The Border Terrier remains one of the best kept secrets in the Terrier Group despite the fact that he is a thoroughly delightful little companion. The Border is active and gregarious without being hyper. He is vigilant without being yappy, and unlike many terriers, he is typically not aggressive with other dogs.

Hailing from the border lands between England and Scotland, he is first and foremost a true working terrier. Borders were bred for the hunt, but were not "saddle-bag terriers." Rather they ran with the riders and fox hounds. After the hounds had run the fox to ground, it was the Border's job to enter the den and bolt or dispatch the fox. The Border Terrier standard states: His temperament ideally exemplifies that of a terrier. By nature he is good-tempered, affectionate, obedient and easily trained. In the field, he is hard as nails, "game as they come" and driving in attack.

Borders are confident, intelligent, loyal, courageous and eager to please - but they do have a mind of their own and retain strong hunting instincts, so a fully-fenced yard is a MUST for a Border. A home that keeps small rodents as pets may not be a suitable home for a Border. Borders will typically get on well with cats if raised with them. A new cat or kitten in the home with an adult Border will most likely not be welcomed.

Borders are athletic and versatile and excel in "go to ground," earth dog trials, agility, obedience, lure coursing, nose work, therapy work and even dock diving. The breed's distinguishing features are his head, which should resemble that of a river otter, his carrot-shaped tail and his thick pelt with harsh and intensely wiry outer coat with a softer, short and dense undercoat. A few short whiskers are typical. He has a broad and strong jaw with large teeth in proportion to the size of the dog. The breed requires infrequent bathing, but does require occasional hand-stripping to maintain the classic appearance. He should never be clipped. The Border is a small breed, weighing in between 11-16 pounds. They are healthy and long-lived, often living well into their mid-teens. Contrary to popular mis-information, they DO shed and are NOT hypo-allergenic.

In Summary, Borders are affectionate, loving and are super little family dogs in the proper setting.


American Kennel Club

General Appearance: He is an active terrier of medium bone, strongly put together, suggesting endurance and agility, but rather narrow in shoulder, body and quarter. The body is covered with a somewhat broken though close-fitting and intensely wiry jacket. The characteristic "otter" head with its keen eye, combined with a body poise which is "at the alert," gives a look of fearless and implacable determination characteristic of the breed. Since the Border Terrier is a working terrier of a size to go to ground and able, within reason, to follow a horse, his conformation should be such that he be ideally built to do his job. No deviations from this ideal conformation should be permitted, which would impair his usefulness in running his quarry to earth and in bolting it therefrom. For this work he must be alert, active and agile, and capable of squeezing through narrow apertures and rapidly traversing any kind of terrain. His head, "like that of an otter," is distinctive, and his temperament ideally exemplifies that of a terrier. By nature he is good- tempered, affectionate, obedient, and easily trained. In the field he is hard as nails "game as they come" and driving in attack. It should be the aim of Border Terrier breeders to avoid such over emphasis of any point in the Standard as might lead to unbalanced exaggeration.

Size, Proportion, Substance: Weight - Dogs, 13 to 15-1/2 pounds, bitches, 11-1⁄2 to 14 pounds, are appropriate weights for Border Terriers in hardworking condition. The proportions should be that the height at the withers is slightly greater than the distance from the withers to the tail, i.e. by possibly 1 to 1-1⁄2 inches in a 14-pound dog. Of medium bone, strongly put together, suggesting endurance and agility, but rather narrow in shoulder, body and quarter.

Head: Similar to that of an otter. Eyes dark hazel and full of fire and intelligence. Moderate in size, neither prominent nor small and beady. Ears small, V-shaped and of moderate thickness, dark preferred. Not set high on the head but somewhat on the side, and dropping forward close to the cheeks. They should not break above the level of the skull. Moderately broad and flat in skull with plenty of width between the eyes and between the ears. A slight, moderately broad curve at the stop rather than a pronounced indentation. Cheeks slightly full. Muzzle short and "well filled." A dark muzzle is characteristic and desirable. A few short whiskers are natural to the breed. Nose black, and of a good size. Teeth strong, with a scissors bite, large in proportion to size of dog.

Neck, Topline, Body: Neck clean, muscular and only long enough to give a well-balanced appearance. It should gradually widen into the shoulder. Back strong but laterally supple, with no suspicion of a dip behind the shoulder. Loin strong. Body deep, fairly narrow and of sufficient length to avoid any suggestions of lack of range and agility. The body should be capable of being spanned by a man's hands behind the shoulders. Brisket not excessively deep or narrow. Deep ribs carried well back and not oversprung in view of the desired depth and narrowness of the body. The underline fairly straight. Tail moderately short, thick at the base, then tapering. Not set on too high. Carried gaily when at the alert, but not over the back. When at ease, a Border may drop his stern.

Forequarters: Shoulders well laid back and of good length, the blades converging to the withers gradually from a brisket not excessively deep or narrow. Forelegs straight and not too heavy in bone and placed slightly wider than in a Fox Terrier. Feet small and compact. Toes should point forward and be moderately arched with thick pads.

Hindquarters: Muscular and racy, with thighs long and nicely molded. Stifles well bent and hocks well let down. Feet as in front.

Coat: A short and dense undercoat covered with a very wiry and somewhat broken topcoat which should lie closely, but it must not show any tendency to curl or wave. With such a coat a Border should be able to be exhibited almost in his natural state, nothing more in the way of trimming being needed than a tidying up of the head, neck and feet. Hide very thick and loose fitting.

Color: Red, grizzle and tan, blue and tan, or wheaten. A small amount of white may be allowed on the chest but white on the feet should be penalized. A dark muzzle is characteristic and desirable.

Gait: Straight and rhythmical before and behind, with good length of stride and flexing of stifle and hock. The dog should respond to his handler with a gait which is free, agile and quick.

Temperament: His temperament ideally exemplifies that of a terrier. By nature he is good- tempered, affectionate, obedient, and easily trained. In the field he is hard as nails, "game as they come" and driving in attack.

Scale of Points:

20 Head, ears, neck and teeth

15 Legs and feet

10 Coat and skin

10 Shoulders and chest

10 Eyes and expression

10 Back and loin Hindquarters

05 Tail

10 General Appearance

100 Total

Approved March 14, 1950

Reformatted July 13, 1990