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Border Terrier Dog Breed Profile

Dog Breed profiles

Border Terrier Breed Profile

Border Terrier fact file

KC Group: Terrier
Size: Small
Height: Up to 40cm
Weight: Dogs: 6 - 7kg; bitches: 5 - 6kg
Average lifespan: 13 - 14 years
Temperament: Active, hardy, intelligent, and affectionate 
Good with children?: Yes
Exercise requirement: Moderate
Good guard dogs?: Would bark
Moulting level: Low
Grooming: Moderate
Colours: Red, wheaten, grizzle, and tan, or blue and tan
Jogging partner: Yes


  • A hardy breed, generally enjoying excellent health.
  • No known hereditary problems.
  • Regular health checks are recommended as he’s a stoical dog who won’t let on if he’s in pain.
  • No health tests are required before breeding parent dogs, although it is advised that all puppies are health checked.


  • Loyal — to all his family, not just one member.
  • Gentle.
  • Affectionate.
  • Intelligent.
  • Biddable.
  • Cheeky.


  • An active dog who was originally bred to keep up with mounted hunts and go to ground after foxes. Needs an active lifestyle.
  • Would thrive in the countryside but is very versatile and will happily adapt to town life.
  • Doesn’t enjoy being alone; he loves human attention.
  • Loves to have a routine.
  • Gets on well with children, but will put them in their place if they become too rough.
  • Mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise, his mind needs to be kept busy.


  • Biddable nature means he’s eager to please.
  • Don’t forget he’s a true terrier and training must be firm and consistent.
  • The Border Terrier does have an independent streak; he will often acknowledge you but do what you want him to in his own time.

General care

  • The Border sports a harsh, wiry topcoat with a soft and dense undercoat.
  • Needs little grooming — a brush over once a week is sufficient.
  • Ideally your Border Terrier should be hand-stripped twice a year — in spring and autumn.
  • He shouldn’t be clipped as this ruins the coat, altering its colour and texture.
  • Seldom requires a bath — though a twice-yearly one will keep him smelling sweet.
  • His wiry coat means that mud and dirt will brush off easily.
  • Carefully monitor food portions. The Border Terrier is very greedy and would eat his weight in food if given the chance.


  • Good temperament.
  • Long-lived and healthy.
  • Easy to train.
  • Versatile.
  • Good size.
  • Low-maintenance coat.


  • Needs above-average activity.
  • Tendency to chase other small, furry pets in the household.