As its breed name implies, the Australian Terrier was developed in Melbourne, Australia. Commonly called as ‘Aussie’ by fanciers, this small working terrier was believed to be a descendant of a dog known as the Rough-Coated Terrier (a relative of the old Scotch dog of Great Britain).

Australian Terrier tongue out

When early European settlers in Australia were facing some harsh living conditions, they needed a hardy, fearless dog that could work in all kinds of weather.

As a solution to their problem, the breed was probably created by crossing many terrier breeds including the Irish, Cairn Terrier, Norwich Terrier, Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier, and the Skye Terriers.

Later on, the Australian Terrier became very helpful in controlling the pests by hunting down and exterminating rodents and snakes in the farms, waterfront, gold mines, and in sheep stations at the outback.

After it became official as the first breed to be recognized as an Australian native in 1868, the “Aussie’s” original name was cut short from the original Australian rough-coated Terrier to a much simpler Australian Terrier, the following year.

In the year 1960, the Australian Terrier eventually became the 114th dog breed recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Traits and Behavior

Mostly, the Australian Terriers are a breed of dogs described as tenacious, independent, hardworking, and lively, despite their small size. They are very confident and tough which reminds people of a much larger dog.

Because of this, they must be exposed to several pieces of training and socialization activities to control their instincts and other annoying habits. Since they’re so intelligent, Australian Terriers will easily learn any task no matter how hard it is, as long as they are being guided by a patient and expert trainer.

Australian Terrier close up

Australian Terriers can adapt to rural or urban dwellings and they do well with a family or someone living alone. An Australian Terrier has boundless energy and is very loyal to its master as well as the rest of the members of the family. It gets along fairly well with other dogs and household pets, although sometimes, it is reserved with strangers.

Since the breed was developed as a working terrier, the Aussie has an instinct to chase and kill small animals — including squirrels. It’ll decide that tearing up the lawn is an ideal way to amuse itself and its master.

Pet Care and Diseases

Australian Terriers are generally healthy but, like other dogs, they’re prone to certain conditions and diseases. The following health problems have been reported by some dog owners:

  • Patellar Luxation
  • Legg-Perthes
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Allergies (beddings, flea powder, shampoos, and other harsh chemicals)
Australian Terrier with leash

For an Australian Terrier, begin the crate training as early as possible. This will provide the dog with a welcome refuge as well as a familiar means of safe travel when it is inside the car.

Once in a while, This active breed needs a good outing –either a moderate walk, a rollicking game, or an off-lead run in a safe area.

The Aussie sheds minimally and is very easy to groom with. Its wire coat needs weekly combing and some trimming around the feet will add to a tidy look.

Trim the toenails every month, and bathe the dog only when necessary (usually every three months or so).

Check the ears once a week for dirt, redness, or foul odor that can indicate infection. Also, wipe them out weekly with a cotton ball moistened with a gentle cleanser.


The Australian Terrier is a muscular, short-legged, small dog with a height of  9-11 inches (23-28 cm) and an average weight of 6.5 kg (14 lbs). It has a long head, with erect, V-shaped ears and dark brown eyes with a keen expression.

Australian Terrier on bed

The nose is black with an inverted V-shaped area above it. The teeth are good sized and should meet in a scissors bite. The body is a little longer than it is tall with a level topline.

The chest is deep, set well under the body. The feet are small and catlike. Toes are arched and compact, nicely padded turning neither inward nor outward.

The nails are painted black. The Australian Terrier has a weatherproof double coat that is about 2-3 inches (5-6.5 cm) long.

The top of the head is heavily covered with hair, as well as the ears, described as thick and wiry with a soft undercoat of varying thicknesses beneath. The coat colors include black, mixed black and white, mixed black and tan, a mixed black and red, white, ivory, cream, yellow and silver.

General Information

The average life span of an Australian Terrier is about 15 or more years with a litter of approximately 2-6 puppies. This breed is also famously called the ‘Aussie’ by many fanciers.

Breed Club

Visit this dog club website dedicated to Australian Terriers. Click this link: http://www.australianterrier.org/