Border Terrier Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Info

Border Terrier Dog Breed_ Facts, Traits, Character and Look

The alert, good-natured Border Terriers were originally bred on the border between England and Scotland to assist in foxhunts by driving foxes out of their hiding places and out into the open for the hounds to chase and protect herds of sheep from foxes. Nowadays, they make great companion dogs who adore their humans. Border Terriers still have a powerful drive to hunt and dig, as well as the energy level that enabled them to keep up with hunters on horseback. 

These medium-height and active little dogs need plenty of engagement and interaction with their humans. A Border Terrier 101 rule is never to let your dog get bored. If they do, they’ll put their intelligent brains to use, typically in undesired behaviors. 

The Border Terrier is built to be big enough to keep up with hunters on horseback and small enough to squeeze into tight spaces. Males weigh 13 to 16 pounds; females 11 to 14 pounds. They stand 13 to 16 inches high. Border Terrier females have 2 to 8 puppies per litter, and their expected lifespan is 12 to 15 years.

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What are the Breed Traits and Characteristics of Border Terriers?

You should know that Border Terriers are loving and playful dogs. This, coupled with the obedient Border Terrier temperament, makes them super easy to get along with. The Border Terrier is a small dog with an alert gaze, a powerful drive to hunt and dig, the typical high terrier energy level, and a good-natured personality. He’s intelligent, loyal, fearless, loving, determined, and about as aggravating as any dog can be.

Border Terriers need a securely fenced yard to keep them safe. Given a lack of supervision and enough time alone, they’ll dig under or climb over fences to go exploring. They’ll escape through holes in fences, through open gates and doors, or by any other means they can find. Border Terriers are bred to be able to cross any wall or scramble through any wire entanglement.

With their needs for companionship and activity met, Borders are happy dogs who generally get along well with everyone from children to strangers. They’ll bark at noises, making them excellent watchdogs, but don’t expect them to be fierce guard dogs if an intruder enters your home.

Border Terrier Breed Traits

Border Terrier Information


Males 13 to 16 inches

Females 11 to 14 inches


Males 11 to 16 pounds

Females 11 to 24 pounds

Relation with family

Loyal, Affectionate, Guardian, Strong-willed

Relation with children

Playful and lovable

Relation with other dogs


Shedding level


Drooling level


Coat type 

Double coat

Coat length

The outer coat is short, wiry, and close-lying

The undercoat is short and dense

Coat grooming frequency

Weekly Brushing

Reaction to strangers


Playfulness level


Adaptability level


Openness to strangers


Trainability level


Energy level


Barking level


Mental stimulation needs level



12 -15 years 

How Does the Border Terrier Interact with Family?

The spirited and brave Border Terrier can, and will, match your energy step for step. Don’t let their small size fool you. These tough little dogs know how to stand up for themselves, and they’re not afraid to let everyone know it.

They are independent and feisty, but once they’ve bonded with their pet parent, you’ll have a loyal friend for life. Small enough to come everywhere with you and sassy enough to cope with whatever life throws their way, one thing’s for sure: Life with a Border Terrier will never, ever be dull.

Border Terriers are good pets! They will thrive in a home with active pet parents committed to providing the level of exercise and enrichment that these clever little dogs need. They can live with cats, but as a terrier breed, they have a naturally high prey drive which pet parents always need to bear in mind.

How Does the Border Terrier Interact with Other Dogs?

Border Terriers are good with other dogs, and they usually love to play with cats if adequately socialized or raised with them. Any other animal is fine, but as with any pet introduction, be sure to do it slowly and in a controlled environment to make sure that they like each other. 

If you are a multi-pet household, make sure you know that all the animals get along well before you commit to the Border Terrier. As long as the Border Terrier is socialized as a pup, he will get along with most other pets. However, Border Terriers have a high prey drive, and other smaller pets will likely not be safe.

How are Border Terriers with Older People?

Border Terriers are okay with older people; however, their energy level might be overwhelming. Border Terriers need a lot of exercise and grooming. If the senior person lives in an apartment, space could be a problem because very active dogs could wreak havoc if cooped up with insufficient space.

However, a Border Terrier will happily live in an apartment with sufficient exercise, and reaching out to a doggie walker could resolve the problem. Fortunately, grooming would not be too challenging for seniors, and it presents ideal bonding times for elderly people and their canine companions. 

How are Border Terriers with Children?

The outgoing, playful and affectionate behavior of Border Terriers and their smaller stature make them an excellent fit for families with small children. While border terriers aren’t the best choice for cat owners, they make wonderful companions for children. They are observant and friendly and rarely display aggression towards people.

They are also relatively small, so they are unlikely to cause accidental injury to young kids. Owners should train their dogs to stick to their own toys as they are prone to chewing and may start destroying a child’s favorite stuffed animal if they don’t know better 

However, they can be a bit too spunky for small children. Parents should always supervise dogs when they’re around young kids. That way, the dog can get to know your kids and learn that they’re okay. It also helps if you have kids when you get a young Border Terrier so that the dog can grow up around kids. The earlier you socialize your Border Terrier with kids, the better they will be around kids later.

If you don’t have kids now, you can get a Border Terrier, but make sure you train it to behave around smaller kids and babies so it will already be familiar with kiddies when you start to build a family. Likewise, parents should teach children how to respectfully interact with dogs from an early age. That way, your children will be comfortable when you take them visiting families with dogs even if you don’t have dogs yet.

How are Border Terriers with Neighbors or Guests?

Border Terriers, as a breed, are very affectionate, thinking everyone is their friend. If they are familiar with neighbors and frequent visitors or guests, they will snuggle up with anyone invited into the home by their owners. Neighbors and familiar guests will be welcomed as part of the family.

What are the Physical Traits of the Border Terrier?

The Border Terrier breed is quick and agile, with a solid build that suggests strength and endurance. The Border Terrier is ready to work. His body, slightly taller than it is long, is muscular yet lean. His otter-shaped head distinguishes him from other terrier types. Alert, hazel eyes showcase an intelligent expression. 

