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Terrier Mix Breed Guide & Terrier Mix Insurance

By Stacy Painter and medically reviewed by JoAnna Pendergrass, DVM
published: July 30, 2021 - updated: December 15, 2023 • 6 min. read
scruffy gray terrier mix dog

What is a Terrier Mix?

In addition to the many purebred dogs that exist around the world, there are also wonderful mixed-breed dogs that have desirable characteristics from more than just one breed. A Terrier Mix is the combination of a Terrier-type dog and a whole other dog breed at the same time.

So, as you might expect, these types of dogs can vary greatly in terms of size, color, and personality. That’s all part of the fun of living with a Terrier Mix and welcoming this mixed-breed pup into your home. Terrier Mixes are often easy to find if you’re looking to adopt one near you, and they make wonderful companions for a wide variety of lifestyles.

brown and white terrier dog
Photo by Rob Fuller on Unsplash
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Types of Terrier Group Dogs

The American Kennel Club has a classification of dogs called the Terrier Group that is known for its feisty and energetic traits. There are many different types of Terriers that are pure-bred dogs. While this guide is specifically about Terrier Mixes, it’s a good idea to get familiar with various purebred Terriers and their unique characteristics since these breeds might make up one-half of your unique dog. You can access a list of recognized Terrier Group dogs on the AKC website.

white pit bull terrier mix dog
Photo by Leon Bublitz on Unsplash

Popular Terrier Mixes

Terriers are very common around the world and have been mixed with many different dogs – either at the hands of a strategic breeder or just naturally in the world as stray dogs find their mates. The various options for Terrier Mixes are almost limitless, but here are some of the most common Terrier Mixes that you’ll encounter.

  • Labrador Terrier Mixes
  • Poodle Terrier Mixes
  • Bull Terrier Mixes
  • Beagle Terrier Mixes
  • Schnauzer Terrier Mixes
  • Dachshund Terrier Mixes
  • Chihuahua Terrier Mixes
  • Shih Tzu Yorkshire Terrier Mixes
  • Labrador American Pitbull Terrier Mixes

How Big do Terrier Mixes Get?

Some Terrier Mixes are quite small in size, such as ones that have the genetics of a West Highland White Terrier, the Norfolk Terrier, or the Cairn Terrier. Meanwhile, other Terrier mixes can be very large, such as dogs that are part Airedale Terrier. American Staffordshire Terrier Mixes are stocky, while Chihuahua Terrier Mixes are quite dainty. In general, male Terrier Mix dogs tend to be larger than female Terrier Mixes.

brown and white scruffy terrier dog
Photo by Erda Estremera on Unsplash

Terrier Mix Characteristics

Terrier Mixes can have many different characteristics and barely even resemble other Terrier Mix dogs that you may come in contact with. Therefore, it is impossible to categorize all Terrier Mixes as equally good with kids and pets, affectionate with people, or make a conclusive statement about their energy levels and need for exercise. Different kinds of Terrier Mixes require different amounts of training and socialization, and some of these dogs are more prone than others to barking and shedding.

However, there are certain personality traits that are common among the Terrier group of dogs. These traits are good to be aware of if you purchase or adopt this type of dog. For example, pure Terrier dogs have been bred to hunt and kill vermin, while others have been bred to guard their families and put their working skills to good use. Terrier Mixes are often excellent pets, but they are known for their stubborn tendencies. This means that proper training is needed early-on and that pet parents must be determined and patient during the training process. These dogs have a strong prey drive, which is something trainers must work around and provide treats for rewards when a dog exhibits good behavior.

Terrier Mixes tend to have high energy levels, thus requiring a good amount of exercise throughout the day. Depending on their socialization and unique personalities, these dogs may be very loving in a household with kids or pets. Alternatively, they may be aggressive if not properly trained or supervised. Although some Terrier Mixes have a reputation of not getting along well with other dogs, they tend to be wonderfully loyal to their families.

History of Terrier Mixes

Terrier dogs were originally developed as working dogs to serve very useful purposes. Throughout history, they have excelled at controlling vermin around farms and households. These are brave, feisty, and strong-willed dogs who know how to get a job done.

Terrier Mixes are sometimes the result of intentional cross-breeding to gain the desirable characteristics of the two parent dogs. They are also sometimes referred to as “designer dogs” for this reason. Now, they have become one of the most common cross-bred dogs in the world with so many combinations of Terrier-type dogs living today.

Terrier Mix Appearances

Unlike pure-breed dogs that must adhere to specific standards to be considered a true member of the breed, Terrier Mixes can look very different from one another. These pups come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from around four pounds for a tiny Yorkshire Terrier Mix to 70 pounds or more for an Airedale Terrier Mix.

Terrier Mixes may take on the appearance of one parent more than another and have a long, short, wavy, or smooth coat. Even dogs within the same litter can look considerably different from the other puppies.

Caring for Terrier Mixes

Regardless of what type of Terrier Mix you have, chances are that your pup has plenty of energy and enthusiasm. These pups tend to be low-maintenance dogs that are eager to please and a true joy to care for. The better care you take of your Terrier Mix, the healthier they will be and the longer that your dog will likely live.

