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How To Breed Border Terriers

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Published on
Wednesday 16 October 2019
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
how to breed border terriers
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Are you interested in learning how to breed Border terriers? Then this guide is for you. This cute yet rough pup was bred as a vermin and fox hunter and is original to the United Kingdom, mainly England and Scotland. They are affectionate and make great companions. In addition, they get along with other dogs fairly well.

They are lively and independent, and therefore, they are low maintenance. However, breeding Border terriers presents unique challenges like dealing with their stubbornness, which is because of their independent and lively nature. Nonetheless, they are friendly and not prone to aggression.

As you can see, they are the ideal mix between a free soul and a friendly and affectionate companion. They are also adaptable, and their cute appearance makes them lovely at first glance. Their versatility was a true asset for farmers and mountain men. Let us learn all about them!

Background of Border Terrier Breeding

Border Terrier is one of the most interesting breeds because they are a special mix of personalities and qualities. They are rough, independent, adaptable, brave and lively, but they are also friendly, affectionate and lovely. In this overview, you are going to get a solid background about how Border Terriers have been bred over the last few decades.


It is worth noting that, similar to most terriers, this breed also has a short and recent history. They appeared for the first time in 1860 and became a recognized Kennel Club breed in 1920 and AKC in 1930.

They come from the rugged country along the border between Scotland and Northumberland, known as The Border Country. That is why this breed receives the name of a Border terrier. Nonetheless, this region also gave origin to other terriers, the Bedlington, and the Dandie Dinmont.

It descents from terriers bred for living under harsh and rough conditions, and for hunting foxes and vermin. Therefore, they are capable of going for long distances and adapting to different living conditions easily. They were the ideal breed for The Border Country because they helped shepherds and farmers to protect their lands. They still do nowadays, however, since the 19th century they also became a favorite pick for formal foxhunting as a sport. As we are going to see, they are also an excellent choice for Earthdog tests.

Earth Dog Test


The Border terrier is a truly fascinating dog. It is affectionate and friendly yet hardworking and unstoppable on the camp. That is why they love earth dog trials. Thanks to their nature and small size (maximum 15 inches); they are ideal for this type of activity, and in consequence, the AKC puts it as an eligible breed along most other Terriers, Schnauzers, and Dachshunds.

According to records, they have won more Earthdog Trials than other terriers, and that is why they are a favorite pick. Border Terriers are to Earth Dog Trials what Border Collies are to agility. Earthdog trials help Border terriers to develop their instincts, and therefore, you should take part in these competitions if you plan to own one. You can take part in different trials. Here you have the biggest organizers:

  1. AWTA – American Working Terrier Association
  2. Atlanta Terrier Club
  3. Border Terrier Club of the Redwoods
  4. Dachshund Club of America
  5. Arizona Earthdog Club

We recommend you to check these sources regularly. In addition, you should know that this breed is suitable for agility training, terrier racing, disc dog, flyball, lure coursing and several other dog sports. They are agile, athletic, rough and smart; a perfect mix for such an active dog breed.

border terriers exercise needs
The Border Terrier breed requires a good amount of daily activity in to remain mentally healthy. Too little exercise and not meeting their exercise needs would result in frustration and destructive behavior.

Well-Known Border Terriers

Although they rank #92 in the AKC ranking of popularity, we have many examples of famous Border terriers. Here you have the best picks:

  • Chomp from “102 Dalmatians”
  • Sickan from “My Life as a Dog”
  • Hubble from “Good Boy!”
  • Lucky from “Felicity”
  • Toots from “Lassie”

They are also popular amongst celebrities because people like Noel Fitzpatrick, Andy Murray, Elton John, James Herriot, and David Walliams own one.


They are an interesting mix of personalities, as you have already seen, and it makes them very interesting and well-rounded dogs, suitable for different types of owners.

