About Australian Terriers

Shandrys Kennels

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Lifespan12 – 14 years
Watchdog abilityVery high
Protection abilityVery low
Area of originAustralia
Date of origin1900’s
Other namesNone
Original functionKilling small vermin


Developed in Australia, and one of the smallest working terriers, the Australian Terrier was first shown as the Australian Rough-Coated Terrier in 1868 in Melbourne, Australia. Officially recognised in 1933, the breed was probably created by crossing many terrier breeds including the Irish, Cairn, Norwich, Dandie Dinmont, Yorkshire, and the Skye terriers. He was used for rodent and snake control, as a watchdog, and even as a shepherd and as a companion.


Feisty and alert the Australian Terrier was originally an aid to the pioneers in the harsh Australian outback. Australian Terriers are endearing and loving and make excellent companions. The Australian Terrier has an affinity for children, the elderly and the handicapped. They are tough and cheeky little dogs, despite their size and will even go after snakes in their native country.


This is an active breed that needs a good outing every day, either a moderate walk, a rollicking game, or an off-lead run in a safe area. It was created to withstand harsh Australian conditions
and is physically able to stay outdoors in temperate to warm climates. It is also a good house
dog and needs to spend time with its family. Its wire coat needs weekly combing plus twice yearly stripping of dead hairs (regular plucking of dead hairs will keep the coat in optimal condition year round). Some trimming around the feet will add to a tidy look.

Official breed standard


Strong Terrier character, alertness, activity and soundness. Essentially a working terrier, it is equally suited as a companion dog owing to its loyalty and even disposition.

General appearance

  • A sturdy low-set dog rather long in proportion to height. Its untrimmed harsh coat with definite ruff around the neck extending to the breastbone, assists its hard bitten and rugged appearance.

Head and Skull

  • The head long with flat skull of moderate width full between the eyes, with slight but definite stop. The muzzle, strong and powerful, of equal length to that of the skull, which should be covered with a soft silky top-knot. Nose, black of moderate size, the leather extending to the bridge of the muzzle.


  • The eyes should be small, with keen expression and of dark brown colour, set apart and not prominent.


  • The ears should be small, erect, pointed, well carried, set on moderately wide, free from long hair and sensitive in their use (Puppies under six months excepted).


  • Jaw strong and punishing, teeth large and evenly spaced, the upper incisors fitting closely over the lower, lips black, tight and clean.


  • Long, slightly arched, shapely and strong, blending into long, well-laid shoulders .


  • Forelegs well-boned and perfectly straight, parallel when viewed from the front. Pasterns strong, without slope (slightly feathered to the knee).


  • Long in proportion to height, strongly constructed, with well sprung ribs and chest of moderate depth and width. Level topline. Loins strong. Flanks deep.


  • Moderate length of quarters, broad with strong muscular thigh, stifles well turned and hocks well bent and let down. Viewed from behind they should be parallel, neither too wide nor too close.


  • Small, well padded, toes closely knit and moderately arched, turned neither in nor out, with strong black or dark toenails.


  • The action to be free, springy and forceful. When viewed from the front, the forelegs should move truly without looseness of shoulder, elbows or pasterns. The hindquarters to have drive and power, with free movement of stifles and hocks. Seen from the rear the legs from the hocks to the ground to be parallel, neither too close nor too wide.


  • Docked, set on high and well carried, but not over the back.


  • The body coat should consist of a harsh straight dense top coat, approximately 6.3cms (2.5 inches) long with short soft-textured undercoat. The muzzle, lower legs and feet to be free from long hair.


  • Blue, steel-blue or dark grey-blue, with rich tan (not sandy) on face, ears, under body, lower legs and feet and around the vent (puppies excepted). The richer the colour and more clearly defined the better. Topknot blue, silver or a lighter shade than head colour. Clear sandy or red, smuttiness or dark shadings undesirable.

Weight and Size

  • The desirable weight is approximately 6.3 kg ( 14 lbs). The desirable height is approximately 25.4 cms (10 inches) at the withers.


  • Flesh-coloured toe nails or nose, white on feet; white breast; curly or woolly coat; all black coat (puppies excepted). Overshot or undershot mouths.


  • Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.