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Australian Terrier

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Intelligent, lively and cheeky, the Australian terrier always leaves a lasting impression. Great pets but easily bored, they demand to be kept entertained but reward owners with plenty of laughs. They will chase cats and small animals which can be problematic for owners with other pets. However, they are good with children and can live almost anywhere.

Which breed group is the Australian terrier in?

Breed group: Terrier

Australian terrier breed history

A small dog with a rough coat, the Australian terrier is the descendent of similar dogs which were taken from the UK to Australia in the early 19th century. Possible forebears include the Cairn terrier, shorthaired Skye terrier, dandie dinmont terrier, Yorkshire terrier and Irish terrier. These dogs were primarily kept to control vermin.

The breed was developed in Australia from around 1820 and was officially recognised as a separate breed in 1850. It was originally referred to as the rough coated terrier but was given the name Australian terrier in 1892. The breed was recognised by the Kennel Club in 1933.

Australian terrier breed characteristics

A small but very sturdy working dog, The Australian terrier is long in proportion to its height with pricked ears and short tail. Blue and tan, solid sandy or solid red in colour, these dogs have harsh outer coats with a distinctive ruff and apron. Undercoats are short and soft. Aussies possess small, dark brown to black eyes and keen expressions. Their small, erect and pointed ears are set high on the skull yet well apart.

Aussies are big dogs in diminutive bodies. They are tenacious, independent and lively with a mischievous streak. They build strong bonds with humans, love playing and are almost never aggressive.  Aussies love to dig and possess a strong prey drive. They are smart and extremely confident but can be difficult to train as they bore of repetition.

  • Lifespan: 11-15 years
  • Height: up to 28cm
  • Weight: up to 7.3kg
  • Coarse outer coats
  • Soft undercoats
  • Blue and tan, solid sandy or solid red
  • Keen expression
  • Short tails
  • Dark eyes
  • Intelligent
  • Sturdy
  • Playful
  • Mischievous
  • Easily bored
  • Love to dog

Health issues with Australian terrier

Australian Terriers are generally healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they're prone to certain conditions and diseases as follows:

  • Patellar luxation.
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Allergies
  • Cancer

What is the Australian terrier bred for?

Originally bred to kill vermin, these tenacious terriers are now primarily kept as pets.

What sort of owners does the Australian terrier suit?

Wonderful companions with big personalities, Aussies are good with children but incompatible with cats and other small pets. They are good choices for inexperienced owners so long as their training is fun rather than repetitious. They are easily bored and will lose interest in the task at hand if training isn’t entertaining. As they build strong bond with people, they need owners who are at home all day, but they require only a moderate amount of exercise and grooming.

Australian terriers are poor choices for anyone who takes pride in their garden as they need to play outdoors but love to dig. They are intelligent characters which relish human interaction and will inspire many laughs along the way. Aussies can live happily almost anywhere and are ideal for apartment living but must be given enough time to run around outdoors. Their working heritage ensures that they need to be kept entertained, otherwise they will get up to mischief in double quick time.


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