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The Border Terrier makes a great family pet.

The Border Terrier makes a great family pet. They can be housed in an apartment as long as frequent walks are part of the routine. They do not like to be left alone for long periods of time. If possible, a properly fenced enclosure for exercise is ideal. They are diggers so some of the fence needs to be buried to keep them in. They love children but please remember to not leave any child unsupervised with any dog or puppy. They train easily and live to please plus they make a good watch dog.

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The Border Terrier is 10 to 16 inches tall (to shoulders) and weighs 13 to 25 pounds. He has a short, wiry coat consisting of a short, soft, dense undercoat and a wiry topcoat. His coat color can be red, gray and tan, blue and tan, or wheat-colored.


Because of it's high energy level, the Border Terrier should get plenty of regular exercise, preferably at least two walks a day. Establish a daily routine, such as running or brisk walking. Or, consider enrolling this dog in various dog sports like agility and obedience. Like many terriers, this breed has an instinctive tendency towards digging, but plenty of exercise can help prevent these behaviors. Also note that the prey drive and inquisitive nature of the Border Terrier can easily lead the dog astray. Be sure your Border Terrier is kept on leash or supervised in a securely fenced-in yard whenever outdoors.


The Border Terrier is an intelligent and alert dog with plenty of energy. This intelligence can make way for somewhat headstrong behavior, but overall the breed is eager to please and responsive to diligent training. Bottom line, the Border Terrier requires a solid foundation of proper, thorough and consistent obedience training. Above all, Border Terriers crave human companionship and interaction. These dogs may become unhappy and even "act out" if not given enough attention, no matter how well-trained.


Though sometimes stubborn and strong willed, border terriers are, on the whole very even tempered, and are friendly and rarely aggressive. They are very good with children, but may chase cats and any other small pets.

Borders do well in task-oriented activities and have a surprising ability to jump high and run fast given the size of their legs. The breed has excelled in agility training, but they are quicker to learn jumps and see-saws than weaving poles. They take training for tasks very well, but appear less trainable if being taught mere tricks. The border in recent years has been bred to harbor a more subtle character so are more adaptable to apartment living if properly exercised.

They are intelligent and eager to please, but they retain the capacity for independent thinking and initiative that we're bred into them for working rats and fox underground. Their love of people and even temperament make them fine therapy dogs, especially for children and the elderly, and they are occasionally used to aid the blind or deaf. From a young age they should be trained on command.

Borders can adapt to different environments and situations well, and are able to deal with temporary change well. They will get along well with cats that they have been raised with, but may chase other cats and small animals such as mice, birds, rabbits, squirrels, rats, and guinea pigs.

Borders love to sit and watch what is going on. Walks with Borders will often involve them sitting and lying in the grass to observe the environment around them.

Rescue Groups

Border Terriers are sometimes bought without any clear understanding of what goes into owning one, and these dogs often end up in the care of rescue groups, in need of adoption or fostering. Other Border Terriers end up in rescue because their owners have divorced or died. If you're interested in adopting an adult Border Terriers who's already gone through the destructive puppy stage and may already be trained, a rescue group is a good place to start.

Living Conditions

The Border Terrier will do okay in an apartment if it is sufficiently exercised. They are moderately inactive indoors and a small yard is sufficient.

Life Expectancy

About 15 or more years


One of the oldest terrier breeds in England, the Border Terrier gets his name from the border region between Scotland and England, where he was first used to kill foxes and rodents, then later by shepherds and farmers to guard their stock. He was a relatively unknown dog until the breed was registered with the English Kennel Club in 1920. The first Border Terrier Club (England) was also formed that year. He was registered with the AKC in 1930, and his AKC popularity was 81st out of 157 breeds in 2007.

Health Issues:

Responsible breeders strive to maintain the highest breed standards as established by kennel clubs like the AKC. Dogs bred by these standards are less likely to inherit health conditions. However, some hereditary health problems can occur in the breed. The following are some conditions to be aware of:

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