Prior to the Mid-nineteenth century, the background
breeding of the working terriers native to the country bordering
the Cheviot Hills in the north of England was so intermingled it
is impossible to trace the history of a particular breed farther
back than this. And while they now bear little resemblance to one
another, it is thought that the Dandie Dinmont, Bedlington, Lakeland,
and Border Terriers share the same ancestry. Each has been developed
along different lines but all were essentially hard-working terriers
used to control the fox population that preyed on livestock.
The birthplace of the Border is considered to
be the Northumberland valley of Coquetdale, an area renowned for
its terriers. At one time the breed was known as the Coquetdale
Terrier. Another local terrier, the now extinct white Redesdale,
is thought to be a common ancestor of the Dandie, Bedlington, and
Border. As evidence, terrier authorities cite the occasional Border
puppy that carries the distinctive topknot and the occurrence of
puppies born with white feet and white chest markings.
In 1880 the name Border Terrier took preference
over all the local names by which the breed had been known probably
because the breed was a favourite hunt terrier and worked with packs
of Border Foxhounds. Credit for standardizing type, draughting the
first breed standard, and helping to obtain official recognition
for the breed belongs to three hunt masters whose families had been
associated with working terriers for generations. In 1920 the Border
Terrier Club was formed, and shortly thereafter The Kennel Club
(England) added this breed to its official list.
For a time a group of breed fanciers were angered
that the Border had been elevated to the ranks of the show dog,
fearing that such prettifying would be the ruination of the working
terrier. However, the Border has remained sturdy and natural, able
if need be to run with the hounds all day. The breed's most distinctive
feature is its head which resembles that of an otter.
The Border Terrier was first registered in Canada
in the years 1929 -1930.