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.

Genetic Diversity
(Known as Coefficient of Inbreeding: 'COI'. It should be as low as possible.)

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

Gene Pool Size
(Known as 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)

Prone to obesity

BVA/KC Health Schemes:

  • Hip dysplasia:  breed 5 year mean score 9 (parents should be lower)
  • Eye disease: Hereditary cataract (HC) (late onset) (annual testing); other hereditary eye diseases

Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) : No EBVs are currently available for this breed

DNA Tests Available
DogWellNet and IPFD Harmonisation of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD)


  • Spongiform LeucoEncephaloMyelopathy (SLEM)

Availability of a DNA test does not mean that it is always necessary or even desirable for breeders to use this test.

Other Breed-Specific Health Screening 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)


  • Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome (CECS)
  • Periodontal disease
  • Gall Bladder Mucocoele (BM)
  • Hormonal abnormalities such as Cushings Disease
  • Paroxysmal Dyskinesia

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.

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

The breeder should also be familiar with the CFSG/DBRG Code of Practice for Dog Breeding

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

Breed Health Information