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Border Terrier - Temperament & Personality

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015
Border Terrier


A sturdy dog with roots as hard farm workers, Border Terriers aren't as high strung as other terrier breeds. Their individual personalities can vary from confident and outgoing, to shy and timid, but all Border Terriers are curious by nature and will want to be included in all family activities. Their playful nature makes them great dogs for families with children.

Activity Requirements

Border Terriers can live happily in just about any environment be it an apartment, a house with lots of children, or a farm. They don't need an excessive amount of exercise, but should be allowed to walk several times a day and be allowed to run in a yard or park a few times a week. Yards should be fenced because Border Terriers will chase birds, squirrels and cats. Farmers like Border Terriers because they are very reliable ratters and keep foxes at bay.

They enjoy challenges and new tasks, so they need lots of mental activity as well. Challenging toys or hide-and-seek games are right up the Border Terrier's alley.


Border Terriers are easier to train than their terrier counterparts. They can be stubborn but will focus intently on the task at hand, as long as the reward involves a treat. Harsh discipline should be avoided with this breed, as they will become unresponsive to training. Consistency, confident leadership and lots of positive reinforcement are the best formula for training a Border.

This breed was designed by farmers and herders in the borderlands Scotland and England to hunt rodents and keep small predators at bay, and they made a reputation for themselves as being efficient ratters and fearless fox chasers. Modern Border Terriers still enjoy the hunt, so activities that involve “hunting” for toys and treats in the backyard will keep them happily entertained. They excel in agility courses and enjoy taking on new challenges.

Personality Traits

Borders are terriers, so Borders bark at just about everything. When they are left alone for long periods of time without enough exercise or activities to keep them busy, their high pitched bark can drive neighbors crazy. Another terrier trait they share with their brethren is the tendency for aggression towards dogs of the same sex. They usually get along just fine with dogs of the opposite sex, but early socialization to be open to new situations can stop same-sex aggression from becoming a problem.

Digging can also be a problem with this breed and if left unsupervised they can tear up a flowerbed in record time. They have also been known to dig under fences in search of new adventures.

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