The BTCA Ethical Standard

This standard, approved by the BTCA Board of Directors, outlines the basic principles which all BTCA members have agreed to follow. It is primarily directed toward the behavior of breeders, stud dog owners and those involved in the sale of Border Terriers, but also deals with standards for pet owners and exhibitors.

1. General Conduct

  1. Each member of the BTCA considers the welfare of the breed first and foremost when engaged in breeding, exhibiting or selling Border Terriers and refrains from actions which are contrary to the best interests of the breed or the Club.

  2. Each member should be familiar with the Breed Standard and strive to maintain its integrity.

  3. No conscientious member intentionally misrepresents his/her dogs to any judge, prospective buyer or the general public by any artificial means (excepting removal of dew claws at the breeder's discretion).

  4. Every dog will be provided with humane living quarters, proper nutrition and grooming, adequate exercise and veterinary supervised health care.

  5. A responsible member is familiar with and abides by AKC rules regarding registering dogs and keeps accurate records of the breeding, health and exhibition of his/her dogs.

  6. Each member is responsible for the behavior of his/her dogs, keeping them under control at all times and cleaning up after them.

2. Breeding

  1. Only Border Terriers registered with the AKC or the registry body of the country of birth will be bred.

  2. It is the breeder's duty to accept the responsibility for the welfare of every dog he breeds and he should be willing to take back or re-home a dog at any time in the dog's life.

  3. Socialization of puppies with people and other dogs is essential to their proper development. Breeders should consider their ability to provide adequate socialization when planning a breeding.

  4. The conscientious owner breeds only the bitch or dog possessing correct temperament and characteristics as set forth in the standard.

  5. Breeding stock should be in good general health, of sound temperament and as free from hereditary defects as possible. BTCA recommends at least the following health clearances for both sire and dam prior to breeding:

    • Hips (OFA, OVC, BVA or Penn HIP)
    • Eyes (CERF)
    • Patellas (OFA)
    • and Heart (OFA).

    A CHIC number is highly desirable, and it indicates tests have been done. A CHIC number does not reflect that the results were satisfactory but does indicate an open and responsible approach to health clearances on the part of the breeder. Results should be reviewed and discussed with the breeder.

  6. Only mature dogs and bitches are to be used for breeding. Preferably, neither dogs nor bitches should be bred before 24 months of age, when mature health test results are available.

  7. Stud dog owners should reserve the right to refuse bitches that do not meet the criteria outlined in the Standard, or when they are otherwise uncomfortable with the situation. The stud dog owner's role includes partial responsibility for all litters sired by his/her dog and he/she should be prepared to offer advice and/or assistance if the breeder of the litter or a puppy buyer requests it throughout the life of the offspring - this may include assistance with re-homing of offspring should the need arise.

  8. Business arrangements between the owners of the animals being bred should be put in writing.

3. Selling Border Terriers

  1. Proper placement of each Border Terrier is essential to the welfare of the dog, the pleasure of the owner and is a reflection on the breeder.

  2. Advertising and written or verbal representation of stud dogs, litters, and pedigrees should be honest and not misleading. Any written contract or agreement that will form part of the sale should be made available to, and discussed with, potential owners prior to either party committing to the sale.

  3. The breeder shall provide the following to a new buyer at the time of sale:

    1. AKC registration or other registration forms.
    2. AKC registration or other registration forms. It is recommended that the breeder be responsible for the individual registration of all puppies in the litter.
    3. If registration papers are to be withheld, a written contract with specific details that have been reviewed and agreed to prior to the sale.
    4. A spay/neuter agreement and/or AKC limited registration for those dogs not suitable for breeding and those sold as pets.
    5. A 3 generation pedigree.
    6. A complete medical history, for pups or adults.
    7. Written instructions for feeding, health care, training and grooming.

  4. BTCA recommends any transfer of ownership of ownership of a Border Terrier be accompanied by a written agreement as a protection for both the breeder and the new owner. By outlining what is expected of each party, such a contract should help prevent future misunderstandings

  5. Responsible breeders include in the written agreement a clause that any time the owner cannot keep the dog, the dog is to be returned to the breeder or placed or sold with the breeder's approval of the new owner.

  6. BTCA recommends that a Border Terrier be at least 8 weeks of age before being transferred to a new owner; however, the breeder should make the final decision based on the critical stages of development and on the situation where the pup will be placed.

  7. All Border Terriers will be in good condition when handed over to the new owner, free from parasites and up to date on inoculations as appropriate (vaccination protocol may vary between breeders and even veterinarians and has changed greatly over the years).

  8. Each member selling Border Terriers should comply with all local and state laws regarding selling dogs.

  9. Conscientious breeders follow up on all dogs sold to ensure the dog's welfare and are available to answer owner's questions regarding training, grooming, etc.

  10. No member knowingly sells a Border Terrier to a pet dealer, wholesaler, or broker, singly or in litter lots, or offers a Border Terrier in a raffle or as any sort of prize.

4. Exhibition, trials, tests, etc.

  1. It is the member's responsibility to be familiar with and adhere to all AKC rules governing exhibition, trials, and tests, including those pertaining to changes in appearance by artificial means.

  2. Dogs exhibited in conformation events should be groomed according to the Standard, particularly as outlined in the BTCA Grooming Guide and the BTCA Statement on Presentation.

  3. Dogs exhibited in companion and performance events should appear well kept, clean, and represent the Border Terrier proudly

  4. The owner of record is responsible for the presentation and conduct of his/her dog at all times. He/She is also responsible for the conduct of any agent handling his/her dog.

  5. Responsible members conduct themselves in a sportsmanlike manner, aware that their behavior reflects not only on themselves but on the breed and the BTCA.


Approved by the BTCA Board of Directors, May 1995. Revised April 2007