The Border Terrier was developed in Great Britain, where it originally was bred to hunt and kill the powerful hill foxes that threatened the stock of farmers along the borders of Scotland and England. They had to be active, stout and tireless to perform this task. Their legs had to be long enough to keep up with horses and the accompanying foxhounds, while at the same time they needed to be low enough to the ground so that they could follow and corner foxes, even flushing them from their dens. It is thought that the Border Terrier, Bedlington Terrier and Dandie Dinmont share common ancestors. The breed’s popularity surged after it was officially recognized by the English Kennel Club as a distinct breed, and following formation of the British Border Terrier Club, in 1920. True terrier fanciers feared that recognition of Border Terriers as show dogs might “prettify” and soften the breed, but that has not proven true. The breed was well-established long before it became a show dog in the 1920s and retains is rough-and-tumbled looks and sound working character to this day. Border Terriers were first registered with the American Kennel Club in 1930 and are part of its Terrier Group. The Border Terrier Club of America was founded in 1949.
Border Terriers have an average life expectancy of 13 to 16 years. Breed health concerns may include allergies, Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome (CECS), heart problems, hip dysplasia, juvenile cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy.