Australian Terrier breed profile
Photo by Doreen Simpkins
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Australian Terriers were bred in Australia from a number of different terrier breeds taken out by settlers, and were originally used for dealing with snakes and vermin near houses in the outback. They first arrived in the United Kingdom in 1898 and gradually built up a small following with the breed club being established in 1933, and registration with the Kennel Club following in 1934.
The breed standard calls for a sturdy low set dog, rather long in proportion to height, untrimmed with harsh coat, a definite ruff around the neck extending to the breast bone assisting a hard bitten rugged appearance. The coat is harsh and straight with a short soft undercoat, in two colours blue/tan and red. Size at the withers should be 10 inches, and weight 14 pounds approximately. The breed is a generally healthy one with no requirements by the Kennel Club for health testing for any health conditions.
Training and Intelligence
The Aussie as it is sometimes known is a highly intelligent little dog, lively, agile and with free springy and forceful movement. It is sociable, loyal and often keen to please, so will respond well to socialisation and training. Australian Terriers make wonderful family dogs, are involved in dog shows, obedience training, agility, terrier scurries as well as participating in the Kennel Club Good Citizen Scheme and the pat dog visiting scheme.
The breed is confident, extrovert and friendly by nature. It is not naturally aggressive, but will defend itself if attacked. Sometimes adult males can be territorial if there is a bitch in season, and as with any breed care needs to be taken to socialise puppies appropriately to prevent fear or aggression in adults.
Attitude to strange dogs or people
As previously stated the breed is very confident and is normally inquisitive, and enquiring by nature rather than shy or retiring! Aussies happily co-exist with other dogs and children, although care should be taken to ensure that children know how to behave around dogs, with young children being supervised by an adult.
Weekly grooming sessions with a brush and comb will mean that any tugs and tangles in the coat can be removed at an early stage preventing discomfort to the dog. This is an ideal opportunity to check the dog over for signs of infestation, skin problems or any unknown minor injuries, which can then be treated at an early stage. Aussies enjoy the company and attention that grooming brings. For pet Aussies bathing is only necessary every twelve weeks or so, with hand stripping of the coat twice a year. Regular grooming minimises the amount of hair shed, which is not excessive anyway.
Adaptable in this as in so many aspects of life, the Aussie will take as little or as much exercise as you give them. Gardens should be securely fenced, to prevent escapes being made! I know of Aussies who go hill climbing and rambling with their owners and those who are perfectly happy racing around an average sized back garden. If minimal exercise is being given however, remember to reduce the amount of food offered to prevent obesity.
Need for Company
Aussies are sociable and enjoy the company of their humans. Young puppies should not be left for extensive periods otherwise separation anxiety and destructive behaviour can occur. Adults can be left on their own for longer, but still enjoy the return of their human family! Leaving adults with a supply of suitable toys and a radio on in the background can help the dog settle.
Profile by Doreen Simpkins Iandor Australian Terriers