FCI # 8, Origin: Australia, Group 3.4 Small-sized Terriers.
Height: 9-11 in, Weight: 9-14 pounds
Grooming: Low, Shedding: Low, Coat: Wiry coat with undercoat.
Color: All shades of blue and tan, red, sandy.
Ease of training: Medium, Energy level: Medium, Span of life: 12-15 years.
Breed: British settlers - when they finally reached the fifth continent - found out, that they need a dog that can adapt to the new conditions. In addition, this dog - the future Australian Terrier - had to deal not only with rats and burrowing animals, which could be masterfully done by his British counterparts, but to be able also to fight the snakes, that were highly annoying white emigrants.
These small active dogs with a strong sense of self-esteem are carrying the blood of many breeds of their British "ancestors." The emergence of Australian Terrier is deeply connected with the development of Australia.
Here is the first mention of the breed Australian Terrier: "It is known that in the 1820s free white settlers in Tasmania, who live in the cities Campbell-town and Ross, successfully bred the wirehaired Terrier. It was a small dog with red legs and blue color of the body." Incredible flair made the new Terriers an indispensable guard dogs. They were characterized by their devotion to the owners. The most reliable mention of specific crosses appeared a little bit more than one hundred years ago.
There is no doubt, that the closest relative of the Australian Terrier is a Yorkshire Terrier, as it is evidenced by the color of both breeds, as well as a number of similarities between the exterior. Formation of the Australian Terrier and his cousin - the Silky Terrier - happened almost in the same time. Some breeders have bred a small elegant Terrier with the fine silky coat, others bred a bigger Terrier with the wiry coat of the same color - blue with pale yellow. They were designed for hunting burrowing animals and snakes. To make the hunting instinct and rage in this dogs stronger there was made several crosses with the British working Terriers. It was a Scottish Terrier and a Cairn Terrier- excellent hunters for burrowing animals, Skye Terrier and Manchester Terrier - an irreplaceable rat fighters. Manchester Terrier, moreover, was meant to enhance the saturation and intensity of the pale yellow in the color of his Australian counterpart.
In 1872, the Australian Terrier was first shown at the Royal Show in Melbourne. He was written in the catalog under the name "wire-haired Terrier of black-blue color." In 1880 the same dog was already described as "wire-haired blue with pale yellow Terrier."
In subsequent years, the blue Terrier continues to change his names.
In this century, the breed was already known and recognized by the FCI under the name "Australian Terrier". And it is good to mention, that in this breed are present not only the blue with a pale yellow color, but also red and sandy colors. We also know that a certain role in the formation of this breed was played by Griffon. In 1902 at the Sydney Royal Dog Show there have been established the separate classes for both colors. In addition, the dogs were separated by their weight. The weight of one category of Terriers was limited to 8 pounds (3.6 kg), another - from 8 to 15 pounds (3.6 - 6.8 kg). Red and sandy colors in the breed Australian Terrier were officially recognized along with the blue color and were written in the breed standard.
The first breed club was established in 1898 in Melbourne. It also united the Silky Terriers. However, later the club was divided into two: Silky Terrier Club and Yorkshire Terrier Club. For some reason there was no place for the Australian Terrier. Australian Terrier Club was founded only in 1940.
In 1947 a breed standard has been thoroughly revised and until 1962 remained unchanged. Since 1962, the Australian Terrier by the standard may have only erect ears.
Today the Australian Terrier is a very stable breed in his growth and type, very popular in his homeland. Australia has an extensive network of kennels, successfully engaged in the cultivation of their national Terriers, such as Shturt, Svenoks, Elmora, Taggalong, Mellipilli, Tingalara, Nukara, Tarame etc.
In the 1920s, the breeding of Australian Terriers was started in England, and in 1933 the breed was recognized by the English Kennel Club. A year later, Australian Terrier was purchased by the member of the royal family - Duke of Gloucester. In America, the Australian Terrier is recognized only in 1960, although the breed was already known there at the 1890s. American Kennel Club, as well as the English Kennel Club, wrote it's own breed standard, which differs from the Australian.
