Australian Terrier

  • Breed Group : TERRIER
  • Origin : Australia
  • Average Height : 10" - 11"
  • Average Weight : 14 - 16 lbs.
  • Life Span : 13 - 15 years

Photo Courtesy of : Australian Terrier Rescue

Australian Terrier Rescue Organizations

  • Size

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  • Energy

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  • Intelligence

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  • Ease of Training

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  • Hypo-Allergenic

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  • Shedding

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  • Good with Kids

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  • Good with Other Pets

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  • Guard Dog

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  • These little dogs are essentially small terrier hybrids that were bred for the very specific purpose of killing the local rats and snakes in 19th century Australia. As such, the Aussie's ancestor dogs are generally those terriers that originate from the British Isles just as the European migrants did.

    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 recognized in 1933, the breed was probably created by crossing many terrier breeds including the Irish, Cairn Terrier, Norwich Terrier, Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier, and the Skye Terriers.

    They were used for rodent and snake control, as a watchdog, and even as a shepherd and as a companion. The Australian Terrier was the first breed to be recognized as native to Australia in 1868.

    Some of the Australian Terrier's talents are watchdog, tracking, agility and performing tricks.
  • Temperament

    Like the stereotypical Australian human, the Aussie Terrier is an easy-going and happy-go-lucky dog that loves the company of others. Since they were bred to protect buildings from vermin, they are fully adapted to living in close quarters with human beings.

    Like all other terriers, the Aussie loves to dig - rarely confining tunnelling practice to appropriate times and places. It is generally a good idea not to put garden space anywhere near the dog run, especially if you bury fish heads or use some other sort of compost that's animal derived.

    Quite intelligent and always on the go, some people have described them as the "clowns" of the dog world, even going so far as trying to cheer up sad meters of their human family. Unless they are on "duty" protecting the house or chasing off an interloper, they will be very attentive.

    Aussies are usually good with older children who have been trained not to mess with the dog, though you should never leave young children and toddlers alone with any terrier. The children may fall over onto or otherwise injure there rather small dogs. Though the Aussie dog is sturdy and quick, he or she may also nip children that pull or squeeze the ears.

    As a breed that was designed to hunt vermin, once they're on the job, or see something move in their peripheral vision, they're on the go with a single-minded purpose. Your dog won't likely respond to commands until the matter is fully investigated to his or her specifications.

    This may include your other pets if they're not all carefully introduced and acclimated. Also, since Aussies are apparently capable of turning their ears off, it's most often good to keep them on the leash.

    Not particularly affectionate, these Aussie dogs will often bond closely to one or two members of the family. They tend to be rather sensitive creatures in close quarters, partly because they were bred to live in close confines with human beings.

    On the other hand, they can also be very quick to anger when protecting something that's "theirs," often growling or becoming nippy. They are especially defensive with larger dogs and other animals.

    The most common complaint among those who keep Australian Terriers in the city is in regard to their barking. They often have a high pitched, yappy bark that can drive some people crazy. It may be good to spend some time crate training very young puppies and get on them for the barking immediately and every time.

    While Australian Terriers are usually capable of taking training, they will require a bit more patience on your part than a retriever. They are quite simply stubborn in all they do. It's the same characteristic that makes them stalwart in the "field."

    Health Problems

    Aussies suffer from a few congenital disorders that are not typically fatal, even at their worst. They are generally healthy dogs that live many, years.


    Bad Skin: sensitive to chemical soaps and often breaking out in bumps or spots. Most dogs benefit from a mild natural or hypoallergenic soap.

    Flea bite dermatitis: they may overreact to flea bites and bite holes in themselves and wear their teeth down.

    patellar luxation : the kneecap can actually pop out of socket once or continually. This is usually corrected with surgery.

