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Form and Function
The Australian Terrier is small, sturdy, and medium boned; this breed is long in proportion to height. This is a working terrier that should exhibit a ground-covering gait and hard condition. This dog’s weatherproof coat is made up of a short, soft undercoat and a harsh, straight, outer coat, about 2.5 inches long, shorter on the tail and lower legs. They sport a ruff around the neck and a topknot of longer hair adds to their keen, intelligent expression.
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Friendliness To Dogs
Friendliness To Other Pets
Friendliness To Strangers
Ease of Training
Area of Origin
Date of Origin
The national terrier of Australia, this is one of the smallest of the working terriers. This breed was born in Tasmania, from various European breeds, and shares much of its background with the Silky Terrier. In Tasmania, the Rough Coated Terrier was an all-purpose companion, protecting the home and farm from rodents, controlling livestock, and sounding the alarm at intruders. A cornucopia of breeds was crossed with this dog, among them the precursors of the Skye, Dandie Dinmont, Scotch, Yorkshire, and Manchester Terriers. The result was a dog that was both useful and striking in appearance.
The first of the breed was shown in the late 1800s as a “broken-coated terrier of blackish blue sheen.” The name was soon changed to the Blue and Tan, the Toy, then the Blue Terrier, then in 1900 the Rough-Coated Terrier, Blue and Tan. Although mainly known for its blue and tan coloration, a red or sandy color was also found among the early representatives of the breed. Soon after the breed had made its way to British show rings and homes, and by 1925 it had come to America. The Australian Terrier received AKC recognition in 1960.
One of the quieter terriers, the Aussie is nonetheless a plucky, tough character, ready to go after a rodent when the chance arises. This dog is fun loving and adventurous, and needs daily exercise to keep from becoming frustrated. Aussies are clever and generally eager to please, making them one of the more obedient terriers. They get along fairly well with other dogs and household pets. They are reserved with strangers. Reflecting their earth dog heritage, they like to dig.
This is an active breed that needs a good outing every day, either a moderate walk, a rollicking game, or an off-lead run in a safe area. Their wire coat needs weekly combing plus twice yearly professional grooming (regular plucking of dead hairs will keep the coat in optimal condition year round). Some trimming around the feet will add to a tidy look.
- Major concerns: none
- Minor concerns: patellar luxation, diabetes
- Occasionally seen: Legg-Perthes, seizures, cruciate ligament rupture
- Suggested tests: (eye), knee, thyroid
- Life span: 12–14 years