About Border Terriers

Available Dogs

Foster Homes




Breed History and Standard

The Border Terrier originated along the border of Scotland and England; that's how the Border got its name. The Border Terrier descended from a blend of old strains of a working terrier, closely related to the Dandie Dinmont, the Lakeland, and the Bedlington. The farmers of this region kept Borders because they would destroy foxes and other vermin. The Border Terrier's combination of courage and good sense has always been its asset. Originally bred to run and work with Foxhounds, they must energetic and built for such work. They combine activity with gameness.

Border Terriers are sturdy little dogs. They are a "no frills" working breed. Some people say they look like mongrels. Males can stand 12-15 inches tall and weigh between 13-18 pounds. Females are 10-14 inches and weigh between 10 - 16 pounds. This is the ideal, however, size and weight may vary and some may weigh as much as twenty pounds. Their heads are very distinctive, like that of an otter. The ears of a Border Terrier are small, V-shaped drop ears. They have a harsh, wiry outer coat with a softer undercoat. The coat can be 1/2 inch to 2 inches in length. Border Terriers may look like a small "Benji" if coat is has not been groomed. If dog has been clipped, coat will tend to be soft and silky or woolly. Borders that are more commonly seen are grizzles. Both grizzles and blue and tans vary in color. Grizzles can be anything from light brown, red brown, dark brown, or a mixture of brown and black, gray and black or gray and brown hairs. Blue and tans can be gray or blue in color or may appear black and tan. Some blue and tans can have red or brown hairs mixed through their coats as well.

The Border has many looks, depending upon the length and condition of the coat. They look like "ewoks" when their hair is long and tussles about. If you think you have a possible Border Terrier but are not sure, please feel free to contact one of our representatives and we will identify the dog as a Border Terrier and assist in its adoption or take it into our program. We have rescue volunteers around the country ready to help.

Here are some different looks that Border can have:

Below is a grizzle Border Terrier as you would likely see them at dog shows.

This is Bella, a grizzle Border in full coat.

This is Bella after she has been completely stripped.

This is Dexter, a blue and tan in full coat. He was removed from a Florida SPCA by some volunteers.

This is Dexter after he was stripped.

Some owners may have opted to clip their dogs. When Borders are clipped the coat loses color and texture. Here are some examples of Border Terriers that have been clipped:

Notice the abundance of soft lighter hair on these Border Terriers.

We rescue all sizes and shapes. The Border Terrier is a wonderful breed, but they are not for everyone. They were originally bred to hunt fox in England in the early 1800's.  Everything about the Border has fox hunting in mind: coloring, conformation, character and intelligence.
Because of its hunting traits we require that all adopters have a physically visible, securely fenced yard, except for those who may live in an apartment. At any rate, Border Terriers, especially rescues, should not be permitted off leash.  Borders have the unique personality of this feisty little terrier that is capturing the hearts of many. Some people may find that they have bitten off more than they could chew.

Border Terrier Temperament

Border Terriers are a versatile and adaptable breed. They are equally at home living a working terrier's life or as a house pet. They are excellent housedogs that don't need a lot of space. They are unobtrusive and sensible. In general, they do not crave attention at all times by constant nudging their owners, although some can be described as "needy". They are devoted pals, game for anything, including ratting, learning tricks, running agility, or sitting on the couch.They are not generally a noisy breed, but show a zest for some activities, like eating, running out the door, or raising havoc when they spot a squirrel or rabbit through the window. Most groups of Borders will howl or sing several times a day. This characteristic was probably acquired from many generations living in hunting kennels. Border fanciers describe their singing as an angel choir.

While adaptable to a variety of environments, remember they are first and foremost hunting dogs. City or apartment living can be quite a chore to keep them happy. A confined or sedate lifestyle does not meet the needs of this little terrier. They require what seems to be an extraordinary amount of human attention, outdoor activity, exercise, discipline, as well as an understanding and acceptance of their hunting nature.

Compatability With Other Pets and Children

Borders can be aggressive with other dogs, if they are not properly raised and socialized. But we have many that get along fine with other dogs. We try to determine that before placing any of the rescues into multiple dogs' homes. We do not place a Border into a home with the same sex Border, as many times their possessive nature and jealousy can get the best of them and fights may ensue. Borders most often do not get along with cats. We do occasionally get one in that does, as possibly it was raised with them from a pup. It's not a guarantee though, and we do not recommend keeping rescue Borders with cats. They also will not tolerate any small rodents such as hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, mice, rats, etc. They make excellent farm maintenance dogs as they will keep most nuisance animals away, although that may include cats!

The Border can make a terrific family pet, and can get along with children, provided that the children are well-behaved. Unfortunately, because we have limited knowledge of their past history, we do not place any rescue terriers into homes with children under the age of 5. They can be very assertive and may not have a lot of tolerance for a child's poking and playfulness. They can strike back in warning or just wanting to be left alone.back to the top

Is This Really the Right Dog for You?

Many people do not research the breed before buying a Border and this is the main reason so many of them end up in rescue. A bored Border is a problem Border. If you are looking for a non shedding breed, this is not the breed for you. If you are looking for a dog that does not bark or dig, then this is also not the breed for you. If you are looking for a loyal, loving companion, who is active and intelligent and wants to be your best friend, then this IS the breed for you. You have come to the right place!

Because Borders are very willing to hunt, they must not be allowed to run off leash in unsecured areas. They are quick to chase furry animals and bolt across busy streets. Additionally, they are friendly and likely to wander off to visit people or other dogs. Anyone who likes terriers should enjoy a Border. They have pleasant personalities, are easy to care for, reasonably obedient, humorous and entertaining, and have an irresistible impish appearance. All in all, Border Terriers are splendid companions; definitely a dog lover's dog!

Please understand that many of the rescue dogs have been in shelters, abandoned, and abused and will need time to adjust to their new home and new family. All will benefit from obedience and most Borders LOVE agility or flyball. A happy Border is a dog with a purpose and if you give them one, they will never let you down!

We ask that you do visit Border Terrier Club of America (BTCA) Web Site (http://www.btcoa.org/research/research.html) and read everything about the Border Terrier before making any decisions to adopt one. 
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