The border terrier is a rough-coated, medium-sized breed of dog that belongs to the terrier group. Bred originally to hunt foxes and other animals considered to be vermin, its ancestors are the Dandie Dinmont terrier, the Patterdale terrier, and the Bedlington terrier.
This breed made its first appearance in the 18th century, and since then, it has not changed much. It was used for hunting foxes on the Scottish borders. The owners were never concerned about how this dog looked. All that mattered to them was its ability to pursue foxes into the ground. Hence, this dog was bred to have powerful jaws, with a chest that had sufficient capacity but was narrow enough to get the dog out of any hole that it may have entered. Its extra-long legs helped it to keep pace with a horse, so that it could run alongside its master during a hunt. In the past, this breed has been called the Coquetdale Terrier and the Reedwater Terrier. In the countryside, it is still a working breed, but in urban areas, it is mainly kept as a family companion.
This is a medium-sized dog with a distinctive otter-like head. Its coat is rough and dense, with an undercoat that is close to the skin. Physically, it looks the purpose that it has been bred for, that is, a working dog. It has a keen eye, and is active and strong. Generally, males weight is around 6-7 kg (13 to 16 pounds) and measure between 13 to 16 inches (33 to 41 cm) at the shoulder. The females weigh around 5-6 kg (12 to 14 pounds) and measure between 11 to 14 inches (28 to 36 cm) at the shoulder. The coat comes in a wide range of colors such as blue-and-tan, grizzle-and-tan, wheaten, and red.
This breed of dog is fun-loving and affectionate. Plus, it is courageous, adaptable, and makes a great companion to people, being particularly good with children. It has an easygoing nature. However, it does possess an independent streak and likes making its own decisions. It loves chasing small animals like squirrels and rabbits, but also lives harmoniously with other pets in the household. It adapts equally well in urban settings as well as the country life. Puppies sometimes go through a phase where they are shy, and it is especially important to make sure that they are socialized both with humans as well as other animals. This breed also tends to observe its surroundings by sitting in one place and looking around.
In its natural state, the coat grows quite long. Its shortness can only be maintained by rolling or stripping it weekly, which requires a particular technique and is fairly time-consuming. Until this technique is learned, the grooming will have to be done by a professional.. The puppy's coat can be left unstripped up to the time it is 'blown', generally when the pup is 6 months old. However, it will require a full strip by hand, which can take 2-3 hours. Clippers should not be used because they can spoil the coat. Also, care must be taken to check and clean the teeth, ears, and eyes regularly.
Ailments Affecting the Dog
This is a generally-robust breed. However, there are some known health problems that are specific to it, such as hip dysplasia, perthes disease, progressive retinal atrophy, canine eptiloid cramping syndrome, juvenile cataracts, seizures, and certain heart defects. These occur rarely. The life expectancy of this dog is 14 years.
The border terrier is a wonderful dog to have as a pet. Its loving and courageous nature makes it a unique dog.