General Appearance: Essentially a working terrier.

Characteristics: Capable of following a horse, combining activity with gameness.

Temperament: Active and game as previously stated.

Notes: “Essentially a working terrier” means a love of going to ground, of hunting and attacking a fox. “Ability to follow a horse” means being able on its own legs to keep close enough to a horse going at hunting speed to be there and fresh enough to work when a fox goes to ground. A fox in these countries goes to ground more often in crevices in the rocks than in an earth which it has dug. This ability depends partly on length of leg and partly on the formation of shoulders and loin.

Head and Skull: Head like that of an otter. Moderately broad in skull, with short strong muzzle. Black nose preferable but liver or flesh coloured one not a serious fault.

Notes: The otter referred to is the UK otter Lutra lutra. The otter’s head is not coarse. Quality is essential in the head. The likeness to an otter’s head should be considered from the front. The relative two thirds and one third in the illustration must be remembered. The shortness of the muzzle must not be over-emphasised because doing so leads to two faults. First the probability of an undershot jaw and secondly, a rounded skull. An applehead is definitely wrong. The hair on the top of the head must be short. There must be no sign of a soft topknot as is seen in the Bedlington Terrier. There should not be too much hair below the bottom jaw. There must be plenty of whiskers on the top jaw, but no beard as is desirable in some breeds. The muzzle should preferably be dark in colour. There should be no pronounced ‘stop” between the muzzle and the skull.

Eyes: Dark with a keen expression.

Notes: Avoid a light eye.

Ears: Small V-shaped: of moderate thickness, and dropping forward close to the cheek.

Mouth: Scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Level bite acceptable. Undershot or overshot a major fault and highly undesirable.

Notes: If one of the incisors is slightly out of line it is a minor not a major fault. It may indicate too narrow a jaw, and if it occurs in the lower jaw, it may be an indication that there is a gene of an undershot mouth.

Neck: Of moderate length.

Notes: Observe the wording of the standard. It must be muscular, because on its strength depends the ability to draw a fox and also to shake a rat.

Forequarters: Forelegs straight, not too heavy in bone.

Notes: A Border must be extremely active for his size – must be able to jump, to turn quickly and scramble over walls. See notes on” toes”, under “Feet”. The shoulders should be well laid back. The front must be narrow and one should be able to put four fingers, but not the palm, of a man’s hand between the forelegs. The shoulder-blades at the withers must be close together. No height is given in the standard, but a guide is eight inches clearance below the brisket as a minimum. The height at the withers should not be less than the length from the withers to the root of the tail. The legs should be at the corners, and not under the body as in a fox terrier. There should be no knuckling over at the knees.

Body: Deep, narrow, fairly long. Ribs carried well back, but not oversprung, as a terrier should be capable of being spanned by both hands behind the shoulder. Loins strong.

Notes: Note that the standard does not say a “deep brisket”, it does say a deep body. The body will look deep if the ribs are carried well back and the back ones are not too short. The whole body must be narrow, and note especially, the ribs must not be oversprung. A dog which is too round in the rib cannot manoeuvre in small spaces underground. The back must be level – neither dished nor roached and must give the appearance of being “not short”.

Hindquarters: Racy.

Notes: A racy back end is not a weak one. The pelvic bones should be set moderately apart, with a good length from pelvic joint to the root of the tail. The muscles (second thigh) should be strong and carried down nearly to the hock. There should be a good slope from the point of the hip to the hock, and the stifle joint must be in front of this line so as to get plenty of forward stride. When viewed from the side, at a walk, the hind legs must come well forward, giving the appearance of a long stride, when standing, the hock should be behind the rump.


Feet: Small with thick pads.

Notes: All the pads must be close – the foot must not be loose. The centre toes are supple and should be slightly longer than the outside ones, so as to enable the dog to grip when climbing. All the pads should be in contact with the ground.

Tail: Moderately short, fairly thick at base, then tapering. Set high, carried gaily, but not curled over the back.

Notes: There is little one can add to the standard. Avoid a whippy tail, and do not breed from a dog that carries his tail curled over his back. It is probably an hereditary fault. The height at which the tail is carried probably depends more on mood than conformation.

Gait: Has the soundness to follow a horse.

Coat: Harsh and dense; with close undercoat. Skin must be thick.

Notes: The coat should be fairly short by nature, with a short dense undercoat, and when wet, should not show a parting down the back. The hide must not only be thick, but also loose. One should be able to lift the dog by taking a handful of hide on each side.

Colour: Red, wheaten, grizzle and tan or blue and tan.

Size: Dogs 5.9 – 7.1kg (13 – 15.5 lbs); Bitches 5.1 – 6.4 kg (11.5 – 14lb)

Notes: The weights in the standard apply to a dog in hard working condition.

Faults: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to it degree and effect on the terrier’s ability to work, and the health and welfare of the dog.

Note: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

Footnote: Use these notes as a guide only, and remember that it is unlikely that one will ever see a dog that is perfect in every respect.