On one side, they are lovely, affectionate, playful, friendly and obedient. These features make them ideal companions for humans because they will be there to please you as their owner. Nonetheless, they are prone to stubbornness, but you can prevent it with proper training from an early age.

Furthermore, they get well along with other dogs, because they love to play and are highly sociable. Therefore, if you have more dogs at home, it will be no issue. Nonetheless, due to their hunter instinct, they will chase small animals and cats and kill them. Consider this before buying a Border terrier pup.

On the other side, they are lively, independent, tough, intrepid, curious and brave. These features make it excellent for sport hunting, earthdog trials and dog sports such as flyball and coursing.

However, take note that they love to escape. They are escapists by nature, little Houdinis! Therefore, you need to keep an eye on them, and if possible, build a fence around the yard. It will be enough to stop them.



To make sure that you get an authentic Border terrier puppy, you need to know its appearance standards. Here you have them summarized.


Their height ranges between 12 to 15 inches and their weight ranges from 13 to 15.5 pounds for males and 11.5 to 14 pounds for females. Therefore, they are small dogs. However, do not be fooled, because they are surprisingly tough and adaptable. Fragile is not a trait for them!


They have a strong and well-put-together contexture that makes it strong, agile and durable. They are medium bone and they are narrow in the body, quarter and shoulder, which are features that make it an excellent hunter. It has the ideal conformation that makes it perfect for its purpose, and that is why it is very important to take note of these details.

Face and Skull

Their head has the characteristic otter shape, and therefore, it is rather small and compact. It also has keen eyes, which bring it its brave, alert and strong appearance, which is surprising for a rather small dog. In addition, the muzzle must be dark.


Their coat is medium-length in size and it is hard and wiry. In addition, they have a soft undercoat. It protects it from the rough environment, which is another requisite to fulfill its purpose. According to the standards of the breed, these are the unique valid coat colors:

  • Red
  • Wheaten
  • Grizzle and tan
  • Blue and tan

Also, take into account that all authentic Border terriers are born with a very dark coat.

Ears & Tails

Ears must be small and be V-shaped. Furthermore, they must look drop. It is another distinctive feature of the breed, and if you notice that the pup deviates from this, then you can tell it is not authentic. The tail should have an irregular ring of silver-colored hair. Also, it must be short and have a thick base.

border terrier shedding
The Border Terrier sheds moderately. Brush vigorously every few days.

Health Issues When Breeding Border Terriers

This breed is prone to certain health issues, and therefore, you have to be informed, because they are part of the knowledge that every reputable and ethical breeder must-have. They are a healthy breed in general, but there are certain issues worth taking into account.

Canine Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a hereditary bone disease that develops when the puppy reaches 5 to 6 months old, or in certain cases when it becomes an adult. It is degenerative, and therefore, it worsens with the passing of time.

It is caused by the malformation of the coxofemoral joint, which is what unites the femur with the pelvic bone. The coxofemoral does not develop properly, and in consequence, it causes friction and provokes the malformation which characterizes the disease.

It causes pain, and as it progresses, it can incapacitate your dog. Therefore, early detection is advised in order to begin treatment and stop/delay its development. As Border terriers are prone to this disease, it is worth it to check it once it becomes 5-6 months old.

For cases of mild dysplasia, your veterinarian will recommend medical treatment. However, if the malformation is chronic, then surgery will be the route to follow.

Heart Defects

Heart disease is a usual problem in the Border terrier. Therefore, it is necessary to take your dog to regular cardiac exams, to detect any issue and bring immediate treatment, because they can be potentially fatal, and overall, they diminish the quality of life of your dog. These are the most common hearth defects:

  1. Pulmonic Stenosis – It is the most recurrent heart defect in Border terriers
  2. Aortic Stenosis
  3. Heart Murmurs
  4. Patent Ductus Arteriosus
  5. Ventricular Septal Defect

This breed has very few health issues, but when it comes to cardiovascular health, it is especially vulnerable. Therefore, regular checks, plenty of exercises and a proper diet are essential for the well-being of your Border terrier.


