Hide on Border Terrier

We’ll happily stand corrected in the name of learning, but it’s possible that the only breed to have “hide” mentioned in their breed standard is the Border Terrier. The pelt or hide refers to the dog’s skin, and in this breed, it should be very thick and loose fitting. A working Border’s loose “hide” allows her to work her way in and out of tunnels with maneuverability in pursuit of quarry. Should the prey lash out with sharp teeth or claws, loose skin protects vital organs from damage. Think of it as the dog wearing baggy clothes.

Correct hide is critical to Border Terriers, and in a show ring, a breed savvy judge tests for this. Gingerly pinching the skin is not a true test. Instead, appropriate hide is determined either by rolling the hide between thumb and forefinger, or (old school), by grasping the dog’s skin at the neck and hips and gently lifting the dog slightly straight up. It doesn’t bother the dog in the least (though uninformed spectators may freak) and it’s the only real way to feel the thickness and looseness of the hide.

“Border Fence” by Paul Doyle

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