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Pedigree Dogs > Border Terrier
The Border Terrier is a small, rough-coated breed of dog
of the terrier group. Originally bred as fox and vermin
hunters, Border Terriers share ancestry with Dandie
Dinmont Terriers and Bedlington Terriers.
Though the breed is much older, the Border Terrier was
officially recognized by The Kennel Club in Great
Britain in 1920, and by the American Kennel Club (AKC)
in 1930. The border terrier was bred to have long enough
legs to keep up with the horses and other foxhounds,
which traveled with them, and small enough bodies to
crawl in the burrows of foxes and chase them out so the
hunters had a blank shot. The foxhounds that traveled
with them were not small enough to do the Border
In 2006, the Border Terrier ranked 81st in number of
registrations by the AKC, while it ranked 10th in the
In 2008, the Border Terrier ranked 8th in number of
registrations by the UK Kennel Club.
Identifiable by their otter-shaped heads, Border
Terriers have a broad skull and short (although many be
fairly long), strong muzzle with a scissors bite. The
V-shaped ears are on the sides of the head and fall
towards the cheeks. Common coat colors are
grizzle-and-tan, blue-and-tan, red, or wheaten. Whiskers
are few and short. The tail is naturally moderately
short, thick at the base and tapering.
Narrow-bodied and well-proportioned, males stand 13 to
16 in (33 to 41 cm) at the shoulder, and weigh 13 to
15.5 lb (5.9 to 7.0 kg); females 11 to 14 in (28 to 36
cm) and 11.5 to 14 pounds (5.2 to 6.4 kg).
The Border Terrier has a double coat consisting of a
short, dense, soft undercoat and harsh, wiry weather and
dirt resistant, close-lying outer coat with no curl or
wave. This coat usually requires hand-stripping twice a
year to remove dead hair. It then takes about eight
weeks for the top coat to come back in. For some dogs,
weekly brushing will suffice. Most Border Terriers are
seen groomed with short hair but longer hair can
sometimes be preferred.
Though sometimes stubborn and strong willed, border
terriers are, on the whole very even tempered, and are
friendly and rarely aggressive. They are good with
children, but may chase cats and any other small pets.
Borders do well in task-oriented activities and have a
surprising ability to jump high and run fast given the
size of their legs. The breed has excelled in agility
training, but they are quicker to learn jumps and
see-saws than weaving poles. They take training for
tasks very well, but appear less trainable if being
taught more tricks. The border in recent years has been
bred to harbor a more subtle character so are more
adaptable to apartment living if properly exercised.
They are intelligent and eager to please, but they
retain the capacity for independent thinking and
initiative that were bred into them for working rats and
fox underground. Their love of people and even
temperament make them fine therapy dogs, especially for
children and the elderly, and they are occasionally used
to aid the blind or deaf. From a young age they should
be trained on command.
Borders can adapt to different environments and
situations well, and are able to deal with temporary
change well. They will get along well with cats that
they have been raised with, but may chase other cats and
small animals such as mice, birds, rabbits, squirrels,
rats, and guinea pigs.
Borders love to sit and watch what is going on. Walks
with Borders will often involve them sitting and lying
in the grass to observe the environment around them.
A UK Kennel Club survey puts their median lifespan at 14