What it’s like to have a Border Terrier?

Hey, fellow pet lovers! 

Today’s post is going to talk all about what it is like to have a Border Terrier. I have two pooches as most of you will already know, a Border called Lily and a Staffordshire Bull Terrier called, Nia. These two, along with my cat, Pooss are my whole world, and I am sure you all feel the same way about your unbelievable pets. I wanted to write a post that wasn’t about raw feeding this week and is a little more laid back so I thought I would let you guys know what it is like to own a Border Terrier. Also, stick around for a post in the upcoming weeks that will let you know what it is like to own a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and learn a little more about my girl Nia.

Let’s jump straight in and learn what it is like to own a Border terrier or terrorist as we owners of the breed sometimes say. 

My Girl Lily ❤️

Above are some photos of my girl Lily and me when she only about four months old, we went on a camping trip, and I couldn’t bear to leave her at home and get someone to dog sit, so she ended up coming along with us and loved every second of it! And, this is something I love about this breed; they are so tough even when they are puppies. In today’s post, I am going to give you a little insight into what it is like to own a BT, tell you the pros and cons and why they are such amazing small dogs.

It was my idea to get a second pooch as I wanted Nia to have a little friend to play with, so I hunted and hunted for a dog but was struggling to find the right match. We went to various recuse centres over and over again, and every time I left knowing I could have saved an innocent dog’s life, it broke my heart. However, it had to be the right choice as I wanted to find the best match for Nia, so in the end, we decided we should get a puppy instead of a rescue dog to ensure Nia and our new edition got along fine.

I started to hunt for different breeds and fell in love with the Border Terrier as soon as I saw their adorable little faces. By the end, I was torn between a Border Collie or  Border Terrier and It just so happened to be that the Border Terrier won. I remember seeing an advert for three border terrier pups a few days into 2015,  I showed my partner, and he rang up straight away, and I was so relieved to find out that all three were still available. We had the choice, and I was sure I wanted a little girl, so we went for the bigger out of the two girl pups and called her Lily.

Unlike Nia where we knew we were getting her a few weeks beforehand, we only had to wait three days to go and get Lily, even though it was only three days it felt like a lifetime!! We had only seen one picture of her mum and dad and the next day got sent a picture of Lily, and she was so small!

Thankfully the day came and we went and picked our gorgeous girl up.

A Brief History of the Border Terrier

Lily at the beach
Lily having fun at South Shields beach. 

I am going to keep this section short as I hope to write a more in-depth post on the history of the Border Terrier, but we briefly mention their origins. The Border Terrier, originally bred to hunt foxes alongside foxhounds, were initially bred in the rough countryside around the Coquetdale region of Northumberland. They are an old breed of terrier and were reconsidered by the Kennel Club in 1920. They have been growing in popularity, and more and more people are becoming aware of how lovely these little dogs genuinely are.

Why are Border Terriers so great?

There are so many reasons as to why these little dogs are so beautiful and here are a few reasons why having a BT in your life is so amazing!

  • Border Terriers are so loving!
Lazy Lily
Lazy Lily!

One of the best things in the world is when I wake up in the morning, and Lily comes over for cuddles, falling back to sleep with my little bundle of joy is so lovely. I am terrible for getting out of bed in the morning and having lazy Lily here not wanting to get up too really doesn’t help, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I know some people don’t agree with letting pooches sleep in their beds, but when it comes to my girls I wouldn’t have it any other way, life is already short enough for them so I want every second I can get!

  • Border Terriers are super active dogs
Nia and Lily, having fun at the park. 

When we were hunting for a pup, I knew I wanted a breed that was fit and active to keep up with Nia, even though when Nia was a puppy she was so lazy, not kidding you she wouldn’t even run after the ball!

If you’re considering getting a Border terrier or are looking for a fit and healthy dog, then look no further because Lily just doesn’t seem to have an off button. Her favourite thing to do in the whole world is to chase after the ball!! She could run all day; I mentioned in the Meet My Girls Section that we sometimes have to stop her when we are at the park so she doesn’t pass out, as if it was left to Lily would just keep going until she does.

These little dogs need a right amount of exercise, and if you don’t have the time to take them out for an hour or two each day, then I would suggest looking for a breed with a lower exercise level. One thing to note is that Borders don’t do too good in warm weather when exercising. When the Summer comes along, you do have to be super observant as we sometimes have to pick the coldest time to take Lily out when it is hot. We always take water out with us and also give her little breaks now and then, to ensure she doesn’t overheat.

