top of page
Eco-friendly plastic free pet products

Our Blog

All The Topics On How To Reduce Your Pets Carbon Paw Print

  • Writer's pictureHooman's Friend

Border Terrier Temperament: handy-sized dog with plenty of personality

Disclaimers – Assume links are affiliate links, meaning I may earn a commission if you click and buy. As an Amazon Associate and Etsy Affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Welcome to the ultimate guide on Border Terriers—exploring their captivating temperament, rich history, and everything you need to know to decide if this spirited breed is your perfect match.

Understanding a breed's unique qualities is crucial whether you're a seasoned dog owner or contemplating canine parenthood.

Border Terriers, known for their formidable yet compact stature, boast energetic, outgoing, and curious temperaments. We'll delve into their fascinating history as adept ratters and fox hunters, shedding light on the characteristics that make them exceptional companions.

As we journey through common questions, health considerations, and each dog's quirks, you'll understand these lively canines comprehensively.

So, join us as we navigate the world of Border Terriers, discovering not just a breed but a potential lifelong friend. Let's unravel the charm of these remarkable dogs and find out if the Border Terrier is the perfect addition to your family.

Table of Contents

Border Terrier Temperament
The breed standard refers to the head of the Border Terrier being shaped like that of an Otter.

Border Terrier History: Where are Border Terriers from?

The Border Terrier is part of the Terrier group.

Originating from the rugged borderlands of England and Scotland, Border Terriers were developed in the 18th century for their remarkable working abilities.

They were referred to as the Coquetdale or Redesdale Terrier, named after an area in Northumberland.

As farmers and shepherds sought an agile and tenacious partner to help control vermin on the farms, the Border Terrier emerged as the perfect solution.

Their compact size, fearless demeanour, and boundless energy made them well-suited for the challenging tasks of the border countryside.

Terriers were purposefully bred for the challenging task of hunting rats, mice, and foxes in various settings such as houses, castles, and farms, often working alongside larger hunting dogs like the English Foxhound. Shepherds and farmers relied on these versatile dogs to protect livestock from foxes.

To meet the demands of hunters navigating the wild Northumbrian countryside, Border Terriers were selectively bred for their unique combination of long legs, enabling them to follow horses, and a compact size that allowed them to manoeuvre through narrow spaces in pursuit of foxes. This distinct feature distinguishes them from other Terrier breeds, emphasizing their suitability for their intended role.

Renowned for their hunting prowess, particularly in facing off against foxes and rodents, Border Terriers became cherished companions for farmers and shepherds, earning a special place in their hearts. Their thick and coarse double coat protected against the harsh northern weather conditions, keeping them warm and dry during their outdoor pursuits.

Beyond their hunting skills, Border Terriers share ancestry with the small Dandie Dinmont Terrier and the Bedlington Terrier, both of which boast awe-inspiring histories, further enriching the lineage of these remarkable terriers.

The British Kennel Club recognised border terriers in 1920, and the first Border Terrier Club was formed the same year, acknowledging their unique characteristics and unwavering loyalty.

As we trace the lineage of the Border Terrier, we discover a breed deeply rooted in the agricultural landscapes of England and Scotland.

From their humble beginnings as efficient working dogs to their present status as cherished family pets, the Border Terrier's journey is a testament to their enduring charm and versatility. Join us in celebrating the history and origins of these remarkable terriers, whose spirited legacy continues to enrich the lives of dog enthusiasts worldwide.

The UK Breed standard recognises different shades of grizzle and red in this breed. Wheaten Blue & Tan are other colour shades.

The high numbers of new registrations show the British people's ongoing love for the Border Terrier.

In the second quarter of 2022, the UK Kennel Club recorded 992 registrations for Border Terriers, contributing to the breed's popularity with a total of 4,494 registrations for the year. The first quarter showed a slightly slower start, with 909 registrations.

2021 Total

Q1 2022

Q2 2022

Q3 2022

Q4 2022

2022 Total

Q1 2023








Source: updated November 2023

What is the Temperament of the Border Terrier?

It will fill you with delight!

The Border Terrier is incredibly versatile in today's lifestyle. Whether in the bustling city or the peaceful countryside, and whether it's a cosy apartment or a spacious house, this breed thrives.

However, if you have a garden, ensuring proper containment is crucial, as Borders are known for their craftiness in escaping. With a history of being bred to pursue foxes underground, their instinct for digging runs deep.

Border Terrier Temperament
The wiry, rough double coat of the Border Terrier kept them dry in the adverse weather patterns of Northumbria.

These little dogs are radiating energy. Border Terriers love being busy. They expect daily mental and physical stimulation as a right.

Not having anything to do can lead to boredom and destructive behaviour. Border Terriers also tend to be a bit greedy. Obesity is a trap that the Border can easily fall into. They would never refuse a treat!

The Border Terrier boasts a powerful prey drive. Whether it's a squirrel, a cat, or a bird, expect them to be keenly followed. Keeping up becomes a challenge once they're on the chase, and catching up is nearly impossible.

