Australian Terrier

Australian Terrier looking forward

Quick Facts


15 to 20 pounds


10 to 11 inches at the shoulder

Average Lifespan:

11-15 years

Known For:

Sturdy, smart dogs with big personality and high energy level.


The Australian Terrier, affectionately known as the “Aussie,” is a delightful little dog with a big personality. Hailing from the land Down Under, this breed has captured the hearts of many with its spirited nature and undeniable charm.Β 


As one of the smallest terrier breeds, the Australian Terrier is a testament to the saying, “good things come in small packages.” With its distinctive rough coat and keen expression, this breed is a favorite among dog enthusiasts worldwide. Its origin is deeply rooted in Australia’s history, and its popularity has only grown over the years, making it a beloved choice for many pet lovers.

History and Origin

The Australian Terrier’s story begins in the 19th century in Australia. It was during the gold rush era that British settlers brought various terrier breeds with them, including the Cairn, Dandie Dinmont, Irish, and Yorkshire Terriers. These breeds were interbred, and the result was the Australian Terrier we know and love today.


The primary purpose of these early terriers was to control pests and snakes, which were abundant in the Australian outback. Their rough coat protected them from the harsh Australian climate and any potential bites or scratches from their prey.


The breed quickly gained popularity for its tenacity and hardworking nature. By the late 19th century, the Australian Terrier was recognized as a distinct breed. In 1899, the Australian Terrier Club of Victoria was formed, and the breed’s standard was established.


While not as famous as some other breeds in popular culture, the Australian Terrier has had its moments in the spotlight. One notable Aussie was “Blinky Bill,” a character in a series of children’s books by Dorothy Wall. Though Blinky Bill was a koala, his adventurous spirit and cheeky nature are reminiscent of the Australian Terrier’s personality.

Breed Characteristics


Barking Tendency

Dog Friendly

Health Issues

Shedding Level









Cat Friendly

Exercise Needs


Social Needs








App. Friendly

Child Friendly


Energy Level

Stranger Friendly

Watchdog Instincts







Appearance and Size

The Australian Terrier is a small but sturdy dog, standing at about 10 to 11 inches at the shoulder and weighing between 14 to 16 pounds. Despite its size, it’s a robust and hardy breed, built for work.


One of the most distinctive features of the Aussie is its rough, shaggy coat. This double coat is designed to protect the dog from the elements and potential harm from pests. The topcoat is straight and harsh, while the undercoat is soft and dense.


Color-wise, the Australian Terrier comes in two primary shades: blue and tan or sandy. The blue and tan variety has a rich blue-black saddle, with a tan face, ears, underbody, legs, and vent. The sandy variety is a clear sandy color all over.


The Aussie’s head is long and strong, with small, dark, and keen eyes that always seem to be observing. Its ears are small, pointed, and stand erect, giving the dog an alert and lively expression.


The breed’s tail is often docked, though this practice has become less common in recent years. When moving, the Australian Terrier carries itself with a confident and spirited gait, reflecting its energetic nature.

Personality and Temperament

The Australian Terrier is a bundle of energy, wit, and charm. Despite its small size, it has the heart of a lion and the curiosity of a cat. Always alert and ready for action, the Aussie is known for its spirited and self-assured nature.


These terriers are incredibly loyal to their families. They thrive on human interaction and love being involved in family activities. Their intelligence and eagerness to please make them quick learners, but they can also be a tad stubborn at times. It’s this combination of smarts and sass that endears them to so many.


While they’re friendly and affectionate with their families, Australian Terriers can be wary of strangers. They make excellent watchdogs, always alerting their owners to any unusual activity. Their vocal nature means they’re not shy about barking, but this can be managed with proper training.


With other animals, Aussies can be a bit dominant, especially with dogs of the same sex. However, if raised with other pets from a young age, they can coexist peacefully.

Health and Lifespan

The Australian Terrier is a generally healthy breed with a lifespan of 12 to 15 years. However, like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health issues. Knowing these can help owners provide the best care for their furry friends.


  • Allergies: Some Aussies can develop allergies to certain foods, environmental factors, or substances. Regular check-ups and being observant can help identify and manage these allergies.
  • Legg-CalvΓ©-Perthes Disease: This condition affects the hip joint, where the femur’s head begins to die off due to reduced blood supply. It can be managed with surgery and physical therapy.
  • Patellar Luxation: Common in many small breeds, this condition involves the kneecap moving out of its natural position. In severe cases, surgery might be required.
  • Diabetes: This metabolic disease can be managed with a proper diet, regular exercise, and, if necessary, insulin.