The ears are set slightly to the side and droop forward. A short, dark muzzle is preferred, and whiskers are present. The double coat consists of a dense undercoat and a wiry overcoat, in red, grizzle and tan, blue and tan, or wheaten, with white allowed on the chest. The Border Terrier’s temperament is typical: intelligent, good-natured, and willing to work.


Trait information




Males 13 to 16 inches

Females 11 to 14 inches


Males 11 to 16 pounds

Females 11 to 24 pounds




Moderately broad and flat, with plenty of width between the eyes the ears.

Gives the impression of being like an otter.


Medium, round, dark hazel in coat color


Small ears are V-shaped set on the side of their heads 


Short and strong





Exercise Needs



12 to 15 years


The outer coat is wiry and close-lying.

The undercoat is soft, short, and dense.

Coat color

Their coat colors can be wheaten; blue and tan; grizzle and tan; and red. Dark muzzles and ears are characteristic. Some dogs have a small white chest marking.


Moderately short and set relatively low on their bodies. When alert, it’s carried upright; when relaxed, their tail may drop.


Straight, showing good bone and muscle

How to Feed a Border Terrier?

Your Border Terrier’s adult size determines its dietary needs through all life stages. Thus, base your Border Terrier’s diet on a small breed’s unique nutritional and digestive needs throughout its different life stages. Most dog food companies have breed-specific formulas for small, medium, large, giant, and even toy breeds. 

It is always a good idea to discuss your dog’s dietary needs with your vet to ensure you are prepared to deal with age-related issues as your Border Terrier grows. A veterinarian can advise on diets, portion sizes, meal frequencies and all nutrition matters to ensure your furry friend lives a long life with optimal health. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times, and some of the essential nutrients are listed below:

  • Protein
  • Fatty acids
  • Carbohydrates
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins

Avoid feeding your Border Terrier from the table; all it does is add weight; instead, follow the advice below to ensure your furry friend’s optimal health.

Despite the Border Terrier’s small size, it is an agile, athletic breed that needs food containing animal proteins and carbohydrates for energy, vitamins and minerals for digestive and immune health, and omega fatty acids for coat and skin wellness. A dog of this size, activity level, and demeanor will thrive best on premium dry food because this food type contains balanced portions of the above-listed ingredients.

However, your Border Terrier’s daily portion depends on life stage, health, metabolism, activity level, and of course, the brand and formula of food it eats. Feed your Border Terrier food formulated for a small breed with recipes for puppies, adults, and seniors, or look for a brand developed for all life stages.

The Border Terrier’s daily cups of food should be spread over 2 to 3 meals per day. Feeding Border Terriers several meals instead of one meal per day can prevent life-threatening bloat. However, fresh drinking water must always be available for your furry friend. When in doubt, consult your veterinarian. 

An example of premium food specially formulated for Border Terriers and its benefits is listed below: The best dry dog food for Border Terriers is CANIDAE PURE Petite Adult Small Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food formulas.

CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Petite is made with limited ingredients and designed with simple recipes for sensitive small breed dogs, including fresh proteins paired with whole ingredients like peas, lentils, and egg. There are 8 key ingredients, and you’ll never find any corn, wheat or soy on the list. With wet and dry food options, you can choose the CANIDAE PURE Petite Adult Small Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food formula that works best for your Border Terrier.

Below is a list of the benefits offered by the six CANIDAE Grain Free PURE formulas in this range:

  • Crafted with 8 key ingredients, starting with real salmon.
  • Grain-free freeze-dried kibble raw coated with real salmon for the wag-worthy taste dogs love.
  • The small kibble size is specially designed for petite adult dogs.
  • Contains omega-6 and -3 fatty acids to promote healthy skin and a lustrous coat.
  • Good for pets, people, and the planet.

When Border Terriers are healthy and active, every day is an adventure. That’s why CANIDAE PURE Petite Adult Small Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food formulas are crafted with everything dogs need to thrive, starting with real protein as the first ingredient.

How Much Should a Border Terrier Puppy Eat? 

The Border Terrier is a small breed whose puppies need high-quality puppy food formulated for a small breed dog like the Border Terrier. It is essential not to feed puppies all their food at once, and they should have it spread over the day. When Border Terrier puppies become three months old, owners can provide them with three meals per day until they reach six months, reducing the food intake to 2 meals per day. Only high-quality and branded puppy food is acceptable. Guidance for feeding puppies is listed below.

  • Border Terrier puppies need slow, sustained growth to help prevent orthopedic problems, such as hip dysplasia. Raise them on a diet designed for small-breed puppies. Whatever diet you choose shouldn’t overemphasize protein, fat, and calorie levels.
  • Border Terriers should be fed according to a schedule, spreading meal times two or three times per day. Getting the puppy accustomed to meals at specific times is better than leaving food out to allow feeding through the day.
  • The exceptions are Border Terriers with medical conditions like hypoglycemia or low blood sugar because they need to nibble bits of food throughout the day.
  • Never feed your puppy from the table. It only encourages begging. Everyone in the family must follow this rule.

What are the Health Tests that Border Terriers Should Take?

Border Terriers can be affected by several genetic health problems. Not all of these conditions are detectable in a growing puppy, and it can be hard to predict whether an animal will be free of these maladies, which is why you must find a reputable breeder who is committed to breeding the healthiest animals possible. They should be able to produce independent certification that the parents of the dog (and grandparents, etc.) have been screened for genetic defects and deemed healthy for breeding. That’s where health registries come in. 

The list below indicates tests your chosen breeder should have done before selling purebred Border Terrier puppies.

  • Patella Evaluation
  • Hip Evaluation
  • Cardiac Exam
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation

Other tests and Xrays: Hip and Elbow Evaluation, Patella Check, General Health Check, including Heart, Vaccines, Fleas and Worms.

What are the common health problems of Border Terriers?

All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. The Border Terrier has some health conditions that can be a concern. However, even healthy Border Terriers should have regular veterinarian checkups. Owners should ensure the following list of health conditions are monitored throughout the dog’s life.

