

Border Terrier


Great Britain

Border Terrier

Life Expectancy:

12-15 years

Breed History

This breed has origins in the United Kingdom and there, this breed had two main purposes - hunting and vermin control. These dogs were used for centuries by English and Scottish farmers as pest control. To this day these dogs have an incredibly high prey drive and you can be sure that they will chase and hunt smaller animals such as rats, mice, squirrels, or even other pets such as gerbils, guinea pigs, or rabbits. Their high prey drive makes them a better suit for households that haven’t got other pets like that. They get along great with other dogs even if they are not raised together.

border terrier

Dog Breed Characteristics

Energy Level
Grooming Needs
Exercise Needs
Kid Friendly
Dog Friendly
General Health

These dogs are alert, playful, and as most of the terriers extremely energetic. They love hunting and digging so be prepared to train your Border Terrier which parts of your garden or yard it can dig up. Otherwise, you might end up with a yard full of craters. They are quite intelligent and fearless, a trait they share with most of the other terrier breeds. These dogs are a bit of escape artists, without the proper supervision they will try to escape by digging or climbing the fence. They will look for any cracks and will try to get through it. If you are prepared to accept their silliness and their positive traits, you will have the best possible companions.

border terrier dog on grass

The Border Terrier is a breed that was bred sometime in the 18th century. They came to life as an answer to the “fox problem”. English and Scottish farmers wanted to breed dogs that will help them control the foxes that stole poultry from them. They are a fairly old breed and are accepted and registered by most of the major cynology associations. There is also a standard for these dogs and the two main standards we will be focusing on are the FCI and the AKC standard.

FCI standard

The FCI standard describes these dogs as being a working terrier breed that is energetic and able to follow a horse. They have placed Border Terriers in Group 3 (Terriers), Section 1 (Large and medium-sized terriers). They do not have a working trial.

This standard doesn’t have a required height for these dogs, it only describes their required weight and it is 13-15 lbs (5,9-7 kg) for male dogs and 11 - 14 lbs (5 -6,4 kg) for the females.

This breed was registered by the FCI on the 26th of June 1963.


Border Terrier has a short and dense undercoat that is covered with a wiry outer layer. To keep your dog looking good weekly brushing and occasional stripping will have to be done.

Border terrier coat colors:

  • Red
  • Grizzle and tan
  • Blue and tan
  • wheaten

The rest is basic care; trim their nails when needed (if they don't wear them down naturally), brush their teeth weekly to prevent tartar buildup and bacteria development. Regularly check their ears for any sign of redness or a bad odor that can indicate an infection. You can wipe their ears with the cotton ball dipped into an ear cleaner. The key for your dog to get used to all things mentioned above is to start early with them. Make a positive experience for the dog, full of praises and rewards, and you can be sure that your dog will enjoy all these things when they grow up.


Border Terriers are active and require a lot of daily activities to be happy and healthy. With these dogs, you can take long walks, throw them a ball, or simply play various games inside. If their physical needs are met you will have the most lovable and calm dog at home and you don’t have to worry that your dog will misbehave.

Since this is a versatile dog breed it is a great participant in canine sports such as tracking, agility, rally, or obedience.


Like any other dog breed, the Border Terrier should start the socialization process as soon as possible. Dogs that are not well socialized are prone to behavioral problems and might react badly to situations they are not familiar with. 

There are many ways you can socialize your Border Terrier, and the most important thing to do is to get your dog familiar with different situations they can find themselves in. Take your dog to dog parks where they can meet other dogs and people. They can learn to react accordingly and understand that they don’t need to be scared of strangers and other dogs.


Border Terriers are excellent family dogs that will get along with every family member including children. Take note that kids need to be taught how to properly play and interact with a dog so Border Terrier can enjoy their company. If they are raised together from an early age they will be their playing parting and they will enjoy spending time together.

Other animals

These dogs can get along well with other dogs and can enjoy their company. If they are adequately trained, the Border Terrier can become as good a pet as any other breed. They will have a lot more energy than your average lap dog, but if you live an active life, you can have a great companion that will gladly follow you on all your adventures. These dogs can even learn to coexist with other pets, but they should never be left unsupervised with smaller pets because of their genetic prey drive.

Health problems

Border Terriers are dogs with a life expectancy of 12-15 years. Like any other dog breed, they are prone to some health problems that every (future) owner should be aware of. To be sure that you'll get the healthiest possible dog, never buy a dog from a puppy mill breeder or a pet store. Border Terriers can suffer from 

  • Hypothyroidism - A health problem caused by the hyperproduction of hormones from the thyroid gland.
  • Patellar luxation
  • Hip dysplasia - Genetic problem affecting hips resulting from an improperly formed hip joint.
  • Seizures
  • Heart defects


When getting a dog, the most important thing is to get it from a responsible and reputable Border Terrier breeder. Responsible breeders will breed dogs that don’t only look good but have great characters as well. You must find a good Border Terrier breeder that can help you learn about this breed and make an informed choice about getting a dog with these characteristics. 

Buying a dog from a responsible breeder will cost you more money, but you can be sure that you will get a healthy puppy. If you are unable to buy a dog, we advise you to search for local animal shelters because there is a chance you can find Border Terrier dog in it.

If you are unsure whether this is the breed for you, check out this FREE GUIDE that will help you decide which dog breed is right for you.


World Dog Finder team


Updated at25.12.2020.