What it’s like to own a Border Terrier; five years on.

Hey, fellow pet lovers! 

I’ve been a bit stuck for blog post ideas lately and wanted to write an informal, creative post, so I’ve decided to write a new article, inspired by one of the very first written on epoch.pet: what it’s like to have a Border Terrier? 

The original post is a popular one on the site, so I thought I’d write a new and updated version, with the extensive knowledge gained from my additional years of owning a BT.

As most of you will already know, I have two dogs, a Staffishorde Bull Terrier, who will be turning six this year, called Nia. I also have a Border Terrier who will be turning five this year, named Lily. Both of my girls mean the world to me (alongside my amazing cat called Pooss), and I am undoubtedly a dog lover through and through.

In today’s post, I plan to talk about Border Terriers and what I love about them and what I think any potential BT owner should know before bringing one into their family.

Let’s take a deep dive into this beautiful breed!

Lily ❤️

Above are some of my favourite photos of my girl Lily. I remember when I was first looking at getting a puppy back in 2016, as I wanted to find Nia, who was one at the time, a little friend to grow up alongside. I had narrowed it down to two breeds: the Border Terrier and the other the Border Collie.

Although I’ve always wanted a Border Collie and think they are a stunning breed, I went for a Border Terrier for a few reasons, the main being the size difference. Once I was sure a BT was the right breed, my partner and I started looking for a rescue before deciding to get a puppy.

Before getting Nia, we had a rescue Staffy called Freya, who was heartbreakingly knocked over and killed in October 2014; if you’d like to learn more about Free, check out this post, Remembering Freya. A few months after losing her, we got little Nia, who stole our hearts instantly!

However, when deciding to get another dog, I initially wanted to rescue one, as I know how rewarding it can be. So my partner and I went to the local Kennels three times, looking for the perfect match, and I even put my name down on a Border Terrier, though he was lost and thankfully returned to his forever loving home.

There was one little dog who is forever stuck in my thoughts, though, and it was a small black and white Staffy who I was so close to taking home. However, I wasn’t sure it was going to be the right move for Nia, so in the end, after many heartbreaking trips to the kennels, we opted for a puppy.

I know full well that our next dog will be a rescue. However, two is enough right now! When we’d decided that a puppy was the way forward back in 2016, I hunted all over the internet, and with it being Christmas time, most breeders weren’t selling puppies.

But thankfully, I found an advertisement for three little Border Terrier puppies who were ready to go on the 6th of January. We called up, and within three days of first hearing about little Lily, it was time to go and collect her.

Border Terrier Puppies


Border Terrier puppies may be the cutest pups on the planet, although I’m somewhat biased and would also say that Staffy pups have a right to claim that title too!

What’s so cute about them? Everything, just look at that little face and pot belly!

I remember how small Lily was, she fitted into the palm of my hands when we first brought her home, and she could fit under the tiny gap in the sofa for her first year. I remember her being a puppy is limited as it was so long ago, but her little fat belly sticks in my mind, which you can see above.

If you’re looking for a dog and want an adorable pup, then a BT is a great option. However, all puppies are incredibly cute, that’s a fact!

What it’s like to owner a Border Terrier?

Besties 😍

Owning a Border Terrier is a unique experience. I’ve been around a fair few breeds of dogs, and the BT has the most prominent character out of them all. Lily lets you know what she wants when she wants, I guess you could call her a little diva. Above is a photo taken when Lily was still a puppy; she grew up alongside Nia and Romeo the Rottie.

Believe it or not, she is the boss out of the pack, despite being the smallest out of the bunch. Her little feisty character is so present in everything she does. Owning a Border Terrier, for myself anyway, is like getting a tiny wild animal; you get more than you were expecting.

The Benefits of Owning a Border Terrier

There are many benefits of owning a Border Terrier, and I’ve listed some of my favourite things below about being a BT mum:

  • They are such sweet little dogs! 
  • They are so affectionate and give the best cuddles. 
  • They are small enough to go on holiday with you. 
  • They are intelligent and easy to train.
  • They have such a bold character. 
  • They are relatively cheap to insure.
  • They are relatively cheap to feed.
  • They are incredibly photogenic.
  • They are hilarious!

Above is a small list of the benefits of choosing a Border Terrier as your canine companion. My girl Lily is so smart, sometimes too smart for her good. If you are after a small, affectionate and intelligent breed, then a Border Terrier may be the right option for you. Other benefits are that they are a small breed, which means they are cheaper to insure and feed than larger breeds.

