The Australian Terrier

Australian Terriers, one of the smallest working terriers, were the first breed to be developed and recognized in Australia. They made their first show appearance in 1868: Melbourne.

They were trusted watchdogs, adept at killing rodents and snakes, and could be trusted to tend sheep. They were valued companions during the hard times and over rough terrain.

The modern day Australian Terrier has been crossed with several other terriers including the following breeds: Dandie Dinmont, Skye, Yorkshire, and the Manchester Terrier. It’s possible that they were also crossed with Irish and Cairn Terriers.

The Australian Terrier was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1960.

Sizing up

  • Weight: 14 to 16 lbs.
  • Height: 10 to 11 inches
  • Coat: Double, medium in length, coarse and shaggy
  • Color: Sable; brindle; sandy; red; red and white; red and tan; red and black; black and red; black and tan; blue; blue, black and tan; blue and black, blue and tan.
  • Life expectancy: 15 years

What’s the Australian Terrier like?
The Australian Terrier is quite adventurous! His strong hunting instincts may compel him to scamper across the yard chasing after a squirrel or chipmunk. He also wants to guard his family and home, making him a great little watchdog with a fierce bark.

It’s important to begin training and socializing your Australian Terrier as soon as you bring him home. Training sessions should be very consistent, firm, short and to the point. He’s very energetic and can get bored easily. If your Aussie is bored, your property will likely suffer the consequences.

Grooming your Australian Terrier is a breeze involving only a weekly combing or brushing to remove and prevent mats or tangles.

The Australian Terrier is a small dog and can develop some small dog health conditions so watch for any of the following:

  • Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease (LCPD)

LCPD is a bone disorder, the result of decomposition of the hip joint, caused by a spontaneous decaying of part of the femur bone which islocated in the dog’s hind leg.

  • Luxating patella

Luxating patella is a knee condition where one or both kneecaps can accidentally slip out of place.

  • Diabetes

Takeaway Points

  • The Australian Terrier will keep your garden and home vermin free!
  • The Australian Terrier is very easy to groom.
  • The Australian Terrier is extremely adaptable and suitable for most living quarters.
  • The Australian Terrier may not be the right choice for you if you have feline friends, or other dogs.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

The Ultimate Guide to Australian Terriers

With their fun personality, Australian Terriers are a delight to be around. They form strong bonds with their owners and have a gusto for life that is difficult to dampen. They generally learn pretty fast and are more eager to please than most terriers.

Australian Terrier Origins

The Australian Terrier is also referred to as the Aussie. These dogs originated from Tasmania in the 19th century. Sources suggest that their ancestor is the rough-coated terrier. This was an import from the Great Britain.

The terriers were then cross-bred with other Australian native breeds. The result was the Aussie we know today. Some of the breeds used in the outcross were the Cairn, Yorkshire, Irish and the Skye Terriers.

The reason for developing Aussies was to create fast and tough dog breeds. These animals helped in hunting rodents and snakes. Occasionally, they were also used to tend sheep and protect the farmers’ lands.

The first time the Aussie was developed was back in the 1820s. At the time they were called the Rough-Coated Terrier. It wasn’t until 1897 that they got their official name.

Key Characteristics of Australian Terriers

Are Cavoodles Family-Friendly?These dogs get on well with their owners. But because of their small size, they are better suited for families with older kids as toddlers can be a bit rough.
Daily Exercise Needs?A short walk for half an hour or so is enough.

Other considerations:

● Australian Terriers love to chase. To prevent this, ensure your yard has no cracks or gaps in the fence where they can escape through.

● The colour possibilities of the Aussie are blue-and-tan, sandy or solid red.

● These dogs are usually family-oriented. They become fond of kids and the elderly, but like with other breeds, they need to be supervised with young children.

● Aussies are intuitive. Since they like spending a lot of time with their family, they’ll naturally try and match their mood to yours. If you’re happy they’ll be lively, and if you’re depressed they’ll be dull and quiet.

● Australian Terriers really enjoy having their own space. Therefore consider getting them a crate designed for small breeds. This should be spacious enough for them to stand up, sleep and turn around.

