Although the Border is certainly one of the most unpretentious breeds within the terrier family, its lean build and simple features have clear advantages. Originally it was bred to hunt game and dig foxes out of the ground; so he had to be small enough to dig and long-legged to run fast. Today it is rarely used for hunting but is a very popular pet.
Border Terrier – Primarily a working terrier
The courage originally bred into this breed to enable them to do their job is entirely hidden beneath a very gentle personality. As a working terrier, he had an enduring good reputation – after all, he pursued foxes, driving them to the dogs, often after chasing for miles. In the middle of the 19th century, it appeared as a new breed for the first time, namely on the border between England and Scotland (hence the name Border: “border”).
In 1920 it was recognized as a breed with its own breeding standard. Since then he has been successful at dog shows and his declining use as a hunting dog has been more than offset by his increasing popularity as a pet. For a terrier, this dog has a calm character, is affectionate, easy to train, and not overexcited like some other terriers.
The Border Terrier, unlike other terriers, is extremely willing to obey its owner, which makes training easy. He doesn’t have any special requirements when it comes to grooming either: his coat seems to repel dirt, so brushing it once a week is completely adequate grooming.
Border Terriers need lots of exercises; when they get bored, they invent their own games. They are passionate diggers and will bark if neglected. They go along with everything and have a keen interest in everything that’s going on around them.
They get along well with other dogs – and cats, if carefully introduced – although they should not be trusted around smaller animals that look like prey.
They originally come from the area around the border between England and Scotland. The area is called Border Country. Scottish Borders (Gaelic: Crìochan na h-Alba) has been one of the 32 Council Areas in Scotland since 1996. Hilly terrain dominates the south, west, and north of the region, while the east is primarily flat and level, rarely featuring smaller clusters of hills. The River Tweed flows through the region from west to east and together with its numerous tributaries drains the area. It forms the natural border with England for the last twenty miles of its course and finally empties into the North Sea at Berwick-upon-Tweed. This landscape is rough and densely overgrown with ferns, undergrowth, or vast heathland.
When hunting foxes, Border Terriers first had to follow riders and a pack of hounds at a gallop, only to be later sent to the den. They are originally hunting dogs, mainly for fox hunting. At the same time, they should be able to walk well. Last but not least, he has to get along in the pack. All this makes the character of this terrier unique. In addition to hunting, the Border Terrier was also responsible for guarding the horse farm and yard. The Border Terrier was bred to be a working terrier for the challenges outlined above. The first examples of the Border Terrier were bred in the late 17th century and, like the other terriers of this area – such as the Lakeland, Dandie Dinmont, Bedlington, and the now-extinct white-haired Redesdale Terriers – descended from the same ancestors.
With only three specimens, an attempt was made in the 1920s to create a modern pedigree dog from him. The breed was officially recognized by the Kennel Club in 1920. However, many enthusiasts of this very popular dog breed in the UK have resisted the downsides that are often associated with breeding purebred dogs. The breed was only officially recognized by the FCI in 1987.
This dog has a rather broad skull and a strong and short muzzle. The nose is mainly black, but there are also Border Terriers with a liver or flesh-colored nose. He has a scissor bite, with the upper row of incisors overlapping the lower without a gap and the teeth are perpendicular to the jaw. His dark eyes are alert with a lively expression. Its ears are small, V-shaped, and moderately thick, falling forward and lying close to the cheeks.
The Border Terrier’s body length far exceeds the shoulder height measured at the front of the neck. The latter has not been officially established, but it is between 32 and 36 cm. Males weigh between 5.9 and 7.1 kg and females between 5.1 and 6.4 kg. Despite his small size, his gait allows him to keep up with the horse’s pace. His ability to do this is due to his long, graceful legs, which are less conspicuous by musculature than his light build. This allows the Border Terrier to cover long distances with ease. Its tail is moderately short, distinctly thick at the base, tapering to a point, set high but not carried arched over the back. The fur consists of a hard, robust top coat and a dense undercoat in red, wheat yellow, pepper, and salt, red or blue with red spots.
