Breeds 101

Australian Terrier


The Australian Terrier is developed in Australia in the early 19th century, although the ancestral types of dogs from which the breed descends were from Great Britain; It is one of the smallest in the Terrier group.

The breed was probably created by crossing many terrier breeds including the Irish, Cairn, Yorkshire, Skye, Dandie Dinmont Terrier and perhaps the Norwich Terrier.

Settlers brought these breeds to Australia in order to produce an efficient ratter to work the farms and ranchers. Tough and willing to fight anything, the Australian Terrier was an ideal homestead dog; The Australian Terrier was used for rodent and snake control, as a watchdog, and even as a shepherd, as a companion, and for guarding isolated homes from intruders.

The Australian Terrier is unlikely to back down in confrontations with other dogs, nor is it likely to leave cats in peace, unless it has been raised with them since puppyhood.

It makes an entertaining companion, and can be trained in obedience. Like the Silky Terrier, it accompanied armed-forces personnel and businessmen to North America after World War II. Although the Australian Terrier is still most popular in Australia and New Zealand, it now exists in all major English-speaking countries.


Small: 9 to 11 inches, 9 to 14 pounds.


Blue and tan, solid sandy and solid red; Shades of blue include dark blue, steel-blue, dark grey-blue or silver-blue.


Plucky, spirited, smart, very loyal, showing great affection for its immediate family; alert, amusing, loveable and curious.

Energy Level:


Best owner:

Owner who is a real confident and consistent pack leader.


Needs to be taken on a daily walk; they enjoy the chance to romp and play in a safe area; it is active indoors and will do okay without a yard provided it is taken for walks on a lead; they should not be allowed to roam free because they have a tendency to chase; Simply brush several times a week, being gentle with the soft undercoat; brushing stimulates natural oils and will soon bring the coat to a high gloss; don’t wash them too often; once a month will make the coat lank; trim around the eyes and ears with blunt-nosed scissors; the nails should be clipped regularly.

Life Expectancy:

About 15 or more years.