Malocclusions are a recurrent problem in purebred dogs, and that includes the Border terrier. It is the incorrect alignment of the lower and upper teeth, and in the case of this breed, it tends to worsen with the passing of time.


It is present in many Border terriers, and therefore, they will have to undergo orthognathic surgery to correct it, in case it is too severe. If it is a mild case, then it can remain untreated without problems, but supervision is recommended.

This is one of the traits that breeders are trying to eliminate, and hopefully, they are going to accomplish it in the future. If you plan to become a breeder, you must exclude studs and bitches that present this trait.


This breed is prone to seizures, and more specifically, to canine epileptoid cramping syndrome (CECS), which presents seizures as a trait. According to studies, consumption of gluten can trigger the disease. Therefore, if your pup presents this defect, then you should keep it away from processed foods that contain gluten and fillers.

The seizures often come accompanied by intestinal cramps and intense muscle pain. The episodes usually last only a few seconds or minutes, but in some cases, they can last up to 30 minutes. The first signs of this defect appear when the pup is 2-6 years old.

It is a genetic defect, and unfortunately, there is not a lot of information about it. Because it compromises the life quality of the dog, breeders will exclude bitches and stud that present this condition, because it will help to improve the breed.

Patellar Luxation

It is a disease with roots in a genetic defect that causes abnormalities in the muscles and bones of the hind limbs. Precisely, it affects the patella, which is the kneecap. It provokes luxation and incapacitates the normal range of movement and functions of the knee joint. It is common amongst small dog breeds and compromises the life quality of the animal.

It provokes pain in different degrees ranging from mild to chronic, and in addition, it causes osteoarthritis due to the continuous damage to the cartilage.

The most effective treatment for patellar luxation is surgery, especially when it causes chronic pain and incapacitates the dog. The aim of the surgery is to align the quadriceps relative to the entire limb, in order to correct the malformation and prevent further deterioration.


Hypothyroidism causes the insufficient production of thyroid hormone. It severely affects the quality of life of the dog and provokes symptoms such as sudden weight gain, dry skin, hair loss, changes in behavior and several skin diseases and disorders.

Furthermore, it also makes the dog prone to other conditions such as gastrointestinal disorders, anemia, reproductive dysfunction, laryngeal paralysis, and ocular abnormalities. Therefore, it is a huge problem that breeders are trying to eliminate from the breed.

Therefore, you should take your pup for a blood test to discard or confirm the disease, especially if you notice the aforementioned signs. Nonetheless, the good news is that the treatment is simple and effective because your dog will only have to receive hormones in the form of pills.


When one testicle or both fail to descend into the scrotum, this defect receives the name of cryptorchidism. If your puppy has it, then it will present the signs early, as a maximum when it becomes 6-month old.

This defect causes the retention of the testicle(s) in the abdomen or inguinal canal. So far, we do not have conclusive information about the causes of this defect, but we know that it is hereditary, and therefore, breeders will opt for excluding studs that present this trait.

The only method to treat and fix this issue is surgery. However, prior to it, the veterinarian will have to diagnose the case of cryptorchidism properly, to determine if both testicles are retained (25% of cases) or if it is a case of unilateral cryptorchidism (75%).

How To Breed Border Terriers

Now that you have a good background about the breed, it is time to check breeding-specific points, so you can take action and start your journey in this fabulous world.

Average Litter Size of a Border Terrier

border terrier litter size
Border Terriers give birth to medium-sized litters of around 4 puppies.

The average litter size ranges from 2 to 8 puppies. Nonetheless, the most common range is 4 to 5 pups. There are several factors that will influence the size of the litter:

  • Age of the mother
  • Age of the stud
  • Health condition of the parents
  • Diet of the parents

In the case of Border terriers, they have a coefficient of inbreeding (COI) of 8.8%, which allows them to have bigger litters and enjoy higher fertility levels.


