Border terrier sitting on couch looking directly into camera

Why pet owners are switching to online vet care with Dutch

  • Prescriptions delivered free to you

  • Fast access to Licensed Vets over video

  • Unlimited video visits and follow-ups

The border terrier is a small, spirited pet with the perfect blend of charm and resilience. Originating from the border country between England and Scotland, these terriers were initially bred for their exceptional hunting skills. But despite their compact size, border terriers exude confidence and tenacity, making them well-suited for various roles. 

These dogs are cherished for their warm and affectionate nature. Intelligent and quick-witted, these dogs thrive on mental stimulation and enjoy being actively engaged with their human families. Keep reading or learn more about the border terrier dog. 

History & Origin of Border Terriers 

The origin of the border terrier can be traced back to the rugged border region between England and Scotland, where they earned their name. 1 This area is known for its challenging terrain and diverse wildlife, requiring a versatile and hardworking terrier capable of hunting and controlling pests. The exact lineage of the border terrier isn’t known, but it’s believed they share ancestry with other terriers in the area. 1 

Border terriers were prized on farms for their skills in controlling vermin, such as rats and other small pests. Their compact size and agile nature allowed them to easily navigate the rocky landscapes. Farmers and shepherds valued these dogs for their unwavering work ethic, making them indispensable on the border farms. 2 

The development of the breed continued through the 19th century, and the Border Terrier Club was established in 1920 to promote and standardize the breed. Over time, these terriers transitioned from primarily working roles to becoming beloved family pets. 2 

Today, the border terrier dog is recognized as a versatile and charming breed, excelling in the field and also a loyal and affectionate companion. 

Physical attributes of border terriers

Physical Attributes of Border Terriers 

  • Height: 12- 15 inches
  • Weight: 11.5-15.5 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 12- 15 years 3

The border terrier is a small, well-proportioned dog with distinct physical attributes that contribute to its unique appearance. They have heads proportionate to their bodies with a short, powerful muzzle and black noses. Their dark, expressive eyes convey curiosity, and their V-shaped ears are small and drop forward, adding to their alert appearance. 4 

One of the most distinctive features of border terriers is their double coat. The outer coat is wiry, straight, and dense, providing protection from the elements and giving the dog a characteristic scruffy look. The undercoat is soft and insulating. Common coat colors include red, wheaten, grizzle and tan, or blue and tan. 4

Border terriers’ tails are moderately short, thick at the base, and tapered toward the tip. It’s often carried high but doesn’t typically curl over the back. 4 

Collectively, these physical attributes make the border terrier dog an agile, adaptable, and resilient breed, well-suited for its historical role as a working terrier and its modern role as a beloved family companion. Keep in mind that border terrier mixes may have different physical attributes depending on the combination of breeds. 

Behavioral Characteristics of Border Terriers 

Border terriers are known for displaying a range of behavioral characteristics that contribute to their charm and versatility. It’s important to note that individual dogs may have variations in behavior, and factors such as training, socialization, and genetics can influence their temperament. 

Border terriers are considered highly intelligent dogs. Their quick problem-solving abilities make them responsive to training. This intelligence can also translate into a curious and sometimes independent nature, so consistent training from an early age is beneficial. 5 

These terriers are also known for their high energy levels and playful demeanor. Regular exercise and engaging playtime are essential to keep them happy and prevent boredom-related behaviors. 5 While their size makes them a suitable apartment dog , keep their exercise requirements in mind to ensure you’re meeting their health needs. 

Border terrier personality

Border terriers are often affectionate and enjoy forming strong bonds with their human family members. They can be good with kids , but again, so much of their temperament depends on upbringing, training, and socialization. They may seek attention and enjoy being actively involved in family activities. However, some may be more reserved. 3 

Despite their small size, border terriers are brave and alert. They can make excellent watchdogs, as they’re quick to alert their owners to any potential intruders or unusual sounds. 3 Their courage is a characteristic that comes from their historical role as working terriers. 

Like many other terrier breeds, border terriers may exhibit some degree of independence. This independence can be balanced with a positive reinforcement training method to ensure a cooperative and well-behaved pet. 5 

Border Terrier Health Risks

While the border terrier dog is generally considered a healthy and hardy breed, like all dogs, they can be prone to certain health issues. Potential pet parents should be aware of these conditions and work closely with reputable breeders who prioritize the health of their dogs. You can also work with border terrier rescues to ensure the health of your canine companion. Here are some reported health risks associated with the breed: 

  • Gallbladder mucocele: This is a condition where there’s an abnormal accumulation of mucus in the gallbladder, potentially leading to obstruction. Symptoms may include abdominal pain and vomiting. 
  • Spike’s disease: Canine epileptoid cramping system (CECS), or Spike’s Disease, is characterized by episodes of cramping, trembling, and abdominal pain.
  • Idiopathic epilepsy: Border terriers may be prone to seizures without any apparent underlying cause. Epilepsy can usually be managed with medication, but it requires veterinary attention. 
  • Paroxysmal dyskinesia: This condition involves episodes of abnormal involuntary movements, which can affect the limbs or the entire body. The cause is not always clear, and management may involve medication. 
  • Cranial cruciate ligament (CCL): CCL injuries can occur in border terriers. This may result in lameness and may require surgical intervention. 
  • Hip dysplasia: Though relatively uncommon in border terriers, hip dysplasia — a malformation of the hip joint — can occur. 
  • Congenital cardiac disease: Some border terriers may be prone to congenital heart conditions. Regular vet exams are essential for early detection and management. 
  • Juvenile cataracts: This refers to the development of cataracts in young dogs. Regular eye check-ups can help monitor and address this issue. 
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA): PRA is a group of degenerative eye disorders leading to blindness. 
  • SLEM (shaking puppy): SLEM Is a genetic and neurologic disorder that causes tremors in border terrier puppies. 6 
  • Patellar luxation: Luxating patellas occur when the kneecap dislocates or moves out of its normal position in the thigh bone, causing mobility issues in dogs. It’s most common in small breeds like the border terrier. 7 

