Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Australian Terrier
Average Cost to keep/care for a Australian Terrier
The Australian Terrier is a happy, intelligent and lively little dog, but they are hardy, robust characters too. Always alert, they are true "terriers" by nature and being highly adaptable, they are just at home in a working environment as they are in the home. These terriers have been popular in their native Australia for a decades and are now among one of the terrier group that has been a real hit here in the UK and elsewhere in the world because they make such great family pets and companion dogs.
The Australian Terrier is thought to be the result of early 19th Century settlers crossing Scottish terriers with other terriers from the north of England. These little dogs were taken on ships to the New World and their job was to keep the mouse and rat population under control during the long voyages.
Their ancestors are thought to include the Dandie Dinmont, Yorkshire, Cairn, Skye and Irish terrier. They first appeared as a breed in their own right in 1820 when they were called "Rough-Coated Terriers". It was only much later that the breed was renamed the Australian Terrier before being officially recognised as a breed in its own right by The Kennel Club back in 1936.
Over the years, the Aussie has gained popularity in other countries of the world all thanks to their lively and affectionate natures as well as the fact they are robust little dogs even though they are small in stature. They have earned themselves the reputation of being great at letting owners know when there's anyone at the door or strangers around too.
Height at the withers: Males 25.5 cm, Females 25.5 cm
Average Weight: Males 6.5 kg, Females 6.5 kg
Australian Terriers are sturdy, robust looking little dogs that boast being nicely proportioned. They boast a rough coat and a very defined ruff around their necks which adds to their "hard bitten" appearance. Their heads are long and quite broad with a defined albeit slight stop. Their muzzles are powerful looking and the same length as their heads which boasts a silky and soft top-knot. An Aussie's nose is black and moderate in size having a leathery look to it.
They have quite small, dark brown eyes that are set nicely apart and which have an alert and keen expression. Ears are erect and small in size boasting pointed tips but no feathering and they are set nicely apart on a dog's head. Their mouths and jaws are strong and powerful looking with a perfect scissor bite. Aussies hold their long necks slightly arched which adds to their alert and "ready to go" look.
These little dogs have well-proportioned bodies in relation to their height and boast strong, straight front legs with a very small amount of feathering to the knee. They have well sprung rib cages and a level topline. Their hindquarters are broad and strong with well-muscled back legs. Feet are tidy and small with cushioned pads and tight toes. Their tails are set high and dogs carry them upright which adds to their well-balanced look.
When it comes to their coat, the Aussie boasts a longer, harsh, coarse and dense top coat with a much shorter and softer under coat. Their muzzles, lower legs and feet boast having short hair whereas on the rest of their bodies, it is longer. Acceptable breed colours are as follows:
Richer colours and more clearly defined markings are encouraged with "top-knots" being either a lighter shade silver or blue than the rest of a dog's coat.
Australian Terriers are alert and very busy little dogs that like being given things to do. However, they are just as happy in a home environment as they are in a working environment, as long as they are given lots of stimulation and daily exercise. They are renowned for their affectionate and loyal natures, being friendly and quite extrovert as well as being eager and willing to please which makes these little dogs highly trainable.
They very rarely show any sort of aggressive behaviour unless they feel threatened in which case they will hold their ground and show a lot of courage when they have to defend themselves which is a true small "terrier" trait. They are a great choice as a companion dog or family pet because of their sweet and kind natures.
These little terriers need to be trained from a young age and they respond well to positive reinforcement training. They have to be handled with a fair, gentle yet firm hand so they understand who is the alpha dog in a household. Early training will also help curb their "terrier" desire to chase small animals whenever they see or meet any and this would need to be reinforced throughout their lives.
Australian Shepherds are intelligent with the added bonus being there is nothing they enjoy more than to please. This means these lovely dogs are easy to train once they are taught not to show the more dominant side of their nature. With this in mind, a Aussie's training needs to start as early as possible and they also have to be well socialised from a young age for them to be truly well-rounded, obedient dogs.
Aussies need to know who is the alpha dog in a household because if they don't know their place in the "pack", they will quickly show the more dominant side to their nature and become wilful, unruly and hard to manage.
The Aussie is known to be very good around children of all ages although it is always better to keep an eye on any interaction between dogs and children. As such any playtime needs to be supervised by an adult at all times to make sure things don't get too boisterous.
As previously mentioned, these little terriers need to be well socialised and introduced to as many animals as possible from a young age in which case they accept being around them. However, when introducing an Aussie to any new animal, it pays to do this carefully because their instinct to chase smaller animals remains strong even in a home environment.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of an Australian Terrier is between 12 to 14 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
However, like so many other pure breeds, Aussies are known to suffer from a few health issues that are worth noting if you are going to share your home with one of these little terriers. The conditions the breed are known to suffer from include the following:
As with any other breed, Australian Terriers need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in tip-top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, they need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Aussies need to be groomed regularly to avoid any tangles and knots developing in their coats. Daily brushing also keeps their skin in good condition which is important because they are known to suffer from certain skin allergies. It also pays to take these little dogs to be professionally groomed at least 3 to 4 times a year which makes it easier to keep their coats tidy in between their visits to a grooming parlour.
Aussies only need to be bathed a few times a year unless otherwise necessary. Over bathing a dog can result in upsetting the natural pH balance of their skin and it's important to always use a dog-specific shampoo for the same reason.
Puppies need to be introduced to grooming tools from a young age and they also need to be taught that having their paws touched in a nice experience. Puppies and young dogs soon come to look forward to the one-to-one they get when they are being brushed which means that grooming them is never a drama.
Although only small in stature, Aussies need to be given a lot of daily exercise and this needs to include a lot of mental stimulation too. A bored Aussie can quickly develop bad habits which can be hard to correct later on.
Aussies are typical of the terrier breed and need to be kept mentally stimulated which means being given lots of things to do and to play lots of interactive games with them as often as possible is also important. Puppies only need to be given a little daily exercise because their bones and joints are still growing and developing. However, once they have all their vaccinations, it's important that an Aussie be introduced to as many new situations as possible for them to grow up to be well-rounded, confident characters.
As with all breeds, the Aussie needs to be fed a good quality, well-balanced diet that suits the different stages of their lives. If you are getting a puppy from a breeder, they will give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to it, feeding the same kind of food to avoid puppy from getting a tummy upset. You can change their diet a little further down the line, but this needs to be done gradually making sure that a puppy does not get the runs and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet. You would then need to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change their diet again.
Older Aussies are not known to be finicky about their food, but this does not mean they can be fed a lower quality diet. As previously mentioned, it's important to feed these little terriers good quality food and to keep an eye on their weight especially as dogs get older.
If you are looking to buy an Australian Terrier, you would need to pay anything from £200 to over £400 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a 3 year old Australian Terrier in northern England would be £17.94 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £40.81 a month (quote as of March 2016). When insurance companies calculate pet insurance, they factor in a few things and this includes where you live in the UK and a dog's age and breed.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog throughout their lives making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £30 - £40 a month. On top of all of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with an Australian Terrier and this includes their initial vaccinations, their boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and then their annual health check visits, all of which could quickly add up to over a £800 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for an Australian Terrier would be between £60 to £90 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree Australian Terrier puppy.
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