Birthing Problems

The mission of every ethical breeder is to maintain and improve the breed, and it is the same focus that everyone needs to follow to avoid potential birthing problems in the Border terrier. Therefore, when you breed Border terriers, you need to make sure that the bitch and the stud are free of congenital diseases and genetic defects.

When you leave this factor aside, the puppies can develop serious health issues such as:

  • Peripheral Neuropathy – An inherited diseases that affect the nerves of the dogs, resulting in multiple problems: weakness, poor reflexes, lack of balance and excessive barking
  • Bleeding Disorders – For example, Von Willebrand’s disease, which affects blood clotting
  • Kidney Defects – Which affect the normal functions of the organ, which can lead to multiple health problems and compromise the life quality of your pet

Additionally, special care must be provided to the pregnant female dog in order to ensure a smooth pregnancy. Such care is translated into an adequate diet, gentler exercising, and quality time spent with the dam.


The price of the puppies depends on key factors such as the bloodline of the parents, health certifications, show quality, etc. Let us explore real-life examples to give you an idea about the pricing. We have extracted these examples from multiple sources.

  • A Border terrier with all the health certificates, full AKC registration and vaccinations will cost you $1,800 USD (
  • A puppy from a breeder with 20 years of experience, full KC registration (UK), 4th generation, black and tan, and red grizzle colors can be yours for $1,160 USD (£950) (

If you want an idea of the puppies that will cost you almost $5,000 USD, then you should check Wild Perry Border Terriers in the UK, as their litters come from bloodlines of champions for both the studs and the bitches. Although they do not disclose the price publicly, you will have to pay a lot more to get a puppy of this tier.

Border Terrier Breeding – FAQs

We perform in-depth research whenever we write a new article, especially our breeding guides. Below you will find what we have detected as the most recurrent questions, answered in a concise manner.

Are Border Terriers good companion dogs?

It is an excellent companion dog thanks to its friendly and affectionate nature, and in addition, they are not aggressive. Furthermore, they get along well with other dogs in the same house, and in consequence, they are ideal for living with other pets and large families.

Nonetheless, it is necessary to socialize it from an early age, to get it with used to contact with other dogs and humans. Thanks to their superior intelligence – currently ranked at #30 – you can train them easily to live at home and be the ideal companion pup.

How much is the average price of a Border Terrier Puppy?

The average price for a Border terrier puppy oscillates can be as low as $750 USD or as high as $5,000 USD. However, the current average price is $1,050 USD. The price will depend on what you are looking for because there are different factors that can increase or decrease the price: documentation, bloodline, the reputation of the breeder and health of the puppy.

 If you want to buy a Border terrier with show quality and from a bloodline of champions, then it can range from $1,600 to $5,000 USD. The more documentation (breeding rights, for example) and certificates you expect to get to confirm the quality, the higher the price will be.

Are Border Terriers excessive barkers?

They are not excessive barkers, but they will bark to alert you from something unusual. It is in their nature because they were bred to be foxes and vermin hunters. However, they can become nuisance barkers if you do not provide them with enough exercise and activity on a daily basis.

They get bored when they do not receive enough physical activity. So, to avoid excessive barking, you should get them involved in a long walk and dog sports.

Is this dog breed prone to many health problems?

They are a healthy breed generally, but they have a predisposition to suffering heart problems, hip defects, and minor health issues. However, if you buy your puppy from a top bloodline from a reputable breeder, the chances of developing such issues will be minimal, especially since your dog will be free from genetic defects.

Therefore, you should take your Border terrier to regular cardiac and hip exams every 6 months, to discard the development of such issues, and in case they appear, so you can take immediate action.

Now you have a proper guide on how to breed Border terriers in your hands. You know the standards of the breed, their temperament, the most common health issues, breeding-specific points, and their average market price. Everything you need to get started!

Video presentation of the Border Terrier breed by Animal Planet

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