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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Border Terrier


Border Terrier Facts

  • Group
  • Terrier
  • Affiliations
  • Height
  • 12" - 14" (30.5 - 35.5cm)
  • Weight
  • 11 - 15lbs (5 - 6kg)
  • Lifespan
  • 14 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • High - This breed requires vigorous daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • A Quick Learner
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Moderate
  • Colors
    • Blue-Tan
    • Red
    • Orange
    • Tan
    • Silver / Grey
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Adapted to city living
    • Good with children
    • Hunting heritage
    • Should sleep indoors

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

Border Terrier was known as the Coquetdale terrier until 1880.


The exact origins of the Border Terrier is unknown, but there is evidence that it existed in the border areas between England and Scotland.

Date Of Origin

The Border Terrier has existed since the 1700's, however it was referred to as Coquetdale terrier up until 1880, when it was re-named after it's region of origin..


The Border Terrier, developed in the border territory surrounding the Cheviot Hills (the border between England and Scotland), is among Britain's oldest terriers and has been used in conjunction with border foxhounds for many years. The Border Terrier was bred to be large enough to keep up with the horses, but small enough to follow a fox to ground (into their foxhole). Farmers and shepherds bred the Border Terrier for performance allowing the breed to retain it's work-ability and resiliency. The Border Terrier was only rarely known outside border country until the early 1900's and has never reached the shop popularity of other terriers.

The Border Terrier was recognized by the AKC in 1920 and by the AKC in 1948.


The Border Terrier is a small, sturdy dog. The otter-like head is broad with a black nose. The eyes are dark hazel and fiery and the small drop ears are v-shaped. The body is deep and narrow. It's somewhat short, natural tail is tapered and held high. The border terrier has a double coat with a short, dense undercoat and a wiry and broken outer coat. It has pronounced whiskers and beard on the face.


The Border Terrier is bold, lively, alert, and active in the field but good natured and affectionate at home. Border Terriers are extremely game when hunting, yet are good-natured, affectionate, obedient and easily trained. They are also good with children and other dogs, but may view small animals as prey.

The Border Terrier is an active breed that needs vigorous daily exercise that goes far beyond only daily walks. Fetch, agility, or other canine sports will provide good outlets for the Border Terrier's energy. All play and training should be performed while on a leash or within a fenced area due to the breeds hunting instinct and tendency to chase game.


The Border Terrier is a typical terrier, resistant to illness, nimble, and robust. For decades it was used exclusively for hunting foxes and martens. The Border Terrier is very agile and capable of squeezing through narrow openings as well as being able to travel rapidly over any type of terrain, making it an excellent small game hunter.

As with most terriers, the Border Terrier gradually began to be taken into the home, and today it is highly prized as a companion dog because of its temperament and adaptability.

Health Concerns

Possible health concerns for the Border Terrier include cataracts, epilepsy, heart defects, hip dysplasia, luxating patellas, PRA, and shunts.

Additional Information

Although the Border Terrier can be adapted to city living, an active individual or family in the suburbs would be best.

Grooming the Border Terrier is difficult and requires hand stripping by a professional groomer. Coat maintenance is easy and only requires twice weekly brushing.

Show Sources & Contributors +


The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

Simon & Schusters Guide to Dogs

Publisher: Simon & Schuster inc, 1980

Website: http://www.simonandschuster.com

Author: Elizabeth Meriwether Schuler

The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle

The All Breed Dog Grooming Guide

Publisher: Aaronco, 2002

Website: http://www.aaroncopet.com

Author: Sam Kohl

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