Aurclan Border Terriers
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Health & Grooming


Border Terriers are generally healthy and long lived.  A diet of nutritious food, plenty of exercise, regular grooming, routine veterinary care and a heartworm preventative, should keep a Border in good health.

Here's the heartworm product that I use

Feed your Border Terrier a measured amount of a high quality dry dog food. Attention should be taken to match food intake with exercise. A Border should be well-muscled, not fat and you should be able to feel the dog's ribs when running your fingers along his torso.

Treats should be tiny and low calorie.  My Borders are given treats such as carrots, apples, green beans, cheerios, or a small portion of a larger cookie.

Borders are known to have problems with anesthesia because they may be slow to induce. You should notify your veterinarian of this fact. Another thing to remember is that Borders can be very stoic. If they are suddenly withdrawn and quiet, they must be checked carefully since they do not show pain or discomfort when they are not feeling well.

Here are some health related websites that I refer to:

Canine Health Information Center (CHIC)


Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)


Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF)


AKC-Canine Health Foundation (AKC-CHF)


Canine Phenome Project



American Heartworm Society




First Aid for Dogs


Merck Veterinary Manual

Here are some of the dry kibble foods I feed.

Taste of the Wild                FROMM

Blue Wilderness

NRG Dehydrated Raw Dog Foods


Stagg Pet Supplies

Deer Antler Chews


A pet Border Terrier should have their coat stripped about 4 times a year.  Before you leave with your new puppy, I will give you “stripping lessons”.  If you live in the Portland, Oregon area, I recommend Sharon @ Canine Design.  She is an excellent groomer.  Her phone number is 503 625-6412.  She can groom for you or give you a lesson on grooming.  Most all Border Terrier owners will be happy to help any newcomer to the world of grooming a Border Terrier.  I can provide references of Border Terrier owners in your area. 

In addition, The Border Terrier Club of America publishes a Grooming Guide, which can be found at the following website:

Also, the AKC has videotapes for sale with a lesson on how to strip a Border.  Do not take your Border to a groomer who will use clippers on them.  Clippering a Border coat will permanently ruin the coat of a Border Terrier.

Toenails should be tended to every 2-3 weeks.  Leaving the nails too long will splay the feet and cause the dog to walk improperly.  Running on concrete is not enough to keep the toenails short.  I suggest using nail clippers or a combination of nail clippers and a dremel (grinder).  I can show you how to properly clip and/or dremmel nails before you leave my home with your pup. 

Here is a photo of a Border Terrier with a “blown” or grown out coat.  This coat has not been stripped in over a year.



There are two ways of maintaining a Border Coat.  (1)  Strip the topcoat off, down to the soft undercoat and let it grow back (I call this strip & grow) or (2) learn how to roll the top coat.  If you want your Border Terrier to look like the ones you see in dog shows or in pictures, you will want to learn how to roll a coat.  This takes about 1 hour of your time every month.  Stripping/Rolling a coat is not hard to do, but it is a skill to be learned

Here is a photo of the same dog as above with a rolled coat.

One of the qualities that people are attracted to in a Border Terrier is their harsh coat which is dirt & water repellent and has low-shedding qualities.  Many groomers don't know how to properly strip a coat.  If electric clippers are used on a harsh Border Terrier coat, you will be cutting the hair along the hair shaft, leaving the root-end in the dog's skin.  This end will continue to grow, until it dies and falls out.  Hair that falls out is called --- SHEDDING.  When you cut the hair with clippers, you cut off "some" of the color and leave the rest to grow... thereby changing the color of the dog, and the hair that does continue to grow comes in soft and fuzzy.  That new soft growth will not be harsh or repellent.

Reprint Permission:  E. Winburg, Sweeping Border Terriers
Here is a Border Terrier with a "blown" coat, before and after stripping

Reprint Permission:  E. Winburg, Sweeping Border Terriers
Here is a Border Terrier with a "blown" coat, before and after stripping

When you strip a Border Terrier coat, you use a tool called a stripping knife, which resembles a comb or a knife with different size teeth, depending upon how much hr you want to remove at once and what area of the body you are working on.  You will grasp the hair between your thumb and the stripping knife and pulling out the loose dead hair.  This is not painful to the dog. 


Grooming a Border Head and Ears requires special attention also.  You will need to trim the hair inside the dog's ears to allow for air circulation and to keep the ear canal clear.  You will also want to trim around the outer edge and underside of the feet (so you can see the nails for clipping), and trim under the tail around the anus to prevent feces from sticking.  Don’t forget to trim around the private areas to keep dried urine from accumulating on long hair.

There are some great “how to” grooming resources available that you can purchase:

"Stripping the Border Terrier" and "After Stripping -- What Next?" available from:
                 Phil Koslinski
                 2647 Jutland St.               $20 ea. plus $3 S&H
                 Toledo, OH   43613           ~or~ $38 for both (S&H inc.)

