Breed Type: Terrier
Country of Origin: Scotland/England
Popular Names: Coquetdale Terrier, Ullswater Terrier, Reedwater Terrier
Height: (At the withers) 33 – 41 cm
Weight: Males 6 – 7 kg, Females 5.5 – 7 kg
Best suited as: Pet or show dog with an active owner or family. May be used as a hunting dog
Lifespan: 12-15 years
They are one of the smallest and oldest of the working terriers from the United Kingdom.
These are classic-looking terriers, with wiry hair and a broad, otter-shaped head. Their small dark eyes are full of mischief and intelligence. Their strong muzzles are short and end in a black button nose. Their v-shaped ears are folded. They carry their short, tapered tails level with their back, except when excited – then the tail is carried high.
Their double coat consists of a thick, dense undercoat and a wiry, weather-resistant top coat. The top coat is medium-length and lies close to the body when hand-stripped, but appears tousled and longer when left natural. They have a beard and longer, bushy hair around the muzzle. Some dogs have a smoother, less-tousled coat naturally. They come in wheaten, red, grizzle and tan, or blue and tan. It is common for them to have patches of white on the feet or chest. They have short, sparse whiskers.
Border Terriers, like Border Collies, get their name because they were originally used along the border of England and Scotland. They were used to hunt and kill the foxes that threatened farmers’ stock. They were also used to kill rats and other vermin. They share common ancestors with the Bedlington Terrier and Dandi Dinmont.
They were especially useful because their longer legs made them able to keep up with the horses during the hunt. Later, they were used to hunt badgers and otters. The breed was rejected by the Kennel Club in 1914 but accepted in 1920. It was formally accepted by the American Kennel Club in 1930. It’s now one of the top 10 breeds in the UK, but is not as popular in North America. There are many famous Border Terriers seen in movies: Toots in Lassie, Toto in The Wizard of Oz and Return to Oz, Puffy in There’s Something About Mary, Chomp in 102 Dalmatians, and Baxter in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Famous owners of Border Terriers include Clay Aiken and Greg Lasswell.
These are giant dogs in little bodies. They aren’t as high-strung as some of the other terrier breeds, because of their roots as hardy farm dogs. Some can be shy and timid, but some can be confident and outgoing. Individual dogs’ personalities vary, but they are generally even-tempered. They are all naturally curious and love being included in family activities. They are playful with kids and do well as companions to families with children.
They may chase and kill small animals, including cats, so are best suited in homes without other non-canine pets. They can exhibit same-sex dog aggression, so owners who want more than one dog would do best to have one of each sex to avoid problems. They are very intelligent and are eager to please their owner but can be independent thinkers which can make them a bit difficult to train. They do learn quickly, though, especially when positive reinforcement is used. They are able to focus completely on the task at hand, especially when they know a treat will be their reward. They do best with a trainer who is consistent, confident, and firm. Harsh training or discipline will make them unresponsive.
Their terrier blood makes them barkers – they will bark at pretty much anything that moves. They can develop an ongoing barking problem, especially if they are left alone a lot and become bored. They love to dig and can rip up a garden or lawn in minutes or even dig under a fence and escape if left unattended. They do well in Earthdog trials.
They make great therapy dogs for elderly people and children in particular, and love all people. They deal well with temporary changes, and adapt to different situations and environments. They love to walk, but will often stop and lie on the grass to watch the world around them. One of their favourite pastimes in the house is to sit and watch out the window.
They require a lot of mental activity to stay happy. Games of hide and seek using treats and toys in the house or backyard, challenging toys, and advanced obedience will keep their minds sharp and engaged.
Care and Grooming
Border Terriers require a little more grooming compared to some dogs, because of their wiry hair. They need to be stripped a couple of times a year to remove dead hairs. It involves pulling the hair out by the root. This is traditionally done by hand, but there are tools available to use. You should not clip a Border because this can damage its coat, make it less weather-resistant, and too soft. Show dogs that are clipped will be disqualified. Over-bathing can also damage the coat.
It takes around 30 minutes for an experienced groomer to completely hand-strip a dog this size. Owners can and should learn how to do it themselves, and can work it into a regular grooming routine. Your dog will need its teeth brushed once a week, and its ears cleaned and checked for infection once a week. Another major grooming requirement involves clipping its nails as necessary, usually once a month. Start handling the dog’s feet and ears when it is very young to make it accustomed to this attention. You can get dog toothbrushes that are specially designed for your pet, or use a regular toothbrush.
These dogs have fairly low activity requirements compared to other terriers, needing about an hour each day. They are satisfied with a couple of good walks a day, or a good play session in a fenced-in area. They should be allowed to to run off-leash once or twice a week. Never let them off-leash in an unfenced area, because they will take off after cats, birds, squirrels, and rabbits. They excel in different competitions like agility and flyball.
These dogs live an average of 13 to 16 years and don’t really suffer from many health problems. Some health conditions to which they are prone include juvenile cataracts, heart problems, allergies, progressive retinal atrophy, Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome (also called Spike’s Disease), perthes disease, seizures, and hip dysplasia. Choose a dog from a reputable breeder to reduce the chances of getting a dog with health problems.
Their instincts make them prone to ripping apart their toys, and this can cause problems when they ingest the stuffing and material. Symptoms include inability to sleep, an unhappy appearance, lethargy, lack of normal response to affection, and unwillingness to play. Take your dog to the vet immediately if these symptoms appear, or if you discover your dog has eaten a toy. Dogs that do not pass the materials can develop severe and sometimes fatal complications.
Suitability As A Pet
They make a great pet for single people and families in both country and city settings. They should not be kept around cats or other small animals due to their hunting instincts. They make great companions for less active people but still require daily exercise. They should be kept with dogs of the opposite sex to avoid same-sex dog aggression.
Border Terrier Organisations in Australia
The Border Terrier Club of NSW
Pamela Harding Murrumbateman,
Phone : 62268929
Email : [email protected]
Border Terrier Organisations in the UK
The Border Terrier Club
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