Border Terriers are small working dogs that were bred to hunt fox and control vermin on the farm. So it’s no wonder they are often described as being tough and courageous. But they’re also affectionate dogs that make excellent family companions.
Do they shed much? Borders have a wiry outer coat and soft, dense undercoat that sheds minimally throughout most of the year. However, they are known to shed seasonally, so you’ll need to brush more often during spring and fall to limit how much fur they drop around the home.
Let’s dig a little deeper into how much Borders shed and what they’re like to groom, so you know what to expect if you do decide to adopt one of these rugged terriers.
Border Terrier Shedding
Border Terriers are a fairly low shedding breed, but it does depend on how you keep their coat, and they do tend to shed seasonally.
So, overall, we’re rating them as low-to-moderate shedders.
Which puts them in the same category as breeds like the Scottish Terrier and Norfolk Terrier for example, which are small terriers with similar coats.
They’re not the lowest shedders out there, but with proper grooming and ensuring his diet is optimal, the hair he drops won’t be very noticeable. The caveat to this, however, is that they tend to shed seasonally. Which means once or twice a year, the shedding will become more noticeable.
This seasonal shedding isn’t as extreme as breeds like the German Shepherd for example, but you will likely see an uptick in molting during spring and fall for about two or three weeks. This is normal, they are just adapting to the change in season.
Aside from the time of year, there are other factors that can impact how much your dog sheds, and how noticeable it is. For example, Borders have a wiry coat that can either be left as is, stripped, or clipped.
Stripping is probably the best method, and will result in the least amount of hair dropping off of his coat overall, but this is also the most tedious and time consuming method.
Clipping will make the task of brushing easier, but shorter hair means that less dead fur will be trapped within the coat, and more of it will fall out between brushed.
Simply leaving the coat as is, neither stripping nor clipping it, is of course the easiest option of all. But you may notice more shedding than if you properly stripped his coat.
Sometimes shedding can be caused by an underlying health issue or things like fleas, poor diet and allergies for example. So if you are noticing excessive levels of shedding, and you are concerned, it might be worth contacting your vet.
What Are Borders Like to Groom?
Borders are fairly rugged and therefore their coat doesn’t need a lot of special attention.
However, they’re not as easy to groom as a short-coated dog either, like the Smooth Fox Terrier for example.
Border Terriers are a double-coated breed with a rough, wiry outer coat and a soft, dense undercoat. The outer coat comes in a variety of colors but mostly wheaten, tan, red, or grizzle.
Given their wiry coat, they do need to be brushed on a weekly basis, and a slicker brush is one of the most suitable brushes to use. Along with a metal comb and, during shedding season, some like to use a deshedding tool as these can make the job of removing the old, dead hair and undercoat easier.
Either way, regular brushing is one of the best ways to manage the shedding. Not only does it remove the old hairs from the source, before the drop off the coat, but brushing helps spread his skin oils. Which works to promote healthier, stronger hairs.
They don’t need to bathed very often, but it does depend on how often they go outside to work or play. Borders that are outside are going to get more dirty and therefore need more bathing. Bathing can also help during shedding season.
Be careful not to bathe too often though, or with low quality shampoos, as these things can dry out his coat and actually increase the molting. Stick with a good quality, moisturizing, dog shampoo. And only bathe as needed.
Aside from brushing and bathing, how you keep your Border’s coat can have an impact on the shedding and how much effort you’ll need to put into brushing.
Hand stripping is by far the most tedious option.
This involves literally plucking out the old hairs by hand, or with a stripping tool, a couple times per year (or more during shedding season) and is normally only done by professional groomers for show dogs. Mostly because it tends to retain the color and texture of their coat better than clipping.
Another reason hand stripping is preferred by some, is that it tends to limit how much hair ends up around the home, versus clipping or simply leaving the coat as is.
Clipping is much simpler and will lead to an easier brush. So this is what most people do. Just make sure that, unless your vet specifically recommends it, don’t shave off their coat completely. As in, down to the skin. As they need their undercoat to help protect them from the elements.
Are They Hypoallergenic?
Some sites claim that Border Terriers are hypoallergenic, and there may be some truth to this. But the reality is that no dog is ever 100% hypoallergenic, it’s just that some dogs are more suitable than others for people who suffer from dog related allergies.
The reason there’s no such thing as a fully hypoallergenic dog is because the thing that causes the allergies (dander, saliva, urine and sweat) is present in every dog. The fact that a dog doesn’t shed much does make a difference too, simply because they are less likely to spread the dander around, but dander is the culprit.
Either way, they are not listed as being hypoallergenic by the American Kennel Club, like the Wheaten Terrier is, so it would pay to exercise caution before deciding to adopt a Border Terrier based on this.
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Border Terriers might be small, but they are admired the world over for their courage and toughness, as well as their affectionate and family oriented nature.
They do shed, but not much. And even though their coat can be a little high maintenance, this is really only if you decide to go the route of hand stripping.
Either way, controlling the molting isn’t difficult, so you can enjoy a relatively hair free home with proper grooming and ensuring your Border is enjoying a healthy, balanced diet.