All about your Border Terrier

Affectionate and lively, loving nothing more than the great outdoors.

The Border Terrier is smart, good-natured and active, making him a great addition to any family that loves walking. Learn more about this endearing and inquisitive breed, from his grooming and exercise needs, to the things you can do to keep him happy and healthy.

Border Terrier Running Holding A Blue Ball In Its Mouth

Breed information & advice

As part of the terrier breed group, the Border Terrier is loyal, loving and determined. Make sure your garden or yard is fenced, as if this dog gets bored he might try to escape.

  • The Border Terrier was bred for assisting on hunts, so will naturally love to search and dig.
  • He’ll need brushing once a week and to have his hair properly cut every five to six months to keep him looking smart.
  • This dog is likely to weigh between 5kg and 7kg.
  • A healthy Border Terrier can live between 12 and 15 years.

Typical size of a Border Terrier

Small: 25cm-28cm

You should aim to give your Border Terrier up to an hour of exercise each day. As he’s an active dog, he’ll enjoy being off the lead in a fenced garden at home, or enclosed park where he can play games such as fetch. When walking it’s important to use a lead, as he can be quick to run off if he catches a scent. He’s a fast learner but can be stubborn, so you may want to start training him while he’s a puppy.

High-quality meals should be provided twice a day to make sure he’s getting the right nutrients. The amount will vary depending on his age, size and how active he is. Always read the food packet for advice.

Up to one hour of exercise per day

Positive reinforcement should be used when training your dog, as Border Terriers were originally bred to be foxhunters and have strong independent streaks

Gleeful Border Terrier Bounds Over Short Grass
Grizzly And Tan Border Terrier  Looking Straight On

Common health problems & illnesses

Your Border Terrier will need all of the usual vaccinations and check-ups to help protect him against common ailments. There are some conditions which this breed is more prone to though, and you may want to familiarise yourself with the symptoms, so you know what to look out for.

1. Skin conditions

Border Terriers can have issues with their skin, from allergies leading to irritation, to skin disease or insect bites. Groom your dog regularly and you can then keep an eye out for any changes, such as scaling, that may develop. If you’re concerned about anything you find, speak to your vet who will be able to advise if treatment is needed.

2. Epilepsy

Border Terriers can suffer from epilepsy – a brain disorder that causes convulsions or fits. While this can be distressing to see, there are plenty of treatments that can help to control this condition. Make a note of everything that happens during a seizure and take your dog to the vet, who can investigate any underlying causes and advise on the next steps.

3. Diabetes

This breed can be prone to diabetes, when the pancreas does not produce any or enough of the hormone insulin. The disease is highly treatable in dogs, if you take action early. If your dog shows signs of extreme thirst, fatigue, excessive urination or unexplained weight loss, you might want to speak to your vet.

4. Cushing’s Disease

Cushing’s disease is a small benign tumour that can develop either in a dog’s adrenal or pituitary glands, encouraging the body to overproduce the hormone cortisol. The disease is more common in older dogs and symptoms to look out for include thinning of the skin, hair loss, a swollen stomach, increased hunger or thirst. If you are concerned, then take your dog to the vet, who can run a full examination.

5. Cruciate Rupture

The Border Terrier is prone to tearing ligaments around the knee joint. It can happen quite suddenly or through wear and tear over time. Look out for signs of stiffness or difficulty getting up, limping, or a lack of enthusiasm when it comes to exercise and activity.

Dog name popularity

If you’re struggling to think of a name for your new Border Terrier, take a look at the most popular ones at Tesco Bank Pet Insurance for inspiration.

Dog name popularity

Average treatment costs

Wondering whether pet insurance for your Border Terrier is worth it? We’ve put together the top five conditions claimed for by Tesco Bank Pet Insurance customers in 2018, and the average cost of treatment.

Average Treatment Costs Table
ConditionAverage treatment cost
Cushing’s disease£315.20
Cruciate rupture£1085.92

Tesco Bank Pet Insurance claims data from paid treatments including excesses from 01/01/18 to 31/12/18.

Considering Border Terrier insurance?

We know your dog is an important member of the family, so give them the protection they deserve with Tesco Bank Pet Insurance.

Tesco Bank Pet Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc.

Grooming advice

In order to keep your Border Terrier looking his best, you’ll need to brush him weekly and strip his fur every five to six months. Stripping requires plucking as much of the dead hair out by hand as possible, before using a special tool to get the rest. It’s something you can do yourself, but you may prefer to find a professional who can do this for you.

As your dog’s coat naturally repels dirt, he’ll rarely need a bath. An occasional wipe down with a damp cloth after he has been brushed should be enough to keep him looking his best. Trim his nails when needed, usually once or twice a month, in order to keep his feet in good condition.

It’s a good idea to brush his teeth daily to keep tartar and any other harmful bacteria at bay.

Fun & interesting facts

  • Tennis star Andy Murray and wife Kim are owners of two Border Terriers called Rusty and Maggie May.
  • Border Terriers are fast and agile due to their history as foxhunters, and have a strong instinct to hunt.
  • They have two coats: the top layer is wiry and waterproof, while the under-layer is soft to insulate them.
  • They were recognised as a breed by England’s prestigious Kennel Club in 1920.
  • The breed dates back to the 18th century and originated on the Scottish and English border.

Important information


The content on this page aims to offer an informative introduction to pet breeds, but does not constitute expert veterinary advice. If your dog or cat falls ill or has an injury, contact your vet immediately. Tesco Bank Pet Insurance has a partnership with vetfone™ which means that as a customer, you can benefit from their advice as part of your policy.

Tesco Bank Pet Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc. The vetfone™ service is provided by VetsDirect Ltd.

All facts and figures were correct at date of publication and were compiled using a range of sources.


vetfone™ is a 24/7 helpline that provides expert advice from nurses qualified with the RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons). If your pet has a medical emergency, or you need reassurance on grooming, feeding or general advice, vetfone™ is there to help.

As a Tesco Bank Pet Insurance customer, you can access expert veterinary advice provided by RCVS registered vet nurses as a standard benefit with your policy, and the service is provided at no additional cost. A quick call could answer any questions you have about your pet, give you peace of mind and could even save you a trip to the vet.

Tesco Bank Pet Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc. The vetfone™ service is provided by VetsDirect Ltd.

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