The Furry Critter Network

Australian Terrier Breed Description

Back to Canine Breed Menu


Breed Organization

Australian Terrier Club of America

Native Country

Other Names
Aussie (Terrier)

Life Expectancy
Approximately 11-13 Years

Litter Size
Average 4 Puppies

Breed Group
AKC Terrier

General Description

The Australian Terrier is a sturdy, low set, medium boned little dog. They are usually alert, strong in terrier personality, and very active little dog. There is a ruff around the neck (said to offer protection against other animals such as snakes or rodents) and a longer, softer, and lighter colored, topknot. The topknot is the gift of the Dandie Dinmont ancestry. He has small, erect, and pointed ears that stand as though he is always listening. The eyes are little, dark, and almond shaped.

Breed Standard

Head: Long. Flat skull. Slight stop. Strong, powerful muzzle. Strong jaws.
Ears: Small, pointed. Held erect.
Eyes: Small, oval, wide set. Dark brown color.
Body: Long, solidly built. Strong, slightly arched neck. Well developed forechest. Deep, moderately broad chest. Ribs well sprung. Strong loin. Horizontal topline.
Tail: Docked. Carried gaily but not over the back.
Hair: Approx. 6 cm (2,4 in) long; straight, rough, and dense. Short, soft undercoat. The muzzle, lower legs, and feet are free of long hair.
Coat: Blue, steel blue, or dark gray-blue with rich tan markings on the face, ears, underbelly, lower legs, feet, and around the anus. Sandy or red.
Size: Approx. 25 cm (9,8 in).
Weight: 3,6 to 6,3 kg (8-14 lb).


The Australian Terrier is descended from the rough coated type terriers brought from Great Britain to Australia in the early 19th century. The ancestral types of all of these breeds were kept 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.

Development of the breed began in Australia about 1820, and the dogs were at first called the Rough Coated Terrier. The breed was officially recognised in 1850, and later renamed as the Australian Terrier in 1892. The Australian Terrier was shown at a dog show for the first time in 1906 in Melbourne, and was also shown in Great Britain about the same time. The Kennel Club (UK) recognised the breed in 1933. The American Kennel Club recognised the Australian Terrier in 1960, and the United Kennel Club (US) in 1970. It is now recognised by all of the kennel clubs in the English speaking world, and also is listed by various minor kennel clubs and other clubs and registries.


This lively, courageous dog is affectionate and cheerful, but has a true terrier personality. Firm training is necessary. In general, adult male terriers do not get along well with other adult male dogs. Since the Australian Terrier was also bred for companionship, they tend to be very people friendly, and enjoy interacting with people.

This active dog needs plenty of exercise. Daily brushing is required.




Currently there are no known health issues outside of the normal issues associated with this size canine.

Back to Canine Breed Menu

Featured Rescues

"Don't Shop ... Please Adopt"

laptop pro


The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) was the first humane society to be established in North America and is, today, one of the largest in the world.

Our organization was founded on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans and must be protected under the law. Headquartered in New York City, the ASPCA maintains a strong local presence, and with programs that extend our anti-cruelty mission across the country, we are recognized as a national animal welfare organization. We are a privately funded 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, and are proud to boast more than 2 million supporters across the country.

The ASPCA’s mission, as stated by founder Henry Bergh in 1866, is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.”

laptop pro


If you can’t find the pet you’re looking for on Petfinder, don’t give up. Some shelters maintain waiting lists for specific breeds, so don’t be afraid to ask! There are also breed-specific rescues for just about every breed, and most of them post their pets on Petfinder. (Petfinder can even e-mail you when a pet that fits your criteria is posted — just click “Save this Search” at the top of your search results page.)

laptop pro

Rescue Me

Jeff Gold, Founder, Rescue Me! Animal Rescue Network

Jeff Gold lives in Watkinsville, Georgia on the same property as Rescue Me's Animal Rehabilitation Center, with 18 rescue animals. Shown with him in the photo to the left are Maggie, Izzie and Cortez. In 2003, after learning there was nobody doing boxer rescue work in Georgia, Gold founded Boxertown, an organization which helped find homes for over 500 boxers during its first two years. Based upon this success, Gold came up with the vision for Rescue Me! ― a network which helps all breeds of dogs, cats and other animals find good homes, anywhere in the world. is also a free service of Rescue Me! and provides the world's largest and most up-to-date directory of animal rescue organizations for all breeds of dogs, cats and other animals, including a comprehensive directory of wildlife rehabilitators in over 150 countries.