Regular vet check-ups, a balanced diet, and proper exercise can help ensure that your Australian Terrier lives a long and healthy life. It’s also beneficial to be aware of any genetic conditions that might affect the breed.

Care and Maintenance

Australian Terrier grooming

Caring for an Australian Terrier is a rewarding experience that brings joy to both the dog and its owner.


  • Grooming: Their rough coat requires regular brushing to prevent matting and tangling. While they’re not heavy shedders, a weekly brush will keep their coat looking its best. Bathing can be done as needed, but it’s essential not to over-bathe as it can strip the coat of its natural oils.
  • Exercise: Don’t let their size fool you; these terriers are energetic and require regular exercise. Daily walks, play sessions, and even agility training are great ways to keep them active and mentally stimulated.
  • Diet: A balanced diet is crucial for the Australian Terrier. High-quality dog food, whether commercial or home-cooked (with veterinary guidance), will ensure they get all the nutrients they need. Always monitor their weight and adjust food portions as necessary.
  • Dental Care: Regular teeth brushing and dental check-ups will help prevent dental issues, which are common in smaller breeds.

Training and Behavior

Training an Australian Terrier is both a joy and a challenge. Their intelligence means they pick up commands quickly, but their independent streak can sometimes make them a tad stubborn.

Intelligence Level: Aussies are sharp and alert.Β 


They’re quick learners and can master commands and tricks with relative ease. However, their intelligence also means they can get bored quickly, so variety in training is essential.

Trainability: Positive reinforcement methods work best with this breed. They respond well to treats, praise, and play. It’s crucial to start training early, especially with socialization, to ensure they grow up to be well-rounded dogs.


Behavioral Quirks: Being terriers, they have a high prey drive. This means they might chase after smaller animals, so it’s essential to have a secure yard and always keep them on a leash during walks. Their vocal nature can also lead to excessive barking, but with consistent training, this can be managed.

Australian Terrier and Families

Australian Terrier with people

The Australian Terrier is a fantastic family dog. Their loyalty, affection, and playful nature make them great companions for both adults and children. However, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Children: While they’re generally good with kids, it’s essential to teach children how to approach and play with dogs to ensure safe interactions. Due to their small size, it’s best to supervise interactions with very young children to prevent accidental injuries.
  • Other Pets: If raised with other animals, Aussies can coexist peacefully. However, their terrier instincts might kick in with smaller pets like hamsters or birds. It’s always a good idea to supervise interactions and ensure all pets have their own space.
  • Companionship: Australian Terriers thrive on human interaction. They love being part of family activities and can become distressed if left alone for extended periods. It’s essential to ensure they get enough attention and companionship.

Adopting an Australian Terrier

Thinking of bringing an Aussie into your home? That’s wonderful! Here are some things to consider:

  • Research: Before adopting, research the breed thoroughly to ensure it’s a good fit for your lifestyle.
  • Adoption Centers: Consider adopting from a rescue or shelter. Many Australian Terriers are looking for their forever homes and would love to be a part of your family.
  • Breeders: If you’re considering getting a puppy from a breeder, ensure they’re reputable. They should prioritize the health and well-being of their dogs and provide you with all necessary health clearances.
  • Preparation: Before bringing your Aussie home, ensure you have all the essentials: a comfortable bed, toys, food, and a secure yard or space for them to play.

Adopting an Australian Terrier is a long-term commitment, but the joy and companionship they bring are immeasurable. They’re sure to fill your home with love, laughter, and a touch of mischief.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Australian Terrier's temperament, and how does it influence their training and socialization?

The Australian Terrier has a spirited, alert, and affectionate temperament, making them trainable, although their independent nature and occasional stubbornness may require patient and consistent training methods, while adequate socialization from an early age is crucial for them to become well-adjusted and confident around people and other animals, minimizing potential behavioral issues.

How does the Australian Terrier's coat type affect its grooming requirements?

The Australian Terrier’s harsh, wiry coat requires regular grooming, including brushing several times a week to prevent mats and tangles, as well as occasional hand-stripping or trimming to maintain its texture and appearance, while regular bathing and routine ear and dental care are also important aspects of their grooming routine.

What are some effective exercise routines for Australian Terriers?

Effective exercise routines for Australian Terriers typically involve daily walks, interactive play sessions, and occasional agility training to keep them physically and mentally stimulated.

What health issues should potential Australian Terrier owners be aware of?

Potential Australian Terrier owners should be aware of health issues such as patellar luxation, Legg-CalvΓ©-Perthes disease, and allergies, while regular veterinary check-ups, maintaining a healthy diet, and providing adequate exercise and preventive care can help mitigate these risks and ensure the overall well-being of the breed.

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