Small Dog Breeds > Australian Terrier

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Australian Terrier

The Australian Terrier is a small dog breed created in Australia around 1820 and was initially called the Rough Coated Terrier. (Terriers with rough coats were historically trained to eradicate rats and mice.) The breed shares ancestors with the Cairn Terrier, Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Irish Terrier and Yorkshire Terriers. It was renamed the Australian Terrier in 1892. This breed is a descendant of breeds from Great Britain. The Australian Terrier has short legs and weighs around 14 pounds. It typically stands at about 10 inches at the withers.


Australian Terriers are described as alerted and spirited in temperament. The breed’s intelligence is above average, which leads to good trainability. The dogs can be bossy and aggressive in the presence of other dogs. However, this can be minimized with training and oversight but the dogs generally don’t get along with other adult male dogs in the same household. The breed is particularly people friendly since it was bred for companionship. The dogs also thrive on human interaction.

Coat and Color

The coat is a shaggy and medium length double coat that is typically left untrimmed. The dog’s hair is shorter on the lower legs, feet, and muzzle. The breed also has a ruff around their neck. It has shades of red or blue with a lighter-colored topknot. The breed has markings on the ears, face, legs, and body that is normally referred to as “tan, never sandy.” The tail is typically docked.

Australian Terriers shed little but their hair should be occasionally be hand stripped, which entails pulling old dead hair out by the roots. This can be painful to the dog if done incorrectly. The removed hair makes room for new hair to protect the dog from dirt and water.

Height 10" at the withers
Weight 14 lbs
Life Span 11-12 years
Temperament Alert, spirited
Hypoallergenic No
Australian Terriers live on average eleven to twelve years. The most common health issues are diabetes, musculoskeletal problems (luxating patella and ruptured cranial cruciate ligament), and allergic dermatitis. Minor health issues include ear infections and cataracts. Almost 70% of the breed end up dying from cancer. Thirteen percent die of diabetes, sixteen percent die from undetermined causes, and seventeen percent die from old age.

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