The Australian Terrier is plucky, spirited, and smart how did they fit so much dog into such a small package? Upbeat and lively, the self-assured Aussie approaches life with plenty of the old-time terrier curiosity and grit. Australian Terriers are small but sturdy, self-confident terriers known for a longish torso, distinctive coat furnishings around the neck and forequarters, and a topknot of soft, silky hair that contrasts in texture with an otherwise harsh coat. A long neck lends a dash of elegance to this rough-and-ready terrier, and the dark eyes sparkle with a keen intelligence. Coat colors are blue-and-tan, or solid red or sandy. Aussies move with the free and easy gait of a working dog. They are alert watchdogs and said to be quick studies when training. True terriers, Aussies love digging, and the urge to chase small, furry critters has never left them.
The Australian Terrier was developed as a companion and will be happiest when with “his” people. Aussies are not suited to living outside, or spending long hours in a run or fenced yard alone. They are happiest when in close contact with their families.
Australian Terriers are born diggers, as “going to ground” is part of their heritage.
The Aussie has emerged as a spunky little terrier: game, high-spirited and courageous, yet possessing an enormous amount of sensitivity. Because he was developed in close association with man under often stressful conditions, he has a strong sense of devotion to his household.
The Australian Terrier is a genuine charmer and, once hooked, few Aussie owners ever switch breeds. What’s more, many find they can’t own just one. However, not all Aussies are generous enough to be willing to share their owners, and two males generally will not be able to live together peacefully.
Most are good with children as well as senior citizens, so they make excellent family pets. As with any small dog, supervision with toddlers is essential, for the dog’s protection as well as the child’s. Aussies are equally suited for town or country living as long as provision is made for safe exercise. An Aussie should NEVER run loose! The instinct to hunt is so strong that he will not stop to check traffic if he sees a squirrel or strange cat.
They are excellent jumpers, and it is nearly impossible to teach an Aussie to resist the urge to chase squirrels, rabbits, cats, etc. Aussies were bred to hunt vermin, and this instinct is still very strong in their temperaments. Aussies are natural watch dogs, and will sound the alarm should any strange dog or person approach the house. Terriers in general are very lively and outgoing, and have a high energy level that does not make them suitable pets for everyone. As with other terriers, they can be dog-aggressive and somewhat bossy, and care must be taken when living in a multi-pet household.
Australian Terriers are quite trainable. They do well in all companion and performance events. They do require a bit of imagination when it comes to training. If you can convince them it is either their idea and/or fun, you will be well on your way. Your Aussie will always be happy to play with you and training is play to them.
In general, the Aussie is a sturdy breed with few health problems. A responsible breeder will test breeding stock for health conditions such as luxating patella (a dislocated kneecap called a ‘trick knee’ in humans) and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease (known as Legg-Perthes disease), a hereditary condition of the hip joint that manifests early and can be corrected with surgery. Some dogs can develop itchy skin conditions, and flea control is essential. As with all breeds, the ears should be checked regularly, and the teeth should be brushed often.
The Australian Terrier’s harsh, weatherproof, double coat does a good job of repelling dirt and mud, and is very easy to maintain. A quick brushing once a week is usually enough to keep it in fine shape. The long hairs that grow in front of and between the eyes can irritate the eyes if left unchecked; fortunately, they are easily plucked out with tweezers or fingers. An Aussie should have a bath only when needed. Shampooing softens the harsh coat, rendering its dirt-shedding capability ineffective, and too much bathing can also make the Aussie’s skin dry and flaky. As with all breeds, the Aussie’s nails should be trimmed regularly.
Terriers in general have a high energy level, and the Aussie is no exception. The breed is very active and requires regular exercise to keep from becoming bored and unhappy. Boredom leads to undesirable behavior. Daily play sessions, indoors or out, will keep an Aussie happy and well adjusted. However, these sessions must take place is a securely fenced yard, and when on walks or hikes, an Aussie must be on a leash. Aussies should never run loose as their instinct to hunt is very strong, and they might not be able to resist running off to chase a cat or squirrel, and might pursue their prey so far from home that they can’t find their way back.
Aussies, like many terriers, benefit greatly from puppy training classes and introductory obedience with treats, toys, or praise. Aussies are easily bored with routine, so training sessions will be short, whether the owner wants them to be or not. They can be willful and stubborn at times, so a firm, consistent approach is necessary. Using treats and praise is highly recommended when training Aussies.
The Australian Terrier should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
The Australian Terrier is 10-11 inches at the shoulder.
The Australian Terrier average weight is between 15-20 pounds.
The Australian Terrier has a normal life expectancy of 11 to 15 years.
The Australian Terrier has an affinity for children, the elderly, and the handicapped.
The Australian Terrier is adaptable to most climates.
The Australian Terrier, a working terrier, bred to be both a helper and companion in rough times and terrain.
The Australian Terrier was the first Australian breed to be recognized and shown in its native land.