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Joint Kennel Club /
British Small Animal Veterinary Association
All Breed Survey

The Kennel Club jointly with the British Small Animal Veterinary Association undertook a health survey of all breeds. The results were published in 2006 and they make interesting reading for Border Terrier owners. The survey covered 36,006 dogs of all breeds and the border terriers represented 504 of these.

The three biggest causes of death in all breeds are, in descending order of importance, cancer, old age and cardiac disease. For Border Terriers the top three are old age, cancer and trauma. This is good news for BTs, as apart from cancer, the biggest causes of death are natural causes, highlighting not only that the breed is more likely to die of old age but also the tendency of the border to get into trouble through its inherent disregard for formal training. Thus it quite often ends up in accidents.

The median age of the breed in the survey is 14 years which is a full two years nine months more than the mean age of all breeds (11y 3 m) again proof that Borders live well beyond the average age of most other breeds. Interestingly only 20% of the Border Terriers in the survey were neutered but given that the majority of owners who responded were likely to be breeders and exhibitors perhaps this is not surprising. When it comes to illnesses the top three dominating the picture were reproductive, joint disease and skin problems. One small blot on an otherwise good picture of health in the breed is the higher than average placing for neurologic diseases where in borders it is 7% of the diseases seen whereas 4% is the comparative figure in the all breed statistics. However in terms of the number of dogs affected in the breed only 2.6% of the surveyed dogs suffered a neurologic disease and that compares well with the figure for all breeds (also 2.6%). So in summary this means neurological problems are a significant problem for Border Terriers but the incidence is no more than would be expected in any breed.

Finally the incidence of all diseases across all the breeds is 62.5% whereas for Borders it is only 35% suggesting that generally speaking our dogs are some of the healthiest on the Kennel Club register. So overall this is a good result for our breed and providing we pay attention to the issue of neurological diseases we should be able to maintain the health our breed enjoys.

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