What should I do when considering purchasing a Border Terrier puppy?

Local adverts in newspapers (and on some commercial websites which advertise many different breeds of dogs) are not always the best ways to find a reputable breeder. Consider contacting one of the breed club secretaries in your area when looking for a breeder (see details elsewhere on this web site – Links Page).

Research – there are many good books on the breed, see our Links Page of the drop down on books.

Always see the puppies with their dam (the father of the puppies may live many miles away, so you should not always expect to see him).

Check which food is being used, as the puppy should be on 3 or 4 meals of puppy food a day. You should not change this in the first few weeks he is with you, as changes in diet, when combined with all the other changes he has to go through, could result in an upset tummy. Sometimes the breeder will give you a small supply of food to take with you and you should always ensure you have a good supply on hand before you collect your puppy.

Ask if the puppy has been wormed – puppies should be wormed every 3 weeks before they leave the breeder’s premises and you should be given information regarding the dates of worming and what brand of wormer was used.

The breeder should ensure the puppy is also free from other parasites, such as fleas or ear mites.

Ask if the breeder is a member of any Breed Club, as most of the Clubs will have a Breeders Code of Ethics, which you should read before buying a puppy and by which the breeder should abide.

You should expect that a reputable breeder will ask you a lot of pertinent questions about your ability to look after their precious puppy. Be wary of any breeder who only asks if you have the money to pay for the puppy, but does not make enquiries about your lifestyle, house and garden and how you intend to care for the puppy. That may be an indication of the level of aftercare you will receive.

Check your fencing to ensure it will be proof against one small, determined person who may try to escape over or under it – some of them can and will jump over fences, or tunnel out if allowed to do so and be a danger to themselves and other people/road users’. Some owners recommend stapling weld mesh to the fencing and burying it under the ground around the perimeter of the fence, to stop escape artists!

Some breeders will take the puppy back if you have a change of circumstances and can no longer look after the puppy correctly, but when you embark on the idea of purchasing any dog, you should be aware that it is a long term commitment for the lifetime of the dog, which in the case of Border Terriers can be upwards of 15 years.

If the puppy is around 8 weeks of age, he/she may already have had it’s first injection and some breeders will have their vet undertake a simple health check before the puppy leaves the breeder. It is important that you also register with your own vet as soon as possible. 

Puppies should not leave their breeder’s premises until around 8 weeks old and on no account should they go before they reach 7 weeks of age.

If the puppy is registered with the Kennel Club, you should obtain a registration certificate from the breeder when you buy the puppy, or the breeder should advise you when they applied for the registration papers, or when they intend to do so; they can let you know the registration numbers of the sire and dam. If you are in any doubt, you could contact the Kennel Club (telephone 01296 390600) BEFORE you buy the puppy.

(an extract from “Discover Dogs Leaflet” by kind permission of The Border Terrier Club)