The Border Terrier is the dog most people think of when they consider a generic dog. They are well known on TV and in the hearts of millions. These cute dogs should appear solid and strong. A Border Terrier that looks heavy is not healthy. You can expect the legs of these dogs to be rather short, but more than capable of carrying the little bundle of energy that is the Border Terrier. An observer can expect the feet to look relatively small but with a pleasing round shape.
Of course it is the head and the tail of the Border Terrier that really gets the attention of anyone who comes in contact with these adorable dogs. The tail is gently tapered and rather short for the length of the dog. It’s the face that really gets noticed though. These dogs always look like they are interested in or questioning something. With a small black nose and intelligent looking eyes, these dogs are simply too cute for their own good.
The coat of the Border Terrier is rather unique. Some examples have two coats while others only have single ones. The double coated dogs have a soft underside with the classic wiry, slightly uneven hair on top. The single coated dogs only have wiry, rough hair. There isn’t usually any waves or curls in the coat of the Border Terrier, but is instead smooth across the body.
These feisty dogs have quite the history. Like so many of the smaller breeds of dogs, the Border Terrier was originally bred to catch mice and rats in the barns of the English and Scottish farmers back in the early days. Then it was discovered that these dogs also had the stamina and courage to go flushing foxes. That began their lives as hunting dogs. It’s quite amazing to picture these small, but tenacious dogs keeping up with a running horse.
Today, they spend their days being coddled by loving families. These little dogs were officially recognized by the finer kennels starting in 1920.
When it comes to describing the Border Terrier’s personality, large is the first thing that comes to mind. What these dogs may lack in size, they more than make up for in intellect and good disposition. As far as other animals go, these dogs do well with other dogs. As a matter of fact, many Border Terrier owners choose to have more than one in the house so they can keep each other entertained. Smaller animals like cats should be in the home when the Border Terrier is introduced or hunting instincts could create some problems.
Another important aspect of the personality of the Border Terrier is that these little dogs are perfectly suited to life with kids. They don’t have an aggressive bone in their body and will happily play with and entertain kids for hours. They make great babysitters.
In their quieter moments, the Border Terrier likes nothing more than to relax with its owner on the couch or floor. They are very motivated by the love and attention of their human family.
It is flat amazing how resilient the Border Terrier breed is. Despite being at risk for progressive retinal atrophy, an eye condition that will eventually lead to blindness, these dogs will handle it just fine with some help from their owners. The same thing applies to hip dysplasia. With a few modifications, if the dog ends up with the condition, these hardy dogs can live comfortably and happily.
More serious health concerns for the Border Terrier include heart defects and canine epileptoid cramping syndrome. This disease affects the neurological and muscular systems of the dog and results in seizure like activity. It is a genetic condition that is difficult to detect until it appears.
A considerate and responsible Border Terrier owner will be on the lookout for any health conditions and these dogs have a high tolerance for discomfort and often don’t show symptoms until late in the game.
Grooming these little dogs is pretty simple. They are great for people who may have allergies as they shed very little. For this reason, bathing should only be done on an as needed basis. Too much shampooing can irritate the skin and create itching problems for the dog. Whether they are the one or two coat variety, brushing these dogs twice a week is perfect for their regular grooming.
It isn’t recommended to trim the hair of the Border Terrier. Most vets or professional groomers would recommend using a hair stripping method. Owners can perform the act of gently pulling dead hair out of the animal from head to tail or employ a groomer to do so for them as it does require some experience and knowledge to perform correctly.
Every dog needs exercise and the Border Terrier is no exception. These active dogs like to run, play fetch, and just spend time with other dogs or their owners. Providing this energy filled little dogs with toys when it isn’t possible to exercise with them will help cut down on unwanted behaviors like chewing or digging.
The park or yard is the perfect place to take the dog for its much needed exercise. If the owner misses a normally schedule walk, the Border Terrier won’t be mad, but will certainly be more than willing to take a walk whenever the owner grabs that leash.
It’s pretty easy to work with such a smart and able dog. The crucial aspect to training the Border Terrier is to be sure to not inadvertently teach the dog an unacceptable behavior. They have very long memories and trying to convince these dogs to let go of something they thought was okay is going to be challenging to say the least.
One of these reasons these dogs have done so well in competitions and on TV and stage is their willingness to learn. They actually seem to love obedience training. Far more important than being show dogs, the Border Terrier is also very trainable for working with disabled people, both children and adults.
These dogs are very simply lovable, affectionate, and calm. The combination makes the perfect dog for just about any setting or any vocation. Training can be easily specialized to get the results the owner needs and is looking for.