Small Dog Breeds > Border Terrier

Border Terrier

The Border Terrier is a small dog breed originally bred to hunt foxes and vermin. It’s a rough-coated breed and member of the Terrier group. The dogs share lineage with the Pattersdale, Bedlington, and Dandie Dinmont Terriers.


Border Terriers were bred to have legs long enough to keep up the foxhounds and horses. In addition, they were bred to be small enough crawl into fox burrows, so they could chase them out of them. This made them ideal to work with foxhounds because their size gave them abilities foxhounds couldn’t match.

The dogs have a broad skull that has the appearance of an otter’s head and short muzzle. They have short whiskers but not many and V-shaped ears. Their tails are somewhat short, thick, and with tapering near end.

Border Terriers stand from 11 to 16 inches at the withers and weigh between 11 and 16 pounds with females on the lower end of the scales. They typically live around 14 years and make great family pets, especially for children, as they’re even particularly even tempered. However, at times they can be quite strong willed and stubborn but rarely aggressive. They may chase small pets and cats on occasion.

The breed is ideal for agility training as they can run fast and jump high despite their diminutive size. While excelling at agility training, they are less trainable for dog tricks. They have high intelligence and initiative which helps them hunt for foxes and rats. They’re also quite inquisitive and like to lie around taking in their environment. They also make good therapy dogs for the elderly and children.

Coat and Color

The most common coat colors include blue-and-tan, wheaten, red, and grizzle-and-tan. The dogs have a double coat. Their undercoats are short, soft, and dense. Their outer coats is dirt and weather resistant and without waves or curls.

Normally, their coats require hand stripping every six months to remove any dead hair. However, weekly hair brushing will be sufficient for some in the breed.

Height 11-16" at the withers
Weight 11 to 16 lbs
Life Span 14 years
Temperament Even tempered
Hypoallergenic No
Border Terriers are a resilient breed but some health issues they have include: progressive retinal atrophy, Perthes disease, hip dysplasia, seizures, and assorted health defects. Indigestion caused by eating a toy is also common. However, it is often confused with an actual illness since the symptoms often include lethargy, sleeplessness, and unwillingness to play. If you suspect your dog has eaten a toy, please call your veterinarian immediately.

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