    Legg Calve Perthes : In the first year, a bone the leg attaches to will begin to actually die and be reabsorbed into the body. Early medical intervention is often successful and the onset can be as early as 5 months.
    Grooming


    Aussie dogs are among the easiest to groom. Their thick wiry coats make it easy to keep them clean and tidy, and they shed little. While other terriers can benefit from brushing regimens as frequent as every 3-4 days. This breed often requires only a weekly or bi-weekly brushing to be kept in perfect shape, thanks to the unique properties of their stiff wire coat.

    Indeed, aussie dogs have such thick hair that it's sometimes irritating, especially around the eyes. These are either cut or plucked. Otherwise the only other trimming your dog is likely to require may be a trim of the fur that grows between your dog's paw pads.

    Country dogs will require more frequent inspection and grooming than their urban counterparts. Unless they roll in something truly foul, it's usually best to avoid washing them more than a few times a year.

    The breed is also pone to skin problems, and a part of regular grooming may be to treat dry or scaling skin. They may also develop horrible red welts when attacked by even just a few fleas. Other problems may involve pimples and black heads, even in older dogs. Many skin maladies clear up after adulthood, which they reach at about a year.

    Their ears are upright and don't readily get a build-up of wax like floppy ears do. It is recommended by some that you pluck the hairs on the ears, though it is good to keep in mind that terriers hate to have their ears touched. It's a good idea to make it a point when spending time with your puppy, to touch his or her ears regularly. It's also a good idea to make grooming something to look forward to with positive reinforcement in the form of meat bits and praise.

    This is especially useful when performing the hated task of nail clipping. Many people just take the dog into the vet or groomer's to have them taken of. Whether you do it yourself of hire out the job, the dog's nails should be trimmed regularly, with careful attention paid to the dewclaws that don't get worn down at the same rate as claws that touch the ground. Be very careful when cutting black nails and always be sure to err on the side of caution whenever you can.

    It is also important to pay attention to oral hygiene with your dog. There are several kinds of tiny toothbrushes, even some that fit on your finger. With such small dogs, you can even use a gauze pad and wrap that around your finger. With a very small amount of baking soda or special poultry flavoured toothpaste, you can keep on this yourself.

    Small dogs also have the advantage of being able to chew on real beef bones without suffering splinters. This helps keep your dog's teeth clean without having to intervene. Dental toys are also often effective, but you shouldn't play tug of war with a puppy using one.

    Exercise

    Since Australian Terriers are small, they don't need nearly as much exercise as a real horse of a dog, but they do require some sort of constant, even low-level activity. In short, they need a job and if you don't give them one, they'll make one for themselves, be it digging or barking or just becoming bitter and resentful.

    Even mental exercise is adequate, though a combination of both is ideal. Nice long walks are just as important as is regular playtime, especially with puppies. Aussies are very spunky and are often found playing with toys and balls when left to their own devices.

    They are not always good with other dogs, so letting them off at off-leash parks may not be a good idea, as Aussies (and very especially Aussie dog males) often get into fights with larger dogs that have just come over to investigate.

    Training

    Though the Australian Terrier is a genuinely friendly and intelligent animal that wants to please his or her owner, you will need to be firm, especially if you're doing something your dog doesn't approve of for some reason.

    You must establish yourself as boss to this clever dog before you'll be accepted as the alpha. That means making sure you're consistent with your commands and not imposing punitive measures that are well in excess of the transgression. Positive reinforcement works the best and

    Crate training during the initial housebreaking stage can be a very handy tool for new puppy owners who want to keep their new dogs from establishing a scent of urine in their homes. This breed is somewhat prone to stubbornness and that can include housetraining and simple obedience training. They are naturals at agility tests and Earth-trials.

    The easiest way to get an Australian Terrier ready to learn is to get them nice and tired out with some vigorous exercise. Long walks and vigorous playtime are useful exercises. They are very good at running around in the underbrush looking for rodents, but it may not be a good idea to do this somewhere your dog could get lost or run out into traffic.

    They also require mental stimulation, and one without the other won't be nearly as effective. Interactions with new people, animals and experiences are very good for your dog's mental health. A poorly socialized dog is prone to all sorts of embarrassing and potentially problematic situations. Taking them out in to public and mee

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