The Border Terrier has become one of the most adored breeds of the canine world thanks to its intelligence and head to tail characteristic charm. The Border Terrier, with its shaggy tan coat, not only perfectly fits the image that comes to mind when imagining a dog, it also fits the many portrayals throughout culture in children's books and stories.
At an average of 13-16 pounds (with females only weighing in at a pound or two less), the Border Terrier is by no means a large dog; however, its personality is one that can be considered boisterous and jovial. Upon closer examination, one will find the breed's tousled coat of tan, red, grizzle or even blue and tan is actually a double coat of coarse, wiry hair. One of the main features that make the breed so popular is their teddy bear face, characteristically set with soft intelligent eyes, a black button nose and topped with folded over ears, conveying a quizzical expression. The tail is short and tapered. It is not uncommon for patches of white to be found on the chest and at times, the feet.
Those who choose to keep two Border Terriers often elect to have a pair consisting of one male and one female. This allows for issues of dominance to be kept at a minimum. Although small, the Border Terrier is a robust and sturdy little dog.
Border Terrier Temperament
A spirited, keen, and friendly little dog, the Border Terrier is an alert and enthusiastic dog, with a good nature, plenty of energy, and lots of determination. Although the Border Terrier can sometimes be quite easygoing, laid back, and sensible, at other times he can be filled with energy and spirit, with plenty of stamina and the determination to get out there, explore, and have some fun. The curious nature of the Border Terrier can lead him into trouble, so make sure that he is not let loose unless in a safe and secure area such as your fenced garden. This is a responsive dog that is willing and eager to please, but at the same time his high energy levels and spirit may make him better suited to those with some experience of dog ownership and training.
The Border Terrier is known to get along very well with children, and in most cases will get on with other pets that he is raised with, particularly other dogs. However, the Border Terrier may hunt smaller animals such as rodents, so bear this in mind when considering this breed if your child has a favorite pet hamster that likes to run around the bedroom! This breed is usually fine with strangers and his tendency to bark makes him an effective watchdog. This is a responsive breed when it comes to training, and those with the experience and know how can use the right attitude to get the best out of this plucky little dog.
The coat of the Border Terrier needs to be brushed on a weekly basis, and you may wish to get it clipped every few months or so to keep it looking its best. For show dogs the dead coat is stripped every few months. Clip out any known in the coat when grooming, and bathe the Border Terrier only when necessary. This is a low shedding dog, and therefore may be suitable for people with allergies providing he is groomed regularly.
The very beginnings of the Border Terrier are traced to a region just on the boundary of England and Scotland. Hunters plagued by predatory foxes and farmers with barns full of rats and mice used the small but gutsy breed to kill off vermin, or flush the foxes (and sometimes even badgers) out of their dens. They were then used in foxhunts because, unlike other smaller breeds used for the same purpose, their somewhat longer legs allowed them to keep up with the horses.
The Border Terrier's all out willingness to learn is what has made it such a popular choice in the show business world. One merely needs to appeal to its 'eager to please' attitude with loads of praise to see it perform. As many have found, the things a Border Terrier are given love and attention for, they will do time and time again. This can make training easy; however, it is important to take great care in not accidentally establishing a certain behavior as acceptable when it is not. These terriers have a tremendous ability for remembering exactly what is tolerable and what they are only sometimes able to get away with. It is likely they will try to get away with the behavior first, resulting in a power struggle. Consistency is a must and dominance must be established early in the relationship. This is done with the help of a good obedience class.
Border Terriers not only have the temperament that makes them quite keen on obedience training, they get such high marks in it that they are often used as therapy dogs for children and the elderly. They have been used as service animals for the deaf and, as stated, it is not uncommon to see them in commercials, TV and even movies. Their willingness to do a number of takes and enthusiastically perform each time puts them ahead of other breeds whose attention span often wanders due to the amount of lights, equipment and activity on the set.
The life expectancy of the Border Terrier is around 12-15 years, sometimes longer. There are some health problems to look out for with the Border Terrier and some of these include Legg Perthes, cataracts, luxating patella, thyroid problems, autoimmune problems, seizures, heart murmurs, PRA, HD, and allergies. Parents of Border Terrier puppy should have OFA and CERF certificates.