For that reason, it’s recommended to keep the Border Terrier on the lead when walking outside or let them run free in fenced, secured areas only.

Despite their prey drive, Border Terriers are very sociable dogs. They often hunted with other dogs in tandem; hence, they needed to be agreeable and not argumentative with other hunting companions. If they grew up with cats, they would usually treat them as buddies, so friendship is not impossible.

They thrive on human companionship, revelling in the joy of being by your side. When a Border Terrier's needs for fulfilment are met, they exhibit exemplary behaviour and become a delight to care for.

With a naturally obedient nature, Border Terriers are highly responsive to positive reinforcement training techniques. Their intelligence allows them to excel in agility and games, making the training process a rewarding experience.

If you're ready to invest time and effort, a deep and meaningful bond awaits you with your Border Terrier.

Occasionally, their terrier lineage may manifest as unexpected stubbornness, but overcoming it with the right mindset and consistent training is quite feasible.

Although inherently affectionate, Border Terriers can also display an independent streak. As a working breed, they were selectively bred to make autonomous decisions.

Contrary to constant attention, these terriers may not crave it; if their daily walks provide ample stimulation, they're content to lounge on the couch beside you or bask in the warmth of a fireplace.

Children and Border Terriers get on splendidly. Not too big to be boisterous, and a happy, fun-loving nature pairs exceptionally well with children. Border Terriers will welcome any amusement.

Introduce a Border Terrier into your family, and you'll welcome a compact, no-nonsense, and affectionate companion with many positive personality traits.

Enthusiastic about life and walks, this breed is inherently sociable. When well-trained and adequately socialized, your Border Terrier will seamlessly integrate into your life, bringing joy to your heart without causing trouble.

Let’s now have a look at some common Border Terrier questions.

Are Border Terriers hypoallergenic?

Border Terriers are often considered hypoallergenic to some extent. While no dog breed is entirely hypoallergenic, Border Terriers have a wiry, dense coat that sheds minimally. Additionally, they produce less dander than some other breeds, which can be a source of allergies.

However, individual reactions to allergens can vary, and individuals with allergies should spend time with a Border Terrier before committing to ensure compatibility. Regular grooming and cleaning practices can also help reduce allergens in the home.

Their wiry-coated coat should be hand-stripped a few times yearly to maintain their low shedding qualities. That said, no dog is completely hypoallergenic as they will permanently shed dander or saliva to some extent.

A dog might not be a good choice for people with severe allergies. To minimise allergic reactions, hoover regularly, clean the dog bed at least once a week, create doggy-free zones, and reduce soft furnishings like carpets that can trap dead skin cells.

When is a Border Terrier full-grown?

Border Terriers typically reach their full-grown size and maturity at around 12 to 15 months. However, individual dogs may vary, and it's essential to consider factors like genetics, nutrition, and overall health in assessing when a specific Border Terrier has reached full maturity.

Compared with other Terrier breeds, they’re pretty strongly built. In some cases, they can continue to fill out for another 2-3 months afterwards but shouldn’t grow in height. A full-grown male Border Terrier stands at 31cm at the withers, while a female would be around 28cm.

Can Border Terriers be left alone?

Border Terriers are known for their independence, but like all dogs, they thrive on companionship. While they can tolerate being left alone for reasonable periods, providing mental stimulation and sufficient exercise is essential.

Ensuring they have toys, a comfortable environment, and perhaps the company of another pet can help prevent boredom and anxiety when left alone. The duration a Border Terrier can be left alone depends on age, training, and individual temperament. It's generally recommended not to leave any dog alone regularly for extended periods.

Gift Ideas for Border Terrier Lovers

For Border Terrier lovers, consider personalised items such as custom dog portraits or breed-specific accessories like a Border Terrier-themed mug or cosy blanket. Here are some ideas:

Gift Ideas for Border Terrier Lovers #1: Border Terrier Scarf

Wrap your Border Terrier in style and warmth with a charming Border Terrier scarf, the perfect accessory for pup and owner to strut their canine love every season!

Border Terrier Temperament

Gift Ideas for Border Terrier Lovers #2: Border Terrier Whisky Glass

Elevate your Border Terrier lover's sipping experience with a Border Terrier whisky glass, where every toast becomes a celebration of their cherished canine companion. Cheers to a blend of style and devotion!

Border Terrier temperament

Gift Ideas for Border Terrier Lovers #3: Border Terrier on Driftwood

Bring the spirit of the outdoors inside with a beautifully crafted Border Terrier on Driftwood decoration—a unique and artistic addition to any Border Terrier enthusiast's home, celebrating the charm of their beloved breed.

Border Terrier Temperament

Gift Ideas for Border Terrier Lovers #4: Border Terrier Glass Figurine

Capture the essence of Border Terrier charm with an exquisite Border Terrier glass figurine, a timeless and elegant addition to any collector's showcase. Each delicate detail immortalises the spirit of this beloved breed.

