Showing and judging Border Terriers


There is a disturbing trend at present in my chosen breed, the Border Terrier. As happened with many other breeds, humans think we know it all and we alter things. Most of the time not for the best, I’m afraid.

In this particular instance we now see Border Terriers shown permanently in single coats only, strung up with running exhibitors, some crowding others.

Incorrect exhibition of a breed surely needs to come with penalties?

I refer you to this website:

And also:


 “Borders are shown correctly on a loose lead. Traditionally, Terrier handlers walk, rather than run in the show ring.”


 “The BTCA is quite protective of this breed and has set grooming guideline which exhibitors are expected to follow. The use of chalk and excessive grooming are not acceptable. Dewclaws are usually intact. Legs are not fluffed, and jackets are not clipped or scissored. We strive to project the image of a breed that is natural – what you see is what you get!”

And from the standard – color:

Red, grizzle and tan, blue and tan, or wheaten. A small amount of white may be allowed on the chest only. White extending to the muzzle or white on feet is not permissable - see

The above is a disturbing trend and it is my hope that something gets done about this and that Border Terriers in the future look like Border Terriers and not like a different breed.

While neither the NZ nor the Aust standard makes mention of coat and condition of showing, this is part of the extended standard and we cannot ignore the importance of a correct coat in this working Terrier. We need to re-visit the function this breed is required to do and I doubt very much that a Border stripped down to only a fine layer of hair would survive 24 hours in foxhole in the middle of winter in the North of England.

‘Form follows function’ and the dog must have the ability to the job it was breed for – surely that is what we need to strive for? Not some altered, somewhat flashy looking, however incorrect dog.


Contact Details

Sonja Firby
Bay of Plenty, NZ
Phone : 07 322 8619
Email : [email protected]