Border Terriers are one of the UK’s favourite breeds, renowned for their high energy levels and great personalities! They’re relatively low maintenance, and their cute otter-like faces will have your heart melting in an instant. If you’re wondering if you’re right for a Border Terrier puppy or looking for info on how to take care of them, you’re in the right place. From personality traits and how much exercise they need to grooming and feeding tips, here’s why Border Terriers are such great companions:
Let’s kick things off with the basics….
What does a border terrier look like
Border Terriers are small, sturdy little dogs, with relatively longer legs compared to some other terrier breeds like Jack Russels. They’re typically around 25-28cm in height, and have a straight, slightly stubbed tail that’s normally stood upright to attention. Unless they’ve just been told off for eating too many treatos that is, then you’ll find it plastered to their bum.
They have a wiry, thick and short coat that can be coloured in many different variations, with 4 colours officially approved by the Kennel Club. These are Red, Grizzle & Tan, Blue & Tan and Wheat (which is the rarest.). Their coat does shed, so if you’re thinking of becoming a pawrent to one, we’d recommend not buying any more black trousers or a velvet sofa. Although their coat is wiry, many Borders have softer fur on their flopped-down ears, like little silky, velvet blankets.
One of their most endearing features though are their adorable little faces, with an otter-like complexion and twinkling little eyes. See what we mean??
Border Terrier history
Borders are thought to have originated in the UK in the 18th century and haven’t changed much in appearance since. They were originally bred as hunting dogs intended to catch vermin, however, due to their high energy levels and stamina, soon became used for fox hunting too. Their compact size just neat enough to flash the fox out the den. The Kennel Club still notes their main characteristic as being ‘capable of following a horse, combining activity with gameness.’ but in the off chance you don’t own a horse that needs following, they are also well adapted to urban-dwelling with a pretty chilled out nature as long as they get their daily runabout.
Border Terrier personality:
Despite their history of hunting, Border Terriers are known for their kindness and loyalty. This makes them a fab choice for families, as they love receiving attention (don’t we all?) and being part of your team. As long as they’re well-trained they’re good with children, and aren’t known for being aggressive. Although they can be overly playful, and do have that bit of terrier in them, meaning that if threatened, they could try to nip. So we’d still always recommend keeping them supervised whilst with children or vulnerable adults, as no risk is ever worth it.
They are speedy learners with great focus, which makes training less of a challenge. Especially if you’re equipped with some of our Softies Dog Training Treats, either Meaty or Plant-Based! Their terrier tenacity means they can be stubborn at times, but don’t let this trick you into thinking they’re unable, as they’re very intelligent pups. Check out our crate training and puppy toilet training guides if your a soon to be puppy owner.
So how much exercise does a breed bred for hunting need?
Due to their high energy nature, they require one hour of daily exercise, whether this be via walkies or playtime. And will greatly appreciate any more than this too, although don’t over do it! Without exercise, they can get restless and grumpy, which might lead to them acting out in destructive ways (think buh bye to your slipper).
How to groom a Border Terrier?
Border Terriers have a double coat comprising of an under coat and a topcoat. The undercoat acts as an insulation layer to keep the doggies warm/coool and protects against the sun, whilst the topcoat is waterproof and dustproof for protection. This means that twice a year they’ll blow their topcoat in preparation for the season change. At this point, they’ll need your help removing the dead floof by stripping them with a stripping tool (whilst being gentle to not harm them of course). However, you can also brush out their topcoats weekly to keep them looking lovely and neat all year round.
It’s highly recommended not to clip them as this doesn’t remove the dead hair, it simply shortens it. This could damage both their top and undercoat, as well as causing them to lose their coats lovely texture and colour. So clipping = a no no!
In terms of bath time, monthly washes work best, although of course there are clauses to that, such as if you’ve gone on a muddy walk or if they suffer from hayfever. Less frequent washes can help protect their skin from irritation, and maintain their coats natural oiliness. .
Are Border Terriers hypoallergenic?
Yes. Border terriers are a hypoallergenic breed as they are relatively low shedding and don’t produce too much drool either (fewph!).
Health issues in Border Terriers
Border Terriers are a relatively healthy breed, but like most purebreds, are known to still suffer from some health conditions. The main ones being:
- CECS (canine epileptoid cramping syndrome also known as “Spike’s disease”) – the common symptoms being tremors, muscle spasms or seizures.
- Luxating patellas (also known as dislocated kneecaps), which tends to be genetic so breeders should test for it in their puppies.
- SLEM, otherwise known as shaking puppy syndrome – DNA testing can diagnose this.
- Canine Gallbladder Mucocoele – affecting the gall bladder, which may require removal
What should I feed a Border Terrier?
Like all pups Border Terriers require a complete and balanced diet to fuel all their zoomies and squirrel-chasing. Depending on their preferences you can choose from dry food, wet food, or a mix of the two, plus the occasional treat or two. Don’t forget to reduce their main meal if you do feed treats though, to keep them at their ideal weight. Here’s how to tell if your pup is fat or floofy.
We offer a range of gut-friendly recipes, designed to support healthy digestion, immune function and the all-important pretty poops! Choose from our Puppy Chicken, Adult Chicken or Salmon dry dog food recipes, packed with billions of probiotics and served in a 100% recyclable bag. Or take your pick of our wet Salmon, Turkey, or Grain Free Chicken Dog Food recipes. These are all complete, so you can feed each recipe on its own or mixed with any other complete recipe. Then last, but definitely not least, our range of nutritious and delicious treatos. Whether you’re after a calming treat to serve before bedtime, training treat for your Border Terrier puppy, or dental stick to keep their pearly whites, white; we’ve got something for you!
According to their owners:
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@nuttypeanuttyevans says: “We chose a Border terrier because we wanted a small sturdy dog with a cheek face and temperament. They are super intelligent and determined- Peanut definitely rules the roost at home! Call us biased but we also think she is the cutest most loving dog!”
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@vera.the.border.terrier says: “They’re the best little dogs, very loyal, cuddly but are definitely stubborn!”
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@rusty.theborder says: “ Very affectionate, funny and intelligent boy, Rusty makes us laugh every day, even when he’s doing something he’s not meant to! Especially enjoys eating popcorn and ice creams. A typical terrier, chase and tug are his favourite games.”
So, what have we learnt from these owners themselves? Border Terriers are friendly loyal and playful and can also be cheeky! But isn’t them being slightly cheeky what makes having a doggie fun?