Border Terrier Temperament

Gift Ideas for Border Terrier Lovers #5: Border Terrier Mug

Sip your morning brew in style with a delightful Border Terrier mug featuring the irresistible charm of your favourite breed. Every cup becomes a cosy celebration of canine companionship, making it the pawfect addition to any Border Terrier lover's collection!

Border Terrier Temperament

Border Terrier Temperament
An energetic, fun-loving and outgoing character makes the Border Terrier a fantastic family dog.

Border Terrier Temperament in a Nutshell

  • Considered one of the most cheerful and companionable breeds

  • The perfect family dog and great with children

  • Have an independent and a stubborn little streak

  • Require training to grow into a well-behaved and well-trained dog

  • Due to their strong prey drive, the Border Terrier should be walked on a leash.

Potential health issues in the Border Terrier breed

For prospective owners, anticipating and budgeting for potential medical expenses specific to the Border Terrier breed is crucial, emphasizing the importance of comprehensive insurance coverage.

With a typical lifespan of 11-14 years, the Border Terrier is generally a long-lived breed, yet hereditary diseases can be a concern.

Selecting a reputable breeder who conducts thorough DNA screenings and has insight into the dog's familial history is essential in mitigating the risk of inherited conditions.

Prior research and due diligence further minimise the likelihood of encountering such distressing health issues. Although the Border Terrier is considered a healthy breed, the below health issues have been observed in the breed:

Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome: A neurological disorder characterised by episodes of cramping and tremors, often mistaken for seizures, without the typical electrical brain activity seen in epilepsy.

Epilepsy: A neurological disorder marked by recurrent seizures reflecting abnormal brain activity, and while it can be managed with medications, its exact cause remains uncertain.

Primary Lens Luxation: A hereditary condition where the lens of the eye becomes displaced, leading to vision impairment and requiring prompt veterinary attention for surgical intervention.

Corneal ulceration: A condition involving the erosion of the cornea's surface, often caused by trauma or infection, necessitating immediate veterinary care to prevent complications and ensure optimal eye health.

Generalised sebaceous gland hyperplasia: A skin disorder characterised by the abnormal enlargement of sebaceous glands, leading to multiple small lumps on the skin's surface.

Ectopic Ureter: A congenital condition where the ureter, a tube carrying urine from the kidney to the bladder, is improperly positioned, often causing urinary incontinence and requiring surgical intervention for correction.

Timely detection and collaboration with a knowledgeable veterinarian specializing in Border Terriers are crucial for effectively treating these conditions.

Since most diseases are inherited recessively, selecting a breeder who conducts genetic testing is vital to minimize the risk of inherited conditions in the puppy.

Being well-informed about these diseases enhances your ability to extend your dog's life if issues arise, paralleling the vigilance required for a child's well-being.

Stay attentive to vaccination's potential hazards inside and outside your home, and consider choices in toys and accessories, avoiding potentially harmful materials found in cheap products. Opt for eco-friendly, breathable, and sustainable options, such as hemp products at Hooman’s Friend.

Border Terrier Fun Facts

In 1888, the U.S. Postal Service adopted a stray Border Terrier named Owney, abandoned by his previous owner, who gained widespread fame for his devotion to mailbags.

Owney's journey took him across the country by train and steamer, accumulating over 140,000 miles during his adventurous lifetime.

In 2011, the U.S. Postal Service honoured him with a commemorative stamp, and today, Owney's preserved body can be visited at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, where his countless tales of travel are recounted.

Is the Border Terrier the right dog breed for me?

In conclusion, the decision to welcome a Border Terrier into your life hinges on your lifestyle and preferences. Renowned as great family dogs, they typically excel with children and are generally easy to train.

However, it's crucial to be aware of their occasional stubborn streak, emphasizing the need for consistent training. Additionally, to ensure their happiness and health, daily exercise is a must.

If you're prepared to invest time, love, and consistent training and provide the necessary daily exercise, the Border Terrier could be the perfect addition to your family. Assess your commitment, consider their traits, and ask yourself, "Is the Border Terrier the right dog breed for me?" If you feel you can answer positively "yes", then it may be time to take the plunge.

Owners voices

"To follow soon"

If you want to learn more about other dog breeds, check out related articles or sign up for our newsletter here. This will also trigger a code for 15% off your first order of our eco-friendly pet products. We are working hard to add all dog breeds as soon as possible to have a whole extensive library!

After reading our blog about the temperament of the Border Terrier, you’re probably in love with this versatile breed. This dog might be precisely what you’ve been looking for. As with most dogs, they will thrive with positive reinforcement training and develop into well-behaved and sociable dogs.

Border Terrier’s cheerful and companionable temperament makes them an outstanding family dog. Put in the time, provide them with lots of social interactions, and you will have a heart filled with love for many years.

Border Terrier Summary Info box



Dog Size


Dog Weight


Bitch Size


Bitch Weight




Feeding Need


Tendency to drool


Energy level


Tendency to bark


Tendency to dig


Attention need



bottom of page