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  • Writer's pictureScarlett Bowman

Breed Spotlight: Australian Terrier

Australian Terrier


Australian Terriers are small but sturdy, self-confident terriers known for a longish torso, distinctive coat furnishings around the neck and forequarters, and a topknot of soft, silky hair that contrasts in texture with an otherwise harsh coat. A long neck lends a dash of elegance to this rough-and-ready terrier, and the dark eyes sparkle with a keen intelligence. Coat colors are blue-and-tan, solid red, or sandy. Aussies move with the free and easy gait of a working dog. They are alert watchdogs and are said to be quick studies when training. True terriers, Aussies love digging, and the urge to chase small, furry critters has never left them. Not always a great fit in multi-dog households, Aussies want you all to themselves.


The Australian Terrier's harsh, weatherproof, double coat does a good job of repelling dirt and mud and is very easy to maintain. A quick brushing once a week is usually enough to keep it in fine shape. The long hairs that grow in front of and between the eyes can irritate the eyes if left unchecked; fortunately, they are easily plucked out with tweezers or fingers. An Aussie should have a bath only when needed. Shampooing softens the harsh coat, rendering its dirt-shedding capability ineffective, and too much bathing can also make the Aussie's skin dry and flaky. As with all breeds, the Aussie's nails should be trimmed regularly.


The Australian Terrier should do well on high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian's supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog's age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog's calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog's weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.


Terriers in general have a high energy level, and the Aussie is no exception. The breed is very active and requires regular exercise to keep from becoming bored and unhappy. Boredom leads to undesirable behavior. Daily play sessions, indoors or out, will keep an Aussie happy and well-adjusted. However, these sessions must take place in a securely fenced yard, and when on walks or hikes, an Aussie must be on a leash. Aussies should never run loose their instinct to hunt is very strong, and they might not be able to resist running off to chase a cat or squirrel and might pursue their prey so far from home that they can't find their way back.


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