A Border is not for people who want a dog
some of the time. Borders who don’t feel part of their family are not happy. Stuck out in a kennel all day, they bark, and their bark is meant to be heard from ten feet underground. Obviously, this will disturb the neighbors. In a suburban neighborhood, the police come. Left in the yard, even if fenced, Borders can find a way to get out. They are determined diggers, can climb, and, once out, usually get hit by a car. They have no sense about cars and dart out right in front of them. Sad to say, being small and nondescript, people don’t seem to mind hitting them. If you want a yard dog, don’t get a Border Terrier.
Borders were bred to hunt and the older they get, the braver they become about going off, especially if there are two of them. They were bred to cover extensive territory with foxhounds (similar to the Harrier) , so no farm is big enough to keep them safe. A Border was bred to think for himself, which can be both his most endearing and most frustrating quality. Told to stay, he will oblige for what he considers enough time, then slip off about his own business. Confronted, he will act sorry since he really likes to please. Punish him harshly, and you will break his spirit. If you want a dog that is unfailingly obedient, don’t get a Border Terrier.
Borders are active dogs who love and need regular exercise in fairly large quantities. They do not necessarily come into the house and lie down quietly. Being terriers, they are bouncy, bark when someone comes to the door, and run to greet them. Border greetings are quite effusive. A simple hello is not enough for them. Many offer generous kisses. Keeping their feet on the floor is a constant struggle that most Border owners give up on. If you don’t like dogs jumping on you, don’t get a Border Terrier.
Borders have very strong jaws and teeth. They were bred to kill fox and other varmints. Chewing is something that all puppies do, but Borders may carry it just a bit farther and some never really outgrow it. There is hardly a toy that is Border proof. Rugs, especially scatter rugs, and chair legs are prime targets. One young Border even demolished a kitchen counter! If you don’t want to crate your dog when you go out and to have your house littered with suitable chew toys, don’t get a Border Terrier.
In general, Borders get along with other dogs and the family cat, especially if the cat was there first. They will chase, and may kill, stray cats that come into the yard if they can catch them. Without training, they are not safe with small furry pets such as gerbils or guinea pigs. If you or your children raise fancy mice or rabbits, have other rodents for pets, or have birds who are allowed out of their cages, a Border is the wrong dog for you.
Borders are not safe off lead except in securely fenced areas. The best trained Border will bolt after a cat or squirrel despite your commands. And the older they get, the more ready they seem to do this. More Borders are killed by cars than die of disease or old age. If you enjoy walking with your dog running freely by your side, choose another breed.
In sum, Borders are vital without being hyper, affectionate, responsive to approval, sentries rather than guards, non-territorial, athletic, cooperative, hardy, gentle self-starters. They need to be closely supervised always, interacted with regularly, and do not thrive where they are not part of a family’s life. They do well in big cities, in small towns, or in the country. They adapt well to life’s circumstances, think there are no people like their people, and love you unconditionally. The hope of those who know and care deeply about Border traits is that their unique qualities will be loved and preserved by those who hold them.
We hope this brochure has been helpful to you. The Border Terrier is a wonderful canine companion when he is right for your situation. Think carefully before making this very important decision. Should you choose a Border Terrier, you can count on Border owners and breeders helping you. The Border Terrier Club of America believes in supporting Border owners and is happy to provide information and advice.
To locate a Border Terrier Breeder in your area, or find someone who is not currently breeding Border Terriers but who is willing to help you make the right decision, please visit our On-line Directory.