The Australian Terrier is a small-sized terrier breed, named after the country it originated, developed with the purpose of catching vermin and snakes alongside functioning as an efficient watchdog. These sturdily built, high-spirited terriers with a free moving gait have a strong head, brown or black small-sized eyes bearing a keen, intelligent expression, pointed, erect, high set ears, powerful muzzle, and a high set straight tail.
Australian Terrier Pictures
|Coat||Outer coat: harsh, straight; Undercoat: short, soft|
|Color||Blue and tan; sandy; red; black and red; black; blue; black and tan; red and tab; red and black; red and white; blue and black; sable|
|Average lifespan||11 to 15 years|
|Size (How big do they get)||Small|
|Height||10 to 11 inches|
|Weight||15 to 20 pounds|
|Litter size||2 to 6 puppies on an average|
|Behavioral traits||Affectionate, alert, brave, intelligent, spirited|
|Good with children||Yes|
|Barking tendency||Moderately less in comparison to other terrier breeds|
|Shedding (Do they shed)||Low|
|Competitive Registration Qualification/ Information||FCI, ANKC, CKC, AKC, NZKC, UKC, KC (UK)|
Video of 3 Week Old Australian Terrier Puppies
History and Origin
When the British settlers moved to Australia in the first half of the 19th century, they carried along with them working terriers whose main role was to eradicate rats and mice. They are said to be a direct descendant of an ancient English dog, the Rough coated Terrier, with other breeds like the Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Irish Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier, Cairn Terrier, and Skye Terriers playing an important role in their development. The role of the Aussies was similar to their forefathers as they were assigned the task of controlling snakes and rats often found in the gold mines, waterfront or sheep stations. They were highly adept at their job and an expert said that this dog leapt upon the snake, twisted it and then pounced on it till it was killed. They had a versatile nature as after the completion of the day’s work, they transformed into great companion pets.
Developed in 1820 and initially referred to as the Rough coated terrier, it later came to be known as the Australian Terrier. It is also credited to be the first of the native breeds to gain official recognition in its homeland and the first canine of Australian descent to be acknowledged in other countries. It was shown as a show breed both in Melbourne and Great Britain in 1906. The Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, and United Kennel Club granted it recognition in 1933, 1960 and 1970 respectively.
Temperament and Personality
They are energetic, fun-loving and affectionate, thus being perfect family and companion dog that anyone could ask. Being people-oriented dogs, they always love to be with their near and dear ones and could get bored or destructive if they do not get the desired care and attention.
Since they were also bred to be watchdogs, most of them could display a reserved nature towards strangers, often barking to alert their masters about the presence of an intruder. They love to be around children, though the younger ones should be supervised when they are with these rambunctious terriers. Though they are not aggressive or snappy, most of them could be territorial while interacting with unknown dogs. Moreover, these inborn ratters are great jumpers and would get on to chase rodents or smaller pets or even pounce upon them the moment they see it. Hence, if you have smaller pets or a house rat, keep them away from it or make sure you socialize your Aussie properly to dwell peacefully with all in its household.
Australian Terrier Mixes
- Rustralian Terrier – Australian Terrier x Jack Russell Terrier
- Terri-Poo – Australian Terrier x Poodle
- Aussie Silk Terrier – Australian Terrier x Silky Terrier
- West Australian Terrier – Australian Terrier x West Highland White Terrier
- Australian Yorkshire Terrier – Australian Terrier x Yorkshire Terrier
- Mini Australian Shepterrier – Australian Terrier x Miniature Australian Shepherd
Though small in size, it is active and energetic like other terriers, thus requiring sufficient amount of exercise to remain physically and mentally rejuvenated. Besides a long walk and sufficient play time in a fenced yard, you can also take them along with you for hiking, cycling or jogging. Never take your Aussie out unleashed as they have a tendency to chase and might not be able to control themselves at the sight of a squirrel or cat, which could either lead to any mishap or make them lose their way home.
Since they have a weatherproof double coat, they shed minimally and a weekly brushing would be sufficient to keep their coat in proper shape and form. You can either pluck the long hairs they have on their face around their eyes using a tweezer or your fingers or even get in touch with a professional groomer for this purpose. Checking its eyes and ears, brushing its teeth and trimming its nails regularly, are the other grooming needs that must be adhered to.
They are healthy and hardy with a moderately long lifespan. However, some of the health issues they are likely to face include diabetes mellitus, patellar luxation, allergies, and Legg-Perthes disease.
Like most other terriers the Aussie can also be stubborn and strong-willed, hence needing to be handled firmly. The Intelligence of Dogs by Stanley Core, rank them 34th which means that their level of intelligence is above average. Hence, they can take to training quickly if groomed properly and efficiently.
- Since they are not always friendly and cordial with other dogs, you should give them socialization training since their puppy days by taking them to a park where they can get acquainted with other dogs. You can also ask your friends to bring along their pets to your house and arrange for a puppy party. Teach your dog the art of sharing its belongings with others, in this way you would gradually succeed in making it friendly.
- Leash training is extremely essential because of their instinct to chase. Introduce them to the leash at the earliest. For this, you first need to acquaint it with the leash by keeping it near him. Once he gets accustomed to it and starts fiddling or playing with the object, throw the leash over his neck gradually. If he does not throw tantrum make him walk inside the room with the leash on. Once you achieve success in this, move out, first within a fenced yard of your house or a few blocks from your apartment and then for a longer distance. If it pulls at the leash while walking, stop right away and do not talk or make any eye contact with your Aussie. Once he senses your behavior and moves on reward him and resume the walk.
Good quality dry dog food of a reputable brand is a must of the Australian Terrier. Besides their regular kibble, a nutritious homemade diet can also be added in measured amounts to their main food.