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Get a border terrier they said...

I've been longing for a dog throughout majority of my adult life. This feeling ebbed and flowed but it has always been there. I knew for sure that one day, when the time is right, I'll get a dog.

I can't quite remember when or how the idea of getting a border terrier got stuck in my mind. What I do remember is that I've been certain and unshakable about it for years. And when the day came in May 2020 that I finally decided it's time for me to get a dog, I knew what breed I wanted.

Was it a conscious choice? No of course not. I knew close to zero about the specifics of the breed, their needs and characteristics. Only the basics: they are a small breed, originally bred for hunting foxes, good tempered, happy little dogs, very clever and trainable. They can adopt to city life and they are very good with children. Sounds almost perfect, right? It definitely sounded perfect for me.

What I didn't know and wish I had:

  • what it means to have a working terrier as a companion, with their tireless and persistent hunger for endless hours of physical and mental exercise

  • any hereditary health problems that can come out of the blue, or general health problems they are more prone to developing

  • the tricks of the trade of grooming their double coat

  • the strong drive to hunt anything that moves, and how cautious, well prepared and well equipped I have to be to manage it.

Don't get me wrong, I love the breed. In my humble opinion, they are just the best dogs ever. And now that I know better, I can make an educated decision to have a second border terrier soon. 🙂

If I were the conscious decision maker I know I wasn't, these are the questions/prompts I would've made myself answer:

  1. Find and interview 2-3 different groomers about the needs of the breed and their specific experience with it. (I.e. border terriers can/should only be hand stripped, and they should be very rarely bathed. I didn't know that. My groomer almost yelled at me when I showed a comb I bought, and told me don't ever use it on my dog because it'll ruin the fur completely.)

  2. Find and interview 2-3 different vets about their encounter with the breed. What are the most common problems they see with this breed?

  3. List down 10 specific reasons why you should have this specific breed.

  4. List down 5-10 reasons/concerns why you shouldn't have this breed.

  5. Ask yourself the big Why question. Why do I believe this breed is the right choice for me?

  6. Envision your life with your dog 3 years from now. How do you live together? What does a normal day look like to you? What activities do you do together? Where is she when you're at work / in the gym / vacationing / going out with friends / welcome new members in your family? Where do you take her with you?

  7. Search for breed specific social groups (on any social media) and connect with a few owners in your area. Talk to them, and ask for them to meet their dog in person.

I feel that my early and unconscious attraction towards border terriers wasn't a coincidence, I firmly believe that this is the best choice I could've made. It's safe to say I'm a huge fan of these tiny but mighty dogs, they are simply amazing.


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