For this year too Crufts, the most internationally prestigious dog show, has been and gone. Unfortunately for legal reasons, Crufts does not allow the reproduction of their images, therefore I cannot show you the picture of the winner, but it was a lovely American Cocker Spaniel similar to the one in this picture – the only difference is that the winner Miami is black and white.
Now, this show in the past has fallen in disrepute due to to concerns by dog lovers that breeds were being ‘tampered’ with for the sake of making the dog look more outstanding than his or her competitor and for the sake of taking that prestigious rosette home. If this has ever been the case, it is certainly no longer so now, and dogs’ welfare is now paramount at Crufts.
But don’t you think that on the telly program broadcast by Channel 4 Border Terriers were one of the most featured breeds this year? Well, call me bias, but I do believe that the Border Terrier breed was the real winner of Crufts 2017!!!
Borders were featured on big posters at the back of guests that were taking a sit on the interview sofa to have a chat with presenter Clare Balding. Borders were being used to display collars and harnesses, they were being borrowed to give sportsman cam presenter Iwan Thomas a lesson on dog maintenance or health check (memory fails me here, but it was a Border that Iwan had to man-handle!). And many viewers kept sending tweets into the program with pictures of their Borders and their shenanigans.
Border Terriers do not win at competitions
As I mentioned when talking about my Indy and border terrier personality traits more in general (click here to find out more), Border Terriers have a wonderful personality, but one that makes them very much matter of fact dogs. They are not lapdogs, as were originally bred as working class dogs. Therefore they can be seen as a dog with a mission – although, as mentioned many times, my Indy does love his quiet times, and my understanding is that he is not unique in this trait when it comes to Borders!
Yet, it is their being so matter of fact that makes them so lovable. Even at his age – yes, he’s going to be 13 this year – and in spite of his many ailments (read about Indy’s battle with cancer here), Indy still loves his trips and his days out with us. But when it is meal times, it is meal times, or bed time, and there is no interfering with his habits. He will start ‘pawing’ me on your leg to tell you that I need to stop doing what I am doing, because he comes first.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that all dogs are a bit of a stickler when it comes to daily routines. But where Borders distinguish themselves from other dogs is in how they display their reproach at you for ‘forgetting’ or being late in the delivery of their daily routines. They have that grumpy looks in their eyes that you cannot stop loving!
And it is this high sense of independence, their ‘grumps’, that make them favourite in people’s heart, but not always buys judges’ favours in dog competitions. Let me show you what a champion of independence my Mr Indy can be:
In passing, a little fact. The Terrier group is the one to have won the most Best in Show rosettes overall at Crufts. But not Borders.
Borders one of the most popular breeds
In spite of not being great competition winners, Borders are one of the most adaptable breeds you could ever encounter. For this reason, and for their mannerism altogether, Borders certainly win people’s heart.
Going back to Crufts, of course we had the lovely ‘Supervet’ Prof. Noel Fitzpatrick showing clips of his referral clinic, with his dog in residence Keira, a lovely Border bitch.
But of course there are many other celebrities, who are proud owners of Borders. An internationally famous one is our glorious Scottish tennis player Andy Murray, who did not waste any time allowing his two Borders Rusty and Maggie May to wear his gold medals soon after his victory at the London Olympics of 2012.
And I am advised the likes of singer and composer Elton John and comedian and writer David Walliams own a Border Terrier. Renowned vet James Herriot was a Border owner, and even the chairman of Britain’s Kennel Club owns as many as 12!!!
So, what is it exactly that makes this breed so loved and chosen by preference?
Border Terrier winning features
Let me take you back to an article that Country Life Magazine published back in 2012 – please follow this link to find our how highly Borders were rated then.
The initial description Country Life gives of Borders could not be more apt. Yes, if a Border were a human, you could not depict him any different from the image of a country gentleman, matter of fact one, smoking his pipe before his bed time, wearing his smoking jacket and his comfortable slippers in front of the fire, whilst caressing his big hairy moustache.
In my opinion however Country Life gives the wrong impression that Borders may be solely suitable to upper class environments. There it’s mentioned that the background of Border owners is the one of families involved with country life style, or related to sports such as horse riding, which are very much associated to country life of course. But then again, that’s in the nature of the magazine itself – in which case, the image they portray is justified.
But it is not an all inclusive picture. Because Borders are in fact suitable to all sorts of environment, and to owners from all walks of life. A Border can equally happily live in a mansion surrounded by acres of land as much as in a flat; they can be a one-person dog owners as well as a family with children; they are suited to be surrounded by unruly teenagers as well as by younger toddlers, as well as by older owners. Again, I am going to have to refer you to another article that newspaper Daily Mail published again back in 2012 as a follow up from Country Life review of this breed. I am afraid I cannot attach the Daily Mail link here, as it is very slow to download – however you can easily retrieve it by googling ‘Daily Mail border terrier article’.
From reading both articles, and of course from my direct experience of blessed owner of our Indy, I can immediately relate to two main features that make Borders winner breed in all respects: adaptability and companionship.
Borders can be everybody’s dog
Yes, I have mentioned how Borders can easily adapt to any and every sort of environment and situations. And if they become very much a dog of habits as they grown older, they nevertheless adapt to when the household has guests, or indeed if the family has the addition of human babies or other dogs – in fact, as we witnessed a couple of Christmases ago when we tried to adopt another Border, it is often the new dog that wants to take over, as Borders are easy going.
Even now that he is nearly 13 years of age, our Indy adapts particularly well to our different working patterns, and to having us in the house for the whole day, or part of the day, or even to see us only briefly at lunch time as we are otherwise engaged with our jobs for the whole day. Our Indy is easy going, and will go along with whichever arrangement the family puts before him – so long as we have a chat and explain to him what is going to happen, he is ok with it, as he knows.
Borders are perfect companions
And again, I shall never tire to tell you what a perfect companion a Border can be. The grumpiness I mention as physical feature of this breed should never be associated to their nature, which in fact is one of seeking human contact.
I have often mentioned how I deeply believe that our Indy thinks he is more human than he is a dog – he will only remember to act like a dog when his canine instincts are re-awaken by smell, particularly during walks and at meal times!
Otherwise our Indy, as I have also witnessed in other Borders, loves to be a companion to his family. He loves to be with his family, no matter what. He shows great care and compassion in times of adversity. And he shows great sense of humour, perfectly knowing when it’s time for fun and for showing off like a seasoned comedian.
The grumpiness typical of Borders relates more to the fact that, no matter what occurrence may take place around a Border, no matter who is coming to visit, a Border will be completely unfazed and will carry on as they were, so to speak. But their grumpiness should never relate to their actual heart warming personality.
My Indy, my winner
What more to say, other than in my heart – and I am sure in the heart of many – Borders are real winners. They are terriers, of course. Which means they will be inquisitive, energetic and highly intelligent. But that intelligence is what helps them strike the perfect balance between retaining all the features you would expect in a dog and human feelings of unconditional love and compassion.
My Indy is, and always will be, my overall winner. He’s still standing strong, fighting every ailment and illness that’s been presented to him through is glorious 13 years of life. And still withstanding the test of time, when it comes to bundles of personality, outburst of energy, and heaps of love.
Are you a Border owner in love with their dog like me? Or are you considering getting a dog and would you like to find out more about Borders? Whatever comment you have, please leave it below. I shall endeavour to respond to all of you asap 🙂