  • Borders are small dogs & cost less to feed.
Lily and Romeo.

Border Terriers are great dogs that don’t cost a lot to raw feed, we spend about £60 to £70 each month on all three of our girls, but if I were just to work out how much we would spend on Lily it would be about £25 or so, which is super cheap!! If you’re looking for a pet and want a dog that isn’t going to cost loads to feed like Romeo the Rottie does, then a BT is the perfect dog. All information was something that helped me make the final decision between a Border Terrier or a Collie as they are super small, and it doesn’t take much to feed her.

  • Border Terriers are super smart.

I was shocked at how smart Lily is when we first got her. I have never had a dog that is as smart as she is!! She knows how to wind you up and what will pull your strings, so you have to be quite dominant with her in comparison to Nia and not give in to her often persistent demands. Too late for me though, Lily has already worked this out, but her smartness does work in my favour sometimes, as it makes teaching her new tricks and training all that more comfortable.

  • Border Terriers are so cute!

Lily, Niayour furry friends surround you and the Pooss all melt my heart, and I find them so adorable, but Lily is my little sweetheart with her being the baby of the household (even though she is far from sweet sometimes). Working from home, however, can prove quite a challenge when your four-legged friends surround you. I wouldn’t change it for the world and am slightly dreading the potential of going back to university, whether it is part-time or full next year, as leaving my girls is going to be very difficult!

For the right reasons, having my girls around when I’m working can be quite distracting, it’s hard to look at them without wanting to take a break to squeeze their cute little faces. The thing is though that all these little distractions add up and I find myself spending half the day just cuddling my girls and hoping that any blog posts will write themselves, that’s never the case.

The not so great things about having a Border Terrier!

They can be little rebels!! 
  • They are not the best at being off the lead.

Something I was a bit gutted about when I was first looking into getting a Border Terrier is a fact they do not do good off the lead. They have a crazy prey drive, and this results in them darting for almost anything they see. Much to my despair, when Lily was a puppy she would just run after other puppies and small dogs, so we had to get her a 10-meter training lead so that when we do see she is going to make a run for it, we can quickly grab it and pull her in.

How can you fix this?

An excellent way to solve this issue is by purchasing a long training lead and practising good recall. Some people do get lucky and manage to get a Border Terrier that is just perfect being off the lead, if there are no dogs around then Lily is fine, and her recall is quite good, but when she sees something small and fast she is just gone, so we don’t take the chance and always stick her on her training lead. Below I have added a few links to some training leads on Amazon, that will help with recall training.

I haven’t tried these products as we got our training lead from Pets at Home when Lily was just a puppy and haven’t had to get another one since. The reviews seemed good but do have a look around and double-check, as I cannot assure the quality of these brands without trying them. There is a 5m for super cheap so maybe purchase that first to ensure the quality of this company’s products is good.

Above is a photo of a 10m training lead, and it is the same size we have for little Lily. It makes a massive difference and means we can grab her before she runs off and causes trouble. To order just follow the link below, Company of Animals The CLIX Recall Training Line 10m

Here is a 20m training lead if you wanted something a little longer, to order follow the link: Dog training Lead, Poppypet 20M Training Dog Leash Durable Nylon Leads, Pet Dog Cat Puppy Tracking Walking Lead Recall Obedience Traction – Black

*By purchasing through this link you are supporting epoch.pet as we get a small amount of commission, with no extra cost to you. This money helps keep the blog up and running and allows us to purchase pet products to review on our site.

  • They like to have a good kick-off!
Lily kicking off

One thing I would change about Lily and one day I might be able to, but we will see how reactive she is with other dogs. Sometimes she is outstanding and, other times, she isn’t. Her change in mood is odd as I have had previous dogs in the past, and all have communicated fine with other dogs, but Lily is hit or miss. Nia, on the other hand, is as cool as a cucumber and runs away from conflict, Lily, however, seems to seek it willingly. What does make me feel a bit better is the fact that when I see other little dog owners or Border Terrier owners, their dogs are just the same, and we are not a one-off? However, I hope I can get Lily to a point where she kicks off way less.

How can you fix this?

