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All You Need to Know About Border Terriers
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All You Need to Know About Border Terriers

Critter Culture Staff
Updated Jul 6, 2022

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Are you interested in a fun and dedicated family member? Affectionate but with a bit of a devilish streak, border terriers are for dog lovers who are seeking some excitement. They're full of drive and give it their all.

A high-energy explosion in a small package, this loyal breed is ready for action. If you're up for a challenge that will result in absolute love and devotion, the border terrier is your kind of pup.

1

History

Border Terrier dog Mike Powles / Getty Images

A working dog, this terrier traces its roots back to the 1700s. Originating in England near the Scottish border, the breed first came about to chase away foxes from farms. Their long bodies and flexible build proved wonderful for flushing predators from dens and hiding places. Plus, their legs were geared toward following horses when on the hunt.

Fearless and ready for a fight, the border terrier's shining characteristic was its loose skin, which staved off an enemy's bite. Weather-resistant, the thick coat was ideal for hunting in any season. And above all, its loyalty and devotion made it the perfect protective companion.

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2

Size

Border Terrier dog with toy Mike Powles / Getty Images

Due to their size, border terriers are great for doggy-proof apartments and small houses. Yet they're equally at home on farms or in any canine-friendly setting. Their long-legged build is a careful, sturdy design made for stamina and speed. Yet these pups are limber enough to crawl into small spaces.

About a foot tall, border terriers are petite forces of energy. They have a lean muscle mass, so bulkiness doesn't interfere with flexibility. Males can weigh up to 16 pounds on average, and females reach around 11-14 pounds.

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3

Personality

Border Terrier dog looking up to its owner Dan Baillie / 500px / Getty Images

Loyalty and devotion are what border terriers are all about: they are dedicated to their family. They're not afraid of much and will protect their owners at all costs. This affectionate breed is perfectly okay with extended cuddling sessions, too. But they also want to have fun. If boredom strikes, their energy and enthusiastic zest for life could get the better of them.

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4

Training

Dog of breed Border Terrier at training on agility

Don't get a border terrier if you don't intend on devoting time, energy, and finances to training: this is one pup that has to be put in check. The good thing is that they're smart and eager to please. Basic tricks, training, and house rules are simple tasks these dogs can quickly grasp.

When it comes to more complex activities, finding a terrier-friendly trainer is your best bet since they understand this unique personality. A high praise and rewards system will help reinforce what they learn. Yet it's important to be kind and gentle with your dog, as border terriers are emotionally sensitive.

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5

Exercise

A Border Terrier Dog runs towards camera with a ball in its mouth Christine-E-Russell / Getty Images

Border terriers are certainly animated dogs. Bred for the hunt, this instinct is overwhelming, and they want to let loose. A secure home and a fenced-in yard are critical. Terriers are escape artists, after all. They'll find a way to break free, so make sure they're properly contained at all times.

Playtime is also important. Frisbee and fetch are great activities for your pooch. Daily walks are a must, and hikes are fine. Just make sure that using a harness and a leash becomes standard practice.

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6

Health

Border Terrier

Overall, border terriers are healthy dogs. However, as with all canines, breeds are often predisposed to certain diseases and problems. Purchasing a dog from a reputable breeder who has their animals tested and can provide a detailed medical history will decrease the chances of various ailments.

Heart defects and seizures aren't uncommon in terriers, which can usually be managed with medication, observation, and a specific diet. Bone issues are another concern. Leg and joint problems can creep up, and jaw disorders may occur. Proper veterinary care will regulate, alleviate, or eliminate symptoms.

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7

Food

person feeding a Border Terrier SolStock / Getty Images

Terriers are prone to obesity if they don't get enough exercise. Therefore, their diets need to be heavily monitored. High-quality foods with increased protein are ideal. Under two cups per day divided into two feedings is adequate. Occasionally, you can also give your furry friend a healthy treat or two.

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8

Grooming

Border Terrier on a green grass lawn CaptureLight / Getty Images

Grooming a border terrier is different compared to many other breeds. Their coats are a mix of wiry fur and a thick but short undercoat. Bathing isn't a priority, though weekly brushing is important, and twice-yearly stripping is typical. This requires a bit of time, attention, and certain tools, so you may want to leave this part to a professional groomer.

It's okay to let the fur grow naturally, though, but this will cause the coat's color to fade. Border terriers come in shades of reds, tans, and blues, so they'll lose some of this vibrancy. If you don't want a high-maintenance pooch, this is the way to go; just expect a bit more shedding.

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9

Longevity

Border Terrier dogs

With the proper wellness care, in addition to the lifestyle choices you make for your pup, border terriers can live 12-15 years or more. A nutritious and low-fat diet, adequate exercise, and routine visits to the vet are key to providing your pooch with a long, loving, and happy life.

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10

Is this the right breed for you?

Border Terrier Chris Upton / Getty Images

Owning a border terrier is a life-changing experience. They require significant time and attention. If introduced early, they'll usually get along with other animals. They're also good with children who properly interact with dogs.

Bringing an animal into your home is a decision you shouldn't take lightly. The responsibilities and commitment of pet ownership aren't for everyone, but if you're ready for canine adoption, maybe this is the right breed for you.

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