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Guide to Border Terriers

Time to read: 8 mins

Key Stats

Life expectancy: 12-15 years

Height: 28- 40 cm

Weight: 5- 7 kg

About Border Terriers

Border Terriers got their name as they originate from the Cheviot Hills that border England and Scotland. Here they were used to assist farmers during their fox hunting expeditions in this area.


What to consider when owning a Border Terrier

Like all Terriers, Borders were bred to chase foxes out of their hiding places. This instinct still exists so if you have a Border be prepared for a lot of digging and very high energy levels. They are small dogs that form very strong bonds with their families. Since they are small in size they can do very well living in apartment life, provided they get enough exercise. If your Border gets lots of activity they will repay you with bundles of love and affection in return.



Where possible, it would be best to adopt rather than shopping, however if that’s the intention then Border puppies can cost anywhere up to £1, 200 depending on their lineage.

On top of the purchase price you’ll also need to consider initial costs of things such as vaccinations and neutering, as well as ongoing costs of food, preventative healthcare. Some of these extra charges include:


Borders have a wire coat with a dense undercoat. They are going to need weekly brushing and stripping twice a year. Stripping your Border means they are less likely to shed. You can do the stripping of your dog yourself or you can get a groomer to do it or you.


Border Terriers need at least half an hour of exercise. If they do not get their daily exercise they will likely become bored and destructive as a result of that. Borders are intelligent which makes them easy to train although they do have a bad habit of jumping up that they might not give up on.

Border Terrier health concerns

Like all pedigree dogs there are a few breed specific conditions you should be aware of.


1. Bones and Joints

If the ligament holding the kneecap in place is not in normal alignment it can cause luxating patella. This is when the kneecap snaps in and out of place.  Dogs may sometimes ‘leave out’ one of their back legs when walking or running or even not use that leg at all. Some dogs find this painful, plus it can put a strain on other parts of the knee and cause arthritis. Surgery can help to correct the problem. Maintaining a healthy body weight and using food supplements for joint health can help.

2. Dental

Milk teeth or deciduous teeth can become retained. This means that when the adult teeth grow in, the baby teeth don’t fall out as they should. This can cause issues with jaw development and tartar build up. These teeth usually need to be removed under general anaesthetic.

The adult teeth in a small dog’s mouth can become overcrowded, creating optimum conditions for other problems such as inflamed gums. This is caused by a build-up of food, plaque and minerals along the gum-line that combine to form a hard-brown deposit called tartar. Tartar undermines the gum and causes gum disease known as gingivitis. This can lead to pain and tooth loss. With time, pockets form around the teeth where bacteria can grow and cause periodontal disease. This isn’t just a problem for the mouth though – these bacteria can spread around the body causing organ damage, including a fatal infection of the heart, a disease known as pericarditis. Luckily, regular lifelong tooth brushing with descaling treatments where needed can help to avoid this.

3. Digestive System

Border Terriers can suffer from Colitis. This is when the large intestine (colon) becomes inflamed and irritated causing diarrhoea, constipation and tummy pain. Medication and a high fibre diet usually keep this under control.

4. Central Nervous System

Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome (CECS) also known as Scotty Cramps. This condition is thought to be linked to abnormal activity in the CNS although the exact cause is not known. Certain breeds are more prone to developing this – Border Terriers and Scottish Terriers are the top of that list. The episodes can last between a few seconds to 30 minutes and involve cramping muscles, trembling, exaggerated stretching and sometimes an inability to stand.  Treatment involves keeping the dog calm and making them comfortable and pain relief. There has been some research carried out on the links between a low or gluten free diet and the reduction in severity of symptoms.

If you have any concerns about your dog’s health do not hesitate to get in touch with our Careline. They will be able to answer any questions that you may have.


Pet insurance for Border Terriers

Border Terrier, like most pure-bred dogs, have their accompanying health issues. You never know what might happen as they get older. Find out how we can cover your pet from accidents as well as illnesses they may suffer from.

It’s normally best to insure your dogs from a young age, before any conditions become an issue. Insuring your Border Terrier from a young age will tend to be cheaper. Although you can get insurance for older dogs too.

See how we can help you by getting a quote today.

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