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Life Span:~12 to 15 years
Litter Size: 3 to 5
Country of Origin: Australia
Size: The Australian Terrier doesn't come in a wide range of sizes. They stand between 10 to 11 inches at the shoulder and range in weight from 14 to 16 pounds at maturity.
Coat: Australian Terriers have a soft undercoat and a thick, coarse outer coat that should feel rough to the touch. Their hair is about two inches long across the body, but grows longer around the head and chest. The “Aussies” come in three color varieties: blue and tan“(tan body with a blue saddle), sandy, and red; the richer the color, the better.
Character: The Australian Terrier is low-set, sturdy, and small in stature. However, their small size belies their exhibition of a strong and true terrier nature. This breed is proud, hardy, alert and confident. They are bold, fearless, and charming. They are an excellent choice for a variety of lifestyles and make lovely companions.
Appearance: Australian Terriers are small, sturdy working terriers—longer than tall—covered in straight, harsh coats that usually come in shades of sand, red, and blue & tan. Their heads have long muzzles, dark eyes, small pointed ears and soft tufts of hair on the top. Their tails, usually docked, are carried high without curling over. Overall, Australian Terriers have a lively, hardy and spirited look.
History: The Australian Terrier descended from the rough coated type terriers brought from Great Britain to Australia in the early 19th century. The ancestors 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 Tasmania about 1820, and the dogs were at first called the Rough Coated Terrier. The breed was officially recognized with the founding of the first breed club in 1887, and the breed was recognized as the Australian Terrier in 1892. The Australian Terrier was shown at a dog show for the first time in 1903 in Melbourne, and was also shown in Great Britain about the same time. The Kennel Club (UK) recognized the breed in 1933. The American Kennel Club recognized the Australian Terrier in 1960, and the United Kennel Club (US) in 1969. It is now recognized by all of the major kennel clubs in the English speaking world, and also is listed by various minor kennel clubs and other clubs and registries.
Health Issues: Many small dog breeds, including the Australian Terrier, suffer from Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease (LCPD), a bone disorder that requires surgery. Another common problem in small dogs is a knee malfunction called luxating patellas, in which the kneecaps easily slip out of place. The Australian Terrier also has a high incidence of diabetes, for reasons that are currently not understood.
Temperament: The breed standard describes the ideal Australian Terrier temperament as spirited, alert, "with the natural aggressiveness of a ratter and hedge hunter". Aussies rank 34th in Stanley Coren's The Intelligence of Dogs, being of above average "Working and Obedience" intelligence, indicating good trainability. As with other terriers, they can be dog-aggressive and somewhat bossy, and care must be taken when living in a multi-pet household. 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.
Care: A well-behaved housedog, the Australian Terrier should be allowed to spend lots of time with its family. However, in order to prevent frustration, this adventurous and playful breed requires daily exercise in the form of a playful game, a moderate walk, or an off-leash run. The wire coat requires combing every week and stripping of dead hairs twice a year. For a neat look, the hair around the feet should be trimmed.
This terrier was bred to tolerate harsh Australian weather conditions, thus it can stay outside in warm and temperate climates.
Training: The Australian Terrier is quick to learn but is easily bored by repetition. Early socialization and obedience training is a must. They do not respond to harsh or heavy-handed methods. This breed does best when trained with consistency, firmness, fairness, praise, and motivation. They are very adept in the areas of agility, tracking, earth-dog, and obedience.
Activity: Since Australian Terriers are small, they don't need nearly as much exercise as a real horse of a dog, but they do require some sort of constant, even low-level activity. In short, they need a job and if you don't give them one, they'll make one for themselves, be it digging or barking or just becoming bitter and resentful.