Here are some general tips for taking the best care of a Terrier Mix.

Best Living Environments:

  • A home with an outside space
  • Near parks and trails for playing and hiking
  • Room to roam around and explore
black and white pit bull terrier mix dog
Photo by Katie Bernotsky on Unsplash

Type of Exercise:

  • At least 30-60 minutes of exercise daily
  • Several walks per day
  • Play sessions in a yard
  • Dog parks for socialization
  • Runs with family members for larger Terrier dogs

Mental Enrichment:

  • Obstacle courses for agility
  • Balls and chew toys for entertainment
  • Bubbles for a fun surprise

Training Strategies:

  • Train Terrier Mixes as early as possible to establish good habits
  • Be consistent and patient with your training approach

Grooming Tips:

  • Many Terrier Mixes need bathing only about once a month
  • May need to brush coat regularly depending on length
  • Brush teeth to prevent dental issues; daily brushing is ideal, but several times a week is also acceptable
  • Keep nails trimmed

Common Health Problems of Terrier Mixes

One of the best things about mixed-breed dogs is that they tend to be resilient and healthy. This is because they come from a broader gene pool, which often means protection against some genetic conditions that disproportionately affect certain dog breeds.

Therefore, Terrier Mixes are generally healthy dogs, but their future health problems can be challenging to predict. Oftentimes, the prevailing health concerns of the other breed of dog that was mixed with a Terrier will present themselves in the dog’s later years of life. Certain health issues are more common among small Terrier Mixes versus large Terrier Mixes, and vice versa.

These are some of the most common health issues that arise with Terrier Mixes.

  • Genetic heart disease
  • Allergies
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Luxating patella (loose kneecap)
  • Anemia
  • Joint problems

Terrier Mixes, like all other dog breeds, need to have an annual veterinary checkup. These checkups allow your veterinarian to evaluate your Terrier Mix’s overall health and detect any health problems early on, before they become advanced. In addition to a physical exam, your veterinarian will perform other routine tests: blood work, urinalysis, and a fecal exam.

Annual checkups are also a good time for your Terrier Mix to get up to date on vaccinations. Also, don’t forget to stock up on heartworm and flea and tick preventatives at the checkup.

brown scruffy terrier dog
Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash

Diet and Nutrition for Terrier Mixes

Because the size of Terrier Mixes varies so much, it is best to ask your veterinarian for the recommended amount of food to feed your dog per day. However, this unique type of dog needs high-quality dog food and a balanced diet to fuel its consistent energy.

Some recommended dog foods for Terrier Mixes are Royal Canin White Terrier Dry Dog Food, Blue Buffalo Life Protection Puppy Dry Dog Food, and Nulo Freestyles Salmon and Red Lentils Small Breed Dry Dog Food. The ingredients in these dog foods are known for being packed with the nutrients that Terrier-type dogs need for an antioxidant boost, immune system health, strong bones, a silky coat, healthy skin, and brain health.

Where to Adopt or Purchase Terrier Mixes

Fortunately, it is typically pretty easy to find Terrier Mixes that are in need of adoption if you want to rescue a dog from a shelter. has resources available if you want to adopt a Border Terrier, Cairn Terrier, or other type of Terrier Mix. You can often find this kind of mixed-breed dog at local shelters in your area.

If you choose to purchase a Terrier Mix dog, choose a reputable breeder who specializes in the type of Terrier Mixes you prefer in order to minimize the risk of health issues and so you know what to expect as your dog gets older.

Pet Insurance for Terrier Mixes

To handle the uncertainty that comes with owning a Terrier Mix and take the best care of your pup, you need a dog health insurance plan from Healthy Paws. The coverage that we offer for Terrier Mixes can cover illnesses, accidents, hereditary and congenital conditions, cancer, chronic illnesses, emergency care, specialty hospitals, alternative care, and more. This means that you may be able to save up to 90% on your Terrier Mix’s vet bills and never have to wonder whether you should follow through with veterinarian-recommended treatment or not.

Contact us today for a quote to find out whether one of our Terrier Mix dog insurance plans is right for you. We look forward to helping you make the best choices for your mixed-breed dog and living your best lives together!

Stacy Painter profile
By Stacy Painter

Stacy has always been an animal lover and has worked in the pet industry and pet insurance specifically for over a decade. As a writer since early childhood, content writing for Healthy Paws pet insurance was a natural career path to combine her two passions. She currently lives in Florida with her boyfriend and Taiwanese rescue dog, Kaya.

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joanna pendergrass
By JoAnna Pendergrass, DVM

JoAnna Pendergrass, DVM, is a veterinarian and freelance medical writer in Atlanta, GA. After graduating from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine with her veterinary degree, JoAnna completed a 2-year research fellowship in neuroscience at Emory University. During this fellowship, she learned that she could make a career out of combining her loves of science and writing. As a medical writer, JoAnna is passionate about providing pet parents at Healthy Paws with clear, concise, and engaging information about pet care. Through her writing, she strives not only to educate pet parents, but also empower them to make good health decisions for their pets. JoAnna is a member of the American Medical Writers Association.

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