The origin of the Australian terrier dog breed is in Australia fairly recently, in fact it was created at the beginning of the 20th century. But to be precise, it was bred by British ancestors, and is one of the few breeds of the terrier group that developed outside of Britain, and is also the first breed that can claim to have been developed in Australia. Its ancestors are diverse, according to some a mixture of British breeds: the skye terrier, the scottish terrier and the dandie dinmont terrier. It was also crossed for a time with the Yorkshire terrier.
In fact, many people mistake it for a Yorkshire terrier, but there is one detail that makes it immediately recognisable. Around its neck it has a soft scarf made of longer hairs. Its ancestors were brought to Australia by settlers from the British Isles and used for hunting mice and snakes, on farms, in harbours, but also in gold mines.
But the current standard of the Australian terrier is due to the Countess of Stradebroke who established the characteristics of this breed. In 1885 the Australian terrier made its first appearance at a show in Sydney and a couple of years later the first club was founded. It has come down to us practically unchanged due to its geographical isolation.
Character of the Australian terrier dog breed
The Australian terrier has a cheerful and docile disposition, even if a little stubborn, on the other hand stubbornness is a prerogative of terriers, however we can affirm that this one remains the most easily trainable and obedient. It is very attached to its family, especially to its owner, whom it will do everything to please, and is very affectionate and protective with them.
He is not suited to being alone a lot, loves the company of his family and enjoys long walks; he also likes to travel and explore new areas. It is the classic companion dog and flat dog, although it does like to be outdoors, but given its passion for hunting, it is advisable to have a secure garden; if it senses any likely prey, it will not hesitate to run off after it.
He needs daily walks as he is an active, lively and exuberant dog. He likes to play with children as long as he is treated with respect. With strangers, on the other hand, it is mistrustful and suspicious, and for this reason, if properly trained, it is a wonderful watchdog; in fact, with its lively barking it will not hesitate to warn of the presence of any intruder. It is friendly with other dogs and also with cats and other domestic animals.
Its education, however, must begin very early, as it has an independent temperament, and is also a little stubborn, typical of terriers, but its intelligence and its desire to please its owner make it a fairly simple dog to train; its training, however, must be rigorous and aimed above all at recognising the man as pack leader, therefore a little healthy discipline is essential to make the Australian terrier a well-mannered and loyal dog.
Appearance of the Australian terrier dog breed
The Australian terrier is a small, robust and muscular dog. Its height at the withers is about 20-25 centimetres and its weight is about 7 kilograms. It has harmonious proportions although it is longer than wide. The body is well structured, the thorax is deep and fairly wide, the legs are short but very robust, agile and muscular allowing these dogs to move quickly. The tail is carried straight, but never on the back and is usually shortened. It has a free and vigorous gait.
The head is small and slightly elongated on the muzzle which ends in a small black truffle. The skull is long and flat. The eyes are dark and small, slightly oval, very lively and intelligent, the ears are also small, high and pointed, V-shaped, without long hair.
The skull is covered at the top with an unusual hazel tuft, while around the neck it has a collar of longer fur similar to a scarf.
The Australian Terrier’s coat is coarse, straight and about 6 centimetres long, while the undercoat is short and thick, very soft and dense. The long hair is not present on the muzzle and the lower part of the paws. The coat can be of various colours; blue, steel blue, sand, red and blue-grey with highlights.
Care and health of the Australian terrier dog breed
The Australian Terrier is a strong breed and is free from the most common hereditary diseases and enjoys good health. However, there are some diseases it may be prone to: luxating patella, diabetes mellitus, otitis and progressive retinal atrophy, but these are uncommon in this breed. It has a life expectancy of around 15 years.
With regard to coat care, it is sufficient to brush it once a week and not to bathe it too much, it is better to use a dry shampoo. Excessive hair in troublesome areas such as the paws and ears should be removed by the groomer.
As far as the feeding is concerned, it tends to put on weight, therefore it is necessary not to exaggerate with the doses and to keep it always in movement.