by Doris Donnerman
(last updated April 6, 2009)
Although the Border Terrier was not given recognition by the English Kennel Club until 1920, it had been exhibited in large numbers at the many Agricultural Society shows in the Border country previous to that date.
Purely a working Terrier, the strain had been carefully preserved by farmers and shepherds of the Cheviot Hills Border country where a "dead game" Terrier was greatly needed to hunt and kill the powerful hill foxes which could prey easily on the stock in this sparsely inhabited country. These dogs had to have length of leg to get over the ground swiftly and yet be small enough to follow the fox to earth.
The ancestry of the Border Terrier goes back to a type known about the end of the seventeenth century, an excellent working dog confined to this district. He was probably closely related to the forerunner of the Lakeland, the Bedlington, and the Dandie Dinmont. At an early stage in its career, the breed was known as the Reedwater Terrier, and is believed to have been related in its early history to the Patterdale Terriers.
A picture of 1826 shows one of these small dogs with "Old Yeddie Jackson," the Hunter King of North Tyne. It has been established that the type was known in the Border country well over a hundred and fifty years ago, where it was used to hunt badger and otter as well as the fox. These dogs had to be active and strong for the work required of them. Their harsh, dense coat was necessary to protect them from the rains and mists of the hills in prolonged exposure. The Border Terrier is essentially a working Terrier, and it being necessary that it should be able to follow a horse, must combine activity with gameness.
As a general description to body is deep and narrow being fairly long. The coat is harsh and dense with close under coat, and the skin being thick. The male weighs between thirteen and 15-1/2 pounds; while the female weight is between 11-1/2 and fourteen pounds.
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