  • Hip dysplasia is a deformation that occurs and develops as Border Terrier puppies grow. It is caused by loose joints that prevent the ball part of one bone from sliding smoothly in the socket of the other joint bone. Instead, it grinds and rubs in the joint, causing painful wear and tear damage as the Border Terrier ages.
  • Elbow dysplasia happens when the growth of the elbow is disturbed. A condition called elbow dysplasia may ensue. While this condition is generally inherited, other factors, such as nutrition and exercise, also play a role in its development. Most dogs will display symptoms before the age of one – though some may not show any signs until several years old.
  • Eye Problems: Sometimes, Chinese Crested dogs inherit eye problems like progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), gradual failing eyesight with no cure. These dogs can also develop glaucoma (eye pressure that leads to optic nerve damage) and primary lens luxation (dislocation of the lens in the eye). Medication or surgery may be an option with glaucoma (if caught early enough) and lens luxation.
  • Spongiform Leukoencephalomyelopathy (SLEM) is also known as “shaking puppy syndrome,” this is a hereditary but rare condition that causes uncontrollable shaking, usually of the hind legs. Reputable breeders should test parent dogs and provide a copy of the results, so you know your puppy will not inherit SLEM.
  • Periodontal Disease in dogs is caused by the build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth, which can lead to gum infections, bone loss, loss of teeth and other serious health problems.
  • Patellar luxation occurs when the dog patella (kneecap), which normally sits on the groove of the femur (thighbone), shifts out of alignment. When luxation of the patella occurs, your dog may experience intermittent hind limb “skipping,” lameness, or a locking up of the limb at an odd angle.
  • Gluten Sensitivity: Border Terriers can occasionally suffer from paroxysmal gluten-sensitive dyskinesia (PGSD), sometimes called canine epileptoid cramping syndrome. It can cause a range of symptoms, including involuntary movement, collapse and gastrointestinal discomfort. Your vet can help diagnose this, and moving to a gluten-free diet can resolve the symptoms.

You can minimize the chances of serious health concerns in a Border Terrier by purchasing a Border Terrier from a reputable breeder who engages in responsible breeding practices and screening for common diseases and conditions.

What is the Exercise Need of a Border Terrier?

Border Terriers are very demanding when it comes to their exercise needs. Even for an hour or two, a casual stroll around the block will not do here. Instead, this guy needs at least 60 to 90 minutes of intense exercise every day. And because he is so intelligent, you’ll need to mix his activities up to keep him interested.

These little guys never sit still for long and need plenty of exercise and activity to keep them content. The Border Terriers are an active and intelligent breed that adores the physical and mental challenge of high-energy dog sports like searching games, fetch, and earth dog. (Earthdog tests a dog’s ability to chase and catch critters underground. But no worries; the creatures are safely contained and unharmed.) An hour of daily exercise that includes brisk walks and plenty of playtime will help your Border Terrier use up all that bounce.

What are the Nutritional Needs of Border Terriers?

The nutritional needs of a Border Terrier include high levels of specific nutrients. The essential nutrients for the Border Terrier are listed below.

  • Protein: Border Terriers need natural animal protein, valuable for the amino acids essential for Border Terrier’s health. Equally important is the fact that protein builds lean muscles and provides energy.
  • Fat: Animal protein provides adequate fat, an additional energy source that boosts the Border Terrier’s metabolism. However, there is a fine line between enough and too much. Excessive fat levels in the dog’s daily diet could result in weight gain and, ultimately, obesity. Most importantly, adults and senior Border Terriers need lower fat levels than puppies.
  • Carbohydrates: Although carbs are not essential nutrients, they are crucial energy sources. Giving the Border Terriers sufficient carbs will provide energy, encouraging the body’s protein absorption to build lean muscle. Beware, though, too much carbohydrate can lead to obesity.
  • DHA: It is one of the components of omega-3 fatty acids. It promotes proper eye and brain development in Border Terrier puppies, and DHA develops cognitive development in puppies and slows cognitive decline in older dogs. Furthermore, omega fatty acids benefit aging Border Terriers by treating chronic kidney disease and canine arthritis. Omega-3 oils improve the coat health of the Border Terrier.
  • Micronutrient: Taurine is one micronutrient that aids heart health, and other valuable micronutrients for promoting strong joints in Border Terriers are chondroitin and glucosamine.
  • Minerals: Beneficial minerals for a Border Terrier’s growth include a healthy balance of phosphorus and calcium. Pre- and probiotics and chelated minerals provide additional health to the diets of Border Terriers.

Are Border Terriers Prone to Weight Gain?

Border Terriers become overweight easily, so be sure to measure your terrier’s food and give him at least a half-hour of vigorous exercise each day. Obesity can be a significant health problem in Border Terriers. It is a severe disease that may cause or worsen joint problems, metabolic, and digestive disorders, back pain, and heart disease.

Though it’s tempting to give your pal food when she looks at you with those soulful eyes, you can “love her to death” with leftover people’s food and doggie treats. Instead, hug her, brush her fur or teeth, play a game with her, or perhaps take her for a walk. She’ll feel better, and so will you.

What is the Shedding Level of Border Terriers?

Border Terriers typically shed their coats twice a year (spring and fall). And during this time, hand stripping or a raking tool can be used daily to remove shedding hair. For the rest of the time, a quick brush once or twice a week will be enough to keep their coat in tip-top condition.

What is the Coat Grooming Frequency of Border Terriers?

Overall, Border Terriers are low-shedding dogs, and for most of the year, your Border Terrier will only need their coat brushed once a week. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of checking your dog’s nails and ears every time you give them a brush, and you can then clip or clean these as needed, typically about once every two weeks.

During shedding seasons, typically spring and fall, however, plan on spending some extra bonding time with your pup for grooming. Border Terriers should be hand stripped, the process of removing dead hairs from the wiry topcoat, every day during shedding season, which can take about 30 minutes. You can also use a stripping tool or book your dog into the groomer for a pamper session by professionals.

