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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Australian Terrier


Australian Terrier Facts

  • Group
  • Terrier
  • Affiliations
  • Height
  • 10" - 11" (25.4 - 28cm)
  • Weight
  • 12 - 14lbs (5.4 - 6.3kg)
  • Lifespan
  • 14 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • Moderate - This breed enjoys typical daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • Average Training Time
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Moderate
  • Colors
    • Cream
    • Blue-Tan
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Good with children
    • Hunting heritage
    • Should sleep indoors

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

The Australian Terrier is sometimes referred to as aussie.


The Australian Terrier originated in Australia.

Date Of Origin

The Australian Terrier originated in the late 1800's.


Development of the Australian Terrier began in Tasmania around 1820, and the dogs were at first called the Rough Coated Terrier. The breed was officially recognized with the founding of the first Australian Terrier breed club in 1887.

One of the smallest working terriers, the Australian Terrier shares a common ancestry with silky terriers and was bred to be both a helper and companion in rough times and terrain. There are differences among writers of the histories of the breed, but there is a general consensus of opinion that the breeds used included the precursor of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier, the Skye, the Yorkshire, and the old Black and Tan Terrier.

Like the Silky terrier, the Australian Terrier accompanied armed forces personnel and business people to North America after World War II. Although the breed remains popular in Australia and New Zeland, it now lives as a pet in all English-speaking countries.

The Australian Terrier was developed to assist ranchers during work in the rugged Australian Outback. The dog worked side by side with their owners to control vermin and snake populations, alerting at the presence of intruders, and sometimes helping tend livestock.

The Australian Terrier was recognized by the AKC in 1960 and by the UKC in 1969.


The Australian Terrier is longer than it is tall. The skull is long and flat and the powerful muzzle is equal in length to the skull. It has a medium-size black nose and small, dark brown or black eyes. The ears are small, erect and pointed. The tail is docked to half its length and carried high but not over the back. It is double coated with a long harsh outer coat. The hair is shorter on the ears with a topknot. There is a ruff on the neck and the legs are feathered.


The Australian Terrier is a spirited, alert, self-confident, and courageous dog. He is affectionate with family, but wary of strangers and is a proficient watchdog and rodent killer. The Australian Terrier benefits from early training and socialization. A socialized Australian Terrier is generally good with children. The Australian Terrier is unlikely to back down in confrontation with other dogs, and is also not likely to leave cats alone unless he has been raised with these other pets since a puppy.

It is nearly impossible to teach an Australian Terrier to resist the urge to chase squirrels, rabbits, or other small animals. They were bred to hunt vermin, and this instinct is still very strong in their temperaments. This breed should never be let off the leash in an un-fenced area due to their strong hunting instincts. If they catch wind of a small animal they will most likely take off in pursuit. Digging holes in the ground is also a very strong instinct with the Australian Terrier.

The Australian Terrier is equally suited as a companion dog owing to its loyalty and even disposition and need long daily walks. Many Australian Terriers will enjoy hide and seek type games.


The Australian Terrier was used on farms to hunt vermin and snakes. They also made superb watch dogs, alerting their family of intruders and are at home as a family companion.

Health Concerns

Possible health concerns for the Australian Terrier include diabetes mellitus, thyroid problems, eye and ear problems, luxating patella, and skin allergies.

Additional Information

The Australian Terrier is an active dog that needs a family/owner that has ample time to train and socialize him. Australian Terriers can adapt to rural or urban dwellings will do well with a family or someone living alone. The breed has a weatherproof double coat which sheds little and is suitable in any climate.

Grooming for the Australian Terrier includes twice weekly brushing and trimming of the hair on the paws. To maintain the show coat, this breed will need to be hand-stripped by a professional groomer twice per year.

Show Sources & Contributors +


The All Breed Dog Grooming Guide

Publisher: Aaronco, 2002

Website: http://www.aaroncopet.com

Author: Sam Kohl

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

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