The Border Terrier is a small to medium-sized terrier with a double coat made of soft undercoat and harsh, wiry outer coat. Coat colours include red grizzle, grizzle and tan, blue and tan, and less commonly, wheaten. Its body is slightly taller than it is long with a short muzzle, black nose, small, moderately thick ears that form a v-shape, and dark hazel eyes. It has a short tail that tapers from the base to the tip and is carried level with the back. The front legs are straight with substantial bone and sport muscular hindquarters. An adult Border Terrier dog reaches a height of 33 - 41 cm from the withers while a Border Terrier bitch can stand at a height of 28 - 36 cm from the withers. Dogs are much heavier compared to bitches, weighing 6 -7 kg and 5 - 6 kg respectively.
The Border Terrier is a rough-coated terrier that originated in the Cheviot Hills area of Northumberland, along the Scottish and English border. It was originally bred by the Robson family in 1857. John Robson founded the Border Hunt along with John Dodd of Catcleugh who hunted near the Carter Fell and used these agile and sturdy little dogs to go long distances after the horses and to bolt the hill foxes. However, it was through their two grandsons, Jacob Robson and John Dodd that made this little terrier-type breed popular. Its original purpose was to help get rid of predatory foxes, drive them from their underground den and kill them. The Border Terrier was also used to hunt marten, otters and badgers. The term "Border Terrier" was given to them because they were bred and kept mostly in the English and Scottish Border districts. It was a dog owned by Jacob Robson named "The Moss Trooper" that was the first registered Border Terrier in the Kennel Club in 1913. However, the breed was rejected for formal recognition a year after but rightfully won its slot six years later, in 1920, with the first standard written by Jacob Robson and John Dodd.
The Border Terrier is one of the smallest of the long-legged terrier group. This attribute allowed the breed to run as fast as a horse but small enough to bolt foxes out of their underground lairs. It is instinctively alert and energetic but mild-mannered. It is quite sensitive to loud noises because it was originally bred in the peaceful country hills so it must be familiarized to loud noises if it will live in the city to avoid extreme nervousness. A Border Terrier is fairly active at a young age but will typically mellow down as it grows older. Being a natural fox hunter, it has a tendency to dig. It is also a strong chewer and will tend to destroy all but the sturdiest toys.
The Border Terrier has a strong tendency to please and is comparatively trainable. It is a strong chewer and should be given solid, tough rubber toys such as rubber rings.
Grooming the harsh coat requires minimal attention; usually a weekly brushing or combing is sufficient enough. Professional grooming is required twice a year. If the dog is to be shown, a shorter coated look is required. The coat should be stripped by hand regularly and not clipped, except around the face area. Clipping the coat around the back of the Border Terrier will make it go curly and may never return to its natural form which may ruin the otherwise beautiful fur. The Border Terrier sheds little to no hair and is an excellent pet for those who suffer from allergies.
A Border Terrier is generally a hardy and long-lived dog, having a life span of 13 to 16 years. Being bred as a hunter and often exposed to cuts and bruises from fighting preys, the Border Terrier developed a high resistance to pain, very often appearing healthy even when injured. It is also very sensitive to anaesthetics due to a low percentage of body fat. Indigestion may also occur as a result of eating toys that are not robust enough for its strong instinct to chew. In addition, some hereditary health issues that have been known to affect the Border Terrier include:
Foods with wheat, yellow corn, and potatoes are ideal diets, potatoes being a good source of starch and carbohydrates. Natural or commercial foods with blends of soy, poultry, or white fish are not recommended.
The Border Terrier will do just fine in an apartment dwelling provided that it gets proper physical and mental exercise. A typical walk on a leash or a hardy game in the yard is a good way to get the required daily exercise. It is a breed that is reasonably inactive indoors but will do best in a dwelling with a large garden.
The Border Terrier is excellent with children and loves playing and being with the family. However, this breed has little tolerance with small animals such as cats, hamsters, rabbits, and other smaller breeds of animals as it will attack and kill pets smaller than itself because it was originally bred for this purpose. With proper and early socialization with other household pets, this behaviour towards other animals will not be a problem.