Black and Tan Border Terrier Thatcher

Border Terrier Grooming

Grooming your Border Terrier will require a moderate amount of effort depending upon the look you want to achieve. Owners always on the go may want to consider professional grooming for this breed but do-it-yourselfers can find some helpful grooming guidelines on this page. The requirements for your Border Terrier include:

  • Brushing (3x's per week)
  • Bathing (as needed, every few months)
  • Stripping (4x's per year)
  • Dental Care (weekly)
  • Ear Care (bi-weekly to monthly)
  • Nail Care (monthly)

Border Terrier Coat Care

Grooming a Border Terrier coat can range from easy to moderately difficult depending on whether you plan to show him or simply keep him in his natural state. Most experts recommend not to clip this breed's coat as it makes them naturally weather and dirt resistant. In fact, most Border Terriers don't smell and only require baths on an "as needed" basis-- once every few months is ok. Brushing is the most important aspect of grooming since the dead outer coat hairs need help coming out; this makes room for a fresh new coat if done every other day.

The most difficult part of grooming is stripping, which will be necessary if you wish to show you dog -- or at least keep her looking her best. Stripping can either be done by hand (usually by a professional) or with a stripping knife or tool such as the Furminator. The process removes all the dead outer hair in one sitting and leaves your BT in his soft undercoat until the new one grows in.


Brushing your Border Terrier is the most important part of the maintenance process. The rough, wiry outer coat does not shed itself easily like most breeds-- that's where brushing comes in! An under brushed coat may start to smell doggy. Weekly brushing is recommended, however, if you choose not to strip or clip your pet's coat you should brush even more frequently.

The best brush for Border Terriers is a bristle brush; this is good for routine daily brushing. It's also recommended to have a wide tooth comb to comb the facial area and a slicker brush to remove mats and tangles. If you plan on undertaking the arduous stripping process, you will either choose to hand strip or do so with a tool. Border Terrier dog stripping combs are easier to use than doing this by hand (which is probably best left up to an experienced groomer).
To recap, you probably want to have:

  • Bristle Brush
  • Wide-tooth Comb
  • Slicker Brush
  • Stripping comb

Getting Out Tangles

In the brushing section we mentioned the importance of weekly brushing since this breed's coat needs help to shed. Bristle brushes, stripping combs and tools like the Furminator work for Border Terrier.

Stubborn tangles, on the other hand, are best removed with a slicker brush. We recommend spraying a bit of detangler, baby oil or conditioner/water mixture onto the know if it did not easily brush out; its better to brush gently for longer. Tangles that have turned into mats may need to be cut off and those flush with the skin will have to be shaved off.

Plucking & Stripping

If you plan to show your BT, clipping or simply brushing will not do. The process of removing the dead outer coat hairs while leaving the under layer intact is called stripping; done correctly, this leaves the soft undercoat and prepares for a new outer coat to grow in. You'll know when your pet is ready for this because not only will the hair be longer, more will come out during brushing and you may notice it dead hairs separating from the rest of the coat.

Border Terrier stripping is either done by hand or with a stripping comb. Hand stripping Border Terriers is usually done twice per year and requires no tools-- while the stripping comb is used more frequently. Border Terrier stripping tools look like a knife with long, rake-like teeth. Groomers recommend combing the coat after and hand scissoring areas on the face and feet (check between toe pads!)


"My Border Terrier smells" is not a phrase often heard because these dogs stay pretty clean. The harsh, wiry coat is water resistant and dirt repellent-- plus, weekly brushing helps remove dead hairs and dirt. Experts recommend bathing this breed only when necessary and, if it's not, then don't do it at all (show dogs being the exception). If a bath is required, a canine shampoo for wiry hair is suggested. A few tips for bathing:

  • Never use human shampoo on dogs
  • Brush thoroughly before bathing
  • Run 3 inches of warm water in a tub before introducing the dog to the bathing area
  • Rinse and re-rinse! Residue can make the skin irritated
  • Praise and treats make bathtime less traumatic for your pet

Border Terrier Styling & Haircuts

Technically, there are no special Border Terrier haircuts as the recommended way to style the coat is by stripping. Stripping involves removing the dead hairs that have not shed from the outer coat by hand or by stripping tool (knife). If you plan to show or compete with your BT, this is the necessary way.

Other owners choose to simply leave the coat natural and only brush it. If you choose this method you should brush the coat every other day.

Finally, there are some that insist on clipping a Border Terrier. Most authorities on the breed advise against it because it removes the dog's natural weather protection and dirt resistant qualities-- not to mention it highly dulls the coat color. If you insist on having your Border Terrier clipped or shaved remember to thoroughly brush and bathe them beforehand.

Some styling tools you may need for this step includes:

  • Slicker brush
  • Stripping knife
  • Wide tooth comb
  • Electric clippers

Other Care

Teeth- Border Terrier teeth should be cleaned weekly or more frequently if bad breath is a problem. A canine toothpaste on either a doggy toothbrush or finger brush (whichever your pet tolerates better) are the typical methods.

Ears- This breed tends to have hairy ears so you should check the ears every 2 weeks for dirt, mites and excess hairs. Hairs can be plucked from the outer ear canal. If they appear dirty or smell, a cotton ball dipped in an ear cleaning solution should be used to clean them. You can make your own solution with vinegar and water or peroxide and water.

Nails- Trim the nails monthly with a canine nail clipping tool or spinning file. For small growth a heavy duty emery board may work.

Border Terrier Care

See the complete guide on how to care for Border Terriers.

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Border Terrier Pictures

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About this Article

Authored by:Dog-Learn
Updated:August 11, 2017