Originating in the border country between England and Scotland, the Border Terrier, believed to have descended from the Fell Terrier and Patterdale Terrier, was bred to be used as a vermin hunter, primarily for fox hunting. In addition to ridding stables and homes of mice and rats, these dogs worked alongside hunters and foxhounds until the fox was found, at which point these flexible terriers would roust the fox out of their den. A rough-coated terrier has been reported throughout English history for centuries, but it wasn't until the 1880s that the type of dog was referred to as the Border Terrier. Prior to the 1880s, the breed was called the Reedwater Terrier and Coquetdale Terrier, named after areas where they were commonly found.
Bred to be a tough working breed, Border Terriers have a distinctive head shape that is said to look similar to the head of a sea otter. Smallest of the long-legged terriers, these long and narrow dogs have a scruffy and rugged appearance with a rough, very wiry topcoat that covers a short and dense undercoat. The eyes of the Border Terrier are moderate in size with an alert expression and their ears are small, dark-colored, and V-shaped. The dark-colored muzzle of the breed is short with a black nose and they have a moderately short tail that is carried up when alert. Another distinguishing feature is that they have longer legs than other terrier breeds of similar weight.
Border Terriers are known for being good-natured and fairly easy to train. Always willing to please their owners and considered less stubborn than most other terrier breeds, these dogs love affection and will follow any command again and again. Due to being in the terrier family, they have a lot of energy and require a good amount of time to play outside or go for daily walks. When properly trained and socialized, these small terriers make great companions that get along well with children and other dogs while they can be a poor choice for households with small rodent-like animals because of their prey drive. Compact and sturdy, they are a durable playmate for kids and are athletic enough to keep up with others. Although less feisty than most other terriers, the Border still retains some characteristics such as chewing and digging habits. Courageous, loyal, and a high desire to please, these shaggy terriers are sociable, easy to maintain, and can be very adaptable to different living situations.