The Australian Terrier is the national terrier of Australia. Having been given such a distinctive title, the Aussie Terrier is well known throughout Australia, Britain and the west. The Australian Terrier’s raggedy coat and alert expression makes this breed a comical character. He is quick to learn and is keen to please, but his dictatorial leanings have earned him a reputation for bossiness.
The Australian Terrier makes an excellent watchdog and is ever-ready and alert, but a protector he is not. This breed will crave attention and love from his family, and with all his charm, he will certainly get it!
Australian Terrier History
In the early 1800s, Australian farmers needed an efficient dog to protect cattle from mice, rat and snakes. No one breed was especially effective so enterprising farmers went about importing several rough coated terriers from Britain. The intention was to breed a small yet eager dog with keen ratting skills and unwavering loyalty.
It is known that the Cairn Terrier, the Skye Terrier, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier and the Irish Terrier were among the imported breeds. And, by the late 1800’s, the early Australian Terrier was born. Over the next fifty years or so, the Australian Terrier was refined and was soon back in British show rings. The Australian Terrier was introduced to America in 1925 and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1960
Australian Terrier Appearance
The Australian Terrier is longer than he is tall with sturdy, medium boned legs. The Australian Terrier has small, oval eyes beneath erect, triangular ears. His double coat has a shaggy quality and is generally left untrimmed. This coat is waterproof with its outermost layer being rough and straight. The Australian Terrier sports ample fur on his chest and his tail is customarily docked to less than one half. However, docking is not practiced nor permitted in England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland.
Australian Terrier Temperament
The Australian Terrier has a plucky and ever-ready temperament. He is always eager for structured yard play which helps in making him one of the most obedient terriers. Children may mistake the Australian Terrier’s small stature for docility, so be certain to supervise young children when they are with your Australian Terrier. The Australian Terrier is naturally bossy and may be unyielding with other household pets. The Aussie will not be aggressive with other pets, unless this pet happens to be a rodent. In this case the Australian Terrier has no compassion and will seek and destroy. Hamsters beware.
Australian Terrier Exercise Info
The Australian Terrier will feel entitled to certain considerations. He will expect a daily walk of five kilometres or so, as well as some vigorous yard play. The Australian Terrier is an excellent candidate for an off-leash dog parks, although he may fancy himself the king of the hill. The thing to consider as an owner of this breed is his proclivity for digging. So, Australian Terriers dissatisfied with their owner’s commitment to doggie exercise may adopt landscaping to fill the void.
Australian Terrier Grooming Info
The Australian Terrier has a naturally unkempt look, but he still needs regular grooming to appear tidy. His thick double coat will need twice yearly stripping but regular plucking of dead hairs will be beneficial. The Australian Terrier does shed, but he is a small dog so thankfully the shed is manageable, especially when coupled with regular brushing. The fur around the feet of the Australian Terrier will need occasional trimming and the chest area will need care. This area may find its way into food dishes and other less pleasant destinations, so spot-cleaning and regular thorough brushing are in order.
Australian Terrier Training Info
Training your Australian Terrier is the duty of all responsible Aussie owners. This breed is naturally inquisitive and spunky so his behavior needs to be properly molded to avoid a tyrannical dog. Paradoxically, Australian Terriers like to both please their owners and to feel in charge. So, the goal of training your Australian Terrier should be to make obedience paramount in his mind.
Although the Australian Terrier is intelligent and highly trainable, he can be quickly bored and will disengage. Such disengagement means that the Australian Terrier is deciding for himself when he will attend to his owner’s commands and this can lead to generalized disobedience. To avoid this, the savvy Australian Terrier owner will have a training plan, plenty of rewards and a strong (possibly liquid) constitution.
Finally, keep the training sessions short and interesting. Avoid having your Australian Terrier constantly repeat a learned behavior. This is a sure-fire way for your Aussie to lose interest. Instead, have several basic commands to begin and reward heartily when proper behavior becomes habituated. Resist the urge to review at length the previous session as your Australian Terrier will be bored before the new commands begin.
Australian Terrier Health Info
Some common health concerns for your Australian Terrier are patellar luxation and diabetes. Occasionally, Australian Terriers experience Legg-Perthes, seizures and cruciate ligament rupture.
Australian Terrier Right Breed Info
Today, few people have much need for a snake-wrangling family dog. So, the Australian Terrier must rely on his good-looks and charm to gain favor into a adoptive family. And, although he is shaggy and a tad bossy, the Australian Terrier makes an excellent family pet.
Urbanites will welcome the Australian Terrier’s sensible attitude on exercise as well as his small size. This attribute also makes the Aussie an affable condo companion, although he does bark. People living in suburban or rural settings with fenced yards will find the Australian Terrier a spirited and loyal companion.
When purchasing your Australian Terrier, resist the urge to purchase a dog inexpensively from a pet store or from an advertisement in a newspaper. You may unwittingly buy a mal-adjusted, sick, puppy mill dog. This is to be avoided at all costs.