The head of the Australian Terrier is elongated, with a slight stop and pricked ears. The AKC breed standard describes the dog’s look as “hard-bitten” and “rugged”. The eyes are small, dark, and oval and must have a keen terrier expression. The leather of the nose runs up to the bridge of the muzzle, which is described as “strong”.
The dog’s coat is rough or harsh to the touch, with a soft undercoat and a distinctive ruff around the neck. Australian Terriers shed little hair. The breed standard specifies that it should be untrimmed, but some prefer to neaten the dog for the show ring. Acceptable colors are blue and tan, red or sandy. The Australian Terrier has medium-sized triangular ears that are very flexible. The ruff around the neck complements its appearance. It is a great companion dog.
Temperament: An Australian Terrier The Aussie should have the personality of a working terrier; its even disposition and outgoing personality make it an ideal companion dog. It is loyal and eager to please its owner but can be hard to house train. They will also chase small animals like guinea pigs and mice, but get along well with larger animals like cats and other dogs.
Health: There are three completed health surveys for Australian Terriers. Two surveys, one in 1997 and one in 2002, have been conducted by the Australian Terrier Club of America. The Club is currently collecting data for their next survey. The UK Kennel Club has a 2004 survey, but it has a much smaller sample size than the Australian Terrier Club of America surveys. Some of the respondents in the American surveys were from Australia, but none of the Australian Terrier clubs in Australia appear to have conducted, or be in the midst of conducting a survey.
History: The Australian Terrier was the first native-bred Australian dog to be shown, and the first to be recognized overseas. Its origins are uncertain, but its immediate ancestor was without a doubt developed in the United Kingdom in the early 1800s from the precursors of today’s British and Scottish terriers. Some of these breeds are now extinct, but the Aussie likely has a mixed ancestry comprising the same dog types that produced today’s Yorkshire, Dandie Dinmont, Manchester, Irish, and Cairn terriers.
A new rough-coated terrier was evident in Australia by the late middle-nineteenth century; the selectively-bred terrier was used for rodent and snake control, as a watchdog, and occasionally as a herding dog.
The first Broken-coated Terriers were exhibited in Melbourne in 1868 and the Australian rough-coated Terrier Club was founded in Melbourne in 1887. The breed was exhibited as the Australian Terrier, Rough-Coated in 1899. Official breed status was granted in the UK in 1933 and in the US in 1960.