Australian Terrier Guide

Terrier Dog Breeds

The Australian terrier is small, sturdy and medium-boned; it is long in proportion to height. This is a working terrier that should exhibit a ground-covering gait and hard condition. Its weatherproof coat is made up of a short, soft undercoat and a harsh, straight, outer coat, about 2.5 inches long, shorter on the tail and lower legs. It sports a ruff around the neck and a topknot of longer hair adds to its keen, intelligent expression.

One of the quieter terriers, the Aussie is nonetheless a plucky, tough character, ready to go after a rodent when the chance arises. It is fun-loving and adventurous, and needs daily exercise to keep it from becoming frustrated. It is clever and generally eager to please, making it one of the more obedient terriers. It gets along fairly well with other dogs and household pets. It is reserved with strangers. Reflecting its earth dog heritage, it does like to dig.


FAMILY terrier



ORIGINAL FUNCTION killing small vermin

TODAY'S FUNCTION earthdog trials

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 10-11 Weight: 12-14

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 10-11 Weight: 12-14


Energy level Medium energy

Exercise needs Medium

Playfullness Moderately playful

Affection level Moderately affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Friendly

Friendliness toward other pets Friendly

Friendliness toward strangers Shy

Ease of training Easy to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Not very protective

Grooming needs Moderate maintenance

Cold tolerance Medium tolerance

Heat tolerance Medium tolerance

This is an active breed that needs a good outing every day, either a moderate walk, a rollicking game, or an off-lead run in a safe area. It was created to withstand harsh Australian conditions and is physically able to stay outdoors in temperate to warm climates. It is also a good house dog and needs to spend time with its family. Its wire coat needs weekly combing plus twice yearly stripping of dead hairs (regular plucking of dead hairs will keep the coat in optimal condition year round). Some trimming around the feet will add to a tidy look.
• Major concerns: none
• Minor concerns: none
• Occasionally seen: Legg-Perthes, patellar luxation, diabetes
• Suggested tests: none
• Life span: 12-14 years
The national terrier of Australia, this is one of the smallest of the working terriers. It was born in Tasmania, from various European breeds, and shares much of its background with the silky terrier. In Tasmania, the rough-coated terrier was an all-purpose companion, killing vermin and snakes, controlling livestock, and sounding the alarm at intruders. A cornucopia of breeds was crossed with this root stock, among them the precursors of the Skye, Dandie Dinmont, Scotch, Yorkshire and Manchester terriers. The result was a dog that was both useful and striking in appearance. The first of the breed was shown in the late1800s as a "broken-coated terrier of blackish blue sheen." The name was soon changed to the blue and tan, the toy, then the blue terrier, then in 1900 the rough-coated terrier, blue and tan. Although mainly known for its blue and tan coloration, a red or sandy color was also found among the early representatives of the breed. Soon after the breed had made its way to British show rings and homes, and by 1925 it had come to America. It received AKC recognition in 1960.