Bathe your Border Terrier once every month or two. He shouldn’t need one more often than that. Note that overbathing will strip them of their protective oils and destroy their coat’s water resistance. If your dog is particularly active and loves getting dirty, you may need to bathe them more often, but never more than once a month, and if you can avoid chemical shampoos by rinsing your furry friend in clean water, so much the better.

Coat grooming is essential for various reasons, as listed below.

  • Grooming gives your dog a healthy look and promotes hygiene. 
  • Proper grooming lowers the risks of skin infections.
  • Grooming promotes the growth and development of a lustrous and shiny coat.
  • Grooming allows you to check for fleas and take early preventive and treatment measures.
  • Proper grooming lowers the risks of ear infections since you can check the ears and wipe them dry after regular grooming.
  • While grooming, you can check the skin folds for any skin problems and alert the vet before they worsen.
  • Grooming boosts the bond between you and your Border Terrier.

Your dog should be calm during grooming. Short walks before the grooming session could calm your Border Terrier enough to make the grooming process the ideal time for bonding with your furry friend. You can also give your Border Terriers their favorite treats to munch on while you groom them. Grooming must be an enjoyable and stress-free process for your Border Terrier. 

What is the Drooling Level of Border Terriers?

As a Border Terrier owner, you could expect to find your furry friend’s drooling is below average. However, drooling is a natural process, and the primary triggers of drooling are listed below, which, in Border Terriers, will increase drooling levels. However, if drooling becomes excessive a trip to the vet is recommended.

  • The thought of delicious meals like a favorite treat or meat
  • Mouth and throat problems like fractures in the mouth, throat, or esophagus.
  • Plaque build-up can also irritate the mouth and cause excessive saliva.
  • A foreign object stuck in the throat prevents swallowing, thus causing drooling. 
  • Growth in the mouth also stimulates drooling.
  • Stomach upsets.
  • Excessive heat, especially during summer
  • The main symptom of diseases like kidney disease, liver problems, seizures, botulism, and rabies is drooling.
  • Motion sickness and anxiety. Dogs who do not like traveling will get anxious whenever they board a car. Stress makes dogs pant and breathe with open mouths, thus causing drooling.
  • Excitement and agitation make dogs drool.
  • Sexual excitement, like when a male Border Terrier spots a female Border Terrier in heat, causes drooling. Likewise, a female in her heat cycle might drool if she picks up the scent of a male.

What is the Coat Type of the Border Terrier?

The Border Terrier has a double coat. The undercoat is short and dense, while the topcoat is wiry and close-lying.

What is the Coat Lenght of the Border Terrier? 

The Border Terrier has a water-resistant double coat. Both the under and topcoats are short.

What are the Social Traits of the Border Terrier Breed?

The social traits of the Border Terrier are affection, playfulness, and friendly nature. Border Terriers are intelligent and learn fast, but they can be bored with long training sessions. Border Terriers are fun-loving and have the charm to lighten you up when you are not in a happy mood. Other social traits of Border Terriers are listed below.

  • Elderly-friendly: Border Terriers love playing with their family, from children to grandparents, but seniors who live in apartments away from their families might struggle to keep up with the Border Terrier’s energy. Hiring a walker might be a good idea if the owner can’t take them for 60 to 90-minute walks, play in a dog park, or both. If the Border Terrier is exercised enough, it will spend several hours of calmness and sleep. 
  •  Children-friendly: Border Terriers enjoy running around or chasing after children and playing catch is one of their favorite games. Border Terriers are sensible enough to take care when young children are part of the play. However, supervision is essential in such circumstances. Socialization is crucial for kids and dogs.
  • Family-friendly: Border Terriers are the perfect canine companions for active families. They are not couch potatoes and prefer to spend most of their time outside. Border Terriers will always be ready to join a family member jogging, skateboarding, cycling, or hiking.
  • Pet-friendly: Border Terriers have a high prey drive and will chase, attack, and even kill neighborhood cats, squirrels or other small animals. They’ll also go after small pets such as rabbits, mice, or gerbils you may have, so make sure your young terrier is not around when you let them out or clean their cages. Because Border Terriers are master escape artists, make sure your yard is securely fenced, and don’t let your Border off-leash in an unfenced area.

How Do Border Terriers Interact with Strangers?

Border Terriers love people, and anyone their owners invite into their home would be welcomed by the Border Terrier. However, Border Terriers are alert even when they don’t seem so. They are always aware of anything that happens around them, and any strangers and potential intruders will be warned to back off. The Border Terrier will use a unique warning bark to alert the owner of a potential threat, and they will continue barking until they believe their family is safe.

Is the Border Terrier Playful?

The Border Terrier loves a good challenge, as his mind is permanently active. He loves when you play games with him that involve a challenge, like hiding a toy and making him find it. Even just playing fetch is fulfilling, as he loves trying to find the ball or Frisbee, and if there are no outside options, even running around the dining table could be fun.

Border Terriers are playful and have the instinct to grab and shake whatever they’ve “caught.” When choosing toys, be sure to select tough and durable options that can stand up to the Border Terrier’s enthusiastic attention. At the same time, ensure your kid’s favorite soft toys are not accessible to your little mischievous terror.

Are Border Terriers Protective?

Yes, Border Terriers are protective, despite their small size. Their innate instincts to protect the flocks of sheep from foxes remain, and instead of sheep, they take their task of protecting their families and properties seriously. They are alert and constantly aware of everything that goes on. Border Terriers make excellent watchdogs, and they’re quick to alert their owners by barking if they deem anything amiss within his territory. Training is necessary to keep this predisposition from evolving into nuisance barking.

What is the Adaptability Level of Border Terriers?

Border Terriers are highly adaptable. Even if relocating from a farm or a ranch to an apartment in the city, they will quickly adapt if they are not separated from their human families and if they have ample outside play space. They would not live happily in an apartment with limited outdoor space. Boredom can lead to destructive behavior.

What are the Personality Traits of Border Terriers?