  "Grooming Your Border Terrier" available from:
                 Teri Beverly
                 151 E. Highbanks Rd.     $24.95 plus $3.50 S&H
                  DeBary, FL    32713

Booklet:   "Grooming the Border Terrier Coat" by
                  Mrs. Laurale Stern
                  Ph: (920)683-3966 or email:


I have had many of my clients ask me to post this information on my website.  Typically, I give new buyers a lesson in grooming before they leave the house.  I let them practice on one of my adults.  This is how I teach my puppy buyers to groom their pet border. 

Grooming a Border Terrier for showing in the confirmation ring is different, as we typically do not use thinning shears or shavers



Grooming Tools you will need: 

fine blades for facial detail

medium blades for body, legs and tail work.


Hand held shaver



You will need either a grooming table or a picnic table. I place a bathroom mat with a rubber underside on the table top so the dog won't slip from the table.  You may also need a grooming arm with a nylon noose.


If you prefer, sit down on the floor in front of the television, with your legs out like a "V".  Then, make sure you have a flat sheet laid across your legs so that all the hair you strip off falls into the sheet. Clean up is a cinch, grab 4 corners and take the sheet outside and shake off the hair. Birds use the hair for nests.


Have your dog sit between your "V" legs and face away from you.  Start stripping on the back of the neck, and down the back.


Then strip on the side. At this point in time, don't worry about legs, butt or underbelly.   The sides of his flank and underbelly will be tender.


Stripping should not hurt, as you are only pulling out dead hair. If it hurts, then you are not doing it right.


You should be able to grab the long hair between the knife and your thumb and pull down towards the floor. Pull in the directions that the hair grows.




Roll the floppy part of the ear around your pointer finger and hold the bottom of the ear with your thumb. This will make the fine hairs on the ear stick up.


Strip off the sticking up hair that you see.


Using human baby scissors with round ends, cut scraggly pieces of hair around the outside edge of the ear to make a nice shaped ear. DON'T cut the skin.


Hold the floppy part of the ear sideways between 2 fingers and look close up at the edge of the ear while you cut with baby scissors, so you don't cut skin.


Shave the underside of the ear with the small handheld shaver. Shave away from the ear canal. This will keep the ear nice and clean.




Strip the top of the head from the eyebrow area back between the ears.


Strip the cheeks on the sides that can be covered by the ears.


If you hold the ears down flat on his cheeks, strip all the hair that can be covered by the ears.


All the other non-covered hair (which should be on the muzzle area) will be combed forward so that the hair stick's out like a toilet bowl brush.



I personally do not care for “Groucho Marx” eyebrows. I like to strip the eyebrows on the top of the eyes as short as the hair on top of the head.


Both the eye brow and muzzle area have 2 kinds of hair - the strippable hair and some individual hard long hairs.


It will hurt your dog if you strip the coarse hair. You have to work slower around the eyes and muzzle.




Use thinning sheers to cut and shape furnishings in a circle around his muzzle.


Muzzle hair (from the top of his nose to in between his eyes) should be combed forward towards his nose. This nose hair will stand straight up.


Use thinning sheers to trim down hair on the top of his nose.  Only cut slightly.  Always leave hair between his eyes. You want the hair between his nose to fill in with the rest of the “toilet bowl brush” look.


Hair around the muzzle and on the tops and sides should be no shorter than around 2 ". If you make a mistake, don’t worry.  It will grow back.  However, muzzle hair tends to grow slower than body hair.




Tails are easiest done when you dog is sitting on the grooming table, because the tail can hang the tail down below the table.


Use a soft sided nylon "slinky type" trash can and line it with a black trash bag. The trash can fits easily under the grooming table and you can sit on a chair while straddling the trash can between your legs.


Start by pulling the long hairs out on the UNDERSIDE of the tail. Go slow and be judicious with how much hair you pull from the top and side of the tail.


Dogs have a scent gland on the top of their tails and if you pull too much hair you will unearth the scent gland and he will have a big bare spot on the top of his tail that takes a long time to grow back in.


After you get the long hairs on the underside of tail stripped, make your dog stand up on the table.


Hold the tail in a standing up position or slightly backwards towards his head. This should make his tail look somewhat like a fuzzy banana shape.


Holding the tail in this manner will show you any loose and uneven hair remaining to deal with.


Use your thinning shears to even it all up.



End of the Tail:

Use your forefinger and thumb and run them along the tail until you get to the end of the tail. You will feel where the bone ends and the long hair grows off the end of the tail. 


Hold the bone end of the tail between your thumb and forefinger.


All the hair that sticks out from your thumb and forefinger gets cut off with the thinning shears. Cut slowly around your fingers.  Don't cut your fingers. This will make for a nice blunt end to the tail.


The tail should look like a carrot shape when you are done: Thicker at the base and tapering to the end.



Back of Thighs:

Hold the tail upright and strip as much hair off the back of his thighs as your dog can tolerate without too much pain. Many dogs generally hate this part, as it is tender. Go slow and feed cookies for good behavior.


After you have stripped as much as you can and (while continuing to hold the tail up) use the thinning shears to cut the raggedy edges of hair starting at the hock and moving up towards the anus. 


