The Border Terrier: A Family Affair

Many breeds were named for the area in which they were developed, and some of those breeds are still known by those names today.  Such was not the case for the Coquetdale Terrier (also called the Reedwater Terrier).  The name by which we know that breed today is the Border Terrier, a name that likely evolved out of its long history with the Border Hunt in Northumberland. The creation of this fabulous little breed is attributed to the Robson clan, and in particular, John Robson who founded the hunt in 1857. 

Border Country clans included the Robson family, but also the clans of the Dodds, and Hedleys; these three families kept some of the earliest known lines of Border Terriers, though it was the Robson family that did the most to develop and establish the terriers as a distinct breed. The family breed passed from father to son.

Old Robson often hunted with the terriers along with John Dodd in the Cheviot Hills between Scotland and Northumberland.  In what can only be regarded as a fine tribute to a legacy, it was the grandsons of John Robson and John Dodd who sought The Kennel Club’s recognition for the breed, and that officially happened in 1920, but only after it had been rejected for formal Kennel Club recognition in 1914.

“Nailer” and “Bess” “Tanner” and “Flint,” “Rap Dick,” “Bog,” “Rock” and “Ben,” these were the names of some of the early Border Terriers, but the first Border Terrier registered with the British Kennel Club was  “The M055 Trooper,” a dog sired by Jacob Robson’s Border Terrier, “Chip,” and only under the category, “Any Breed or Variety of British, Colonial, or Foreign Dog—Not Classified.”  Forty-one Border Terriers were registered under this “not classified” category between 1912 and 1919, with full official acceptance coming in 1920.  The first standard was written by Jacob Robson and John Dodd, and Jasper Dodd was made first President of the Club. A year after recognition, the first Border Terrier to be “made up” (earn its championship title) was a dog named, Ch. Teri, owned, appropriately enough, by Mr. and Mrs. Dodd.

Image: Antique styled dog standard for the Border Terrier by Teodora Nagy is available on her Etsy page here

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