photo of an Australian Terrier

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Small Dog Breeds

Information About The Australian Terrier Dog Breed


The Australian Terrier is a working terrier with a compact, and small but sturdy body. His body is considerably longer than it is tall. The ears are pricked with no tendency to flare off the skull and the tail is docked. The Australian Terrier is a loyal and devoted dog that is hardy, smart, courageous, always busy, with keen senses. He is extremely affectionate with his owners and is usually reserved with strangers. This breed is spirited, easy-going but purposeful, and makes a great watchdog. His alertness combined with speed makes him an excellent ratter. He loves to please and do well at obedience work. On the other hand, because of his terrier instinct, he can be stubborn and challenging to train. His attention is easily diverted by distractions, especially by a small animal or a person wandering into his territory. He responds well to early, firm, and precise training methods. Roughhousing could encourage a warning bite and should not be permitted. Spoiling this breed encourages a bossy and stubborn behavior because, like most dogs, he will interpret spoiling as recognition of his dominance. He has a tendency to bark or dig incessantly if left alone for too long. The Australian Terrier has a high prey drive toward small animals such as cats and rabbits. He has no serious health problems and should live a happy 14 years.

Size: The Australian Terrier stands 10-11in at the shoulder and weighs between 10 and 18lb.

History and origin: The Australian Terrier was first used in 19 th century Australia as a ratter, snake killer, and watchdog. It is suggested that this breed was developed from the progeny of a female Yorkshire Terrier smuggled aboard a sailing ship and mated to a dog resembling a Cairn Terrier. He was known by various names until 1889, when a club was formed in Melbourne to foster the breed.

Feeding: Recommended feeding for the Australian Terrier is about ½ - ¾ can of high-quality meat product (13.3oz size) with biscuit added in similar amount or 1 ½ cupfuls of a complete dry food. Fat is an essential ingredient in order for the dog to maintain a healthy coat; if his meal has a low fat content, add a teaspoon of corn oil to his daily serving.

Exercise: An ideal place for this busy and active breed is a fenced-in yard with plenty of space for him to run around. On the other hand, he can adapt to apartment living provided he is walked several times a day.

Grooming: This breed has a weather-resistant coat that is hard and straight with a softer undercoat. Shedding is minimal, as is the level of maintenance. Regular grooming with a bristle brush will stimulate the skin and encourage a good coat growth.

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