The Australian Terrier is one of the most miniature working terriers, which was developed in Australia somewhere in the XIX century. Initially this daring, high-spirited and self-assured little canine specialised in vermin control but currently it’s primarily kept as a companion animal. It adapts well to apartment living and has an easy-to-care coat.
The Australian Terrier was created from the British rough-coated Terrier. It was presumably brought to Tasmania by colonists from the British Isles in the 80s of the XIX century. To all appearance, the breed was produced by crossing this sturdy terrier with several other canine varieties, including the forefathers of the Manchester Terrier, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier, the Skye Terrier, and the Yorkshire Terrier. It’s also very likely that Irish and Cairn Terriers were also utilised in its development. The resulted dog was remarkable for moderate size, robust constitution and dauntless nature.
In no time the Australian Terrier achieved local fame as a highly effective rodent exterminator and snake catcher. Its rough, waterproof coat allowed it to operate unceasingly for long hours under rain or shine. Moreover first Australian settlers relied on their little helpers to look after the livestock as well as to guard their dwellings. On top of these responsibilities this dog provided pleasant companionship for its masters.
The Australian Terrier is the first canine variety native to Australia that deserved the official recognition in its homeland and other countries. For the first time it entered the show ring in 1868 when its specimens took part in the dog show in Melbourne, Australia. It became widely known under its current name in 1899.
The first Australian Terriers were imported to England by the British noblemen as well as members of the Foreign Service. The Kennel Club (KC) in this country recognised the breed in 1933. Since the late 40s of the XX century voyagers and military men began to bring these dogs to the United States where it finally came into public notice at the Westminster Kennel Club Show in 1957. The American Kennel Club (AKC) granted the breed its full approval in 1960.
Modern members of Australian Terriers still excel in their primary role of excellent vermin exterminators, although overwhelming majority of these dogs serve exclusively as family pets.
The Australian Terrier is known to be much less strung and irascible than most terrier breeds. As it was always used as both working and companion animal it easily adapts to the life in a family. This dog usually establishes equally close bonds with all members of its human family and seeks to participate in each and every family event. Nonetheless it remains a typical terrier as far as it concerns rough games or teasing. That’s why this breed isn’t the best choice for families with small kids who still can’t properly control their behaviour around dogs.
Once correctly socialised the specimen of the Australian Terrier will be affable with guests in your house. However it’s unreasonable to expect from this dog open friendliness as it always keeps a bright lookout in the presence of strangers. It never fails to notify its masters about every suspicious change in its surroundings so it can be turned into a dependable watcher. It also doesn’t need any extensive training to perform guarding duties although this breed is probably too small for this role.
Severe canine aggressiveness commonly becomes the real issue for the owners of the Australian Terrier. The breed can’t tolerate when some unknown canine tries to cross onto its territory or encroaches on its food or toys. Furthermore this little dog always strives after getting an alpha status in the group of other dogs regardless of their size and power. It certainly does better as a single dog although it’s relatively compatible with its congeners of the opposite sex. The Australian Terrier also poses a hazard to the life of such small animals as rats, hamsters and guinea pigs. Actually there is a chance that even vast and early socialisation won’t make this dog more tolerable to a family cat or other small pets.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· skin allergies;
· allergic dermatitis;
· flea allergies;
· luxating patella;
· ruptured cranial cruciate ligament;
· adult onset cataracts;
· ear infections.
The Australian Terrier needs relatively little amount of grooming. Its rough semi-long coat should be carefully brushed on a regular basis. This procedure will help to get rid of dead hair as well as to distribute protective skin oils. This dog requires only occasional bathing.
Because of the breeds’ propensity to flea allergies it’s essential to regularly examine its coat for the signs of external parasites. Other than that it should receive very standard care, which consists of periodic nail trimming and weekly teeth brushing. The breed is considered to be a light shedder.
The training of the Australian Terrier is a matter of some difficulty. This breed is famed for its quick-wittedness but it also doesn’t like to comply with the rules or follow commands. Because of its stubbornness and independent character extra amount of time and patience is usually required to achieve acceptable results in this dogs’ training.
Simple praise isn’t enough to induce the interest of the Australian Terrier, which works most willingly if stimulated by its favourite treats. Bear in mind that this dog will never obey if it feels itself maltreated or just doesn’t trust the handler. The breed usually achieves total success in obedience and especially agility competitions.
Despite its low stature the Australian Terrier is a very athletic and hardy dog that needs lots of intensive exercise. It must be taken on a long and brisk daily walk but it would surely prefer to roam and play in a safely enclosed yard. This dog will gladly accompany you in hikes and will tirelessly run beside you for hours on end.
The Australian Terrier is capable of adapting to a city life as long as its master provides it with possibility for outlets of its driving energy. If the dog’s essential need for physical stimulation is ignored it will manifests its discontent with highly destructive behaviour indoors.