Breed Australian Terrier

BreedsAbout the Breed: Australian Terrier

One of the most sensible and least demanding in the terrier family, the Australian Terrier is still a terrier at heart: spirited, alert, courageous and self-confident.


The Australian Terrier is descended from the rough coated type terriers brought from Great Britain to Australia in the early 19th century to eradicate mice and rats. The Australian Terrier shares ancestors with the Cairn Terrier, Shorthaired Skye Terrier, and the Dandie Dinmont Terrier; Yorkshire Terriers and Irish Terriers were also crossed into the dog during the breed’s development.

Best with:

  • People who are experienced with the terrier breed;
  • People who appreciate independence and free thinking in a dog;
  • People who have a securely fenced property of moderate size;
  • People who can devote adequate time to proper socialization and training.

Not for:

  • Homes with no fence;
  • Homes where the dog will be left alone all day/night;
  • Apartment dwellers who cannot commit to exercising the dog on a daily basis;
  • People who don’t have time to properly train and socialize the dog and consistently reinforce positive behavior;
  • Families with overzealous youngsters;
  • Households or farms with small animals (bunnies, chinchillas, ferrets, ducks and/or chickens) that allow these animals (and the dog) free run of the property.


Confident, loyal, alert watchdog, quick to learn, willing to please, tough and sturdy, low grooming maintenance, one of the healthiest breeds.


Can be stubborn, feisty, and scrappy (though less scrappy than other terrier breeds), may like to dig, can be quick to bark, likes to chase prey (a fenced yard is required).



Both males and females average 9–11 inches at the shoulder, and range from 12-16 pounds.


Blue and tan, sandy, or red coat that is rough in texture.

Energy Level:

Moderate to high.

Life expectancy:

Average 12 to 14 years.


Australian Terriers tend to do well in families of all sizes and ages, so long as they are active, and trained properly at an early age so that they do not exert dominance over small children. Children can help exercise this breed by playing fetch, or hiding toys for them to find in the yard.

Other animals:

Most Australian Terriers coexist peacefully with other pets. But because they are terriers, they can sometimes get bossy, be scrappy with other dogs of the same sex, and may chase after anything that runs or looks like prey.


Excellent ratters; great exercise / running companions.


Australian Terriers shed very little, though their coat does best with regular clipping and trimming every few months.


Australian Terriers can be prone to cruciate ligament rupture, patellar luxation; some also suffer from seizures, and diabetes.