Border Terrier - Breed and Grooming Tips

Alert, active and agile, the Border Terrier is willing to squeeze through narrow holes and sprint across any terrain to capture his quarry: the fox. This persistence made him an excellent working terrier back in England, and allows him to succeed in Earthdog, Obedience and Agility trials today. Known for his "otter" head and game attitude, the Border is medium-sized with a wiry coat that may be red, grizzle and tan, blue and tan, or wheaten with a dark muzzle.

A Look Back

The Border originated in the border country between England and Scotland, and may be one of the oldest kinds of terriers in Great Britain. Purely a working terrier, the Border was bred to protect the stock of their owners. They had sufficient length of leg to follow a horse, but were small enough to follow a fox to ground. Borders on the farm in the 18th century also had to find their own food, so they had to be good hunters to survive.

Right Breed for You?

While he is as hard as nails in the field, the Border Terrier is good tempered and affectionate in the home. He learns quickly and responds well to obedience training, but must be kept engaged and well-exercised, as he’s an active dog. The Border’s weather resistant coat requires occasional brushing and hand stripping approximately twice per year.

Source:  American Kennel Club -


General: The Border Terrier has a wiry weather resistant coat with a soft dense undercoat. The Border Terrier has a face like an “otter”. As with most terriers, the coat is usually hand stripped or plucked to insure the coat retains its harsh texture, color and does not become soft. Nails should be clipped and ears cleaned every 4 – 8 weeks.

Ears: Monthly ear cleaning with Ear Care is advised to be sure no ear problems that might need vet attention arise.

Eyes: Terriers are earth dogs and naturally dig holes and very curious. Optisoothe Eye Wash can be used daily to help flush foreign matter.

Bathing: Frequency of bathing your Border Terrier will depend on how much time you spend outside and how fast he gets dirty. Border Terriers require 2 baths, The first bath should be a general bath to get off the dirt and grime. The second bath is targeted for the need of your dog , if your dog has allergies or sensitive skin we would suggest a Hypo-Allergenic Shampoo and follow it with a Tea Tree & Aloe Shampoo or Tar and Sulfa Itch Relief Shampoo. Do not use a heavy conditioner, but choose a light conditioner to keep the coats natural hard texture, Plum Perfect Cream Rinse or Rainforest Conditioner are light and will leave a clean fresh scent.

Common Problems: Border Terriers love to go to ground and hunt vermin so scraps and irritations are common. Dead Sea Mineral Mudbath is great to recondition the skin and repair the coat.

Coat Care: Extreme Odor Eliminator can be used between baths to help with keeping your Border Terrier smelling fresh and clean after an outdoor adventure.

Paws: Paw Balm should be used weekly to keep paw pads soft and pliable. This makes the pads less likely to dry and crack.

Tools: A brush and a comb should be used daily to weekly to keep the coat in good shape. If your dog is hand stripped a stripping knife or stone will be used. Use stripping powder to help the stripping process.

Show Dog Tips: Add Freeze! Styling Gel while fluffing for that extra volume on the leg furnishings. Spray Quick Finish Styling Spray to keep the hard texture for the ring. High Sheen Finishing Spray before entering the ring to add a shine without leaving a residue and retain the harsh texture.

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