Australian Terriers – Everything You Need to Know

One of the smallest of the working terrier group, the Australian Terrier, also known as Aussie, is a feisty, brave, domineering, and affectionate small-size dog that exhibits all the features of a faithful terrier. Initially, they were bred to hunt rodents and snakes and recognized as alert watchdogs and ideal companions. These bossy, small but sturdy, self-confident terriers have tenacious but adventurous personalities. A dedicated owner can train and socialize Aussie into delightful companions. Additionally, they love digging, and the urge to chase small animals has never left them. Aussies are filled with energy, and they can also be mischievous. So, if you’re looking for a new furry friend who keeps you entertained, the Australian Terrier might be the ideal addition to your family.

Australian Terrier Overview

Australian Terriers are lively, hardworking, independent, and tenacious, with a typical terrier slant on life. Aussie is an all-rounder combining agility, upbeat, speed, endurance, and capability to perform various jobs. They are highly loyal companions and can protect their owners with extraordinary guard dog and watchdog abilities. They have an affinity for the young, the elderly, and the disabled and make an ideal playmate for a child. However, adults should supervise interactions with very young children: Aussies are not snappy or aggressive, but they have limitations on the handling and roughhousing they will tolerate. However, being true to their terrier roots, Aussies are suspicious of outsiders and bark at strange sounds. Hence, considering your neighbors, it’s necessary to tone down their unhappiness and guide them on when and when not to bark.

Australian Terrier Pros and Cons

Companionable and affectionateProne to digging
Energetic and trainableHigh prey drive
Adaptable to rural life and apartment livingNot good with other pets

Australian Terrier Basic Information

  • Name: Australian Terrier
  • Origin: Australia
  • Group: Terrier group
  • Size: Small
  • Height: 10 – 11 inches
  • Weight: 15 – 20 pounds
  • Coat: Wiry and waterproof double coat
  • Color: Blue, tan, red, sandy
  • Energy: High
  • Activities: Hiking, agility, companion dogs, conformation, obedience, herding, watchdog, and guard dog.
  • Barking Level: Medium
  • Shedding Level: Occasional
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Litter Size: 4-8 puppies
  • Other Names: Aussie
  • Original Pastime: Ratters
  • Life Span: 11 – 15 years

History of Australian Terrier

Australia’s national Terrier and one of the smallest working terriers, the Australian Terrier, were developed in Australia in the early 19th century after European settlers brought over working terriers. These little pups are required to be able to resist a variety of climatic conditions and terrains. They were initially bred to be ratters, which these spunky, fearless little dogs excelled at. Aussies also developed strong bonds with their owners and became popular companion dogs. These breeds were initially called the Rough Coated Terrier, but their name was officially modified in 1897. They share lineage with several similar canines, including the Dandie Dinmont Terrier, the Cairn Terrier, and the Yorkshire Terrier.

Australian Terrier Highlights

  • Aussies love to bark, dig, and chase.
  • Proper training and early socialization must keep Aussies happy and well-liked by family and friends, both human and animal.
  • Aussies are known for being difficult to housetrain. 
  • Crate training is recommended.

Australian Terrier Personality

Intelligent and self-assured, the Australian Terrier combines an endearingly small size and an adventurous terrier disposition. In addition, they portray a range of personalities, such as:

  • Mischievous
  • Outgoing
  • Cuddly
  • Perky
  • Charming
  • Playful
  • Lively

Aussie is a fun, good-tempered, and devoted companion who is feisty, lively, affectionate, domineering, and highly connected to its owners. The sight of an Aussie is a scene of striking beauty. They are excellent watchdogs but can be snappy towards other children if not treated gently or respectfully. Some Aussies might be aggressive toward other small pets, but they live peacefully with canines and cats if introduced to them from the very initial stage. 

Friendliness Overview

Affection levelMedium to high
Family-friendlyMedium to high
Dog-friendlyLow to medium

Adaptability Overview

Good for apartment livingHigh
Good for new ownersMedium 
Sensitivity levelLow to medium
Tolerates being aloneLow to medium
Cold toleranceMedium
Heat toleranceMedium to high

Australian Terrier Physical Features

Head: They have a long and strong head with small, dark brown to black eyes, oval-shaped black rims, small, erect, pointed ears, black noses, and powerful muzzles.

Neck, Topline, Body: Long, slightly arched, and strong neck, firm topline with a sturdy, structured body. 

Tail: The tail is set high and is carried erect. 

Forequarters: Long blades with laid-back shoulders. Straight forelegs parallel when viewed from the front.

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

Hindquarters: Strong hindquarters, well-angulated legs at the stifles and hocks.

Coat: Outercoat – Harsh and straight. Undercoat – Short and soft. 

Color:  Tan and blue, solid sandy and solid red.

Gait: The gait should always seem straight from the shoulder and hip joints to the pads and move in planes parallel to the travel centerline. 

Australian Terrier Temperament

The Australian Terrier is a bold, assertive, playful, energetic dog that is also perceived as strong-willed and hyperactive. These mischievous breeds are sportive, excel in any canine game, and are keen on action and adventure. They are devoted, prefer to be around human families, and make excellent companions. They will quickly get along with kids, provided they are socialized as puppies and were raised with them. 

