The Australian Terrier is brave, independent, and clever dog breed. The self-assured Australian Terrier approaches life with much of the old-school terrier curiosity and grit. They have a longish torso, characteristic coat decorations around the neck and forequarters, and a topknot of soft, silky hair that contrasts in texture with an otherwise coarse coat. This terrier is tough, but the long neck adds a touch of grace, and the black eyes shine with a keen intellect. Coat colors are blue-and-tan, or solid red or sandy. The movement of an Australian Terrier is loose and fluid. They are reportedly quick learners when being trained and attentive watchdogs.
Australian Terriers measure 10 to 11 inches in height at the shoulders. The usual weight range is 15 to 20 pounds.
Australian Terriers are a sturdy breed with few health problems, with a life expectancy of 11 to 15 years.
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The Cairn, Dandie Dinmont, Norwich, Scottie, Skye, and Yorkshire terriers, as well as other well-known British terriers, are thought to have interbred to create the Aussie. A trained eye may see characteristics in these and other terrier breeds in Australia. Australians were bred to be fearless, versatile exterminators who could handle snakes and small mammals.
Australians and their people developed a strong relationship while living in Australia’s isolated regions with minimal contact from outsiders. When the day’s job was done, these tough little frontier dogs—among the tiniest of the working terriers—proved to be loving, devoted pets.
It’s reasonable to say that the Australian Terrier is “Australia’s Dog.” It was the first indigenous breed to receive formal recognition in its native country and the first Australian breed to do so elsewhere. In 1887, a breed standard was developed, the first club dedicated to the breed was established in Melbourne, and imports to the United States and Great Britain quickly followed. The Aussie was given breed status by the Kennel Club (England) in 1933, and the AKC recognized the breed in 1960.