Australian Terrier

Recommended for: Singles, families
Maintenance Level: Medium
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Obedient, loyal
Health Risk:
This breed has an around average probability of having health issues in its lifetime, hence it is one of the more affordable breeds to insure.
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Breed Overview

The Australian Terrier (a.k.a. “Aussie”) is one of the smallest terrier breeds. It is sturdy, short-legged and has a long head with triangular, erect ears
and dark brown eyes.

Aussies shed a little, but they are easy to groom. A brush once a week, toenail trim once a month and a bath whenever necessary should be enough to keep your Aussie in top shape. Frequent baths are not recommended since they can turn the Aussie’s coarse, straight coat soft, which although is not harmful in anyway may detract from its standard appearance. They come in three colours: blue/tan, sandy, and red.

The average Australian Terrier weighs between 5.5 and 7 kg and stands around 23 – 28 cm tall. Their lifespan is 12 – 15 years.

Aussie Terriers do not need as much exercise as larger breeds, but should still be taken on a daily walk to satisfy its physical and mental needs. A bored Aussie can become destructive, loud, and resentful. Be sure to give the dog enough toys and activities – the Aussie is a working dog and will resort to digging or other destructive behaviours if you do not keep it occupied.

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Personality and Temperament

The Australian Terrier is friendly, intelligent, tough, and loves to please its owners. They are very protective and alert thanks to their traditional use as watchdogs.

Unlike some other Terrier breeds, the Aussie tends to be more obedient and easier to train, though they can be quite stubborn. Training and socialising the dog from a very young age is the best way to ensure it becomes a well-rounded companion.

As with many smaller breeds, the Australian Terrier can be prone to Small Dog Syndrome, which is a name for behavioural problems caused by owners allowing their small dog to get away with things they would not allow a larger dog (for example, jumping). To avoid this, always remember that even a small dog is still a dog and should be treated the same way as one would treat a big dog, rather than treating it like a baby.

Common Australian Terrier Diseases & Conditions

Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

  • Patella luxation occurs when the bones of the patella are not aligned properly and as a result slip in and out of place, causing pain and an abnormal gait. Mild cases generally do not require treatment and do not impact too much on the dog’s life, but severe cases may require surgery.
  • Legg-Perthes disease affects the hip joint and has been known to affect small dog breeds. It lowers the blood supply to the femur and causes the pelvis to disintegrate. Symptoms such as limping and atrophy of the leg muscle occur around the age of 4 – 6 months. Surgery can be undertaken to remove the affected area and the resulting scar tissue creates a “false joint” and the dog usually ends up pain-free.
  • Diabetes occurs when the body cannot regulate blood levels. Affected dogs do not lose their appetite, but will often lose weight, urinate a lot and get thirsty often. It is treated with a special diet and insulin.
  • Allergies. Australian Terriers can be prone to certain allergies, including food allergies, contact allergies and inhalant allergies. Treatment usually involves removal of the allergen from the dog’s environment or medication.
  • Cataracts. Like in humans, canine cataracts occur when a cloudy membrane forms over the eye, causing vision loss. They can be removed surgically.
  • Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough of the thyroid hormone. Symptoms include epilepsy, loss of hair, fatigue and patchy skin. It is treatable with medication and a special diet.

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    Australian Terrier Tan. Standing. Aussie Terrier


    The Australian Terrier is thought to have descended from the now-extinct Rough-Coated Terrier, which originated in England. It is widely believed that this Terrier was crossed with other Terriers brought to Australia, such as the Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Skye Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier and Black and Tan Terrier, resulting in the Aussie breed we see today.

    They were bred out of a need for a sturdy and courageous working dog, adaptable to Australia’s harsh climate. Aside from controlling and killing rats and snakes, their roles included watchdogs, shepherds and companion dogs.

    It is the first native Australian breed to be officially recognised and shown, originally known as the Australian Rough-Coated Terrier before being renamed the Australian Terrier in 1897.

    The Australian Terrier was brought to England by solders and members of the aristocracy, and was recognised by the Kennel Club (UK) in 1933. They also made their way to the US in the 1940s and were first shown in 1957 before being recognised in 1960 – the first new terrier in over 20 years.

    Australian Terrier. Aussie Terrier Tan. In Grass.

    Australian Terrier Facts!

    • Princess Mary, daughter of King George V, owned an Australian Terrier.
    • Aussies can be quite bossy and cranky around other dogs in the house. They are also known to try and become the pack leader among humans, too, so be sure to establish yourself as an assertive authoritative figure early in the dog’s life.

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    Australian Terrier Club of NSW:

    Australian Terrier Club of QLD:

    Australian Terrier Club of Victoria:

    Australian Terrier Club of SA:

    Australian Terrier Club of America:

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