The Kennel Club Border Terrier description...
Looking at a typical Border Terrier, one gets the impression that if nature were left to itself and dogs just bred naturally without man selecting the matings, the end result would be something very much along this dog’s lines.
In fact he’s just the sort of dog one would expect to have his origins in the border between England and Scotland.
The Border Terrier was once known as the Reedwater or the Coquetdale Terrier, after the localities of his early days.
His present name was adopted around 1880, probably because he was worked with the Border Foxhounds. But it was forty more years before the breed was recognised by the Kennel Club, in 1920.
The breed standard is terse and to the point; it outlines exactly the qualities that are required for a dog that is expected to go to ground after a fox.
The Border Terrier needs a powerful pair of jaws, good bone but not heavy, and a chest that is not too wide for him to get out of any earth he enters. He also needs to have the stamina to keep up with a horse, in order that he will be there when he’s needed.
The Border Terrier is basically a worker, but is perfectly capable of being an active member of a family, having a temperament that combines good nature with a terrier’s gameness.
Dogs originally bred and used for hunting vermin. 'Terrier' comes from the Latin word Terra, meaning earth. This hardy collection of dogs were selectively bred to be extremely brave and tough, and to pursue fox, badger, rat and otter (to name but a few) above and below ground.
Dogs of terrier type have been known here since ancient times, and as early as the Middle Ages, these game breeds were portrayed by writers and painters.
Read more at the Kennel Club website
What we would add...
If you are looking at having a Border Terrier for a family pet you may not be too bothered about the more formal description of the Border Terrier. Here is our description of the traits and characteristics you can expect from a typical pet Border Terrier.
From an early age the Border Terrier will train you, if you let them, to their way of life and routine. A Border Terrier loves it's routine and will only find it acceptable to be taken out of this for a great treat, for example a holiday of new walks, beaches, country cottages, camping or caravanning.
Being a quick learner, quicker then you most probably, can be taught lots of tricks and commands you just need to work out what motivates your dog to do this. It may be food, it may be a favourite toy.
A Border will love a good walk and will not stop until you do and will most probably be ready to go again before you are too but give them a snuggly bed, sofa or lap and they'll soon be out for the count catching up and recharging for the next session of mischief!
Taught from an early age that time alone at home is good, a Border will welcome you going out and leaving them to catch up with sleep but will also want access to a view. A very nosey dog a Border Terrier loves to sit in a window, feel free to make them a practical, safe window seat for this hobby, to watch the world go by, with a little bark and growl to keep passer-bys in check too.
A game of tug of war, fetch, and ragging toys around after a good destuffing will be daily occurrence. There may not be many, if any toys which are Border Terrier proof but your dog will love any new toy they get, a soft cuddly toy will most probably be ripped and the stuffing and squeak removed and scattered all over the house but don't throw away the skin, this is how it's meant to be.
A favourite game for a Terrier is to push their toy under a sofa, chest of drawers etc and then whimper until you get on your hands and knees to retrieve it. Once the toy is rescued the whole game is then repeated – your Border will never tire of this game. Ever.
Great with kids a Border will put up with a lot but will also appreciate a peaceful place to retreat to for a rest and some peace and quiet. (Obviously, no dog should be left alone with children, no matter how trustworthy).
Your Border Terrier will presume all beds in the house are theirs and waking up to a furry paw in the face and a cuddle is great but once you let your dog sleep in your bed you can never go back, if you have more than one Border Terrier you may need to buy a bigger bed otherwise you may be on the floor!
Please! Learning to resist the eyes, face and stance of a Border Terrier trying to win you over does take some hard work on your behalf. They can pull the saddest of faces and act like they have never been fed while you eat your great smelling meal but never give in. Once a Border has the taste for roast chicken their dry kibble isn't so appetising anymore.
There will be lots of new smells and sounds created by your dog. Beware a Border Terrier is not embarrassed by a little wind and lives by the phrase 'better out than in'. You'll soon become immune. Many Borders can have delicate stomachs which results in loud gurgling sounds coming from their furry bellys. A trip to the garden to chew on some long grass can be a great solution.
Your Border Terrier will make you smile and laugh everyday without fail and will encourage cuddles and sloppy kisses. You will soon become used to a wet tongue up your nose to greet you when you return home after popping out to the bin or if you've been out for an hour or two. The excitement of your return and the welcome you receive is a joyous occasion for all every time.
The only problem with owning a Border Terrier is sticking to just one. You will soon organise your life around what your dog can do and where it can go with you and you probably wont be needing a passport anymore as going on holiday without your Border Terrier is never going to be a consideration.