Australian Terrier

AKC Terrier Group


Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

One of the smallest working terriers, the Australian Terrier was first shown as the Australian Rough-Coated Terrier in 1868 in Melbourne, Australia. The breed was probably created by crossing many terrier breeds including the Cairn, Dandie Dinmont, Irish, Yorkshire, and Skye terriers. He was used for rodent and snake control, as a watchdog, and as a companion. The Australian Terrier is relatively new to the United States, and was first recognized by the AKC in 1960.


The Australian Terrier is a sturdy little dog with a long head, erect ears, and sparkling dark eyes. The black nose has an inverted V-shaped space free of hair extending from the nose up the bridge of the muzzle. The teeth should meet in a scissors bite. The body is slightly longer than tall, with a level topline. The chest is strong, moderately wide, and deep. The tail is docked and stands up. The rough-textured, weatherproof coat is about 2-1/2 in. long and comes in solid red, sandy, or dark or silvery blue with tan markings on the head and legs. The breed sports a topknot between the ears, and an apron and ruff that are lighter colored and finer-textured than the rest of the coat. Dewclaws are generally removed when the puppy is a few days old. The feet are small and catlike.

Key Facts

  • Height: 10 to 11 in.
  • Size: Very small
  • Weight: 12 to 14 lbs.
  • Availability: Difficult to find
  • Talents: Tracking, watchdog, agility, and performing tricks


More easily obedience trained than most terriers. Adaptable to almost any climate. Good traveler. Very economical to feed and easy to care for. A fine watchdog because of his excellent hearing and eyesight.


Alert, wants to please. Amusing and lovable. Spirited, self-assured, and curious. Has very keen hearing and eyesight, making him an outstanding watchdog. Devoted and affectionate. Good with children—not snappish. This breed gets along well with other pets.


  • Children: Best with older, considerate children
  • Friendliness: Reserved with strangers
  • Trainability: Easy to train
  • Independence: Moderately dependent on people
  • Dominance: Low
  • Other Pets: Generally good with other pets
  • Combativeness: Friendly with other dogs
  • Noise: Average barker
  • Indoors: Fairly active indoors
  • Owner: Good for novice owners


  • Grooming: Regular grooming needed
  • Trimming and Stripping: Some trimming or stripping (little skill required)
  • Coat: Medium coat
  • Shedding: Very light
  • Docking: The tail is customarily docked
  • Exercise: Moderate exercise needed
  • Jogging: A fair jogging companion
  • Apartments: Good for apartment living
  • Outdoor Space: Does all right without a yard
  • Climate: Does well in most climates
  • Longevity: Long (15 or more years)

Useful Links

AKC® Australian Terrier Breed Standard

Australian Terrier Breed Club

Search for a Breeder

Rescue Organizations

Books about the Australian Terrier

Australian Terrier Gifts