Proudly Australian, this little terrier evolved from a variety of British terriers that had been brought out by settlers. Specifically bred for Australian conditions, this tough little terrier was used for everything from guarding the farms and mines to hunting, and from tending the sheep to killing rats and snakes.


The origins of the Australian Terrier are not documented but it is thought that its beginnings were in Tasmania. Breeds thought to have played a role in its development are the Dandie Dinmont and Skye Terriers. There is also record of six Cairn Terriers being taken to Tasmania in the 1840’s.

Early Australian Terriers were known as rough or broken coated terriers and there was also a dog known as the Tasmanian Rough Coated Terrier. The first record of a rough-coated terrier being shown in Australia is in Melbourne in 1868. These dogs were blackish with tan markings. A standard for the breed was drawn up in 1887. In 1889 the breed became known as the Australian Rough Coated Terrier and for the first time sandy coloured dogs were shown.

Australian Terriers were taken to England early this century but they did not gain public recognition until the Governor of Victoria, the Earl of Stradbroke, returned to England and took his little dogs back with him. By 1933 they had gained English Kennel Club status as a breed. It was recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1960 and became the first Australian breed to be officially recognised as a breed by overseas canine associations.


Although essentially a working terrier, the ‘Aussie’ as it is affectionately known, soon endeared itself to all those with whom it came in contact as a very desirable companion dog in its own right. Affectionate and well mannered this spunky little dog tends to develop its own amusing and endearing characteristics to delight the family.

Equally suited to town or country living, the Australian Terrier is noted for its loyalty, intelligence and even disposition. It is neither highly-strung nor a persistent barker, but with its inbuilt spirit, courage and air of self-assurance, happily assumes the role of protector for home and household. Sturdy and with a history of longevity, the Australian Terrier finds much favour as both an indoor and outdoor companion.


The coat of the ‘Aussie’ consists of a harsh, straight, dense topcoat approximately six centimetres long with short soft textured undercoat. The muzzle, lower legs and feet are free from long hair. The coat is blue, steel blue or dark grey-blue with rich tan on face, ears, under body, lower legs and feet and around the vent, or clear sandy or red. The ‘Aussie’ has a topknot of a lighter shade than the head colour.


Permissible colours are: blue, steel blue or dark grey blue with a rich tan on face, ears, underbody, lower legs and feet and around the vent. The richer the colour and the more clearly defined the better.


A very manageable size for city living or older owners, the Australian Terrier is approximately 25 cms high and weighs 6.5 kg

  • Affectionate, Courageous, Spirited
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 140 of 191
  • Height: 10-11 inches
  • Weight: 15-20 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 11-15 years
  • Group: Terrier Group

Australian Terrier Club of America

Club Website