Other Names: Aussie
Country Of Origin: Australia
Dog Group: Terrier
Recommended For: Families, couples, single owners
Maintenance Level: Moderate
Lifespan: 12-14 years
Temperament: Friendly, affectionate, loyal
Good For First-Time Owner: Yes
Good With Children: Yes
Good With Other Animals: Yes
Good With Strangers: Yes
Good For Apartments: Yes
Exercise Requirements: Daily walking
Can Live In Hot Weather: Yes
Can Live In Cold Weather: Yes
Can Tolerate Being Left Alone: Yes
The Australian Terrier is a small dog that was bred for hunting purposes, and its small size meant it was able to chase small rodents into their burrows.
However, the breed has also long been popular as a companion pet and show dog, and Australian Terriers make great family pets.
The Aussie is incredibly loyal, and forms very strong bonds with its owners. Although the breed has a tendency to bark, they’re not suitable as guard dogs, both because of their size and the fact that they love human attention.
Color: Blue and tan, silver and tan
Height: 8-10 inches (both males and females)
Weight: 12-14lbs (both males and females)
Personality and Temperament:
Australian Terriers are a fiercely loyal breed, and are known for their strong emotional bonds with their owners.
The breed’s purpose as rat catchers means that they can be naturally aggressive, although this is dependent as much on the individual dog as it is on the breed.
However, plenty of socialization and training can reduce the risk of this being an issue.
Aussies are very friendly around people, and thrive on human attention. Their size makes the Australian Terrier a good family pet, and they’re good around children.
However, owners should be wary of having the dog around young children, simply because the breed is more susceptible to injury than a larger dog.
While children would generally not mean to hurt the dog, there’s more chance simply because they’re more delicate.
Australian Terriers are generally quite easy to train, but owners should start obedience training as early as possible to ensure success.
The breed is capable of picking up more complex commands, but their nature also makes them quite stubborn.
Their role as rat catchers meant they relied more on instinct than training, so don’t expect them to be genius dogs. However, they can learn all the basic commands that make them easier to handle.
The breed can be naturally cautious, but are still fine around strangers because their love of people usually overrides their caution.
While this means they don’t make good guard dogs, they can be useful for alerting owners to problems on their property because they are still wary of noises.
The Australian Terrier is suitable for apartment living because of their size and low exercise needs. The only thing owners need to be aware of is the breed’s tendency to bark, which can obviously be quite disruptive in an apartment setting.
However, the breed is suitable for life in almost any environment, and would appreciate some land if it were available.
The breed is generally a good choice for both first-time owners and experienced owners. Aussies are low maintenance, and can be good as a learning dog.
They appreciate daily walks, although these don’t need to be very long because the breed isn’t particularly energetic. A daily walk of around 30 minutes would probably be enough, along with some playtime at home too.
Australian Terriers can be left alone for longer periods of time, but this would be much easier if they were left with other dogs.
Because of their need for human attention, they shouldn’t be left alone for too long, as they might become depressed or destructive.
However, if the dog is raised by working owners, there should be little problem building up the amount of time they’re left alone.
When it comes to other animals, Australian Terriers are good with other dogs, but less so with other pets.
Their natural hunting instinct can kick in around small rodents, such as rabbits, and so owners should be cautious about keeping these animals together.
Aussies should be socialized with other dogs as early as possible, and owners should be careful if attempting to socialize with something like a cat. Aussies can get a bit yappy if they feel threatened, but providing you’re patient, you should see positive results.
Because Australia is their native land, the breed is perfectly suited to warm climates. They can also be kept in colder countries because of their medium-length coat, but owners might find they need to get them a coat if winters are particularly cold.
Aussies might also benefit from having their coats clipped or trimmed in the summer, just to keep them cool.
The Australian Terrier has a coat that’s actually quite easy to maintain. Their coat is quite harsh, but is also actually weatherproof, and as a result does a good job of shedding dirt.
It is medium length, and so looks much better after a good brush. This should be done weekly to remove any knots.
Aussies have long hair around their eyes, and this should either be trimmed or removed so it doesn’t irritate their eyes. This should be checked on a weekly basis, but will only need to be trimmed if it gets too long.
Australian Terriers should only be bathed when absolutely necessary, as their coat repels most dirt anyway.
Bathing them too frequently will strip their coat of its natural oils, and actually make their fur less healthy.
Aussies don’t shed very much, and a quick brush will help stay on top of loose hairs. There aren’t any seasonal changes for their shedding, and it stays quite constant all year round.
Owners should brush an Aussie’s teeth several times a week to reduce the risk of dental problems, although this isn’t a known problem with the breed.
Aussie’s nails should be trimmed regularly, although if they get plenty of walks this shouldn’t be a problem. However, if an Aussie lives in an apartment, then this will need to be done more frequently.
Common Diseases and Conditions:
In general, Australian Terriers are a healthy breed, and aren’t known to suffer too badly from common pedigree health conditions, such as hip and elbow dysplasia.
However, responsible breeders will still test their puppies for these conditions, and should show potential owners the certificates.
The breed does suffer from Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, which is when the hip joint doesn’t develop properly.
This condition develops very early in life, and is easily corrected with surgery. The breed’s ears are susceptible to collecting debris, and tick problems are common. Their ears should be checked on a weekly basis.
The only other condition known in the breed is skin conditions, which often manifests as itchiness or allergies. However, these can be controlled with diet and supplements, and are easily managed.
Australian Terriers are descended from a type of terrier brought to Australia from England in the early 19th century.
The ancestor breed was a rough-coated terrier, and was brought over for use as a hunting dog. The Australian Terrier, like most small terrier breeds, was used specifically for hunting small rodents on farmland, such as mice and rats.
Early examples of the breed had docked tails, which was done to prevent injury when going down rabbit holes. However, this was phased out as the breed increased in popularity as a family pet.
Although the actual ancestor of the breed isn’t known, it was crossed with other similar terriers, such as the Irish Terrier and Yorkshire Terrier before being recognized as a separate breed.
The first official ancestor of the Aussie was recognized in 1820, and was known as the Rough Coated Terrier.
By this point, the Aussie was cross-bred with several other kinds of British terrier, such as the dog from the Wizard of OZ movie-the Cairn Terrier and Skye Terrier.
It was then renamed as the Australian Terrier in 1892, and as first shown in 1906. Aussies have remained a popular show breed ever since.
Australian Terriers were recognized by the British Kennel Club in 1933, the American Kennel Club in 1960, and the United Kennel Club in 1970.
Since then, it has been recognized by all other English-speaking kennel clubs, and several other non-English-speaking kennel clubs.
Australian Terrier Facts & Figures
Did You Know?
- Although the breed was created for use as a working dog, it has also always been popular as a companion and family pet. This is mainly because of its loyal and affectionate nature.
- Australian Terriers have quite small litters, and give birth to an average of 4 puppies per pregnancy.
- Australian Terriers have become increasingly popular as therapy dogs. This is again because of its affectionate nature, and they can often be intuitive enough to detect changes in emotions.
- Aussies can be very bossy around other dogs, and will often attempt to become leader of the pack.
- Some of the oldest recorded Australian Terriers have lived well into their 20s, which is very impressive for a dog.