Characteristics of the Australian Terrier
The Australian Terrier is a small, sturdy, medium-boned working terrier standing about 10-11 inches in height at the withers. The body is rather long in proportion to height, with a long slightly arched neckline. Its head should be long and strong, with pricked ears, and dark, black-rimmed eyes.
The coat is harsh and straight, about 2 inches in length all over its body, with a distinctive ruff and apron, and a soft, silky topknot. The tail is docked, leaving slightly less than one half, and should be held erect. Aussies come in three colors... Blue & Tan, Solid Sandy, and Solid Red.
As benefits their heritage as versatile workers, Australian Terriers are sound and free-moving, with good reach and drive. Their expression should be keen and intelligent, their manner spirited and self-assured.
Australian Terrier Temperament
The Australian Terrier was developed as a companion and will be happiest when with "his" people. Aussies are not suited to living outside, or spending long hours in a run or fenced yard alone. They are happiest when in close contact with their families. Australian Terriers are born diggers, as "going to ground" is part of their heritage.
The Aussie has emerged as a spunky little terrier: game, high-spirited and courageous, yet possessing an enormous amount of sensitivity. Because he was developed in close association with man under often stressful conditions, he has a strong sense of devotion to his household. The Australian Terrier is a genuine charmer and, once hooked, few Aussie owners ever switch breeds. What's more, many find they can't own just one. However, not all Aussies are generous enough to be willing to share their owners, and two males generally will not be able to live together peacefully.
Most are good with children as well as senior citizens, so they make excellent family pets. As with any small dog, supervision with toddlers is essential, for the dog's protection as well as the child's. Aussies are equally suited for town or country living as long as provision is made for safe exercise. An Aussie should NEVER run loose! The instinct to hunt is so strong that he will not stop to check traffic if he sees a squirrel or strange cat.
They are excellent jumpers, and it is nearly impossible to teach an Aussie to resist the urge to chase squirrels, rabbits, cats, etc. Aussies were bred to hunt vermin, and this instinct is still very strong in their temperaments. Aussies are natural watch dogs, and will sound the alarm should any strange dog or person approach the house.
Terriers, in general, are very lively and outgoing, and have a high energy level that does not make them suitable pets for everyone. As with other terriers, they can be dog-aggressive and somewhat bossy, and care must be taken when living in a multi-pet household.