General Features: Externally Aussie is a small, squat, wire haired, well built, sturdy, manageable dog. Colour blue with steel shade or dark - gray-blue with pale yellow markings on the face, front and hind legs, on the underside of the body and under the tail. The richer and more intense is the color of yellow markings, the better. White markings on the chest for all colors are regarded as a serious flaw. Puppies are born almost black and change their color while they mature.
By it's structure the coat of the Australian Terrier is stiff and coarse, on the body length of the coat is about 6 cm. The Australian Terrier has his coat around the head longer, than on the body. By the breed standard it is necessary for the dog to have a short soft undercoat. Wavy and curly hair is unacceptable. Coat of the Australian Terrier is not subjected to the special treatment - trimming.
Head is covered with stiff, not very thick hair. Ears are erect, the expression of the muzzle is typical for all Terriers - decisive. The skull is flat, the face under the eyes is well filled and has no sharp transition from the forehead to the muzzle. The transition from forehead to the muzzle and the proportionality of the head is always carefully evaluated in the examination at the shows. Cheeks are flat, not expressed. Teeth are strong, meet scissors bite. The dog must have a strong well developed lower jaw. The nose is always black.
The breed is characterized by a hairless area of black color, triangular in shape, located along the nasal cartilage (approximately 2.5 cm in length and a bit more).
Eyes are small, dark, round, set straight, not prominent. Intelligent expression, but also cautious. Ears are set high and straight, strictly fixed. Long hair on the ears is not permitted. When the dog is happy about something, he often lays his ears back.
The head is crowned with a bright silky tuft, it is different in texture and color from the rest of the coat. Strand of this soft hair is growing on the crown and is lighter than the whole head. In red and sandy colored dogs the tuft is of light sandy or wheat color. In blue dogs, it is usually blue or shades of silver, but never white. This lock protects the eyes of a Terrier while he is working in the underground burrows and is a characteristic feature of the breed.
The tail was usually docked by about two fifths of it's length. This gives the opportunity to help the working Terrier underground, the tail should be grabbed by the whole palm of the hand and that's how the dog can be dragged to the exit of the burrow. Now in many countries docking of the tail is forbidden.
Temperament: Australian terrier is a somewhat tough, cheeky little pooch with the courage of a large dog. He is cocky and stubborn, he definitely requires careful and strict upbringing, but not cruel in any case.
From an early age the Australian Terrier should be introduced to as many children and pets, as possible. Australian Terrier is not irritable, but sometimes he likes to bark. This little Terrier is not friendly to strangers, he is very suspicious and treats them somewhat cold. This is a real alert security guard who has a perfect sight and hearing. Australian Terrier is unpretentious dog and very easy to maintain. He eats very little, he does not need frequent walks, he feels fine indoors in case he has enough things to do in the house or a job to make him busy.
In the street it will be better to keep this dog on the leash, or Australian Terrier will pursue anything that moves. He likes to roam freely, without the owner's control, and therefore he may run away too far and get lost.
The stiff coat of the Australian Terrier should be cleaned once a week, paying special attention to his paws. Fur on the paws can be cut. Coarse hair over the eyes and ears should be regularly cut with the blunt scissors.
Australian Terrier does not require frequent washing, do not wash him more often than once a month. While the dog is drying, you can clean his coat. Regular cleaning will make your pet's coat shiny and smooth.
Australian Terrier is suitable for the dog shows, for home, for life at the farm. He is very energetic, a bit cocky, nothing that is going on around him leaves him indifferent. This Terrier has a great hearing and eyesight, he can quickly spot and avoid danger. Australian Terrier adapts easily to any climate, and his coat, that does not shed and protects him against the bad weather allows him to feel comfortable all year round.
The Australian Terrier remains a great rat catcher. Perhaps it is because the development of this hunting Terrier was happening in the constant communication with a man, he is deeply devoted to "his" people and feels extremely responsible for his household. The Australian Terrier makes an excellent companion for a single person. This little Terrier seems to realize the dream of an intelligent dog breeders - of a dog that will be hardy, able to spend the whole day outdoors, but at the same time small and obedient enough to leave this dog at night in the house.
Health problems: The Australian Terrier is a very healthy and hardy breed.