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Life span: 10-15 Years

Height: 33-40cm (Male); 28-36cm (Female)

Weight: 11-15 pounds

Despite their small size, this breed can be more problematic than it seems. They are loving and intelligent, but also enjoy digging holes and finding ways to escape. They are highly energetic as well, meaning they need an active owner who knows how to handle this breed’s need for escaping with a well secured fenced yard.

Physical Characteristics

Border Terriers have a small body with long legs. Its ears are small and sit high atop its head, folded down, but not quite falling. Its tail is relatively short and resting down, its eyes are brown with a black nose. Their short double coat is made up of a soft undercoat and a rough, protective overcoat. The coat can be black, grey, blue, red, brown, and cream.


Originally named the Coquetdale or Redesdale Terrier due to the places they originated from, they were known as the Border Terrier until the 1800s given their relation with Northumberland’s Border Hunt. They were developed by shepherds and farmers that were in the border between Scotland and England, who were aiming to create a dog that was long yet small enough to be able to get into a fox’s den to hunt them. Its popularity rose as it was recognized by the English Kennel Club, being recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1930.


Given their hunting instinct, they do not get along well with small animals, often chasing and even attacking them. They don’t get along well with dogs of the same sex either, and have a tendency to dig holes and attempt to escape fenced yards, etc. They are, however, loving with their families and get along well with small children. They enjoy spending time with their owners and participating in activities with them. Border Terriers have a high energy level and therefore need active owners that can keep an eye on them and give them the exercise they need. Training can be a bit difficult given how stubborn they can be, but with positive reinforcement and patience it can be achieved. Chewing toys are highly recommended.


The Border Terrier may suffer from many heart diseases and defects of many kind and should be checked regularly for this. They can also suffer from:

Hip dysplasia, a hereditary disease in which there is an abnormal formation in the hip socket, that may eventually cause painful arthritis. It may also be affected by the environment they reside in.

Epilepsy, a neurological disorder that can produce seizures.

Hypothyroidism, a disease that affects the thyroid gland, its symptoms are ear infections, skin infections, hair loss, lethargy, and depression.

Luxating Patella, in which the kneecaps may dislocate or move from its proper place.

Cryptorchidism, in which one or both testicles may not descend, meaning the testicle will not be functional and may eventually cause cancer.

Malocclusions, in which the jaws don’t fit correctly and may cause an overbite, underbite or for the jaw to grow sideways. If the puppy has not outgrown it by the time it is 10 months old, it might need to be corrected surgically.


Brushing must be done once or twice a week, except during shedding season, when it will need to be done daily. Their nails should be trimmed regularly, along with their teeth brushed and ears checked for any dirt to prevent infections. They are highly energetic and therefore need plenty of daily exercise. Walking or running must be done on a leash at all times and the yard must be fenced, extending underground to prevent the dog from digging its way out. Training can be difficult, as they will obey you until they see fit and then leave when bored. However, they do aim to please their owners and if they see you are unhappy they will regret it, although still not obeying you completely. Positive reinforcement works best for this breed and they need early socialization and training.


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