Aussies have excellent hunting skills and a strong desire to strive out and destroy vermin. Thus, a fenced yard and leashed walks are important for their safety. They’ll hunt rapidly moving objects without attention to where the chase is directing them. As they have herding instincts, Aussies might attempt to herd smaller animals. Hence, sharing a house with a pet bird is not ideal.

Even though small in size, Aussies are real terriers at heart. So, they’ll need limits to keep them from showing less adorable qualities like separation anxiety, excessive barking, or suspicion toward outsiders or other pets. They represent fearlessness and are good watchdogs who adore their family. With a do-it-all attitude and a keen intelligence, Aussies discover and become adaptable, taking on any role you throw at them. 

Australian Terrier Training

Training an Aussie can be challenging, given their headstrong attitude and agile build. However, you can take benefits of their brilliance, eagerness to please, and charming nature to ease the training procedure. It is good to offer continuous training for your Aussie to harness their full potential. Likewise, their training sessions must include a blend to encourage their attention until the end. You can instruct them in complicated tricks and reinforce their learning positively with praise, treats, and special playtime. Here are some of the training activities that you need to do with your Aussie:

Trainability Overview

Easy to trainMedium
Prey driveHigh
Mouthiness tendenciesLow to medium
Barking and Howling tendenciesHigh 
Wanderlust tendenciesMedium to high

Australian Terrier Exercise Needs

Aussies require a lot of space and time to spend their high energy levels. You don’t have to take them for a jog or a long walk if you have a backyard where they can play and run. However, without a yard, you must invest your time in the canine’s park with a leash. They will thrive with a vigorous walk of at least 30 to 45 minutes of daily exercise combined with training lessons, play sessions, or activities like agility sports. Aussies can easily adapt to an apartment if their necessities are fulfilled. Similarly, early socialization and proper exercise can avoid unnecessary guarding instincts and timidness. Hence, it is important to encourage them to be occupied mentally. 

Exercise Needs Overview

Energy levelHigh
Exercise needsHigh

Australian Terrier Grooming

The Australian Terriers are hypoallergenic, low-shedder dogs with a weatherproof double coat. If you keep their coats long, they will need daily brushing to prevent mats and tangles. Aussie’s grooming needs are as follows:

  • Bathe whenever it’s required.  
  • Brush their teeth twice or thrice weekly. 
  • Brush their coat regularly and maintain facial hygiene. 
  • Trim their nails once or twice a week using a grinder. 
  • Clean their eyes and ears weekly.

Grooming Overview

Easy to groomHigh
Drooling tendenciesLow
Amount of sheddingLow

Australian Terrier Health

Australian Terriers are relatively healthy breeds. However, like other canines, Aussies are prone to health disorders stemming from their lineage. Thus, to keep them healthy, it is important to take your dog to the vet for regular health check-ups and ensure that they are updated with vaccinations.

Health Overview

General HealthHigh
Weight gain tendenciesMedium

Patellar Luxation: This painful disorder is the falling of the knee cap from its spot in the legs. Symptoms include dogs feeling uncomfortable while hiking or running and kicking their leg to set the kneecap in its position.

Allergies: Aussies can be allergic to various substances, ranging from food to pollen. If your dog licks his paws or rubs his face a great deal, get him checked by your veterinarian. 

Legg-Calve Perthes Disease: The blood supply of the femur is decreased, due to which the pelvis begins to disintegrate, and the hip becomes gradually weakened. Symptoms include limping and atrophy of the leg muscle. You can treat the diseased femur with surgery. 

Diabetes: If your Aussie has Diabetes, you may notice symptoms like increased thirst and hunger and regular urination. Your dog may also begin losing weight or become lethargic. While it can be severe if left untreated, this disease can be successfully managed after diagnosis.

Recommended Health Tests 

  • Patella Evaluation
  • Thyroid Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation

Australian Terrier Diet and Nutrition

It is recommended to measure food 1/2 to 1 cup that is high in quality, dry food to your Aussies twice a day rather than letting the food on the plate all day long to eat. Since these pups are potential weight gainers, it is better to supervise the amount of food you offer. However, ensure the diet you feed is measured and tailored to your puppy’s size, activity level, age, and weight. Likewise, limit the treats you give your Aussie, specifically while training. You can always choose high-quality dog food, either homemade or commercially manufactured. 

Australian Terrier Living Condition

Aussies are the most suitable companion pups who adapt well to their human families. They adore playing and love the company of older children. They are delighted when they are around their family. On the downside, they undergo separation anxiety when left alone for extended periods. 

Did You Know?

  • Aussie was bred as a helper and companion in rough times and terrain. 
  • The Aussie was the first Australian breed to be recognized and shown in its motherland.
  • Aussie was admitted to the AKC in 1960.
  • Aussie is the first terrier addition in 24 years and the 114th breed entered into the AKC registry.
  • Aussies were introduced to the U.S. in the late 1940s.

Australian Terrier Club Recognition

Adding an Australian Terrier to Your Family

An Australian Terrier puppy may cost around $800 to $2000, not including miscellaneous expenses.

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