What Is a Border Terrier? (And What Makes Them a Special Breed)

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A lovely, pleasant, fearless, loyal, intelligent, and active little fellow! A Border Terrier is a British breed with a rough look yet a cute little face. Initially bred for fox-hunting, this dog loves to dig whenever an opportunity arises. Its attentive gaze will draw you in, and its playful nature and love for humans will leave you enchanted.

It used to be referred to as th Redesdale Terrier or the Coquetdale Terrier because of where it came from, but this changed to Border Terrier by the late 1800s. The name change may have been occasioned by its participation in the Border Hunt in Northumberland. 

Interesting Facts about Border Terriers


These little guys love to please, but they have a mind of their own. Show them some love and affection and congratulate them for something they’ve done, and they will want to learn more just for you. 

Relentless in this pursuit is an understatement. Terriers love to explore and will probably chase smaller pets and prey due to their hunting nature. There might be less drama if you introduce other pets to them when the dog is younger. But with proper training, the pup will become friendly to other dogs.

They are also quick learners and quite obedient. Very soon, you’ll notice they know when you want to leave, what you don’t like them doing, or when it’s time to eat. Training them is, therefore, not problematic.


Borders usually weigh 11 to 15 pounds. They may be small but have the potential for obesity. Watch their diet and give them plenty of vigorous exercises every day. At least half an hour a day works well. 

Coat Appearance and Grooming

Border Terriers have a double coat: a short and dense undercoat beneath a wiry topcoat. The coat can be blue, red, and tan, wheaten (pale yellow and fawn), or grizzle and tan. Some dogs may have a small white patch on the chest.

Brush your dog’s coat every week and strip it at least twice a year to remove dead hair. You can use a stripping tool or your hands to keep the coat nice and rough. Yes, rough, because that’s its trademark look. Bath it only when necessary. Pretty low maintenance!


A Border Terrier loves adventure and will run right into oncoming traffic to chase a rabbit or gerbil. Ensure your yard is adequately fenced to keep them from getting out. They are built and bred to maneuver these things, so do it well. You don’t want to wake up to complaints about your dog killing your neighbor’s cat.

Born to Chew

They love to chew, especially when young. Get yours a chew toy, so it doesn’t chew on shoes and furniture. It may seem like much, but it’ll save you the cost of replacing ruined items and visits to the vet. 

Regular grooming, tooth brushing, nail trimming, and checking for ear infections are necessary. As much as they’re a generally healthy breed, they still need some care.   

Things to Watch Out For

  • These babies have a high pain threshold. You may not notice sickness that easily. Look out for a change in behavior, such as becoming withdrawn or less active.
  • Border Terriers don’t bark too much, but they will when they encounter something unusual. Don’t make them your guard dog because they can also get yappy when bored.
  • Speaking of boredom, this can be disastrous with a Border Terrier. A little time and opportunity will have this dog jumping over the fence or digging numerous holes in the yard. Left unattended, they can be destructive and even in danger because of their wanderlust. 

They thrive the most with humans. Save them from themselves by keeping them occupied. They’ll also thank you for the human interaction, even though they can play independently.

  • Since they have a natural urge to dig, you may want to provide some space or opportunities for them to dig to their heart’s content or simply play related fun games. Fighting it may be exasperating.

Who Should Get a Border Terrier?

Border Terriers love people and will jump on them in glee to receive them, regardless of age (read more about what age to adopt a healthy Border Terrier). Kids are bound to enjoy their company to the fullest.

A novice can easily take care of this dog, even if they live in an apartment. It may do better in cooler areas than in hot regions. Borders don’t shed too much, and they’ll be just fine in smaller spaces if they get their exercise. 

If you choose to get a Border Terrier, make sure to be gentle. They’re sensitive and won’t respond to harsh training techniques. Positive reinforcement is the way to go. You’ll enjoy their 12 to 15 years of life much more.

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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!

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