We have watched Lily get slightly better since she was a puppy, but we still need to be super observant when there are dogs around, when she is on the lead she has a Halti on, and when Lily is off she is on her training lead. She has thankfully never gotten into a fight, and I plan on keeping it this way. Having a Halti has helped us though, and if you are having issues with your dog pulling when walking or kicking off with other dogs on the lead, then this might help you too.

Below is a link to order a Halti, for a border you will need the small most likely but be sure to double-check and measure. We got the small as Lily is super tiny, but it helps when she is about to kick off as I can correct her much easier when she has it on.

Company of Animals HALTI OptiFit Headcollar, Small

*By purchasing through this link you are supporting epoch.pet as we get a small amount of commission, with no extra cost to you. This money helps keep the blog up and running and allows us to purchase pet products to review on our site.

  • Grooming can be a bit difficult at first
Lily being stripped
Do we really have to do this?

One thing that I read very little about because once I had seen a picture of how cute Border Puppies are I was set on getting one, and everything else wasn’t that important! My partner and I quickly discovered that twice a year if not more we have to hand strip Lily which is quite a task considering how much she hates it, thankfully we use a grooming table and some stripping combs which has made life so much easier. When she is older, I am pretty sure we are going to have to clip her as it is quite a stressful situation for us all when it’s time to do it.

Thankfully when she is all done she looks Amazing! 😍

  • Smelly Beard

I know this is something that can quickly be sorted out, but I am just giving you a heads up in case you do end up having a Border Terrier in your life. One thing that I have always noticed about Lily is how much food she manages to get in her beard, no matter what she is eating or drinking, she will happily get her face covered in it. Which means whenever I go to kiss her face smells quite gross depending on what she has had, I need to try Topiclean’s face wipes for a quick fix. I do just wash her little beard in the sink if it gets too bad though, this isn’t a downside, of course, I just wanted to let you guys know everything. 

  • Messy Bum

The last thing to talk about is that unfortunate moment when you take your bundle of joy to the loo and realise that they have managed to get poo all over their backside. Being a raw feeder most of Lily’s poos are excellent, solid little perfect poos but now and then for whatever reason, this won’t be the case, and the result will be a very messy bottom! That is the one downside of having a longish haired dog, and occasionally I find myself sticking her in the bath or shower because this incident has happened.

Thanks for reading this post, I hope you all liked it and if you did then hit that like button below to let me know.  I hoped you enjoyed learning about my girl Lily and stick around to hear what is so great about having a Staffordshire bull terrier and learning about my other pooch, Nia.

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6 thoughts on “What it’s like to have a Border Terrier?

    1. Hi Betsy, thank you for such a lovely comment! 🙏

      I’m so thrilled you liked the article and enjoyed learning about my gorgeous girl Lily. Border Terriers are one of the best breeds out there, they’re so sweet, loving and adorable! It’s great to have a fellow BT mum in our pet-loving community, thanks for being here! 😊


  1. Thanks for your post.

    We just lost our beautiful rescue mongrel …German Shepherd, Rodisian Ridgeback, and who knows what else. We’ve always had rescue dogs and chose whoever seemed to choose us, but this time we have more specific requirements. Must be small, but not yappy. I’ve never known a border terrier, but am so drawn to the scruffy, feisty nature. It was very helpful to know they are as adorable as they look.


  2. Hi Zoe, thanks for your comment. I’m so sorry to hear you lost your beautiful canine companions, and I hope you and your loved ones have many happy memories to treasure.

    Border Terriers are great little dogs; they are the perfect lap dogs. Our Lily is so affectionate, and she could spend all day giving and getting cuddles. I would not say they are yappy. However, Lily can get very excited when it is time to go to the park to play ball or on a walk, and this is when she might become a little yappy with excitement.

    Border Terriers love to exercise and go on long walks. Lily has lots of energy which she loves to get out by chasing after her ball. I’d say they are a great breed for nature lovers or anyone who loves going on long walks.

    Lily is my first Border Terrier, but she certainly will not be my last. I have fallen in love with the breed and would highly recommend getting a BT if you are looking for a small, loving, clever and healthy dog who will be loyal and bring you lots of joy.

    I feel like I could say so much about how amazing these little dogs are, but I will leave it at that. If you have any other questions, simply drop me another comment or send me an email at katie@epoch.pet.com

    I hope you find the perfect canine companion. Thanks for checking out epoch.pet and reading my post. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! 😊


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