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January 23, 2013

Meet the Breed: The Australian Terrier

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Overview:

  • Height: 9-11 inches at the withers
  • Weight: 9-14 pounds
  • Historical function: rodent control, companion
  • Modern function: companion
  • AKC classification: terrier

Physical Characteristics:

The Australian Terrier is a compact and sturdy breed with short legs and a slightly longer body. Their coats are wiry and about 2 inches in length all over. They have a distinctive ruff and apron, almost like a mane. The three colors that Aussies come in are blue and tan, solid red, and solid tan.

 

History of the Breed:

Australian Terriers were developed first in Tasmania and then spread to Australia as ratters, watchdogs and companions that were suitable for a harsh climate and difficult living conditions. They were developed from various rodent-controlling English breeds that arrived with colonists including the ancestors of Skye Terrier, the Cairn Terrier, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier, the Yorkie, and Irish Terriers.

 

Temperament:

The Australian Terrier retains the characteristics of a hard-working, amiable companion that he was bred to be. Aussies can be stubborn, which was a helpful trait in ensuring their survival in the harsh conditions of colonial Australia. As ratters, they are prone to dig and need to be socialized with other family pets from a young age to prevent chasing of cats. They should not be trusted with rodent pets. They are chipper, fearless, intelligent, and bold. Aussies are self confident with their own ideas, so they need consistent, firm training to remind them that the human is the pack leader. Because they are versatile and compact, they make excellent traveling companions. Do not allow this dog to roam without a leash as they tend to chase small creatures.

  • Best suited for: Most families when well socialized, retirees, RV campers, apartment dwellers.
  • Preferred living conditions: The happiest Aussies are ones that are with their people. Other than that, they are versatile and adaptable. They are fairly active indoors and can do fine without a yard provided they get daily walks on a leash.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: The Australian Terrier does not require clipping but can be stripped quarterly. Bathe monthly and brush the coat several times weekly and as the coat dries. Natural oils in the coat will be distributed with brushing to keep the coat glossy. They shed very minimally.
  • Exercise needs: Active play and daily walks will keep an Aussie happy and healthy.
  • Life expectancy: 15+ years.
  • Health concerns: Aussies are generally healthy but have been reported to have occasional endocrine issues (diabetes.)

Breed Club Links: Australian Terrier Club of America.

Do you have any stories about an Australian Terrier?

 

 

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