Date updated: 15 02 2018
The Border Terrier is a go-getter in every sense. Lively, determined and inquisitive these guys love to explore and sniff around. But along with their terrier instincts there’s also a softer side: they’re generally affectionate, loyal - and above all else, fun! They’re always down to play if you are - so are you ready to welcome a Border Terrier into your home?
Average lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Weight: Males: 5.9 to 7.1 kg, Females: 5.1 to 6.4 kg
Height: Males:33 to 44 cm, Females: 28 to 36 cm
Colouring: can be grizzle and tan, wheaten or blue and tan.
Grooming requirements: generally pretty low maintenance.
Average purchase cost: around £600 for a Kennel Club registered puppy and £450 for a non-registered pup.
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A great breed option for…
Choose a relaxed, good-humoured pup and a Border Terrier can be a perfect new addition to the family. These are smart dogs and are definitely trainable, although they can have a stubborn streak - so aren’t necessarily the best choice if you’re completely new to dog ownership.
Most Borders are more than happy to curl up on your lap - and if you’re up for half an hour or more of exercise each day, this breed will suit you fine. At home, they’re usually down for some rough and tumble with the kids, and most Border Terriers get on fine with other dogs in the house. If there are cats about however, this might not be the best breed choice; they love to chase anything small and furry!
Behaviour and training
Border Terriers are intelligent, which helps a lot when it comes to training. But at the same time they can be independent and strong minded, so don’t be too surprised if they ignore you and run off to do their own thing if something interesting catches their eye.
Scolding and shouting won’t really help you. With all training it’s about positive reinforcement, and early socialisation is important to help your buddy grow into a confident and friendly dog. Basic commands to focus on include Sit, Heel, Come, Leave, Down and Bed.
You can work with your Border Terrier’s natural energy and inquisitiveness to give a good mind and body workout. A game of hide and seek, and lots of fetch, can fit the bill perfectly. Agility training, including specialist courses for earth dogs can also be a good call if your pooch is up for a new challenge.
While they’re less “yappy” than many terriers, excessive barking can sometimes be an issue with Borders. This is more likely if they’re left alone without enough stimulation while you’re at work. Also, remember that these guys love to dig, so if you leave your buddy alone with free run of the garden you could come home to find they’ve burrowing their way out! Our guides to separation anxiety and excessive barking are both worth a read if you’re thinking of bringing a terrier home.
Given the chance, Border Terriers will eat way more than they need! Follow the advice of your vet on how much to give them - and stick to good quality dog food.
A weekly brush is usually all that’s needed to keep your buddy’s coat in good condition. The hair doesn’t usually need clipping - but should be hand-stripped around once or twice a year, which involves getting rid of the old fur at the root so the new coat can grow. If you’re new to this and want to get the technique right, it’s definitely worth getting a professional groomer to help you out and give you some pointers on how to do it yourself.
Common health issues to watch out for
The Border Terrier is one of the healthiest and hardiest breeds of small dog. That said, they are still prone to certain health conditions. Problems to be aware of include…