Border Terrier History

Have you fallen in love with the Border Terrier? If so, you’ll want to know all about this spirited little dog and where he came from. Here is a brief history of the breed.

A British dog

The Border Terrier is from the British Isles and the breed was first developed in the 18th century. This makes it one of the oldest British breeds of all the “modern” dog breeds we keep as pets today.

Terrier blood

The Border Terrier is from the Terrier family of dog breeds. Terrier comes from the Latin word terra, meaning “earth”. These small, plucky dogs were bred for hunting, and their smaller size made them ideal for following rodents, foxes and rabbits into their underground burrows in order to drive them out. A lot of the Terrier breeds, like the border Terrier, were developed in England. In the early days of the Terrier, there were two distinct types: from Scotland came the shorter legged, rough coated Terriers, and from England there were longer legged Terriers with smooth coats. The Border Terrier differs from these two groups; he comes from the border between England and Scotland, and his legs are of medium length. The farmers of the border counties kept Border Terriers and trained them to hunt vermin and foxes – controlling their numbers made it easier to farm in these areas since it was safer for their sheep and, without these predators, allowed for higher numbers of small game.

Early Border Terriers

The Border Terrier was also called the Elterwater Terrier or the Coquetdale Terrier. We know that people like Lord Lonsdale of Lowther were breeding Borders as early as the 18th century. During their heyday, almost every farmstead along the border had one of these little dogs. These dogs were bred selectively for their hunting skills, with very little regard for colour or appearance. All they really needed was a good set of jaws for closing in on game and a double coat to protect them from the elements. The legs needed to be long enough to keep up with horses on hunts, yet short enough to allow them to enter burrows and dens.

Breed recognition for the Border Terrier

The Border Terrier Club applied for the breed’s official recognition in 1914 but the Kennel Club turned them down. Later on in 1920, they applied again and were accepted.

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