How long have you been involved with border terriers?

I have owned border terriers for over 15 years, though it was only in 2010 that I bred my first litter.


Is the border terrier right for my lifestyle?

Border terriers are very adaptable little dogs, and will fit into a wide range of households.  They are a fit and healthy breed who do well in busy, high activity households.  However, plenty of border terriers are more ‘house potato’ like dogs who are satisfied with a few walks per week.  The temperament and energy of a border terrier is partly based on their genetics, but also how they are raised and what they ‘get used to’.  It is important for all dogs to be kept fit through exercise for their health, and be mentally challenged on a daily basis to reduce opportunities for behavioural problems.

As for whether a border terrier is actually ‘right’ for you is a matter for you personally to decide. I always recommend you meet border terriers in the flesh and spend some time with the breed to help you in the decision making process.


What health issues should I be aware of before committing to a border terrier?

The condition you’ll hear the most about is CECS (Canine Epileptoid Cramping Disorder).  This is an epilepsy-like condition that causes border terriers to cramp up for a period of minutes, and recover spontaneously.  The dogs remain conscious during this time.  Many people with CECS affected dogs find that their symptoms reduce when fed a diet that excludes gluten.  Unfortunately, there is no genetic test for this condition, and so the only thing breeders can do is not breed from affected dogs.

Border terriers occasionally have other health issues, but none that are prolific in the breed.  For example, some dogs do have heart murmurs, luxating patellas, legg-perthes, and cryptorchidism.  I try to use older, healthy stud dogs when appropriate in the hopes of security genes for longevity and health.


What grooming and coat maintence does the border terrier require?

Border terriers have a hard wirey coat that needs to be hand stripped.  This involves removing the hard outer coat by pulling the hair out.  If this is not done, the coat will not get long enough to get matted, but the dog will start to drop a lot of hair if their coat is left for 6 months or more.  Most pet people choose to allow their dogs to ‘get hairy’ and only strip the coat twice a year or so.  For those who are showing, or like to reduce the amount of hair around the house, the coat of a border terrier could be rolled (stripping out a small amount) on a weekly basis and shedding from the coat would be minimal.  The border terrier’s wirey coat is a unique feature of the breed, and most breeders can show you how to strip a border terrier and help you with your puppy as it grows.


How much does a border terrier puppy cost?

We sell our puppies for $2000, which is a typical price for a border terrier. (Prices vary from breeder to breeder, but this price is fairly typical for the breed.) For a puppy from Leema Border Terriers, this price includes:

a. a veterinary certificate of health,
b. their first C3 vaccination (and certificate),
c. micro-chipping (and associated paperwork),
d. details of worming (puppies are wormed at 2, 4, 6, 8 weeks by me),
e. an extensive puppy pack with ongoing care details,
f. insurance through PetPlan for a period of 6 weeks only,
g. registration paperwork related to the puppy’s pedigree (i.e. their ANKC pedigree),
h. membership to the Border Terrier Club of Victoria Inc.,
i. toy/s to go home with (including a food toy like a Kong),
j. a blanket, crate (bed) and food for a couple of days to go home with (if in South Australia),
k. extensive socialisation throughout their 8 weeks with us (aiming for the puppy to meet 100+ people in their first 8 weeks), and
l. the beginnings of toilet training.


Are border terriers good with kids?

This is a common question that is seemingly simple, but is actually very complex.  This question is really asking, “Do border terriers bite?” and the answer is, yes, just like every other dog with teeth, border terriers are capable of biting.  All dog breeds are capable of biting your child.

The dog bite problem is a lot more complex than breed. Families with children and dogs need to realise that child-dog interactions can end up in a bite, regardless of breed.  However, they also should be aware of the multiple ways that dog bites can be prevented and dogs and children can therefore live well together.

The Dog

Yes, the dog is an important part of the picture.  For a dog to be ‘good with children’,  they need to be adequately socialised, trained, and have a stable genetic personality and temperament.  Your role, if you’re looking to add a dog to your family, is to select a breeder with stable dogs with good temperaments who socialise their dogs and puppies to all people, including young children.  Once you’ve added one of these well-bred, well-socialised puppies to your family, the next step is to continue to socialise the puppy well with all people, train the puppy appropriate behaviours (e.g. not to jump up), and police child interactions with the dog.

The Child

Children need to be taught to interact appropriately with dogs.  Dogs with stable temperaments should not then be an invitation for children to climb on, poke, or otherwise tease or irritate the dog.  Even good dogs have limits.  Children should be taught to:

  • Always leave dogs alone that are sleeping.
  • Always leave dogs alone that are eating.
  • Always leave the dog alone when they go to their special place (which could be the dog’s crate, bed, or kennel).
  • Always leave dogs along that are acting fearful (and how to identify a dog that is scared).
  • Always leave dogs along that are acting aggressive (and how to identify a dog that is angry).
  • To pat dogs on the chin and chest, and avoid hugging or squeezing a dog.
  • Never do anything that could hurt the dog.
  • Never grab a dog by its collar.


As the dog’s owner and child’s parent, you play an important role in managing the interactions that take place between the dog and the child, and ensuring they are appropriate and safe.  For example, it is your job to ensure that children know not to approach a dog that is eating, while also ensuring that the dog is always removed from the children while eating.  If you think your dog may be fearful during a child’s birthday party, perhaps putting the dog in boarding kennels for the weekend or otherwise confining the dog would be an option.  Management also includes alert, conscious supervision of all dog-child interactions: The mantra of “Supervise or Separate”.  If you can’t watch how dog and child are interacting, then separate the dog from the child.  If you know there are deficiencies in your dog’s temperament or your child’s behaviour, then your management attempts to prevent these deficiencies giving rise to a dog bite.

As you can see, the question “Are border terriers good with kids?” is a complex question.  Any dog can be good with kids, provided they are adequately socialised, the kids interact in respectful and safe ways with the dogs, and all interactions are constantly monitored to ensure all parties are safe.


I used to have a border terrier cross. Do you know anyone who breeds border terrier crossbreeds? Can you breed a border terrier cross (insert breed) for me?

Sorry, I do not know anyone who breeds border terrier crossbreeds nor do I intend to breed border terrier crossbreeds myself.  If you are looking for a border terrier cross, perhaps consider looking at PetRescue.  PetRescue has a range of dogs available for adoption, including puppies, and some may have the authentic scruffy look typical of a border terrier.


Can I see the parents of my puppy? What titles do they have?

You are always welcome to come and meet the dogs at my house, including any parents of an upcoming litter.  However, I often use stud dogs that do not reside with me, so you may not be able to meet both parents of a puppy.

I compete with my dogs in conformation (show), earthdog, and tracking, and most of my dogs have a title from at least one of these sports.  When using outside stud dogs, all have so far been titled in conformation and perhaps other sports, but this may change. I am interested in choosing the best match for my bitch, and titles are not necessary and indicator of compatibility.


How are your puppies raised and socialised?

My puppies are raised in the home. They are extensively socialised from birth to when they leave at 8 weeks with many different people.  They are frequently taken out on outings to shopping centres and friends home in order to acclimatise them to all environments. For more details on our puppies, visit the Puppies page.