Is a Border Terrier a good pet?

Imagine having a small, agile and energetic pet that was originally bred for fox hunting? One that has a distinctive otter-like face, a dense wiry coat and an unquenchable zest for life? Sounds like an exciting pet prospect, doesn’t it? Welcome to the wonderful world of Border Terriers!

Warning: Borders are not for the faint-hearted. They are plucky, playful, and profoundly attached to their human family. If you seek a loyal companion who keeps you on your toes, read on!

Origins and History

The Border Terrier, originated from the border region between England and Scotland, was initially bred as a working dog for hunting foxes. A mere glance at their physique makes it apparent as to why. Their bodies are small and flexible enough for them to pursue foxes even in burrows, while their thick coat shields them from harsh weather and thorny vegetation.

Having evolved from a working background, they naturally possess a high energy level and a keen intelligence. So, if you are planning on adding a Border Terrier to your family, get ready for an adventurous journey filled with fun physical activities and mind-engaging games!

Temperament and Lifestyle Fit

A characteristic blend of assertiveness and affection defines the Border’s temperament. They are socially amicable and interact well with family members, other dogs, and even strangers. Their innate curiosity and enthusiasm spark joy and amusement, making them great companions for spirited conversations.

Border Terriers have an inner ‘battery’ that never seems to deplete, which translates to them requiring lots of exercise and mental stimulation. A sedentary household won’t do for a Border; they need a family that can match or even exceed their vigour. Daily walks, games and play sessions in an enclosed area can help keep up with their energetic nature. Jogging, biking or even training for dog sports could turn out to be a rewarding experience for both the pet and the owner.

Borders are notorious cravers of attention and demand a fair share of it. If they are left alone for long periods, their feelings might get hurt, and the house might not be the same when you come back- in a very literal sense. They could resort to digging, chewing or barking. Their stubborn streak might surface in the form of selective listening. So, their training needs to start at an early age and needs to be firm, consistent and underpinned by positive reinforcement.

Physical Features and Maintenance

Their unique catchy appearance is one of the key highlights of Border Terriers. They are small-sized dogs with an average height of about 10-11 inches at the shoulder and quite light, weighing only around 11.5-15.5 pounds. Their wiry double coat, available in red, grizzle and tan, blue and tan, or wheaten, requires moderate grooming.

Borders are low shedders, and their coat doesn’t need to be bathed that often- unless they’ve had a particularly fruitful dig in the mud. A weekly brushing to remove the dead hair and a stripping of the coat twice a year is usually sufficient to keep up their appearance and health.

Health and Life Expectancy

As a breed, Border Terriers tend to be generally healthy and can live up to 13 to 15 years. However, like all dog breeds, they are susceptible to certain health conditions. Some of the potential health issues they might face are allergies, hip dysplasia, heart defects and a rare genetic condition called Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome (CECS), colloquially known as ‘Spike’s Disease’. Regular check-ups with the vet and a keen eye for understanding any behavioural changes can help maintain their health.

Border Terriers are undeniably lovable and entertaining pets that reciprocate the care and affection they receive. Their vibrancy and intelligence make them exceptionally good companions for active families. If you believe you can provide the environment suitable for their physical and mental needs, then congratulations, you have found an ideal pet in the Border Terrier!

In the wise words of Roger Caras, “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” And what better to fill the wholesomeness than with a lively Border Terrier by your side! Embrace the adventure, and you might find more joy and contentment than you ever imagined.