Australian Terrier Dog Breed
Aliases: Aussie, Aussie Terrier, Snake Dog (not the Australian silky terrier)
|Life Span:||11-14 years, though some have lived to be 17.|
|Litter Size:||3-5 puppies with the average being 4 puppies|
|Recognized By:||CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NZKC|
|Color:||The coat colours include: black, black/white, tan/black, red/black, white, ivory, cream, yellow and silver.|
|Male Height:||10 inches (25cm)|
|Male Weight:||14-16 pounds (7kg)|
|Female Height:||9 inches (22cm)|
|Female Weight:||12-14 pounds (6kg)|
|General info courtesy of terrificpets.com. Additional information about this breed can be found on their website.|
|Living Area:||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.|
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 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."
Thyroid Disease - Low Risk
The Australian Terrier ranks #76 among all breeds for autoimmune thyroiditis prevalence. This is considered a low risk breed so your chances of obtaining a dog with the disease is small. It is still suggested that dogs meant for breeding still be tested to help bring the incidence of disease even lower (or even eliminate it).
|Rank Among Breeds||Number of Dogs Tested||Percent of Dogs With Disease|
You can download the full report (on all breeds) by the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health. Here
Other 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.