Despite their small size, Border Terriers are energetic dogs with big personalities to match. They’re keen to learn new things and so can be easy to train in the right hands. They love to play and interact with their owners at any given opportunity so can be great companions.

Border Terriers are a very adaptable breed and are happy in a variety of situations which is why they are such popular pets. They fit in well with most families as long as you have plenty of time to spend with them.

Affectionate, intelligent, willing to learn, and eager to please, with an impressive determination and stubborn streak. Border Terriers are typical terriers. Border Terriers appreciate the time spent with their family but don’t demand attention. While obedient, they have a mind of their own. The Border Terrier is a good-natured choice for someone who enjoys the quirks that come with terrier types.

The Border Terrier is often aggressive when first meeting other dogs, and firm training is required. Due to the dog’s emotional sensitivity and loving temperament, much love and care are necessary. When domesticated, the dog thrives on love and affection. This dog can likely die if neglected for too long.

Can Border Terriers be Aggressive?

One temperament trait that no one wants to have to deal with but that can come up with the Border Terrier is aggression. Before even dealing with an aggressive Border Terrier temperament, it is essential to learn what’s causing it.

If another dog attacks or scares your dog, he is likely to also become aggressive in retaliation for the sake of his own defense. Despite being on the smaller side, Border Terriers are tough and won’t always look the other way if threatened.

Can Border Terriers be Dangerous?

Like any other animal, a Border Terrier will become aggressive if they are scared or have to defend themselves. Border Terriers’ aggression may manifest as growling or snarling, especially at strangers near their homes or when they encounter other dogs that cause them to feel threatened. Putting themselves between you and an intruder could be dangerous when other larger dogs are present. 

Do Border Terriers Ever Attack?

Border Terriers are more standoffish than aggressive with people they don’t know. If they weren’t properly socialized as pups, they could be aggressive towards other dogs. But for the most part, Border Terriers stand their ground and won’t go on the offensive unless clearly provoked or they sense immediate danger to themselves or their family.

Parents of small children should note the risks of leaving young children alone in the company of their Border Terrier. Kids too young to understand that grabbing a handful of the puppy’s coat or its tail, falling onto the dog to dish out unsolicited hugs, and other unexpected actions by a toddler could have the pup misunderstand the child’s intentions. The only way the dog knows to escape might be to attack.

Can Border Terriers Kill Humans?

The fact that Border Terriers are not known to kill humans should not be taken for granted. Read on to see why socialization and supervision are crucial. 

The idea of a Border Terrier, who craves attention, killing a human might seem ridiculous, but humans come in various sizes. Consider the dangers of leaving a Border Terrier in the room with an adult man weighing just under 200 pounds and a room with a one-year-old child who weighs only 25 pounds. 

Now, picture an extremely jealous, attention-seeking adult Border Terrier attacking the one it blames for the lack of cuddles and kisses. Chances are zero that the dog will attack the adult man, but if it is alone in the room with the baby, the Border Terrier’s jealousy toward the infant may drive him to attack the child, with potentially devastating consequences.

Other circumstances that could cause violence by Border Terriers include incidents in which their human families are attacked. Alternatively, protecting their own safety against maltreatment and abuse by their owners could lead to the terriers reacting aggressively. Whatever the circumstances, serious provocation must be present to trigger a violent attack by a Border Terrier.

Do Border Terriers cope with being left alone?

It is important to prevent boredom in your Border Terrier. A bored dog, one who’s left alone for long periods, becomes noisy and destructive. Border Terriers can live alone for a few hours without any problems, but they are not the kind of canines that you could leave alone for a long time.

Can I leave my Border Terrier at home?

Border Terriers tend to become anxious and withdrawn when left alone for some time, but they will not be affected if some of the family members remain behind. When they are left in isolation, they display signs of separation anxiety. Some Border Terriers tend to form strong bonds with one family member. When that person has to go somewhere, the Border Terrier will be okay if the rest of the family is there, if the pup is properly socialized.

Can Border Terriers be left alone for 8 hours?

Border Terriers need company, and they do not enjoy spending time alone for many hours because they are predisposed to anxiety, and isolation for more than a couple of hours could cause separation anxiety. Don’t get a Border Terrier if you must leave him on his own for hours on end. You can, however, leave him alone for short periods.

Leaving your Border Terrier alone for more than four hours at a time is not recommended. If there is no other way, getting a dog walker or a sitter for a part of the day could prevent separation anxiety. Once they become anxious, Border Terriers tend to chew whatever they can find and dig holes wherever they can. 

Do Border Terriers Like to Dig?

Like many undesirable canine behaviors, destructive habits usually develop because a dog is bored, lonely, or both. It’s not fair or realistic to expect your dog, especially a working breed like a Border Terrier, to spend long hours quietly sitting and waiting for your return. By nature, terriers are curious and sentient beings, so see that she has enough mental and physical stimulation to minimize the impulse to dig.

Consider channeling your Border Terrier’s drive to dig. Provide her with a “legal” digging area, a small portion of the yard (away from the rose bushes) where she can dig to her heart’s content. Cover the area with sand or dirt and bury treats and toys there to entice her to begin digging. When you find her mining in an “illegal” area, immediately interrupt her, show her to the appropriate spot, and praise her for exploring in the right place.

Do Border Terriers Love to Chew?

You come home to find a scatter cushion or the corner of your upholstered couch chewed to bits; who do you blame? It should be yourself. Border Terriers have endless amounts of energy, and if they’re left alone without toys suitable to keep them busy while you are at work, school, or a tea party, they will not take long to find something to do. 

If they are locked inside, that’s where they will find anything chewable. If you make sure their favorite toys are freely available, they might not be interested in chewing your slippers or furniture. Remember, it is up to you to provide playthings that will keep your Border Terriers away from your valuables.

Furthermore, this breed is brilliant, and leaving him with the same toys every time you go out will not work. You’ll have to rotate them frequently and occasionally invest in new forms of amusement. There is no getting away from it; if your furry friend is left without any source of social interaction, she will find her own.

