The Australian terrier is descended from rough coated terriers brought from Great Britain to Australia during the 19th century, to eradicate mice, rats and other vermin. The Australian terriers ancestors include the Cairn terrier, the Skye terrier and the Dandie Dinmont terrier, Yorkshire terriers and Irish terriers were also later crossed into the dog breed.

Development of the breed began in Australia about 1820, it was originally called the Rough coated terrier, the breed was officially recognized in 1850, it wasn’t until 1892 that it was renamed the Australian terrier. In 1906 the Australian terrier was entered as a breed, in a dog shows for the first time, in Melbourne and around the same time, in the Great Britain, although the breed wasn’t recognized by the Kennel club until 1933. The American Kennel cub recognized the breed in 1960 and the United Kennel club (USA) in 1970.

The Australian terrier is a small dog with short legs, a healthy dog weighs about 6.5 kilos and stands around 25 centimetres at the withers. It as a shaggy medium length double coat which is not usually trimmed, on the muzzle, lower legs and feet the fur is shorter and it as a ruff around the neck. The coat is coloured black or silver and tan with a lighter coloured top knot, the tail was often docked, in order to prevent injury while working and hunting in the field. As with most pet dog breeds, all proportions and aspects of the body and head as well as markings and colours are extensively described in the breed standard.

The average lifespan for an Australian terrier is 11-13 years, this is about average for pure breed dogs in general but a bit shorter than the average for other breeds of a similar size. Most commonly reported health problems in Australian terriers are endocrine (primary diabetes), and allergic dermatitis, the most common causes of death were cancer and diabetes. They are an energetic dog which needs regular exercise, although if not on a lead they do have a tendency to chase.

I n terms of temperament the Australian terrier is spirited and alert, with the natural aggression of a ratter, they are good to train, with above average intelligence, they tend to get along well with most other dogs but are also capable of looking after themselves, an Australian terrier bprobably won’t start a fight but neither will they back down if attacked. They are a loyal dog which is good with people, they enjoy interacting with people and can be trusted with babies and small children,

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michael simpson

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