16/06/2024

The Critters

For Nice Critters

Who Is That Ugly Little Brown Dog?

Who Is That Ugly Little Brown Dog?

When the Border Terrier first made its appearance in the A.K.C. show ring, onlookers were often heard to ask “What breed is that ugly little brown dog?” The Border Terrier does appear to be rather plain, a simple and straight forward looking, unassuming brown dog.

Personality wise however he packs a lot of punch. Developed to “run with the hounds” and worry the fox , the Border Terrier is courageous and exploratory in nature. As an addition to a household, he can get himself into a lot of trouble! His inquisitive forays into the neighborhood mandates that his owners have a securely enclosed area, especially since he is not a large dog and he can wiggle his way out of a lot of enclosures.

The Border Terrier has boundless energy. He is playful and a bit scrappy in nature. However he should not posses the typical aggression associated with most terrier types, since he must blend well into the fox hound pack. The history of his usefulness as an “assistant” to the hounds demands that he get along well with other dogs. He was bred to worry the fox when the hounds caught up, thus his nature should be one of dauntless courage and tenacity.

The standard calls for a small dog of stocky proportions. He should have a broad, otter-like skull with folded ears set close to his head, and a broad and sturdy body which is not actually very representative of most breeds who are within the Terrier group. The height is about 13 centimeters at the withers. The chest should not be “barrel” and his coat should be straight and lie close to the body. Colors range from dull red to wheaten to black and tan or blue and tan, a small amount of white on the chest is permissible but not common. Teeth should have a scissors bite and be strong. Shoulders should be well laid back so that he can negotiate rough country when running with the hounds.

The Border Terrier has proved himself useful as a therapy dog. His small size and gentle nature work well in this pursuit, plus his coat is not a difficult care coat so that he is easy to keep clean for his visits to hospitals and homes for the elderly. He has also become a favorite dog for the agility ring as he has speed and a genuine love of the chase. He is tractable and easy to train, being highly intelligent. The border terrier is equally at home in a small apartment or as a country dog. Assistance dogs generally are larger than this little dog, but in the areas of assistance dogs for the deaf or as a “seizure dog” the Border terrier has made himself quite useful. And of course, in the show ring, he is gaining steadily in popularity.

The Border Terrier seems to be very stable in matters of health. He presently is not considered a “problem dog” but care must be taken with responsible breeding or surely problems of health will develop, as this has often occurred in the history of breeding dogs. Especially when a dog is of a smaller stature or becomes popular, puppy millers tend to breed indiscriminately to meet the demands of the market, and this can lead to health related problems which were not present early on. If responsible breeders continue to maintain a tight control over the sale of un-neutered animals then the future will be secured with good health remaining one of the attributes of this “ugly little brown dog”.