Border Terrier Temperament: handy-sized dog with plenty of personality
Have you found your way here to learn about the Border Terrier and what a Border Terrier is like in a family environment? Then you’ve sniffed out the right place!
Whether you already own a dog, have owned dogs before, or are considering becoming a dog parent, it’s beneficial to read about the breed you’re thinking of acquiring. It’s important to remember that any dog is an individual. They will always have their little quirks. But there are always aspects that can be breed specific.
Border Terriers are formidable little dogs with an energetic, outgoing, and curious temperaments. The following blog will examine their impressive history as a ratter and fox hunter, their character, and whether the Border Terrier is just what you were looking for in a companion. So, let’s explore this little dog with a big personality in more detail without delay.
History of the Border Terrier
The Border Terrier is part of the terrier group. Terriers have been bred to hunt rats, mice, and foxes from houses, castles, or farms. They also accompanied hunters and worked in tandem with bigger hunting dogs. The bigger English Foxhound was one of their famous companions. Shepherds and farmers also used the dog to keep foxes from life stock.
Border Terriers originated from the Anglo-Scottish border sometime during the 18th century. They were referred to as the Coquetdale or Redesdale Terrier, named after an area in Northumberland.
Hunters demanded a dog with long enough legs to follow a horse and deal with the wild Northumbrian countryside and compact enough to squeeze in narrow spaces to follow foxes. If you’d compare a Border Terrier to other Terrier dog breeds, you will quickly recognise the longer legs as a distinguishable feature. A fit-for-purpose dog!
Their thick and coarse double coat kept them warm and dry, especially in adverse northern weather conditions.
The Border Terrier also shares ancestry with the small Dandie Dinmont Terrier and the Bedlington Terrier. Two other terrier breeds with awe-inspiring history.
The British Kennel Club recognised border terriers in 1920, and the first Border Terrier Club was formed the same year.
The UK Breed standard recognises different shades of grizzle and red in this breed. Wheaten and Blue & Tan are other colour shades.
The high numbers of new registrations show the ongoing love of the British people for the Border Terrier.
In Q2 2022, 992 Border Terriers were registered with the UK Kennel Club. The Border Terrier is a popular dog breed in the UK, with 4,494 registration in 2022.
Source: https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/media/2405/quarterly-breed-stats-terriers.pdf updated March 2023
What is it like to live with a Border Terrier?
It will fill you with delight!
The Border Terrier is a highly adaptable breed in modern life. They can live in the city or country or an apartment or house. However, it should be appropriately secured if you have a garden, as the Border is renowned for being a little escape artist. They were bred to follow foxes underground, and digging was a big part.
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!
Border Terriers have a strong prey drive. Therefore, a squirrel, a cat, or a bird will typically be followed. Once on the hunt, it will be tough for you to keep up and impossible to catch up. 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 adore human companionship and love being with you. If A Borders needs a fulfilled, they will be very well-behaved and easy to care for. The Border Terrier is quite biddable and will try to please you. Training is easy with positive re-enforcement techniques. Due to their intelligence, they can excel in agility and games. You will bond deeply with your Border Terrier if you’re willing to invest the time.
They can display unexpected stubbornness as a terrier breed, but that should be easily overcome with the right mindset and consistency.
Despite their loving nature, they can have an independent streak too. As a working breed, they were bred to make their own decisions. Constant attention is not something that the Border Terrier craves. If the daily walks are tiring them sufficiently, they’re happy to just lazy around on the couch next to you or near 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.
Suppose you bring a Border Terrier into your family and life. In that case, you’ll get a handy-sized, no non-sense and affectionate little dog with many positive personality traits. They love life and walks and are generally a very sociable breed. Well-trained and socialised, this dog will not make any trouble and will fill your heart with joy.
Let’s now have a look at some common Border Terrier questions.
Are Border Terriers hypoallergenic?
Borders Terriers are considered a hypoallergenic dog breed. Their wiry-coated coat should be hand stripped a few times a year 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 are considered fully grown at 12 months. 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.
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
As a new owner, you should be prepared to pay medical expenses associated with the breed. Therefore, always opt for comprehensive insurance.
The Border Terrier is typically a long-lived breed with around 11-14 years of life span.
Hereditary diseases are genetically predisposed. For this reason, it’s essential always to choose a reputable breeder who has screened their dog’s DNA and knows from which family they come from. In addition, good pre-work and research can help minimise the risk of below upsetting conditions.
Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome: Also known as Spike’s disease, causes painful muscle cramps.
Primary Lens Luxation: Eye disorder that can affect terriers. Can be genetically tested for.
Generalised sebaceous gland hyperplasia
Many of these conditions can be treated if caught early. Still, working with a reliable veterinarian familiar with the Border Terrier is essential to ensure your dog receives proper care.
Most diseases are inherited in a recessive manner. It means the puppy must inherit both parents' genes to become affected. The puppy becomes a carrier if the mutation is only present in one parent. Hence, choosing a reputable breeder who has done genetic testing on their litters is vital.
The more aware you are of these diseases, the higher the chances you can prolong your dog’s life if problems arise. Same as with your child, be mindful of all required vaccinations, risks and even risks outside your home. This blog post, for example, outlines all toxic spring plants that can be harmful to your dog.