Border Terrier Dog Breed Profile

by Dr. Chris

AKC Group: Terrier Group

The Border Terrier is still popular in the show ring and pet sales. In fact, Border Terriers are among the top ten breeds in the UK Kennel Club and nearly 1,000 dogs were registered recently with the AKC.


The Border Terrier originated in the area bordering England and Scotland as a hunter and killer of vermin and other pests. No Terrier breed is very old (compared to other breeds) and the Border Terrier is no exception, first appearing on the scene circa 1860. History tells us that the dog was bred by John Robinson and John Dodd originators of the Border Hunt in Northumberland in 1857. Their respective grandsons, Jacob and John sought to make the breed famous by introducing them to the UKC. They were successfully recognized by the United Kennel Club and, at the same time, became popular with dog breeders in general.

Physical Features

The Border Terrier is a small/medium sized dog that stands no more than 16 inches tall and weighs no more than 16 lbs. It is slightly taller than long and has a medium bone structure with the characteristic "otter head." Its bone structure indicates endurance and stamina. The head and keen eyes give it an alert fearless expression and one of poise. The eyes are not protruding, nor are they small and beady; they are generally are dark hazel.

The V-shaped ears are small and set more to the side of the head as opposed to being high set. They flop close to the cheeks. The dark muzzle is short and may have whiskers protruding from it. The black nose and teeth seem large in proportion to the dog's size. The coat of the Border Terrier is short and rough; the undercoat is also short but denser. The over coat is very wiry but is not curly or wavy and the coloration can be red, wheaten, or grizzle and tan or blue and tan.


Border Terriers generally get along well with other dogs; however, if they dislike another, they do not hesitate to start a fight. Highly intelligent, even tempered but somewhat confrontational, stubborn & occasionally aggressive they require patience when training. Vary the routine and use positive reinforcement; be firm, consistent. The breed has excelled in agility training.

Common Health Problems

Hip dysplasia, heart defects, cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, seizures, Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome (Spike's disease).

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