How can I take good care of my Australian Terrier or Australian Terrier Puppy?

Aussies should have 0.5 – 1 cup of dry dog food every day. Luckily, these dogs are not picky eaters. They have a moderate appetite, and generally don’t overeat. Still, they need access to fresh water at all times.

Bear in mind that Aussies are prone to itchy skin and allergies. If your pup starts suffering from these conditions, try switching to premium lamb. If this doesn’t work, have a vet examine them.

These dogs have a very unique coat. More specifically, their coats are dense and waterproof, enabling them to repel dirt. Therefore they need minimal grooming. Brushing their coats once a week is usually adequate.

Recommended Grooming Tips:

● Trim the hair around their eyes if it gets longer to prevent irritation.

● Bathe them on an ‘as-needed’ basis.

● Also trim their nails if they grow too long.

Regular exercise and play is vital if you want your Australian Terrier to grow healthy. Take them for a walk for at least an hour every day. But ensure they’re on a leash to prevent them from chasing other animals.

These are bright, inquisitive and clever dogs. The benefit of this is that they learn pretty quickly. The downside? They can start creating and following their own rules.

To avoid this, take them through obedience training. It’s important that you work with your Aussie during training. This way, they’ll be able to understand their place in the family. Also, keep the training sessions fun. Try using incentives like verbal praise and treats to motivate them.

If not well-socialised, Aussies can occasionally be aggressive. Start socialising them early by introducing them to an array of environments. As you build on their knowledge of the outside world, they’ll be less prone to aggression.

Australian Terrier Conservation Status

Click through all of our Australian Terrier images in the gallery.

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Did you know that breeders developed the Australian terrier to help farmers protect produce and livestock? These energetic little dogs are worker dogs that control snakes, rats, foxes, mice, and other predators for owners.

A big dog was fit into a small package when it comes to the Australian terrier. These terriers are smart, plucky, and spirited. This Aussie breed is self-assured and attacks life with curiosity and grit.

The Australian terrier has a harsh coat complimented by silky hair. These dogs are hypoallergenic, so you don’t have to worry about that silky hair shedding everywhere. This breed is excellent watchdogs and is very friendly, affectionate, and full of energy. Breeders developed these dogs in Australia in the early 19th century. Many people believe these terriers are the first documented native breed in Australia.

Being the littlest of the working terriers, don’t be fooled by the Australian terrier’s small size. These dogs are very tenacious and have the standard slant of life that other terriers have.

Potential health issues in Australian Terriers

Reputable breeders will ensure that their dogs and puppies are free of issues that Australian Terriers face so be sure to ask for proof that testing has been done for the potential health problems listed below. It should be noted that none of these tests are compulsory, but ethical breeders will do whatever tests are available to them to ensure they are breeding healthy, quality animals.

Many small dog breeds, including the Australian Terrier, can suffer from Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease (LCPD), a disorder that affects the hip joint and requires surgery. Another common problem in small dogs is a knee malfunction called luxating patellas, in which the kneecaps easily slip out of place. Treatment isn't always needed in mild cases but if severe it may require surgery.

Diabetes can occur in Australian Terriers and research into the disease is being pursued. Dogs with diabetes should never be used for breeding. Epilepsy, although very rare, can also affect the breed.

Degenerative Myelopathy is a progressive disease of the spinal cord that can affect Australian Terriers. According to Orivet Genetic Pet care 40% of the Australian Terriers tested are positive carriers of Degenerative Myelopathy. Positive carriers should never be bred from.

Australian Terriers can be prone to allergies (including food allergies) and ear infections for which there are no screening tests. Allergy treatment usually involves removal of the allergen from the dog’s environment or medication. While these particular problems can’t currently be tested for and prevented, reputable breeders will be willing to go over the health histories of their dogs and whether or not particular health concerns are prevalent in their lines.

If you are a small scale ANKC registered breeder and would like to be listed here, just contact us or follow a few simple steps to add your details yourself.

We welcome helpful comments and contributions to information about this breed by email or below.

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