Ten things only terrier owners understand

It’s no secret that we are terrier lovers here at Scruffy Little Terrier. We know that terriers are tenacious, determined, and of course, the most loveable dogs to share your life with. Let’s look at ten things only terrier owners understand too well!

From Airedales to Yorkies, terriers vary in size dramatically, and we love them all! I thought it would be fun to explore ten things that all of us terrier owners know and love about our tenacious terriers!

Famously Fearless and Feisty

Terriers are certainly not for the faint of heart, are they? Full of spirit, willful, and not afraid to show it! Our beloved terriers are well known for having little chips on their shoulders and an attitude to be reckoned with. I like to think of them as courageous canines who can…. And oh, boy, they will!

Photo: Canine Copywriter

Determined, Spirited, and Stubborn

Our precious terriers have strong minds all of their very own, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. True to their ancestry, their persistence to achieve what they set out to lives on.

Yep, that means that Barney may dictate which way we’re walking today or whether we’ll walk at all if it’s raining. It means that if there’s something hideous within those bushes that simply must be rolled in, it’s probably going to happen. And if he wants that final morsel on my plate, he’s going to try very hard to win me over with those ever so convincing beautiful eyes of his.

Have you ever tried to dress your terrier up? Whilst some may tolerate or even enjoy it, I think it’s safe to say for the most part that even trying to pop a coat on them can result in you suddenly finding they have turned into a statue! The majority of terriers will stand stubbornly still and refuse to move, or if you manage to drag them out in their fancy attire they will spend the walk rubbing themselves along every wall, post and hedge in the vague hope you will give in and take it off! 

Attention, attention. Be on the alert

The postman’s unlikely to make it up the garden path without your terrier letting you know they’re on the horizon. That bird about to land on the garden fence is not going to go unannounced. And that cat hanging out on the top of the neighbour’s roof, well it simply has to go. 

Our little terrors work tirelessly to ensure we know exactly when there’s a threat incoming, no matter how ill-perceived it is! And they’re unlikely to let up until something is done about it – here comes that determined streak again. 

Terriers are quite commonly door dashers and perimeter patrollers; they take their duty to keep their territory pest-free very seriously! 

Endlessly Energetic

While some terriers will happily snooze the day away by their owner’s side, more often than not, they need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to keep them out of mischief.

Terriers are not only energetic but clever, a bored terrier is a troublesome terrier, and you will soon know about it. They’re not known as terrierists for nothing you know!


Muddy floors and holey gardens, our dog’s natural instincts are clearly sticking around. Terriers were originally bred to go to the ground to control pests by hunting vermin, such as rats, foxes, mice, and moles. 

Their desire to dig and burrow is, after all, natural, and so some owners give their dogs sand or dirt pits so they can get their fix and leave the lawn intact. It doesn’t solve the muddy paws, though….. sorry!

Dirty west highland terrier westie dog with muddy face outdoors in nature – portrait of head with shallow depth of field

Adventurous and Independent

Although many terrier breeds are small, they are far from handbag dogs. They have an adventurous spirit that heralds them as a big dog in a small body.

Terriers were bred to work at a distance from their humans when hunting vermin. When they get a whiff of an interesting scent, recall can all but go out the window. 

Those delicious treats and all that shaking of the bag while shouting ‘what’s this’ can sometimes fall on terrier deaf ears. They are quite prone to selective hearing!

Prey driven

Our darling dogs are naturally inclined to give chase to anything that moves; if it squeaks, then all the better. Watch out squirrels, birds, and any other small furries.

Squeaky toys full of stuffing go down well with our terriers, but you may need to allocate a healthy weekly budget to keeping their toy basket fully stocked. Or else be a nifty and committed seamstress!


Terriers were bred to spend ample time outdoors, and they are hardy characters. They are very good at masking pain and can be unwell for some time before you are aware.  

They love a good rough and tumble and thoroughly enjoy tug of war! The gusto with which a terrier tugs is quite remarkable and a lot of fun to behold.

Like to be with you

Despite their sometimes fierce independence, terriers love to be with their person or people. Be it snuggled up next to you or nearby, terriers enjoy attention, just so long as it’s on their terms!

Destroyer of toys, shredder of parcels, and attacker of hoovers

The hoover is the terriers arch enemy, or perhaps they are committed to helping clean up that stuffing from their shred fest earlier on? I reckon it’s the former.

Is it your birthday? Christmas? Or just another Amazon delivery? Be prepared to share as that wrapping paper or packaging has your terrier’s name all over it. The joy that engulfs a terrier in full rip and shred mode is lovely. Just be prepared to clean up all those tiny little scraps of paper when they’re done.

I hinted at this earlier, but I think there is only one way to finish this list, and it has to be with our terrier’s sheer passion for disemboweling their toys. That is a dog in pure terrier heaven.

Have I missed any?

What terrier traits ring true, and are there any you would add?

I love hearing all about your terrierists; share your stories, and tell me your terrier tales.

What did you think of Ten Things Only Terrier Owners Will Understand? Trying to figure out if a terrier might suit your family? Have a read of our Top 10 Terrier Breeds in the UK blog.

To follow all of Barney & Sandy’s antics then follow us on Facebook or Instagram.

woofs & licks signature from Michelle Barney & Sandy


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