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Australian Terrier

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Australian Terrier Books

Group: Terrier || Breed Standard


The Australian Terrier was the first native-bred Australian dog to be shown, and the first to be recognized overseas. Its origins are uncertain, but its immediate ancestor was without doubt developed in the United Kingdom in the early 1800s from the precursors of today's British and Scottish terriers. Some of these breeds are now extinct, but the Aussie likely has a mixed ancestry comprising the same dog types that produced today's Dandie Dinmont, Manchester, Irish, and Cairn terriers.

A new rough-coated terrier was evident in Australia by the late middle-nineteenth century; the selectively-bred terrier was used for rodent and snake control, as a watchdog, and occasionally for sheep herding.

The first Broken-coated Terriers were exhibited in Melbourne in 1868 and the Australian Rough-Coated Terrier Club was founded in Melbourne in 1887. The breed was exhibited as the Australian Terrier, Rough-Coated in 1899. Official breed status was granted in the UK in 1933 and in the US in 1960.


Height: approximately 25.5 cms (10 ins)
Weight: approximately 6.5kgs (14 lbs)

The Australian Terrier is a low-set dog; the length of its body is longer than its height at the withers. The Aussie has a high-set tail that is customarily docked. The head of the Australian Terrier is elongated, with a slight stop and pricked ears. The ANKC breed standard describes the dog's look as "hard bitten" and "rugged". The eyes are small, dark, and oval and must have a keen terrier expression. The leather of the nose runs up to the bridge of the muzzle, which is described as "strong".

The dog's coat is rough or harsh to the touch, with a soft undercoat and a distinctive ruff around the neck. The breed standard specifies that it should be untrimmed, but some prefer to neaten the dog for the show ring. Acceptable colours are shades of blue or grey with tan face markings, or red.


With the personality of a working terrier, the Aussie is an alert, courageous and inquisitive dog. Its even disposition makes it suitable for a companion dog.

Breed Health

Although a relatively healthy breed, they do seem to have a predisposition for diabetes and thyroid disorders. As with many other small breeds, patella luxation should be checked for. Legg-Calve Perthes disease (aseptic necrosis), which is similar to hip dysplasia, has also been seen within the breed.

Life-span can be up to 15 years.

Breed Care

A brush once about once a week should keep them well groomed. Watch out for any long hairs growing in front of or between the eyes. If these begin to irritate the eyes, pluck them out using your thumb and forefinger.


Adaptable, the Australian Terrier will be happy with what exercise you are able to give. They love to play and romp. A regular daily walk of about 20 minutes should be enough to keep them fit and healthy.


Intelligent and quick to learn, the Australian Terrier is usually easily trained. However, they soon become bored with repetitive tasks, so make sure training is kept short and varied. With their typical terrier temperament, early training and socialising is important to ensure that your dog is well behaved and good when meeting other dogs. See our books on training

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Last link added: 06 Oct, 2006