How to Train a Border Terrier?

The Border Terrier not only excels at basic obedience but needs the mental challenge of it. The combination of their intelligence and their independent streak make training sessions both challenging and endearing. Start obedience training your Border Terrier pup right away when you bring him home; even at eight weeks, he is smart enough to begin absorbing it.

If you wait until he’s six months, you’ll have a much bigger task and a more headstrong dog. Puppy kindergarten by the time he is 10 to 12 weeks is recommended. But a word of caution: the Border Terrier is easy to train when your voice is calm, and your touch on the leash is light, give only verbal corrections to this sensitive breed, for example, praise, gentle guidance, or food rewards.

  • Praise good behavior by making a fuss. Your Border Terrier will know if you fake it.
  • Time commands wisely because corrections after the fact will confuse your Border Terrier.
  • Be consistent and persistent. Never let it slip because your Border Terrier will learn to obey only sometimes.
  • Be the pack leader and show happiness while training your Border Terrier.
  • Making your Border Terrier sit and wait for your command to start eating will confirm your status as pack leader.
  • Training your Border Terrier with love in your heart will avoid your Border Terrier seeing training as punishment.

Can Border Terriers Be Used For Hunting?

Border Terriers have a powerful drive to hunt and dig, as well as an energy level that enables them to keep up with hunters on horseback. They have also been known to chase, attack, and even kill neighborhood cats, squirrels, or other small animals due to their strong instincts.

Border Terriers thrive with their people and aren’t meant to live outdoors with little human interaction. They are best described as wonderful companions who play hard and love harder. Farmers utilized them for hunting down pestering foxes.

Border Terriers had long enough legs to chase after horses and small enough bodies to fit into fox dens. Their versatility made them popular, and over time they evolved from a casual farmer’s dog into a severe hunter’s dog working closely with other foxhounds.

How Frequently does a Border Terrier Bark?

Border Terriers don’t generally bark a lot. While each puppy is an individual, this breed as a whole isn’t considered overly yappy or vocal. If your dog is left alone or bored, they may start barking like many other breeds. The Border Terrier’s willing temperament means they can often be trained not to bark excessively.

Border Terriers do not bark without reasons. Training and socialization can control excessive barking, but Border Terriers will always bark when necessary.

Below is a list of bark types that owners will learn to recognize. 

  • Border Terriers hate being left alone, and one way of coping with loneliness is barking. 
  • A lack of exercise and anxiety can also trigger barking.
  • Alarm barking is when your Border Terrier is barking as a way of alerting you of approaching danger. Alarm barking can save you from danger; however, Border Terriers may bark before ascertaining that there is a real danger. 
  • Another type of barking is demand barking, where a Border Terrier feels entitled to something or your attention and would bark as a way of demanding their rights. This type can be lowered through proper training and ignoring the barking.
  • The Border Terrier uses arousal barking to show their frustrations.
  • Boredom barking signals that your Border Terrier is tired or bored due to being left alone or infrequent exercises. 
  • Frequent barking can be a nuisance to both the owner and neighbors. Some types of barking tend to be monotonous and continuous. 

Even though Border Terriers are not typically nuisance barkers, knowing their language might come in handy. However, if your Border Terrier is the exception to the rule, below are some positive and negative motivators that might help to change your canine companion’s barking habits.

  • Whenever your Border Terrier starts barking, command him to be quiet and if your Border Terrier obeys, reward him with his favorite treat or toy. If he disobeys your command, withdraw some benefits like not giving him his favorite toy.
  • Engage Border Terrier in her favorite activity or exercise. Tired Border Terriers might sleep while you are away.
  • Look for attractive toys that would keep your Border Terrier busy while you are away.
  • Continuous barking might call for a visit to the vet.

What is the need for Mental Stimulation of a Border Terrier?

Constant stimulation throughout the day is required to keep your Border Terrier happy. Brain games are a great and easy way to stimulate his mind, so be sure to rotate a few of these games throughout the week to keep your Border Terrier occupied.

Border Terriers are smart and learn fast, and they need regular mental stimulation. Border Terriers’ playful and intelligent nature further calls for frequent mental activity. There are different ways of mentally stimulating your Border Terrier, and some of them are listed below.

  • Playing with interactive games or toys, including dog puzzles and canine board games.
  • Encourage sniffing during regular evening walks.
  • Provide healthy chews like dehydrated sweet potato strips. Chewing for more extended periods calms the brain, thus lowering stress levels.
  • Hide and seek games
  • Drop and fetch games
  • Regular walks

These mental stimulation techniques should start at an early stage. Border Terriers who are six years and older tend to have problems with their thinking ability. The primary signs of mental disorientation are listed below.

  • Excessive anxiety.
  • Frequent accidents.
  • Failure to recall previously learned commands.
  • Changes in sleep and wake patterns.
  • Low interest in physical activities.
  • Poor social skills.

What are the Breed Standards of Border Terriers?

The Border Terrier has a medium bone structure, strongly put together, suggesting endurance and agility. However, it is relatively narrow in shoulder, body, and quarter. The body is covered with a somewhat broken though close-fitting coat.

The characteristic “otter” head with its keen eye, combined with a body poise, which has an alerted look, looks at fearless and implacable determination characteristic of the breed. Border Terriers are light in weight.

Some of the breed standards of Border Terriers are given in the table below.

Breed Standards 

Border Terrier Breed Information 


Acceptable colors are red, wheaten, grizzle and tan, and blue and tan.


Border Terriers are classified as a small breed

Eye Color 

Dark with a keen expression.


Weight is 12 to 14 pounds.


Height 11 to 16 inches at the withers

Average lifespan 

Border Terriers have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years

What is the General Information about Border Terriers?

The best part about Border Terriers is that, like clay, they’re easier to mold than other versions of terrier. They’re instinctually vermin hunters but can get along fine with cats or other dogs. They take to training easily and are smart enough to master commands quickly. They’re well suited for hunting, running, or therapy; you could show a Border Terrier how to perform just about any activity without much trouble.

