Australian Terrier: Independent Breed

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
The Australian Terrier is a small dog with an independent mind and a massive affection toward his family members. Read on to learn more about this breed.
Dog Breed Group:
Terrier Dogs
10 to 11 inches tall at the shoulder
14 to 16 pounds
Life Span:
Up to 15 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Australian Terrier is a lively dog who originated in Australia, as his name applies. This small-sized dog is highly intelligent, playful, and obedient. This breed is equally suited for first-time owners as well as seniours.

Here is what you should know about this cheerful dog.

Quick Facts

Real name: Australian Terrier
Other names: Aussie
Origin: Australia
Breed type: Terrier Group
Weight: Male 14 lb, (6.5 kilograms), Female slightly less
Height: Male 10 in, (25 centimetres), Female slightly less
Lifespan: 11-15 years
Litter Size: Average four puppies
Color: Blue, tan, red, sandy
Coat: Soft and harsh coat

Australian Terrier History

In far 19th century, British settlers brought Australia various breeds of working terrier. That’s why dog experts claim that Australian Terrier is a result of interbreeding such as:

  • Cairn
  • Norwich
  • Scottie
  • Skye
  • Dandie Dinmont
  • Yorkshire Terriers

The Australian Terrier was bred to be fearless exterminators, working on snakes and small mammals. The first Aussies lied in Australia’s remote regions, where they formed a firm connection with humans.

Although they were small, Aussies proved that people could find support and protection in them. To this day, they are people-oriented companions who suffer tremendously when, and if neglected. They love to be part of the family, and they will demand it.

The Australian Terrier is the first native breed officially recognized in Australia. Moreover, this is a true Australia’s dog who got to be recognized formally in other countries.

The first official club of the breed was founded in Melbourne in 1887. The Kennel Club (England) granted the Aussie breed status in 1933, and the AKC recognized the breed in 1960.

Did You Know: The Australian Terrier has a powerful affection for children, the elderly, and the disabled.

Australian Terrier Physical Appearance

The Australian Terrier is a small and medium-boned dog, with a rather long body in proportion. This small-sized dog has a harsh-textured outer coat that only adds to the dog’s gentle and playful look.

The coat is usually solid red in color, while ears are pricked, and the tail is docked. The head is strong and long, while eyes may vary from dark brown to black. Ears are small, erect, and pointed.

Muzzle are strong and powerful, as well as the jaws. The nose is black. A desirable breed characteristic is an inverted V-shaped area free of hair extending from the nose up the muzzle bridge, varying in length in the mature dog.

Lips are tight, while the neck is slightly arched and long. The body is strong, and the tail is set on high and carried erect at a twelve to one o’clock position.

Shoulders have long blades, and the angle between the should and the upper arm is 90 degrees.

Elbows are close to the chest, while forelegs are straight and parallel. The outer coat is harsh and straight, while the hair on the ears is kept very short.

The undercoat is short and soft. The neck is well furnished with hair, while the topknot covers the top of the skull.

Hindquarters are strong. Excessive muscularity or the lack of muscular development can be flagged as faults on official exhibitions.

Australian Terrier Personality

The Australian Terrier is full of personality. This breed is eager to please and happy while spending time with his family. As a true member of a Terrier group, the Aussie likes to bark.

Don’t let his size fool you – this small dog is actually a great watchdog. They are highly intelligent and always on the do, and they love to dig.

So, if you have an apartment or a house with a backyard and you leave your Aussie unsupervised, don’t surprise when you return and see your garden decorated with many holes. Simply said, they love to dig.

Because this breed was bred to hunt and herd, they are fearless, and they come with a tremendous amount of energy. That’s why it’s important to keep your Australian Terrie on a leash all the time.

He may spot a squirrel and if she is off-leash you won’t be able to catch him. Plus, they aren’t afraid to step into a hole or climb inside a tree, both of which can lead to various unpleasant events.

