Border Terrier

Last updated September 2000

A breed standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance including the correct colour of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed.

From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch information related to this breed for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However, if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as highly undesirable, it must not be rewarded in the show ring.

General appearance

Essentially a working terrier.


Capable of following a horse, combining activity with gameness.


Active and game as previously stated.

Head and skull

Head like that of an otter moderately broad in skull, with short strong muzzle. Black nose preferable, liver- or flesh-coloured nose not a serious fault.


Dark with a keen expression.


Small, V-shaped; of moderate thickness, and dropping forward close to the cheek.


Scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Level bite acceptable. Undershot or overshot a major fault and highly undesirable.


Of moderate length.


Forelegs straight, not too heavy in bone.


Deep, narrow, fairly long. Ribs carried well back, but not oversprung, as a terrier should be capable of being spanned by both hands behind the shoulder. Loins strong.




Small with thick pads.


Moderately short; fairly thick at base, then tapering. Set high, carried gaily, but not curled over back.


Has the soundness to follow a horse.


Harsh and dense; with close undercoat. Skin must be thick.


Red, wheaten, grizzle and tan, or blue and tan.


Weight: dogs: 6-7 kgs (13-15½ lbs); bitches: 5-6.5 kgs (11½ -14 lbs).


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

*Note for prospective puppy buyers

Size – The Kennel Club breed standard is a guide and description of the ideal for the breed; the size as described does not imply that a dog will match the measurements given (height or weight). A dog might be larger or smaller than the size measurements stated in the breed standard.