Border Terriers Dogs 101
Meet Maisy. Maisy is a Border Terrier. For most of her breed’s existence, the Border Terrier has been unknown, and her people prefer that she stay that way if it means protecting her from the ravages of popularity.
She’s intelligent, loyal, fearless, loving, and determined, and about as aggravating as any dog can be.
The Border Terrier may well be one of the oldest terriers in Great Britain, but for many of you, this may be the first you’ve heard of her. Let’s get to know this spunky little pest.
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10. The Border Terrier originated in the Cheviot Hills in Great Britain that form the border country between England and Scotland, a region also inhabited by powerful Hill Foxes, a menace to farm stock.
To keep these foxes in check, farmers and shepherds needed a plucky terrier leggy enough to follow a horse but small enough to follow a fox into dens and brush. The Border had to be strong and tireless with a weather-resistant coat to withstand the mists and bone-soaking rains of the Cheviot Hills. This small, hardy, working terrier could be found in the homes of almost all border farmers, shepherds, and sportsmen.
Often, she was used in conjunction with Border Foxhounds. The Border Terrier was likely named for this association with the Border Foxhounds.
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9. Considering that she’s a terrier, the Border is good-tempered, affectionate, obedient, and easily trained. She’s highly intelligent and quickly learns the cues that signal you’re going outside for a walk or to the office, when it’s mealtime, and what you like and don’t like her to chew. Excepts for socks maybe… someone hasn’t quite figured out I’d like my socks intact.
8. One of the unique features of the Border Terrier is her loose-fitting hide. Whereas the term “coat” refers to a dog’s hair, “pelt” or “hide” refer to her skin, which should be thick and movable.
In fact, the only terrier standard that calls for a loose hide is the Border Terriers. This characteristic protects her from any bites or scratches and allows her to wiggle in and out of tight underground tunnels. The only way to truly test the hide of a Border Terrier is to grasp it gently over the back with both hands and lift it slightly.
7. Since the Border Terrier was bred to work alongside Border Foxhounds, she is less dog-aggressive than some other terriers that hunted on their own. The Border Terrier doesn’t have the fiery, ready-to-go personality that some people look for in a Jack Russell Terrier, or Rat Terrier, but this allows her to easily live calmly with other dogs.
6. As a breed, the Border Terrier has changed very little over the years, aside from becoming more consistent in appearance.
This is mostly due to the fact that she has lived and bred in relative obscurity. She’s not as flashy as many of her Terrier relatives. In fact, she could be easily mislabeled as a little wiry mutt by the uninitiated, but she’s a purebred terrier with all the gusto and wits of her more popular cousins.
5. With her family, she’s affectionate but self-reliant. Thanks to her intelligence, good-tempered nature, and willingness to work, the Border can adapt to life in any environment, city or country, and is highly trainable.
The Border Terrier loves kids and can match their energy levels and play drive all day long, but she can be a little rambunctious for households with small children.
Expect your Border to be a part of your family for 13 to 14 years.
4. The Border Terrier does not need to be bathed often — only when she’s gotten into something gross and it’s really necessary. Her coat naturally repels dirt and, with weekly brushing and a wipe-down with a damp cloth when needed, it should stay fairly clean. When you do bathe her, use a shampoo made for the rough terrier coat to help maintain its texture.
3. She’s a truly low maintenance when it comes to her hair and sheds little.
The Border Terrier’s coat needs weekly brushing and periodic stripping — removing the dead hair by hand or with a stripping tool — to maintain its trademark rough texture.
You can clipper the coat, but the texture and color will become softer and lighter and the coat won’t be weather resistant.
If you love the scruffy look, you can just leave her coat as is, with no stripping or clipping, but the coat may shed more.
2. She should not be let off-leash, for there is no terrier more determined to explore and pursue anything that runs except, perhaps, for the Jack Russell. The Border Terrier is so inquisitive some get themselves wedged into tight holes or crawlspaces trying to find out what’s in there.
A secure yard or kennel run is essential for this breed, she is a proven escape artist, an able jumper, and proficient digger.
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1. Your Border Terrier is more willing to work with you than many other terriers. Many excel at the highest levels of obedience and agility competition. But the toughness that makes her suited to ridding farms of vermin can frustrate you when she decides to be stubborn. She has a mind of her own and while she will listen to the command, she’ll often choose on her own when to obey it.
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