Better safe than sorry, and keep your Aussie on a leash. They are independent and may try to dominate small children, although they love children.

Educate your children on how to act around dogs, and train your Aussie to behave around children.

That’s why early socialization is important. They may vary of new people and might be a stand-offish. However, if you introduce them to new friends gently, they will likely become best friends fast.

Plus, a pat on the head and a scratch behind the ear can help, as soon as your Aussie allows it.

If you have other pets in the household, this breed will live in harmony with them. However, if you have pets of the same sex, there may be some tension.

Australian Terrier Training

The secret to having a well-behaved dog is to provide proper training. Not only that, you should know when training starts (which is as soon as the dog comes to your home), but you should know how to train your dog.

If you feel that you could use professional help to train your puppy, you should think about the doggy class or hiring a professional trainer.

If you already have experience in training dogs, then you know that proper training includes:

Your Australian Terrier will enjoy training sessions as long as they are interesting, not too long, and there is a positive reward for every trick.

Aussies are easily bored with routine, so always try to mix it up a bit. Present a new trick, so your Aussie can fell a proper mental stimulation.

They are willful, so any new trick can inspire them to be better and think harder. Since they are stubborn, proper training that’s also consistent in necessary.

Even with training, this small dog can be reluctant to share toys or human attention. If you have two male dogs, it can be hard for them to share a household. That’s something that you should think about when it comes to getting another dog.

Australian Terrier Grooming

Small dog, less work, right? Well, the truth is that no matter how small the dog, you would still have a job when it comes to grooming. This small dog has a harsh and waterproof double coat, which does a great job when it comes to repelling mud and dirt. Therefore, this coat is effortless to maintain.

A quick brushing once a week is usually enough to keep it in fine shape. However, you will have to put extra attention to the long hair that grows in front of and between the eyes.

If you neglect this area, Aussie’s eyes can be irritated. When it comes to bathing, it should be only when really needed. As you may know already, a dog’s skin is different compared to humans’ skin.

This is why they should be bath only when needed. Plus, shampooing softens the harsh coat and makes their skin flaky and dry. As with all breeds, the rest is regular maintenance:

Regular vaccination and parasite control is something that you should conduct following the vet’s directions. When brushing your dog check the skin condition and always double-check for fleas.

Australian Terrier Health

In general, the Aussie is a healthy breed with few health problems. A responsible breeder will test breeding stock for health conditions such as:

  • Luxating patella
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease

This breed is prone to diabetes, which is why the regular veterinarian check-ups are mandatory.

Since they have weaker hip joints, it is always good to talk with your veterinarian and aks for an additional hip workout to make them stronger.

As with all breeds, the ears should be checked regularly, as well as teeth. Ears should be checked and cleaned regularly.

Recommended tests for Australian Terrier are:

  • Patella Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Thyroid Evaluation

Once you get a dog, you are directly responsible for one of the biggest animal enemies – obesity. That’s why nutrition is so important.

Australian Terrier Nutrition

When it comes to having a dog, you must consider different factors. First of all, you should know how much you should feed your dog.

Secondly, if you aren’t sure which food is the best for your Aussie, talk to your veterinarian, especially if you are thinking about feeding your Aussie raw food or B.A.R.F.

Also, any diet should be appropriate for the dog’s age. Senior dogs will always need different food compared to puppies and so on. Some breeds are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level.

Just like in humans, lowering the weight gain is a difficult challenge. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not.

If you have any concern about what your dog should eat, and what is off the limits, talk to your veterinarian. Make sure that a dog’s water bowl is available at all times.

The Bottom Line

The Australian Terrier is an active breed that needs a good routine every day. As long as you provide proper nutrition, enough playtime, and extra love, you will have a loyal companion for more than a decade.

This dog will demand proper grooming maintenance to present a tidy look.

These dogs grow very close to their family members and create a strong bond. The bond is so strong that they will follow your every step.

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