Border Terrier Puppy Facts

Did you just bring home a new Border Terrier puppy and want to learn more about the breed?

Maybe you are thinking about buying a puppy and want to know if this is the right breed of dog for you and your family?

No matter what your situation may be, you will find the answers to your questions right here!



Breed History

The breed, once known as the Coquetdale Terrier, is one of the oldest terrier breeds in Great Britain. It originated in the Cheviot Hills area near the border area of England and Scotland and is believed to have a common ancestor with the Bedlington and the Dandie Dinmont terriers.

The Border Terrier is one of several working terriers to emerge along the borders of England and Scotland. It can be identified in numerous hunting scenes painted in the eighteenth century.

Local farmers and shepherds needed a terrier with legs long enough to follow a horse, yet small enough to follow and flush foxes from their underground hiding places. The dogs had to be strong and tireless, and be able to withstand prolonged exposure to the elements. Borders fit the bill.

Being fine farm dogs, in addition to hunting, Border Terriers were also used for a more practical matter. Similar to many other terrier breeds, they were used extensively to control rat and mice population.

Until the Border Terrier was recognized by the English Kennel Club in 1920, it was little known outside the area where it was developed. The breed was recognized by AKC in 1930.

Originally bred as a working dog, the Border Terrier still retains characteristics that are necessary for the performance of his work.

Physical Characteristics of Border Terrier Puppies

The Border Terrier is a strongly put together dog with a medium bone structure. It has narrow body and shoulders. The ribs are carried well back. The neck is muscular and is long enough to give a balanced appearance. The tail is moderately short, thicker at the base, gradually tapering.

The front legs are straight and not too heavy in bone. The back legs are long and muscular. Both the front and back feet are small and compact, with forward pointing toes and thick pads.

The otter-like head is wider than in other terriers. The small, drop down, V-shaped ears are set on the side of the head. The dark hazel eyes are of moderate size. The nose is black.

The short coat consists of rough outer coat and dense undercoat. The outer coat has a broken appearance and comes in red, grizzle and tan, blue and tan, or wheaten. Some white on chest is allowed but should be penalized on feet.

    Height Weight
  Male 13 - 16 inches 13 - 15.5 pounds
  Female 11 - 14 inches 11.5 - 14 pounds


Border Terriers are smart, friendly, and playful. They love to jump a lot and like all terriers, love to dig and can be somewhat independent minded. Young and adolescent puppies are very active but they slow down a bit as they grow older.

They are affectionate, love to please their owner, and good with children. They love to be included in family activities. Their intelligence coupled with eagerness to please makes them easy to train but they don't respond well to harsh treatment and training methods.

Because they were bred to hunt with other dogs (mainly Foxhounds), the Border Terrier is less aggressive towards other dogs than other terriers who hunted on their own. Another trait that distinguishes them from other terriers is their less fiery and more mild temperament.

The Border Terrier has a very well developed sense of hearing and makes a good watchdog. They will bark when they hear someone approaching your door but are not likely to show any aggression.

Like all terriers, they are hunters and while as a breed they are not aggressive, you need to be careful if you keep rodents as pets. Socializing your dog can make him a little more tolerant towards your other pets but you can never be 100% sure. To increase the odds of peaceful co-existence, introduce your Border Terrier to your other pets while he is still a puppy.

Best Owner / Living Conditions

This breed is moderately active indoors and will adjust to an apartment lifestyle as long as he gets sufficient exercise.

Border Terriers will do well with any family, including the one with children. The only requirements are to provide your pet with plenty of exercise and make him feel like a part of the family.

Some Border Terrier breeders may interview prospective owners to make sure this is the right breed for them.

Activity and Exercise

Like all breeds, Border Terriers need regular exercise to stay physically and mentally fit. Without enough exercise, they can resort to excessive barking, digging, and other destructive behaviors.

They will enjoy running and playing off leash but to protect your pet from escaping, never leave him off leash in an unfenced area.

At a minimum, take your pet for several long walks every day.


The Border Terrier doesn't shed a lot and makes a good pet for allergy sufferers.

Brush once or twice per week. Hand strip your pet's hair couple of times per year. Stripping is a painless procedure that involves pulling the dead hair by hand. It promotes the growth of a new coat. It's more time consuming than clipping but I feel it leaves the coat better looking and is well worth it.

Bathe only when necessary.

Health Concerns

Like all dog breeds, Border Terriers are susceptible to complications caused by internal and external parasites such as ticks, fleas, and worms.

Additional health concerns include cataracts, Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome (a hereditary canine disease with similarities to canine epilepsy), heart problems, PRA, and hip dysplasia. For more information about dog diseases and health, visit dog health problems.

Buy only from reputable Border Terrier breeders to reduce the risk of the above and many other health problems (visit dog breeders to learn how to identify responsible dog breeders).

Even healthy dogs get sick. While many health problems will require an immediate attention from your Vet, there are many others that you may handle on your own. Learn how to save time and money (and how to prevent small problems become big problems) by diagnosing and treating dog health problems that don't require your Vet's attention.

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy for Border Terrier puppies is between 13 and 15 years.

Did you ever consider adopting your next pet?

If this is the breed you are interested in, and adoption appeals to you, consider contacting your local Border Terrier rescue. There are thousands of pets waiting for a loving home and, yes, it's possible to adopt a purebred dog.

Puppy Training

Not happy with your pet's behavior? Need help with training your dog for obedience? Then check this Border Terrier Behavior and Obedience Training Guide.

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