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What is an Australian Terrier?

Marjorie McAtee
Marjorie McAtee

The Australian terrier is a breed of terrier native to Australia, and is in fact believed to be the first dog breed ever developed in that nation. This small dog is considered agile, intelligent, brave, and friendly. While they do need to be exercised daily, they do not usually require outdoor space and seem to thrive in apartment settings. They are fairly easy to groom and care for and do not usually have hereditary health problems. The Australian terrier is considered a good companion animal for people in all circumstances, and can usually integrate well into a household with children or other pets.

These dogs were first bred in Australia, and were originally known as the Australian rough-coated terrier. Considered the first dog breed developed in Australia, the Australian terrier was used as a shepherd and a watchdog. The breed was also employed to hunt rodents and snakes.


This is a rather small breed, standing about 10 to 11 inches (25.4 to 27.9 cm) tall and weighing about nine to 14 pounds (4 to 6 kg). The legs are typically short and the overall build is relatively sturdy. The breed typically possesses a double fur coat 2 to 3 inches (5 to 6.5 cm) in length. The fur coat may be blue and tan, red, or sandy. Some blue and tan Australian terriers may display streaks of silver in the blue part of the coat.

The breed is considered a good family dog, but also quite suitable for singles. They are generally considered a good dog for homes with multiple pets. The typical Australian terrier is friendly, protective, loyal, energetic, and alert. They are considered clever, spry, and easy to train. They often enjoy learning tricks.

While the Australian terrier isn't considered prone to a host of genetic health or behavioral problems, it does usually have a strong chasing instinct. These dogs can easily be kept indoors, though they usually need a daily walk for exercise. Outdoors, they should be restricted to a protected area, to prevent chasing. They generally benefit from good socialization. Owners are usually advised to assert their authority over this breed in order to avoid the behavioral problems common to small breeds.

These dogs don't usually require intensive grooming, and they don't often shed much. The fur coat normally needs washed about once a month, and gentle daily brushing can keep the fur in good shape. Hair that obstructs the eyes or ears is often best kept trimmed.

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