Also, they are hilarious! After every bath, Lily does a crazy run around, rubbing herself on everything, and she also makes the funniest noises when playing with her toys. Border Terriers are so toy-oriented, well mine is, so if you’re looking for a dog who is willing to play all day, then its a great breed to opt for. Lily could spend all day at the park if I let her, she loves playing ball.

The Downsides of Owning a Border Terrier

  • The can be sociopaths or Border Terrorist, as we owners of the breed often call them.
  • They have a high prey drive. 
  • They sometimes like to eat cat poo! 🤢
  • They are so so so stubborn!
  • They tend to get poo stuck in their bum hair.
  • You have to strip them twice a year. To learn more, check out: How to hand strip a Border Terrier?
  • They will steal your heart, and you’ll forever be in love with the breed.

Above is a small of what could be considered downsides of owning a BT. However, these are solely based on Lily’s actions, and every dog is different.

Firstly, Border Terriers are Crazy! Well, mine is anyway; Lily from day one has been full of beans. If you are looking for a calm and relaxed breed, then a BT may not be the best option for you. However, if you want a pup/dog that will keep you on your feet, then go ahead and bring a lovely Border Terrier into your life.

When I was first considering getting a Border Terrier, one of the things that put me off was that in every article or video talking about the breed that I could find, everyone said that they had such a high prey drive, and you couldn’t let them off the lead. This statement is and isn’t true in terms of a high prey drive, that is entirely true, but a BT can be let off the lead if trained correctly. 

Unfortunately, Lily has always been hit or miss with certain dogs, so for that reason. She doesn’t get to spend as much time off the lead as Nia does. However, there are two things that I have found helpful, for still allowing her some freedom while ensuring other dogs are safe, and she is secure from running off when she sees a bird or a little fluffy puppy running about, which may kick off her prey drive.

Firstly, an extendable lead helps to give her some freedom while keeping her close and under control. Secondly, I use a long training lead to grab and pull her in if she sees something that catches her attention. I’ve added links below to the training lead I use and the extendable lead I use when out and about.

Tug Patented 360 Tangle Free Heavy Duty Retractable Dog Lead With Anti-Slip Handle

TUG Patented 360° Tangle-Free, Retractable Dog Lead with Anti-Slip Handle; 16 ft Strong Nylon Tape/Ribbon; One-Handed Brake, Pause, Lock White/Orange Small

Toozey Dog Training Lead, 5m | 10m | 15m | 20m Long Dog Lead with Handle and Storage Bag

Toozey Dog Training Lead, 5m | 10m | 15m | 20m Long Dog Lead with Handle and Storage Bag, Non-Slip and Robust Dog Recall Lead for Small to Large Dogs

Halti Head Collar, Head Halter Collar for Dogs

Halti Head Collar, Head Halter Collar for Dogs, Head Collar to Stop Pulling for Small Dogs

*By purchasing through these links 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.

Above are a few links to my favourite products we have used to ensure Lily is safe when on and off the lead. If you do order through any of the links above, I truly appreciate your fantastic support. I only ever review products I know and trust and choose not to have advertisements on the site, other than the affiliate links that I want to place in posts or on our Affiliate Store.

Another downside of owning a BT that some people might not want to deal with is that this breed requires more grooming than other breeds. One of the weirdest things about having a Border Terrier is having to hand-strip them twice a year; you have to pull out their old coat when it has become blown, which simply means it has become overgrown and is dead. By doing this, you can get to their lovely soft undercoat. 

A thing you don’t think about when you’re getting a dog is washing poo off their backside and with a Border Terrier, who has long hair around their butt, you’re probably going to end up doing this a lot, I’ve found this to be the case anyway. If you don’t like the sound of this, then it might be a better idea to opt for a breed with less grooming needs or one with short hair.

The last thing I want to talk about is disgusting, and that is dogs eating cat poo. I’m not sure why they do it, but Lily is guilty of this crime, and I’m guessing many other canine companions out there are too. I’ve thought I should write a post about why dogs eat cat poo but have never got round to it, maybe one day. However, Lily has eaten her fair share of cat poos and, it is so gross! I’m not sure if this is a common thing for the breed but beware, it may happen.

That’s enough said about the potential downsides of owning a Border Terrier. I feel if you are looking for a loving breed which will no doubt steal your heart, then a BT is a great option. Just beware that they require a lot of attention and affection, and if you give them the love they need, then you’ll have a forever best friend.

Personally speaking, I’ll forever own Border Terriers, and they have an exceptional place in my heart. If you have any specific questions about the breed that haven’t been mentioned in today’s post, then please get in touch via our Contact Page.

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As always, thanks for checking in and I hope you guys are having a great summer!

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