Australian Terrier Dog Breed
Nicknames: Aussie, Aussie Terrier, Snake Dog
|Right Breed For You?||The breed is described as spirited, alert and courageous, but also friendly and affectionate around humans. The Australian terrier will happily live in even quite confined spaces, though you will have to provide a great deal of entertainment and scheduled walking to keep them from becoming destructive. They are happiest when they have at least a small yard to play in and patrol.||Pet Supplies Recommendations|
|Height:||9 – 10 inches|
|Life Span:||11-14 years|
|Litter Size:||3-5 puppies|
|Color:||The coat colors include: black, black/white, tan/black, red/black, white, ivory, cream, yellow and silver.|
|Recognized By:||CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NZKC|
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.
The American Kennel Club has recognized this breed since 1960 as Britain’s official kennel club did nearly 30 years earlier. Today, Australian Terriers remain common in Australia and are gaining in popularity in other countries, too. The breed’s friendly and fun-loving nature makes them ideal for a great many city and suburban dwellers that want a companion who can chase rats that isn’t a cat.
Aussies look a lot like many of the breeds they’re descended from. As such, they may be black like a Scottish Terrier or black and tan like a Yorkshire Terrier or silvery like a Cairn Terrier or, even pure white like a West Highland terrier. However, they always have a coarse outer coat over soft under-coat that makes them good in inclement weather.
There is a very similar but separate breed of dog called the Australian Silky Terrier. Those dogs are very much the same except for their long, finely textured hair that most closely resembles that of a Silky or Yorkshire terrier that needs to be regularly groomed. By way of comparison, the Aussie is usually plucked when necessary and requires only the most cursory of grooming.
Physically the Australian Terrier tends to be a bit shorter than long with a thick stout body and an especially thick collar of fur around the neck. Today, these Aussie dogs are most often found as companion animals because of their happy nature and adorably fearless.
Aussie dogs also do well in the country, though they are sure to want to be near you if you’re around.
The topcoat is always thick and wiry with a soft undercoat of varying thicknesses beneath: so much so that, the hairs growing around the face often need to be removed.
It is said the Australian Terrier is a mixture of several different breeds of terrier that were shipped from England just as a lion’s share of the European Settlers were. By the 1820s there was a dog known to locals as the Australian Terrier that didn’t fully come into existence as a breed with an official standard until the latter part of the century.
The official lineage of the Aussie dog is unknown, partly because so many dogs went into the creation of this breed uniquely suited to Australian conditions. The breed is an example of taking a genetic pool, combining it together again and picking the animals that fare best. The rapid development of the breed suggests the early mortality rate of the plucky progenitor terriers was high.
It is thought that several of the Australian Terrier’s adaptations are for dry, dusty conditions and hunting snakes. These include a rather thick ring of tough fur and a fearless attitude. Aussie dogs and their shrill barks were also once ideal for their use as watchdogs on a frontier that still contained real dangers, well into the 20th century.
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 tunneling 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.”
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.
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 dogs’ 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 dog 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 or finger dog toothbrush. With a very small amount of baking soda or special poultry flavored 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.
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.
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
Training using a dog crate 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 housebreaking 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 meeting others is absolutely necessary to create a dog that will be the happy companion that’s a joy to be around.