All about your Border Terrier

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

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

      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 they might try to escape. Here's more you should know:

      • The Border Terrier was bred for assisting on hunts, so will naturally love to search and dig
      • They’ll need brushing once a week and to have their hair properly groomed every five to six months to keep them 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

          Recommended exercise & nutrition

          You should aim to give your Border Terrier up to an hour of exercise each day. As they're active dogs they’ll enjoy being off the lead in a fenced garden at home, or an enclosed park where they can play games such as fetch. When walking it’s important to use a lead, as they can be quick to run off if they catch a scent. They’re fast learners but can be stubborn, so you may want to start training them while they’re puppies.

          High-quality meals should be provided twice a day to make sure they're getting the right nutrients. The amount will vary depending on their age and how active they are. 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

                Common health problems & illnesses

                Your Border Terrier will need all of the usual vaccinations and check-ups to help protect them 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. Dislocated kneecap

                  A common injury affecting this breed is a dislocated kneecap, also known as a luxating patella. This is a condition that they’ll have been born with, and signs to look out for include occasional skipping or hind-leg lameness. Simple surgery is usually the best way to treat this condition, but your vet can advise on the best course of action.

                    2. Canine epileptoid cramping syndrome

                    Dogs with canine epileptoid cramping syndrome have episodes of painful muscle and intestinal cramps. Episodes last from a few seconds to up to about 30 minutes, and may be rare or occur frequently. Such cramping typically first starts to occur in dogs aged between 2 and 6 years and will then persist throughout the affected animal’s life. It appears to be a genetic disease but rather little is known about it. If you are concerned, please speak to your vet.

                      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. 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.

                          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.

                            1 Ruby
                            2 Archie
                            3 Alfie
                            4 Poppy
                            5 Tilly

                            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 2021. To give you an idea of how much vet bills can vary, we’ve shown both the average cost and the top 10% most expensive costs for each condition.

                              Top five conditions and average costs

                              Top five conditions and average costs


                              Average cost

                              10% most expensive

                              Cushing's disease












                                                      Liver condition



                                                            Tesco Bank Pet Insurance claims data from paid treatments including excesses from 01/01/21 to 31/12/21.

                                                            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 Ltd.

                                                            Grooming advice

                                                            In order to keep your Border Terrier looking their best, you’ll need to brush them weekly and strip their 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, they'll rarely need a bath. An occasional wipe down with a damp cloth after they've been brushed should be enough to keep them looking their best. Trim their nails when needed, usually once or twice a month, in order to keep their feet in good condition.

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

                                                              Fun & interesting facts

                                                              • Tennis star Andy Murray and wife Kim are fans of this breed.
                                                              • 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

                                                              Key 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 Ltd. 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.

                                                                What is vetfone?

                                                                Vetfone™ is a 24/7 unlimited, free telephone or video call service that provides expert advice from vets or vet nurses qualified with the RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons). If your pet has a medical emergency, or you need advice on health, grooming, feeding or behaviour Vetfone™ is there to help.

                                                                As a Tesco Bank Pet Insurance customer, you can access friendly, expert advice from qualified Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons as a standard benefit with your policy, and the service is provided at no additional cost. A quick telephone call or video 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 Ltd. The vetfone™ service is provided by VetsDirect Ltd.

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