Terriers aren’t actually a single breed of dog, but rather a group originally bred for controlling pests like rats and rabbits. The AKC lists 30 types of terriers, and the UKC lists 44! Terriers dog breeds vary in size and characteristics, but they are known for their active, distinct personalities and wiry coats. It’s important to learn what types of terriers are very active, accept other pets, or adapt well to city life when considering bringing one into your home.
The following are some of the most popular terrier breeds and their unique characteristics.
If you’re looking for a larger canine companion, Airedale Terriers are descendants of the so-called “king of terriers.” Airedales are known for their loyalty and protectiveness, making them great family pets, assuming all their exercise needs can be met.
Some of the smallest terriers, this breed learns quickly and makes a great watchdog. Their intelligence and loyal personality makes them favorites for households with children.
Another perfect family pet, Border Terriers are known for their distinctive and adorable “otter” heads. They are more easily trained than other terrier breeds and are usually very even-tempered if kept active and engaged.
One of the only members of the terrier group to be American in origin, Boston Terriers are known as “people pleasers.” Their ancestry (half Bulldog) makes them very easy to train and obedient, and they are one of the only members of the terrier group to get along quite well with other household pets.
You may recognize a Cairn as Toto from The Wizard of Oz. One of the oldest terrier breeds, Cairns have sensitive personalities and should be trained from an early age. They can be more high maintenance than other breeds, but they’ll pay you back for the attention with loyalty and affection.
Russell Terriers have confident, adventurous personalities. They require training and attention from their owners. If you have an active, outdoor lifestyle, this breed will be a devoted companion.
The Kerry Blue’s distinctive soft, wavy coat makes them one of the only terrier breeds considered hypoallergenic. They can be difficult to train, however, and require a lot of regular exercise. Take note, the Kerry Blue’s old hunting habits die hard—this is not a dog you’ll want around other small pets.
Norfolk Terriers make great family companions and are one of the terrier breeds recommended for a more urban lifestyle. They love bonding with their owners during regularly needed grooming sessions and walks.
Scotties are another breed that can adapt to both rural or city lifestyles. Although they require training and attention--and should be kept leashed on walks--they make great family pets with their bright, warm personalities.
Other popular terrier breeds include Rat Terrier, West Highland White Terrier, and Yorkshire Terrier.
Choosing the right terrier means evaluating your family, home, and activity level. But the wide variety of the breed means there’s definitely a perfect terrier companion out there for every size household and lifestyle.
More on Terrier Dog Breeds
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How to Potty Train a Yorkie with Puppy Pads
Gluten and Corn Sensitivity in Boston Terrier Dogs