Australian Terriers can be great performance dogs. They were bred to be jacks and jills of all trades around farms,and their duties included herding livestock, killing vermin and venomous snakes. However, they were also the first terrier bred to be companions, small enough to curl up on the hearth (or bed) at night. This resulted in a fast, agile, independent working dog during the day and a companion at night. .
The Australian Terrier has grown in recognition and popularity over the years and has had its share of wins in the Breed, Group, and even Best in Show rings, but there has been notable participation although less widely known, in the companion and performance events as well.
There are ten different venues in which Aussies can obtain titles: Conformation, Obedience, Rally, Earth Dog, Tracking, Coursing Ability, Agility, Barnhunt, Dock Diving, and Therapy Dog, plus the CGC program. Aussies have advanced levels titles in each of these, including Obedience Trial Champions (OTCH) and Master Agility Champions (MACH), Distinguished Therapy Dog (THDD), Rally Advanced Excellent (RAE), and Endurance Earthdog (EE).
It is noteworthy that many of our companion and performance dogs are also breed champions, and many are breeder or owner handled to their other titles. There is a bond that comes from working with your dog for hours each day, for weeks and even years to get them ready for an obedience or agility event. And many of these dog-handler teams go on to continue to compete together for years. Each of these exhibitors has some really funny training stories that they could share with you if you corner one and ask them. There is a certain challenge that comes with training an innovative terrier.
The Australian Terrier Club has always recognized our “other titles” annually in the form of the Henderson Obedience Awards, which were started in 1974 and continue with the ACTA Versatility and Versatility Excellent Awards which recognizes those dogs and handlers who are successful at multiple AKC venues. ATCA also presents members with a complimentary Club award plaque to which titles can be added annually. Our Newsletter, the Talkabout, publishes every AKC title acquired in each issue and encourages those with new titles to also submit a photo for publication.