Always and point the shears up towards his tail while you cut the raggedy hair.  Follow along in a line along the back of his leg and towards the anus.


Anal Area:

Next, put down the shears and use the hand held razor to cut long hair around the anus. This will keep your dog all clean under the tail.



Under the neck and on the shoulders:   

Have your dog sit on the grooming table while you sit in a chair.


Lay your elbow on the grooming table and use the palm of your hand to hold your dog’s chin up.


While holding the chin in your palm, pull the long hair under his muzzle, and on both sides of his neck.  


Pull hair as far down between his front legs as s/he will let you. This can be tender the deeper between the legs you go.


Strip or shave the hair in the arm pits.



With your dog sitting towards you, hold one front leg in your hand.


Use a comb and “back comb” the hair on his front leg so that the hair stands up.


Essentially you are combing the hair up towards his neck and off of the leg.


Strip the hair on the front and side of his leg.


Repeat the back combing and stripping until you have removed all the fluffy hair.


 Back of Front Legs: 

The back part of the front legs requires a different technique. The hair on the backside of legs will have long feathery hair, much like the underside of the tail.


Have your dog stand up for this part of grooming.


Comb the long feathery hair on the back side of the leg down towards the table. You want this hair to stick out straight.


Pick up the leg slightly (without bending the leg). You might have to hold the leg a little out to the side.


Use the thinning shears and cut up towards his arm pits. Don't cut skin, go slow and you should get all the uneven hair with the shears.


Lastly, you will have is a little point of hair on the elbow and in the back of the arm pit. Hold the elbow skin (which is loose) with your thumb and forefinger and use the hand held shaver to clean up the hair on the elbow and inside of the arm pit.



Use the hand held shaver or blunt scissors to shave or cut all around the bottom of each foot.  This will make a nice straight edge of hair around each foot.  


Shave hair off the bottom/pads of his feet and in between the toes. This will help keep your dog from slipping on hard floors.



If s/he will allow you to: Make your stand on his back 2 feet and hold his front 2 feet with one hand. I usually do this by holding the front 2 paws with my left hand and propping my forearm under his front 2 feet to help brace his body into a standing position. This will make his belly available to you.


Or. . . .


If you are more comfortable, have your dog lay down on his/her back, exposing the belly.


Strip as much hair off the rib cage/chest area as s/he will allow. Hopefully, s/he will let you strip as far down as the edge of his rib cage on both sides.


Follow up with the hand held shaver.  Shave the belly from the crotch area up towards the rib cage. This will clean up all the loose hair on his underbelly.


Cleaning up the “Privates”:

Use the hand held shaver and cut away loose and long hair.  You might need to start by using a moist baby wipe to clean away any dried or crusted urine from area.  Wait for area to dry before using your shaver. 


Down to the Pajamas:

Now that your border is stripped, and basically down to the under coat it is a good time to give your border a bath.  I rarely bathe my borders and usually only when they are freshly stripped.


Prior to the bath, I comb through the undercoat with a tool called a “Ferminator”.  This tool will remove any loose undercoat.  You will be amazed as to how much undercoat the Ferminator removes.


I use the lime green - long hair model of the Ferminator. This tool is expensive but well worth the investment.  There is a sliding lever on the Ferminator that will push out the loose hair.  Push the hair out of the Ferminator, while you have the tool directly over your trash can.


In the Bathtub:

Use a antibacterial soap.  I use:

This is also a good time to clean the Anal Gland

 Expressing the Anal Gland:


Cleaning Teeth:

Vet every 2 years – heart murmurs with dirty teeth

Brush every week

Scale if you are brave

Dental health

Plaque is the gooey stuff that forms on teeth. It is a mixture of bacteria, minerals from saliva, and gummy food particles. Soft at first, plaque gradually hardens and turns brown. The hardened material is usually called tartar. As more forms, it gets up under the gums, carrying infection. In time, the teeth loosen and become painful. Eventually they fall out.

If you can prevent plaque from forming or remove it while still soft, you can prevent most dental problems

I personally use a product named:  “Plaque Off” which is sprinkled on your dogs’ food.

Plaque Off is a kelp based powder you give your dog on a daily basis. Gum disease is the leading cause of major tooth loss in dogs? Gum disease can cause bad breath, diminished appetite, tooth loss, and cause organ damage. Plaque Off powder has been clinically proven to reduce and help prevent plaque and tartar.   Gum disease is caused by the accumulation of plaque bacteria which is converted to calculus by the minerals which occur naturally in saliva. 

In addition, twice weekly tooth brushing is also recommended.   can show you how to brush your dog’s teeth.  If brushing just isn't going to work in your situation, chewing anything that rubs on the sides of the teeth is useful and regular visits to your veterinarian for routine teeth cleaning is recommended.

Although brushing is best and veterinarians would like to see all dogs’ teeth brushed at least twice a week, I know that in most busy families routine brushing isn’t going to happen.  You can save your pocketbook and your dogs mouth in the long run if you do brush their teeth. 

A good source to toothpaste, toothbrush and drinking water additives is:

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