Statement on Presentation of the Border Terrier

Over-grooming and Coloring

The essence of type for the Border Terrier is the purpose for which it was developed. It is a working terrier with moderation in all aspects of appearance. Deviation from the qualities necessary for a working terrier results in a loss of type and a loss of identity. Knowing what was originally intended for the Border Terrier is critical for the breeder and the judge of the breed. It helps us to stay on purpose. If we pay respect to nothing else, certainly it should to what the
creators of the breed intended. These are the characteristics that do in fact define a breed. As a prominent judge recently wrote, breed character is the immediate impression the dog gives at first sight. Does the dog convey what it is intended to be?

“In the flashy artificially groomed, and supercharged world of pure bred dogs the Border Terrier is a master of understatement.” The Border Terrier is a natural terrier. He is a working terrier. Gone are the days that the Border could come into the ring with just some “tidying” up. But the Border Terrier who enters the show ring dyed, legs fluffed up, with gobs of facial hair has lost his identity as a Border Terrier – a terrier developed in the English Scottish borders to hunt
fox, otter and vermin.

The Border Terrier was recognized in Britain in 1920 and in 1930 in the US. From the beginning Border breeders and owners have been concerned that Kennel Club recognition might lead to changes in their appearance. The American standard was written to create a blueprint of a working terrier – a terrier which would not be a “fancy” terrier. Form was to follow function – dyed coats, or no coats, or fluffed up legs, or gobs of facial hair serve no purpose in a working terrier.
We have tried strenuously over the years to retain those traits that keep the Border Terrier from becoming just another fancy terrier in the terrier group. With the growing popularity and success of the Border in the show ring, and the increase in exaggerated grooming, we are fearful that we may be loosing the battle.

For us, the over groomed, dyed Border with fluffed up legs and gobs of facial hair conveys the picture of another fancy terrier who is on his way to losing his essential breed character. We urge all owners, breeders and judges to keep in mind the purpose of the Border Terrier as well as the ethical requirements of the rules and regulations of the American Kennel Club in presenting dogs in the show ring.

The following Statement is to be included in the BTCA National Specialty Premium List and Catalog. It may also be included in the Exhibitor Package:

The Border Terrier Club of America, Inc. would like to make known its concern about and disapproval of the use of ANY kind of artificial enhancement on Border Terriers. The use of chalks, dyes, mousses, sprays, drugs, surgery or any procedure which alters mental or physical characteristics is prohibited by AKC Rules and is contrary to the essence of the Border terrier. We would like to remind everyone that the Border Terrier standard emphasizes that it is a natural, working breed and should be exhibited as such. We appeal to all breeders, owners, handlers, fanciers and approved judges to uphold and protect the integrity of the breed. Thank you for your support.