The Australian Terrier


Origins and History: The Australian Terrier is derived from crosses made in Australia in the early nineteenth century; from Yorkshire, Skye, Cairn and Norwich terrier, as is quite apparent from their physical appearance.  The first official standard in 1896, but official recognition is only 1933. The latest revision of the standard took place in 1962. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1960 and it now widely recognized across the English-speaking world.


Character and abilities: The Australian Terrier is the least demanding and most sensible of the terriers, and yet it still maintains its terrier spunkiness. They have a strong hunting instinct and a desire to chase down anything that runs, as their rodent hunting ancestry is still very much a part of who they are. They are an intelligent breed, and are very eager to please their family, however they can be dog-aggressive and bossy, and will need a firm hand.


Trainability: Being an intelligent working dog, the Australian Terrier is quite easy to train, and they respond best to praise or treats, rather than reprimands. With their bossy streak and native hunting instincts, they need to be shown who is boss and where their place is within the pack.


Exercise: These intelligent, bright dogs will need to be given plenty of chance to run and be mentally stimulated, otherwise they will become destructive, with barking, digging and even escaping to hunt down an adventure. A fenced yard, and daily exercise is ample, as well as a good training regime to ensure they know their place in the pack (family).


Living conditions and adaptability: These terriers (like most terriers) are very adaptable, and love to be a part of the family. Despite their size though, they are not lapdogs. They have a mind of their own, and if not shown otherwise, they will behave like they are the king of the world – a trait essential for the rat-hunting jobs of their past. They do not tolerate small children well, as they can be protective of toys and food. Of all the terriers, the Australian Terrier is the most relaxed and will co-exist with other pets well.


Health: The Australian Terrier is sturdy healthy dog, however they are susceptible diseases like cancer and diabetes.

Average life expectancy: 12-14 years


Physical characteristics: The Australian Terrier is a sturdy, low dog, with quite a long body compared to its height, yet with a marked Terrier character. It is alert, active and well built and it’s rustic appearance is characterized by a rough coat. The head is elongated, with a black nose and sharp teeth, his eyes are small and dark, and his ears are small, erect and pointed. Historically the tail was docked, although this isn’t common practice anymore.


Hypoallergenic: No.

Coat: straight, hard, medium length, double coat, with a ruff/collar around their necks.

Color:  blue or silver, light tan, or red. Puppies are born completely black and change color around the 3 month age.

Grooming: coat is best left un-trimmed and brushed one – two times per week. For a neater look the hair around the toes can be trimmed.

Size:  about 10 inches for males and 10 for females.

Weight:  about 11 pounds




Energy Level


Good with kids