At home, Border Terriers are loving and loyal but still independent. They won’t stick to the family-like glue, but they will want to be a part of the action. Speaking of action, border terriers are active dogs and require at least one long walk every day. Without having the chance to stretch their legs, you’re looking at a destructive and frustrated dog. 

The longer legs of Border Terriers give them the ability to run faster and jump higher than other terriers. You’ll defiantly want to be aware of this if you’re building a dog fence. They can also dig underneath fences and are always looking to chase small animals.

Where to Buy or Adopt a Border Terrier?

A purebred Border Terrier’s price can range between $1,000 and $2,000. Lower prices are generally available within shelters and rescues, but puppies can cost as much as $5,000 from top breeders. 

If you want to bring a Border Terrier home, you should not rush. The only “purebreds” available upon request are not the real thing and are likely bred on puppy farms. The more realistic way is to put your name on a waiting list, and while you’re waiting, learn as much as you can about this giant dog in the cutest little dog body.

Finding a reputable breeder or rescue facility is crucial. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy and will, without question, have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible. They are more interested in placing pups in suitable homes than making big bucks. 

Be wary of breeders who only tell you the good things about the breed or make irrational promises to promote their puppies. Be especially suspicious when you are offered a two-for-the-price-of-one deal. 

Border Terrier puppies are adorable, and it’s one of the reasons they are so popular. Cute puppies sell, making the Border Terrier a favorite of puppy mills and greedy, irresponsible breeders. Do your homework before buying one of these little dogs, and you’ll be well rewarded with a beautiful companion dog.

The best way to ensure you get a healthy Border Terrier puppy from a breeder or a rescue organization is to reach out to the registered organizations for the specific breed, if available. The Border Terrier is recognized by the AKC, UKC, and FIC, listed below, along with other registered kennel clubs that might put potential Border Terrier owners in touch with reputable breeders. 

  • Fédération Cynologique Internationale (International)
  • United Kennel Club (International)
  • The Kennel Club (United Kingdom)
  • American Kennel Club’s list of reputable breeders
  • Canadian Kennel Club
  • Continental Kennel Club
  • Border Terrier Club of America, Inc.
  • Border Terrier Welfare UK
  • Border Terrier Club UK
  • The Scottish Border Terrier Club
  • Club Espanol De Terriers
  • Lndi’s Border Terriers San Jacinto, California
  • Webe Farms Fallbrook, California
  • Brierden Terriers Portland, Michigan
  • Horizon Dobermans Richmond, Texas
  • Brentwood Border Terriers Machesney Park, Illinois
  • Faireview Border Terriers Germantown, Wisconsin
  • Wartrace Borders Wartrace, Tennessee
  • Wildwood Border Terriers Galena, Ohio
  • Coldstream Border Terriers Odessa, Florida
  • Otley Border Terriers Chino Valley, Arizona

If you manage to track down Border Terrier breeders, make sure you go to the facility and insist on meeting both the puppies’ parents so that you can get a feel for their temperament. Border Terrier puppies are often peppy and playful, all should have cheery expressions and kind eyes. 

It might take some time to find a legitimate breeder, and travel may very well be in the cards. Steer clear of backyard breeding by avoiding sales sites and ad pages. When you select a breeder, make sure they have proof of successful, healthy litters with any documentation necessary.

You might find a Border Terrier puppy or a rescued adult to adopt or buy from abroad, but not all countries allow importing adopted dogs. Those whose countries will enable the importation of Border Terriers may find the logistics challenging. 

Procedures include obtaining certification from a vet to prove the Border Terrier is fully vaccinated and providing all the additional required veterinary documents before the travel. Furthermore, your country must approve the veterinarian to authorize the importation, and it will be your responsibility to ensure you use the services of a certified vet.

What are the Rescue Clubs for Border Terriers?

There are millions of homeless dogs worldwide; many are purebreds needing homes. Adopting a Border Terrier can be life-changing, not only for the dog but also for the adopter. If you prefer adoption over purchasing a pup from a breeder, then your first stop should be the National Border Terrier Rescue website. A Border Terrier rescue group is an excellent idea if you want to adopt an older dog or even a Border Terrier mix.

Border Terrier mixes adopted from a shelter may share physical characteristics of the breed, but their temperament may not match the breed standard. Shelters and rescues attempt to determine each dog’s personality through a series of evaluations; even if the dog’s temperament does not follow the breed standard, you can get the dog that suits your home. 

The adoption fee for a Border Terrier from a rescue group or animal shelter will probably be between $200 and $300. Most dogs from rescue groups and shelters will be vaccinated, microchipped, spayed/neutered, and vetted before adoption

You can also reach out to your local rescue organization or animal shelter and ask if they have any Border Terriers or related mixes available for adoption. If not, you can always put your name on a list so that when one comes in, you’re the first one they call.

Below is a list of registered rescue centers and kennel clubs to reach out to for guidance.

  • The National Border Terrier Rescue Association
  • North American Border Terrier Welfare
  • Border Terrier Welfare UK
  • National Border Terrier Rescue Of Canada
  • BTCA RESCUE – Border Terrier Club of America
  • Southern Ontario Border Terrier Rescue Society
  • Birmingham & Montgomery, Alabama Border Terrier Rescue
  • Border Terrier Club Rescue of Gr Baltimore

Facebook is another resource for pet adoption. You can search for Border Terrier rescue groups in your region.

You can also search for adoptable Border Terriers online the reliable websites such as

  • AnimalShelter 

Border Terrier mixes may be available for adoption in shelters and rescues. If you want to adopt an AKC registered or a mixed breed Border Terrier, the best first step is to contact shelters and breed-specific rescues to let them know you’re interested.

Below is a list of several Border Terrier mixes.

  • Border Terrier-Jack Russell mix (Border Jack)
  • Border Terrier-Chihuahua mix (Chi Border Terrier)
  • Border Terrier-Poodle mix (Border Terrier Poodle)
  • Border Terrier-Schnauzer mix (Border Terrier Schnauzer)
  • Border Terrier-Pug mix (Border Pug)
  • Border Terrier-Yorkie mix (Border Yorkie)

What is the History of the Border Terrier?