Adult Borders are usually completely trimmed about three times a year. However, the frequency of trimming also depends on the individual garment structure of each individual fringe. The color of the coat also seems to be the deciding factor. Red and lighter grizzle and tan borders often have softer coats and need to be completely trimmed more often. Blue and tan and darker grizzle and tan border dogs with harsh coats do not need a full trim as often, regular trimming is often enough to keep the coat in shape. Spayed Border owners report that their Border Terriers’ coats seem to grow faster and are harder to trim. Hair would no longer be shed as it was prior to neutering but would be very tight when it came time to trim.
Adult Borders are usually completely trimmed about three times a year. However, the frequency of trimming also depends on the individual garment structure of each individual fringe. The color of the coat also seems to be the deciding factor. Red and lighter grizzle and tan borders often have softer coats and need to be completely trimmed more often. Blue and tan and darker grizzle and tan border dogs with harsh coats do not need a full trim as often, regular trimming is often enough to keep the coat in shape.
Spayed Border owners report that their Border Terriers’ coats seem to grow faster and are harder to trim. Hair would no longer be shed as it was prior to neutering but would be very tight when it came time to trim. It goes without saying that you should regularly groom the Border’s coat with a comb and brush and check its ears, eyes, paws, anus, and genitals. Grooming is extremely important for any dog as their coat and skin reflect their health. These dogs have a bristly coat with a double coat.
The undercoat is soft and warms the dog and the longer, harsh top coat acts like water and dirt-repellent jacket. In order to obtain this double hair, “mature” marginal hair is pulled out, ie trimmed. A common mistake is to let the fur grow in the winter and think they’re “warm” now. On the contrary – a very long top coat ensures that the warming undercoat grows more sparsely. Thus, a dog trimmed for winter is better equipped than a dog with an excessively long top coat. The protection of the double coat of hair also applies to the hot season, as excessive trimming increases the risk of sunburn.
A lively, affectionate, and loyal companion dog, the Border Terrier is also suitable for living in the apartment, but then requires frequent training to shed its excess energy. These dogs mainly display typical signs that only terriers can display. Initially, it was a tough and flexible working dog, particularly suited to underground work. His robustness and willingness to act have remained with him to this day, although he has long since taken on the role of our companion. He is mostly compatible with other dogs and not too loud.
These dogs are comfortable in a community that may not be big enough. The Border Terrier makes a great family dog and gets along well with children. Of course, it is also the perfect companion for singles. There is only one thing to note. He only feels really good when he is physically and mentally challenged. He loves to run and is extremely fast! Improperly trained specimens tend to pick fights with other dogs. It is the perfect companion for active people, both singles and families.
With a little skill and expertise, you can train your Border Terrier well. This breed of dog can even be professionally trained with clear instructions. The basis should always be a respectful relationship. Consistent and loving training should begin as early as puppy age. Although they look so playful and cute, they have a real terrier with lots of confidence as well as a solid gun dog. Your Border Terrier would like to continue his education and is looking for cooperation with his owners. He is not a beginner dog. But with a little dedication, a novice athlete can lead it. There are no requirements for the size of the apartment. It stays in place effortlessly while jogging, riding, playing your favorite sport, or, to some extent, cycling.
Compared to other breeds, this dog breed tends to be free of breed-typical diseases. However, even among them, there are specimens with hip dysplasia, eye disease progressive retinal atrophy, or heart disease. Border Terriers can also be affected by Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome (CECS). Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome is a condition associated with seizures similar to epilepsy. There are also cases of patellar dislocation, a problem with the kneecap, and one related to glaucoma.
The Border Terrier is extremely good with children. So that the dog can later get along with fellow dogs and other pets, it should be socialized at an early stage.
The Border Terrier was originally bred to follow the horse. It remains to be seen whether he really manages to do this over longer distances. But the fact is that the dogs really like to run and play outdoors.
A border who is “allowed” to walk around the block three times a day and otherwise has to sit at home adapts to this situation, but he certainly doesn’t have the right zest for life. He enjoys hunting in fox and marten dens more. These dogs are perfect for agility and other canine sports. They even make good therapy or assistance dogs.