Complete Guide To The Australian Terrier: Care, Grooming, Exercise and More

Small yet mighty, the Australian Terrier is the smallest of the working breed dogs. This little dog was bred to hunt rodents and snakes and was a prized family companion and farmworker. Today, the Australian Terrier makes an excellent family dog and is happy to keep you company for long hours every day. Intelligent, active, and lively, this small dog can make an excellent family companion and can be well suited to apartment life if given enough exercise and mental stimulation throughout the day.  

Australian Terriers have not been common in my veterinary practice but the few that I have examined and met have been consistently happy, energetic little dogs.

How Big Do Australian Terriers Get?

Male10-11″ at the shoulder15-20 lbs
Female10-11″ at the shoulder15-20 lbs

What Do Australian Terriers Look Like?

This dog has trademark long fur that gives it its characteristic look. Although the coat is soft and silky at the top of the head, around the neck, and on the back of the legs, it is relatively coarse and harsh everywhere else on its tiny body. The coarse hair is meant to help protect this little dog in all weather and working conditions. Standard colors for the Australian Terrier include solid red, solid sand color, and a cross between a blue and tan color combination.  

What Is The Personality Of A Australian Terrier?

As with other terriers, the Australian Terrier was bred to be a working dog. It follows then that much of these instincts still are present in the modern Australian Terrier. This little dog is happy to hunt small animals and prey and loves digging. You should never leave small animals, like pet rodents, alone with the Australian Terrier. This breed of dog likes to be the center of attention and may have difficulty adapting to a multi-dog household. The Aussie likes to have all eyes and attention on him and may compete with other dogs for your attention.  

The Aussie can be highly attached to his family and will like to be included with everyday activities. If you often travel or work long hours, the Australian Terrier may not be the best dog for you. This dog suffers from separation anxiety, and if left to his own devices, can become highly destructive. The Australian Terrier may turn to nuisance barking, digging, biting, or chewing if he is bored or left alone too often.  

Although this is a brilliant breed of dog, the Australian Terrier can become bored easily. This characteristic is why it may be difficult to train the Aussie. For the best training results, be sure to keep training sessions short and entertaining. You must remain firm and confident but stay positive. Use plenty of praise and positive reinforcement to keep your Aussie engaged in the training session.  

The Australian Terrier is an incredibly loyal breed of dog and can work well as a watchdog. This dog is loyal and loving and will alert its owner to strangers or anything out of the ordinary. The dog has a loud bark that can be just enough to warn you of pending danger. Although this dog is lively, active, and may tend to bark, the Australian Terrier can make an excellent dog for those living in the city or an apartment.  

How Much Grooming Do Australian Terriers Need?

With their coarse topcoat, the Australian Terrier doesn’t require much grooming maintenance at all. The dog only sheds a minimal amount, and the coat only needs routine maintenance. The natural oils and texture of the topcoat do an excellent job of repelling water, dirt, and debris, keeping this a relatively clean dog. Only bathe the Australian Terrier as necessary. Too much bathing or harsh shampoos can make the skin too dry and flakey.

Brush the dog about once per week to remove any dead fur from the coat. Pay close attention to the short hairs near the eyes. These hairs can become painful and irritating if they are left to brush the eye. Some owners will keep this hair trimmed short, while others will pluck the tiny hairs. Like other dogs, be sure to keep the ears clean, and the nails cut short.  

How Much Exercise Do Australian Terriers Need?

The Australian Terrier, like other terriers, has a high energy level and will need regular exercise to stay healthy and happy. This dog breed benefits from about thirty minutes of high-energy play each day. Go for a vigorous walk or play a game of fetch in the yard.

Because this dog has a high prey drive, you must always make sure your pet is kept in a fenced-in area or kept on a leash. This dog is quick to chase a squirrel or rabbit and can quickly run away. Chasing after a cat or rabbit may distract this small dog, who may not be able to find his way back. Because this dog is small in size, he may be able to play indoors in an apartment. Just 30 minutes of running and play will be enough to keep this pup happy.

What Dog Food Is Best For Australian Terriers?

Australian Terriers require no special dietary considerations other than they tend to lean towards obesity as they get older (at least the dogs in my practice have). Because they’re already a small frame size, adding extra calories is easy by giving them high-calorie snacks and small bites of people food.

Before we start with the food lists, just know that grain-free dog foods are a myth. There’s zero science showing that they are helpful. In fact, there’s increasing evidence that it’s causing issues in certain breeds of dogs. Food allergies are the only reason to even consider a grain-free diet but only choose one with the help of your veterinarian.

Basic dog foods that I recommend include:

Over the Counter Weight Management Diets:

How Long Do Australian Terriers Live?

11-15 years based on information provided by the AKC

What Health Concerns Do Australian Terriers Have?

The following list is comprised both of my own experience as well as some of the most common concerns of the national breed club:

  • Luxating Patella
  • Obesity (like most other breeds)

Where Can I Find an Australian Terrier?

The dog has become popular throughout the United States in recent years, and there are many reputable breeders to choose from. Begin your breed information search with the Australian Terrier Club of America, Inc. to learn more about available breeders in your area. If possible, try to meet the entire litter of puppies. You will want to select a bold and happy puppy, not overly aggressive or timid.

Of course, it is also possible to rescue an Australian Terrier. Start your search with the Australian Terrier Rescue group to find a rescue close to your home. Rescuing a puppy not only allows you to find a purebred dog, but it gives you the chance to give a dog a much-needed forever home.  

Where Can I Find More Info About Australian Terriers?

Australian Terrier Club of America

AKC Breed Page

Fun Facts About the Australian Terrier

When Scottish and British settlers moved to Australia, they brought their small dogs to help with farm work. The Rough-Coated Terrier was an excellent choice of dog that was capable of performing vigorous farm work. As other terriers came to Australia, a new breed of dog was developed, which became known as the Australian Terrier. The modern Australian Terrier is thought to blend the Skye, Yorkshire, and Dandie Dinmont Terrier.  

The Australian Terrier was the first breed native to Australia that was shown in a competition ring. The dog was originally shown as an Australian rough-coated Terrier in 1868. Eventually, the dog was renamed the Australian Terrier and was shown in 1897.  

The first Australian Terrier Club was formed in the United States in 1957. The dog was eventually recognized in 1960 by the AKC and became the 114th dog breed recognized.