Breed Health

The Border Terrier Character

The Border Terrier Character

But what are Border Terriers actually like though?
Border Terriers are, as the standard says, essentially working terriers. They were originally bred to assist in the control of foxes in the border country between Northumberland and Scotland. Even though you may want a Border Terrier purely as a pet; you cannot deny their heritage and instinct....especially when out for a walk and they despatch a passing mouse!
Sometimes this instinct can cause them to 'turn a deaf ear' to your calls when out; but if you work on a good, consistent, reliable recall as a pup this should help in this type of situation.

It is very important that you socialise and train a Border early on, as without this they could become a real handful later on as although they love to please, they do have an independent streak.

A training class with someone who has experience of many different breeds is an excellent idea. A trained Border is a happy Border (with an even happier owner!).
Beware though not to give harsh corrections as Borders do not respond to this type of training. They much prefer to please you, and so positive reinforcement is the way to go.
Due to their heritage, they do have quite a high 'prey drive' (like most terriers) but you can channel this drive into great games of chasing and playing with balls, which provide hours of fun for your dog and good exercise.

Even the best trained Border will give you the deaf ear at some point, usually while chasing rabbit or deer! You must be aware of this instinct when taking on a Border.
Many Borders live quite happily with cats, having been introduced to them as pups; but outside the home environment they may not be quite so tolerant of other cats!
Borders are intelligent and game dogs; they love to be 'doing' but after the day's adventures appreciate a cuddle on the couch.
For the most part they are very biddable and adaptable. They are a no-nonsense breed that loves to be part of whatever activity the family is involved in; be it showing, agility, obedience, hiking, cycling, sailing or gardening!

However, beware of a bored Border; they'll find something to entertain themselves with, whether it is chewing, digging or trying to find a way out of your garden. It is essential that your garden is secure. Keep their minds and bodies busy though and you'll be rewarded with a content companion. On the whole; Borders are a healthy and hardy breed not afflicted with the types of conditions seen in some other breeds.
Much is said of the Border's double coat. It has a harsh outer coat to provide protection and a soft undercoat to provide warmth. The top coat needs 'hand-stripping' a couple of times a year to allow the new coat to grow through.

What can I do with my Border Terrier?

An easier question would be what CAN'T I do with my Border Terrier?! They are a versatile breed that can turn their paw to many activities. Borders can be found working very successfully in many disciplines; conformation showing, agility, obedience, HTM, terrier racing, working vermin, flyball, therapy dogs and of course being great company for those who love to walk.

Related Articles