Border Terrier

Lifestyle Needs

Border Terrier

Border Terrier

The Border Terrier is becoming a very popular pet dog because of his small size and usually cheerful disposition.  Apparently his working origins are to go to ground after a fox.  He is tenacious, has a lot of energy and needs to be active.  His good nature makes him a natural choice as a family pet.  His short coat is coarse and wiry and sheds.  He needs regular and frequent grooming.  Although small in stature  the Border Terrier needs plenty of exercise with opportunities to run freely. Average lifespan 12.7 years.

Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)

The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 8.8% - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'

Effective Population Size - EPS


EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.

Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)

None known

BVA/KC Health Schemes:

  • Hip dysplasia (malformation of the hip joint causing pain and lameness):  breed mean score 13 (parents should be lower)
  • Eye disease: Hereditary cataract (HC) (late onset) (annual testing)

Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) are now available for Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia:

DNA Tests Available

None known

Unofficial (Breed Club) Schemes

None known

Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.

Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)

  • Epilepsy
  • Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome (CECS) (episodic tremors, seizures, muscle spasms affecting whole or part of the body)
  • Renal dysplasia (failure of the development of the kidneys)
  • Sebacious gland hyperplasia (enlarged sebacious glands)
  • Shaking puppy syndrome (SLEM) (puppies have uncontrollable head shaking which can inhibit their ability to take nourishment)
  • Periodontal disease
  • Obesity
  • Otitis externa

Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents.  Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.

Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.

You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP):

You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Breeding Reform Group’s (DBRG) Standard for Dog Breeding:

Or the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeders Scheme Standard and Guidance:
Standard PDF | Guidance PDF

List of Dog Breeds