History Of The Border Terrier

history of the border terrier

Table of Contents

The Border Terrier is a small, wiry-coated terrier that originally hails from the Scottish border region. These dogs were bred to hunt foxes and vermin, and they quickly gained a reputation for being tenacious, brave, and intelligent. Today, the Border Terrier is still an excellent working dog, but he also excels as a family pet.

Before jumping on to the history of the border terrier, let us walk through general know-about.

Here’s something you might enjoy: 6 Best Border Terrier Toys

Appearance And Temperament Of Border Terriers

Border terriers are small dogs that typically weigh between 11 and 15 pounds. They have a wire coat that is either red, wheaten, or grizzle (a mix of black and grey hairs). They are known for being intelligent, independent, and stubborn—but also affectionate, loyal, and good with children. Because they were originally bred as hunting dogs, they have a strong prey drive and should not be trusted around small animals such as rodents or cats unless they have been properly trained and socialized not to chase them. 

Health Concerns Of Border Terriers

Border terriers are generally healthy dogs with a lifespan of 13-16 years. However, like all breeds, they are susceptible to certain health conditions such as glaucoma, von Willebrand’s disease, epilepsy, thyroid problems, and joint dysplasia.

Border terriers may also be affected by the “westie jaw” which is a condition that causes the lower jaw to grow longer than the upper jaw. This can cause problems with chewing and eating so it is important to seek veterinary care if you notice any signs of this condition. 

Caring For Your Border Terriers

Border terriers are relatively low-maintenance dogs but they do require some grooming to keep their coats in good condition. Their coats should be brushed at least once weekly to prevent tangles and mats from forming.

They also need to be trimmed every few months to keep their hair from getting too long. In addition to regular brushing and trimming, border terriers should be bathed every 4-6 weeks using a mild dog shampoo. 

Last but not least, don’t forget about exercise! Border terriers need at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise each day to stay happy and healthy. A brisk walk or game of fetch will do the trick for most border terriers but some may need more activity if they become bored or destructive when left alone for too long. 

Shaking puppy syndrome is something that young border terriers may experience. This is a neurological condition that causes the dog to shake uncontrollably when they are excited or stressed. So better keep them healthy and active.

You might also find this interesting: Border Terrier Names

The Early Days And History Of The Border Terrier

The Border Terrier’s exact origins are unknown, but it is believed that he descends from several different terrier breeds, including the Cairn Terrier and the Welsh Terrier.

What we do know is that the Border Terrier was developed in the 1700s to hunt foxes and other vermin in the Scottish border region. These dogs needed to be tough enough to go toe-to-toe with a fox and smart enough to follow orders without hesitation. The Border Terrier’s roots can be traced back to the early 19th century when fox hunting was a popular pastime among the British upper class. At the time, there were two types of terriers commonly used for hunting: the Dandie Dinmont and the Skye.

However, these breeds were not well-suited for hunting in the rugged Scottish border country. To create a dog that could better handle the rough terrain, farmers in the region began crossbreeding various terrier breeds, resulting in the Border Terrier we know today. England’s Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1920, and American Kennel Club did the same in 1930. Since then, the Border Terrier has become a popular choice for families looking for a loyal and affectionate companion dog. The breed has also been used extensively in advertising and pop culture; most notably, Border Terriers have appeared in several Pedigree Dog Food commercials. 

The Modern Border Terrier

history of the border terrier

Today, the Border Terrier is still an excellent working dog; he excels at hunting prey both aboveground and underground. But he also makes a wonderful family pet! The Border Terrier is loving, devoted, playful, and good with children. He is also relatively easy to train and very adaptable; thanks to his small size, he does well in apartments or small homes as long as he gets plenty of exercise. 

Another interesting read: How much exercise does a border terrier need

The ABCs Of Training Border Terriers

The Border Terrier is a smart, willful breed that can be challenging to train. However, with patience and consistency, most Border Terriers will learn the basics with little trouble.

Here are a few tips for you;

Positive Reinforcement

The Association of Professional Dog Trainers recommends using positive way of reinforcement when training border terriers. This means rewarding your dog for good behavior with treats, praise, or both.


It’s also important to be consistent when training your Border Terrier. This means using the same commands, hand signals, and/or words whenever you ask him to do something.


Be patient when training your Border Terrier. Dogs learn at different speeds, so it’s important not to get frustrated if your furry friend isn’t picking up the commands as quickly as you’d like.

Here’s something you might enjoy: What Is a Border Terrier? 

5 Other Terrier Breeds

Now that you have come across the history of the border terrier you must be thinking if a border terrier is a right breed for you. Here are five other popular terrier breeds to consider:

History Of The Border Terrier

There are several other terrier breeds, each with its unique characteristics. Let’s explore some of the other dog breeds.

American Staffordshire Terrier

The American Staffordshire Terrier is a muscular dog that was originally bred in England for dog fighting. Despite their reputation, American Staffordshire Terriers are gentle and loving dogs that make great companions.

Australian Terrier

The Australian Terrier is the smallest of terrier breeds. They were originally bred in Australia (hence the name) to help farmers control rodents on their property.

Bedlington Terrier

These Terriers are a small breed type that was originally bred in England for dog racing and ratting (catching rats). The Coquetdale Terrier is a Bedlington breed that is native to the Coquetdale area in Northumberland, England. The breed is rare and is not often seen outside of its native region.

Cairn Terrier

The Cairn Terrier is a small terrier breed that was originally bred in Scotland for hunting rodents on farms.

Norwich Terrier

The Norwich Terrier is a small terrier breed that was originally bred in England for ratting (catching rats). Norwich Terriers are active, playful, and friendly dogs that make great companion animals.

Working Terrier

Essentially a working terrier is a type of dog that is bred for hunting and vermin control. These dogs are typically small in size, with long legs and short coats. They are also known for their courage and tenacity, as they will often go after prey that is much larger than they are. A working terrier is an excellent choice for anyone who is looking for a versatile hunting dog. In addition to being an effective hunters, these dogs also make great companions.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is a small breed of dog in the terrier family. They are named after their original owner, Mr. Dandie Dinmont, who was a farmer in the Scottish Borders region in the early 1800s.

Here’s something you might enjoy: Border Terrier Jack Russell Mix


We hope this read on the history of the border terrier might have helped you! To sum it up, the Border Terrier originated in the Anglo-Scottish border region of the United Kingdom, where they were most likely bred for fox hunting. They are part of the terrier group of dogs and were originally recruited into existing foxhound packs to hunt with them.

Today, they are used mostly as pets and companions, although some continue to work as hunting dogs. If you’re looking for a furry friend that has a long and storied history, the Border Terrier might be the right pup for you!

More Of The Same Category​

Tony K.

Tony K.

I got our Border 3 years ago "for my daughter" and this bundle of joy became a beloved member of our family, so I thought why not share the love!

About Me

I got our Border 3 years ago “for my daughter” and this bundle of joy became a beloved member of our family, so I thought why not share the love!

Recent Posts

Know Your Dog!