Caring For a Border Terrier 

Caring for a border terrier involves a combination of preventive care, grooming, exercise, and attention to their specific needs. Here’s how you can care for your border terrier: 

  • Regular vet check-ups: Schedule regular check-ups with a vet to monitor your dog’s overall health. Vaccinations, parasite control, and preventive measures should be discussed and implemented. 
  • Balanced diet: Provide a balanced and nutritious diet appropriate for your dog’s age, size, and activity level. Consult with your vet to determine the best diet plan and feeding schedule. 
  • Grooming: Border terriers have a double coat that requires regular grooming. Brush their coat regularly to prevent matting and remove loose hair. Regular nail trimming, ear cleaning, and dental care are also essential. 
  • Exercise: Border terriers are an energetic breed that benefits from regular exercise. Border terrier puppies can be especially high-energy. Daily walks, playtime, and interactive toys can help channel their energy and prevent boredom. They may also enjoy participating in activities like agility and obedience training. 
  • Socialization: Socialize your dog from a young age by exposing them to various environments, people, and other animals. This ensures they develop into well-adjusted and confident adults. 
  • Training: Border terriers are intelligent and respond well to positive reinforcement training. Start training early and remain patient. Basic commands, leash training, and social manners should be part of their training routine. 
  • Love and attention: Border terriers tend to thrive on companionship and human interaction. Spend quality time with your pet, provide mental stimulation through games and puzzles, and ensure they feel like an important part of the family. 


Do border terriers bark a lot?

Every dog is an individual with its own personality and tendencies. While they’re known for their alert and vigilant nature, which can lead to barking in response to perceived threats or unfamiliar stimuli, proper training and socialization can help manage and control any barking tendencies. 

Are border terriers cuddly?

Again, every dog is different; some may love snuggling up on the couch, while others prefer to spend their time independently. If you got your pet through border terrier adoption, they may have a different temperament than they would have if you raised them from puppyhood. Early socialization and positive experiences can contribute to their comfort with being close to their owners, other people, and pets. 

Are border terriers good pets?

Border terriers can make excellent pets for the right families. They’re known for their intelligence, adaptability, and affectionate nature. However, like any breed, they require proper training, socialization, and regular care to thrive. 

Caring for your border terrier requires you to care for their health. Dutch telemedicine for pets makes it easier than ever to get your pet the veterinary care they need when they need it. Schedule an online vet appointment , consult with vets from the comfort of your home, and reduce the stress of an in-person vet visit. 

Side profile of a border terrier with an orange collar

Final Notes

Understanding the border terrier’s physical attributes and overall temperament can help you make the right decision for you and your family. While they’re known for their affectionate nature, they can also be independent and require training just like any other dog. They also require proper care. 

Caring for your border terrier should be easy and stress-free. With Dutch, you can consult with veterinary professionals from the comfort of your home to ensure fast and accessible healthcare for your pet. Your Dutch membership also grants you access to free shipping on medications from our online pet pharmacy . Sign up for Dutch today. 



  1. Border Terrier History,

  2. “About the Breed .” The Border Terrier Club,

  3. “Border Terrier Dog Breed Information.” American Kennel Club,

  4. Official Standard of the Border Terrier General Appearance,

  5. “Is the Border Terrier the Right Dog for You and Your Family?” The Border Terrier Club,

  6. “Health and Genetics.” Border Terrier Club of America, 3 Apr. 2023,

  7. “Patellar Luxation.” Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, 19 Jan. 2024,

Memberships to keep your pet healthier

billed $132 yearly
20% off of all memberships
billed monthly

All memberships include:

  • Fast access to licensed vets
  • Virtual care for up to 5 pets
  • Customized Rx treatment plans
  • Unlimited video calls & follow-ups
  • Guaranteed low prices on medication
  • Free shipping on every order

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Dutch?

Dutch is an online veterinary pet telehealth service, created by pet parents and board-certified veterinary specialists. We use a science-backed approach to provide pets relief for their everyday physical and behavioral health issues. Dutch connects you with licensed veterinarians over video chat and messaging to help you get care for your dog or cat quickly wherever you are — without the stress or expense of a vet visit. We also partner with pharmacies who can deliver prescription medication (in applicable states only) and over-the-counter treatments directly to your door. Dutch isn’t a veterinary practice or pharmacy, but a company that helps facilitate these services for pet parents to make veterinary care more accessible to all.

What is a visit with Dutch like?

When booking a video call with a vet, you'll be asked a few questions about your pet’s health issue. Depending on the issue, you may also be asked to fill out a longer questionnaire about their symptoms and share photographs of them so our veterinarians can better understand what’s going on. You’ll then pick an appointment time that works best for you.

During your video call, one of our licensed veterinarians will talk to you about the symptoms your pet is experiencing, ask you questions, review your pet’s medical history if you’ve provided it, and answer any questions you have. The vet will ask to see your pet and their environment. And they may ask you to perform some simple checks on them if needed.

After your video call, the vet will send you a message with a custom treatment plan to help your pet feel better, including a link to buy any recommended prescription or over-the-counter medications. Place your order and we’ll ship it free.

How much will it cost for Dutch to treat my pet?

The Dutch membership starts at $11/mo for unlimited access to the vet. No more long waits for appointments or surprise bills.

In addition to the base membership plan, our veterinarians may also recommend additional medication (Rx and/or OTC) that you will have the option of adding to your plan at an additional cost.