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The Australian Terrier Club of America, Inc.

Dedicated to the Advancement of Quality, Purebred Australian Terriers

AKC Parent Club Member 1977
Founded 1958



General Appearance

A small, sturdy, medium-boned working terrier, rather long in proportion to height with pricked ears and docked or undocked tail. Blue and tan, solid sandy or solid red in color, with harsh-textured outer coat, a distinctive ruff and apron, and a soft, silky topknot. As befits their heritage as versatile workers, Australian Terriers are sound and free moving with good reach and drive. Their expression keen and intelligent; their manner spirited and self-assured.

The following description is that of the ideal Australian Terrier. Any deviation from this description must be penalized to the extent of the deviation.

Size, Proportion, and Substance

Size: Height 10-11 inches at the withers. Deviation in either direction is to be discouraged.

Proportion: The body is long in proportion to the height of the dog. The length of back from withers to the front of the tail is approximately one to one and a half inches longer than from withers to the ground.

Substance: Good working condition, medium bone, correct body proportions, symmetry and balance determine proper weight.


The head is long and strong. The length of the muzzle is equal to the length of the skull.

Expression: Keen and intelligent.

Eyes: Small, dark brown to black (the darker the better), keen in expression, set well apart. Rims are black, oval in shape.

Faults: Light-colored or protruding eyes.

Ears: Small, erect and pointed; set high on the skull yet well apart, carried erect without any tendency to flare obliquely off the skull.

Skull: Viewed from the front or side is long and flat, slightly longer than it is wide and full between the eyes, with slight but definite stop.

Muzzle: Strong and powerful with slight fill under the eyes. The jaws are powerful.

Nose: Black. A desirable breed characteristic is an inverted V-shaped area free of hair extending from the nose up the bridge of the muzzle, varying in length in the mature dog.

Lips: Tight and dark brown or black-rimmed.

Bite: Scissors with teeth of good size.

Neck, Topline, and Body

Neck: Long, slightly arched and strong, blending smoothly into well laid back shoulders.

Topline: Level and firm.

Body: The body is of sturdy structure with ribs well-sprung but not rounded, forming a chest reaching slightly below the elbows with a distinct keel. The loin is strong and fairly short with slight tuck-up.

Faults: Cobbiness, too long in loin.

Tail: ­Set on high and carried erect at a twelve to one o’clock position, in balance with the overall dog, a good hand-hold when mature, docked leaving slightly less than one half, or undocked from straight to curved forward. The tail set is of primary importance.


Shoulders: Long blades, well laid back with only a slight space between the shoulder blades at the withers. The length of the upper arm is comparable to the length of the shoulder blade. The angle between the shoulder and the upper arm is 90 degrees.

Faults: Straight, loose, or loaded shoulders.

Elbows: Close to the chest.

Forelegs: Straight, parallel when viewed from the front; the bone is round and medium in size. They should be set well under the body, with definite body overhang (keel) before them when viewed from the side.

Pasterns: Strong, with only slight slope.

Fault: Down on pasterns.

Dewclaws: May be removed 

Feet: Small, clean, catlike; toes arched and compact, nicely padded turning neither inward nor outward.

Nails: Short, black and strong.


Strong legs, well angulated at the stifles and hocks, short and perpendicular from the hocks to the ground. Upper and lower thighs are well muscled. Viewed from behind the rear, legs are straight from the hip joints to the ground, and in the same plane as the forelegs.

Faults: Lack of muscular development or excessive muscularity.

Feet: (See Forequarters)


Outer Coat: Harsh and straight; 2 1/2 inches all over the body except the tail, pasterns, rear legs from the hocks down, and the feet which are kept free of long hair. Hair on the ears is kept very short.

Undercoat: Short and soft.

Furnishings: Softer than body coat. The neck is well furnished with hair, which forms a protective ruff blending into the apron. The forelegs are slightly feathered to the pasterns.

Topknot: Covering only the top of the skull; of finer and softer texture than the rest of the coat.

Color and Markings

Colors:  Blue and tan, solid sandy, and solid red.

Blue and Tan

Blue: dark blue, steel-blue, dark gray-blue, or silver-blue. In silver-blues, each hair carries blue and silver alternating with the darker color at the tips.

Tan markings (not applicable to Sandy or Red, see below): as rich as possible, on face, ears, underbody, lower legs and feet, and around vent. The richer the color and more clearly defined, the better.

Topknot: Silver or a lighter shade than head color.

Sandy or Red

Any shade of solid sandy or solid red, the clearer the better.

Topknot: Silver or a lighter shade of body coat.

Coat Color Faults: All black body coat in the adult dog. Tan smut in the blue portion of the coat, or dark smut in sandy and red-coated dogs. In any color, white markings on chest or feet are to be penalized.


As seen from the front and from the rear, the legs are straight from the shoulder and hip joints to the pads, and move in planes parallel to the centerline of travel. The rear legs move in the same planes as the front legs. As the dog moves at a faster trot, the front and rear legs and feet may tend to converge toward the centerline of travel, but the legs remain straight even as they flex or extend. Viewed from the side, the legs move in a ground-covering stride. The rear feet should meet the ground in the same prints as left by the front feet, with no gap between them. Topline remains firm and level, without bounce.


The Australian Terrier is spirited, alert, courageous, and self-confident, with the natural aggressiveness of a ratter and hedge hunter; as a companion, friendly and affectionate.

Faults: Shyness or aggressiveness toward people.

Approved April 7, 2021

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