The Border Terrier originated in northeast England, near the border with Scotland, during the 18th century. He’s a result of the neverending battle between farmers and foxes. Borders Terriers were built to have a long, narrow, flexible body, the better to squeeze through narrow holes and flush foxes out of their hiding places, and legs long enough to follow the horses during a foxhunt.

Of course, they had the stamina to spare, a weather-resistant coat, and thick, loose skin that wasn’t easily pierced by the teeth of their foxy adversaries. Early evidence of the breed includes a 1754 painting by Arthur Wentworth of two Border Terriers.

While he was prized in England’s border country for his fearless and implacable nature, the Border Terrier was little known elsewhere. You would undoubtedly have seen him at agricultural shows in Northumberland in the late 19th century, but on the whole, dog fanciers took little notice of him until the early 20th century. In 1920, he was recognized by England’s Kennel Club, and a breed club was formed.

The first Border Terrier registered in the United States was Netherbyers Ricky in 1930. For most of his existence, the Border Terrier has been an unknown, and his people prefer that he stay that way if it means protecting him from the ravages of popularity. Currently, he ranks 81st among the 155 breeds and varieties registered by the American Kennel Club.

What is the Average Maintenance Cost for Border Terriers?

The prices of Border Terriers range between $1,200 and $1,800. The cost of a puppy from a registered breeder could vary, depending on the breeder you select, the location, the sex of the puppy, and, of course, the demand for the breed at the time. 

The bloodline of the puppy and its parents could also affect the price. You will be hard-pressed to find this breed in a shelter, but if you do, the price could be $300 to $500, based on the cost of care provided while keeping the Border Terrier and extras like vaccinations and sterilizations. 

It is always best to consider annual expenses related to maintaining your Border Terrier and its wellbeing before making the purchase. The first year will be the most expensive, as puppies require extra vet care and more one-time purchases like microchips, sterilization, licensing, etc. You can expect to spend about $6,900 for your dog’s first year. After that, the price will go down to about $2,100 a year. 

Food and medical only, excluding toys, food and water bowls, cages, doggy blankets, beds, etc., could cost an average of $850. The most regular annual expenses for dogs similar to the Border Terrier are listed below.

  • Food items
  • Veterinary care
  • Vaccinations
  • Preventive medicine
  • Toys
  • Pet insurance
  • Pet Supplies

Other potential expenses include training, socializing, doggy daycare, dog sitters, dog walkers, etc. Grooming would likely add a significant amount to the maintenance costs of Border Terriers because they need occasional professional grooming to trim and bathe the Border Terrier.

How to Name a Border Terrier?

Choosing a name for your Border Terrier involves essential building blocks, including the significance of the sound. The Border Terrier’s name will mean something to the humans in the dog’s life, but for your canine companion, only the sound matters. Border Terriers respond best to two-syllable names that are not short enough to be confused with single-syllable command words like “sit,” stay,” “come,” and “down.” However, the names should not be long enough to become puzzling.

It is always a good idea not to rush into choosing a name. Spend a week or so with your new Border Terrier pup, and its character traits might be all the inspiration you need. Call out any name-ideas, using different tones and sounds for the two syllables, and watch your puppy’s reaction to the sound. Remember, you must compose a sound that your Border Terrier will recognize from a distance, among many other sounds.

Why not honor Owney? The unofficial mascot of the Postal Service was a dog named Owney—many claim he was a Border Terrier. Owney traveled the United States and the world with the Postal Service between 1888 and 1897, and he was immortalized on a commemorative postage stamp.

Choose a name that could sound different in regular interaction and yelling or calling your Border Terrier. Below is a list of suggestions of names for Border Terrier’s

Border Terrier Breed Names

Border Terrier Boy Names

Border Terrier Girl Names


The unofficial mascot of the Postal Service between 1888 and 1897


“Resolute protector” in English


After the Norse god of mischief


“Honest” in Irish


Inspired a program called the Baxter Burgundy Scholarship for Classy Dogs


Inspired a program called the Baxter Burgundy Scholarship for Classy Dogs


After Ron Burgundy’s sidekick from the movie The Anchorman (2004)


“Independence” in English


“Keeper of the park” in English


“Freeman” in Old English

What are the Different Types of Border Terriers?

Border Terrier owners will agree that the Border Terrier is one of a kind. However, there are several other small terrier breeds as shown on the list below. 

  • Boston Terrier
  • Cairn Terrier
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Scottish Terrier
  • Welsh Terrier
  • West Highland Terrier
  • Yorkshire Terrier

What Dog Breeds are Similar to the Border Terrier?

Border Terriers may not be too difficult to find, but purebreds are expensive and involve long waiting lists. Finding a Border Terrier at a rescue center might be equally challenging because they are so popular. However, as wonderful of a dog as the Border Terrier may be, they aren’t for everyone. Here are some dogs that are similar to the Border Terriers.

Below is a list of similar dog breeds that might be a good match for your family.

  • Australian Terrier – Very similar temperament with a mixture of confidence, stoicism, and energetic interactions. They also respond well to frequent and challenging training exercises and are about the same size. more about Australian Terrier social life, care & diet information.
  • Bedlington Terrier – Despite the distinctly different head shape and overall appearance, the Bedlington shares many similarities with the border. They hail from the Northumberland, which is in the same region where the border terrier was first developed.
  • Airedale Terrier – Another terrier breed from Britain that was also originally bred to aid local hunters in their outdoor pursuits. They are friendly towards people and have an intelligent and independent personality, much like borders.more about Airedale Terrier social life, care & diet information.
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Michael Brady

Michael is an animal-lover who specializes in marketing. He started running Dog Food Care with his mother, Sarah, after leaving his office job. Michael gained enough flexibility in his schedule to be able to adopt a dog of his own and welcomed Emmie the dachshund into his home in 2020.