Description & History

The breed originated in the Border counties of England and Scotland. It is thought to be one of the older terrier breeds and can be traced back to the early part of the nineteenth century.

Like other terrier breeds, its exact origin is uncertain but it is probably related to other Border breeds such as the older types of Dandie Dinmont and Bedlington Terrier.

The Border Terrier is first and foremost a working terrier, bred by farmers to dispose of the hill foxes which were a constant threat to poultry and livestock.

It is a tough little dog with endless stamina. The weather on the borders can be very inhospitable and the winters long and hard, so it had to cope with the elements as well as being able to follow the fox over rocky and rugged terrain, and then find enough energy to deal with it decisively.

All the hunts in the Border region used these workmanlike dogs and, as their reputation spread, hunts in other parts of the country also used them as terriers.

The breed was referred to by various titles until 1880, when the name Border Terrier was established. Over the years the breed was closely associated with the Border Hunt, so that may have had a bearing on its name.

The British Kennel Club recognised the breed in 1920.

Although nowadays a show dog it is one of the few breeds that can still carry out the task that it was originally bred to do.

Rosamund Walters.



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