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Do Border Terriers Make Good Pets?

Have you been thinking about getting a dog? Can’t decide which one would be best for you?

Or, maybe you’ve already had your eye on this specific breed for a while and are just waiting for that push to tell you this is the right choice. Well, as a proud owner of a Border Terrier myself, I’m here to tell you exactly what you can expect from these cute, little furry friends.

Picking a new pet can definitely be challenging, and choosing the right one is kind of a big deal. That’s why this article will tell you exactly what you need to know about what to expect from being a Border Terrier dog owner.

So, if you are looking to add a furry companion to your life continue reading to find all the great reasons why you should consider a Border Terrier as your new best buddy and house partner.

Why are border terriers good pets?

Reason 1: Good Size to Travel With

Border terriers are a good higher-end, small to medium-sized dog. They are great for someone who is looking for a dog a bit larger than the Yorkshire or other similar small breeds but also doesn’t want to commit to a larger dog breed.

This dog is easy to transport for travel and also does well in a smaller living space. 

Reason 2: Great Physical Temperament

Border terriers can have a lot of energy sometimes, but they also love just hanging out on the couch with you while watching TV or other lounge activities. On the other side of the spectrum, the terrier side of the dog does love to be outside.

This is a dog that is going to require multiple walks a day and, if you don’t have a large backyard, a trip to the dog park a few times a week would be a great outlet for your furry friend to get some energy out and also to chase some squirrels!

Reason 3: Good Social Temperament

Border terriers tend to be territorial; however, not more so than many other dog breeds. As long as you have a park nearby, neighbor dogs to socialize them with, or other dog family members, they are great with other dogs and people alike.

Providing a comforting home life is an easy way to assure good social temperament for most dogs and the Border Terrier is no different. They are great cuddle bugs always looking for attention.

Reason 4: Border Terriers are Okay to Have Around Kids

Border Terriers Are Okay To Have Around Kids

They’re great for singles, couples, and also families. These dogs are very lovable and respond well to humans of any shape or size.

They’re a great family dog to have; however, they might not be as excitable or ready to play as a lab or retriever breed. 

Reason 5: Lower Risk of Allergies

Although border terriers are not entirely hypoallergenic, they do have wirehair meaning they produce less dander. This means that anyone who has a mild allergy to dogs will most likely be able to bring home this great breed.

Border terriers still shed, but they do shed less than shorthair dogs and even less with regular haircuts and brushing.

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Reason 6: Great Outdoors Breed

The Border Terrier is a great dog for anyone looking for an outdoor buddy. With their agile legs, they are great for taking on long walks, hikes, or any other outdoor activity, especially swimming.

Terriers are natural water dogs (one of the great uses for their wirehair) and love a trip to the lake. Their hair is a great feature that lets them swim fast and also dry quickly!

So, take a toy to your nearest lake and let Fido swim a few laps practicing retrieval while getting some good exercise.

Reason 7: Border Terriers Are Loyal

Border Terriers Are Loyal

Border terriers, being a smaller dog breed, can oftentimes latch on to their owners quickly looking for support and reassurance. You will not have to worry about this dog running away in most cases.

And, if this dog does happen to get off the leash to chase a squirrel or bird, chances of him coming back quickly and when called are high.

Reason 8: Respond Well To Training

As with any dog, it’s best to start training at a young age. Still, this is a smart, responsive dog breed that will pick up on new behavior coaching and is very trainable at any age. 

Border Terrier Behaviors to Take Note Of

Like with any new pet joining your household, there are other things to consider along with just the pros. I’m not going to call this other section cons as most concepts included are going to be things to consider when adopting/choosing any dog breed you’re on the lookout for.

Still, these are behaviors that are prevalent in the Border Terrier breed.

Mischievous Out Of Boredom Or Anxiety

This dog breed sleeps a lot, so chances are that’s the majority of what your furry friend is doing while you’re off at work, running errands, or out of the house for any other reason. However, these pets can tend to get a bit mischievous if they find themselves bored and alone.

Here’s what to expect and also some easy ways to prevent these behaviors.


Like any small dog, border terriers tend to be more anxious than the normal large dog breed, and, depending on how attached they get to you, they can feel this anxiety when you’re away. They also tend to get anxious during storms or other loud activities such as fireworks or high-volume television programs and games.

This can lead to things such as chewing, licking themselves, or rustling around the house. 

Prevention: There are some very easy ways to prevent your pet from feeling too anxious while you are away. 

  1. Give them calming chew supplements to settle their nerves before leaving. 
  2. Provide healthy bone snacks for them to chew on while you’re away to keep them occupied.
  3. Resist giving them human food so they will not be in search of anything they can get their paws on to put in their mouth while you are gone.
  4. Provide them with something they feel safe in while you are away such as a pet bed, blanket, or kennel.
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Terriers can often have the trait of being territorial. This is something that can be avoided easily by keeping your dog socialized both around humans as well as other dogs, scolding them when they show signs of being territorial, and making sure they know they do not run the household.

Like any dog, especially ones who show signs of being territorial, this is easily avoidable and not something that will likely be a big issue owning a Border Terrier as they are very loving and loyal dogs.

May Not Live With Cats

border terriers and cats

Border terriers may not always be great with cats or other small house pets as they are often bred to see smaller animals as prey to chase and capture. They respond well with other dogs and are playful but sometimes they can push their territorial limits and not get along with many people’s other favorite household animals.

Requires Physical Activities

As stated above, border terriers can be energetic and do need a fair amount of exercise on a day-to-day basis. They require a few walks a day to wear them out and also some backyard time.

If you do not have a backyard this can be supplemented with dog park time. Simply a place for them to run around, explore, and wear off some energy is great for them. That will keep them satiated in a smaller home environment as well as during their in-home and alone time.

Hair Shedding

Border terriers have wirehair that is coarser and sheds less than shorthair dogs but also can require grooming and maintenance. To keep shedding to a minimum weekly brushing is recommended along with regular trips to the groomers as their hair is going to continue to grow versus shed off.

This is not bad for them, but if you are going to let their hair grow brushing and general at-home hair care such as washing their coat and keeping it clean will be necessary.

Requires Basic Health Care

Like any dog, border terriers will require basic health care. Still, as long as you provide them with a good diet, exercise, and typical medications such as ticks, fleas, and parasite prevention, they should only need yearly checkups for vaccines and physicals.

border terrier health care

Given their athletic build as well, they tend to have healthy hips and bone health

Is a Border Terrier right for you?

Based on all this information, border terriers are pretty low-maintenance dogs other than grooming and outdoor exercise needs, so if you’re looking for a great new companion who will be loyal, well-behaved, and a fun little friend then this is definitely the dog for you. 

Border terriers also do not have high healthcare demands that can save you money in the long run and as a small/medium breed will most likely live long, healthy lives. Based on your preferences, a Border Terrier might be just the dog you are looking for.

They are loyal, excited to see you when you get home at the end of a long day, and a great addition to any home in need of a good pet.