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The expression ‘three dog night’ originated among Australian aboriginal peoples and means ‘a night so cold you need to sleep with three dogs to keep warm’.

Australian Terrier

The dog has got more fun out of man than man has got out of the dog, for man is the more laughable of the two animals. – James Thurber

Australian Terrier puppies CanaDogs

Eight week old Australian Terriers

This engaging little dog hails from Down Under, and was the first to be recognized as a purebred dog in his homeland back in 1868.

They were descended from rough coated terriers brought to Australia from Great Britain in the early 19th century.


Photos displayed courtesy of Caren Holtby, Tidewalker Australian Terriers, British Columbia

Originally known as the Rough Coated Terrier, in 1892 his name was officially changed to the Australian Terrier to recognize the country where he was developed. The Aussie shares ancestors with rough coated Black and Tan Terrier who evolved into the Manchester Terrier and the Dandie Dinmont Terrier; Yorkshire Terriers, Skye Terriers, and Border Terriers also contributed to the spunky little package we know today.

Like other terriers, an Australian Terrier’s primary mission in life is to control vermin, in his case, mostly snakes and rats. He was first used by farmers in Tasmania to be a family companion, an alert dog and deal with vermin to protect their livestock and produce. These brave, tenacious, determined, energetic little dogs have worked for centuries controlling mice, rats, snakes, and other vermin. They were prized for their natural terrier instincts and excel at such activities as digging up the burrows and dens of their quarry, barking to scare the rodents out of their nests, and of course killing vermin. With his natural abilities, he is also an effective watchdog and spunky all-round farm dog!

Remember that if your household has other rodent-like pets. He should, however get along well with other dogs.

The Australian Terrier lives an average of 12-14 years.


Australian Terrier adult dog CanaDogs

Ch Melukylan Flying Finn RN

Australian Terrier CanaDogs


The sturdy “Aussie” is longer than he is tall by about one to one and a half inches. He stands 10 inches (25 cm) tall at the shoulder and weighs 14 pounds (6 kg). His pricked ears and bright eyes give him an alert and lively expression. He has a harsh, straight outer coat that covers a softer undercoat. He may be a solid sandy or red, or mixed blue and tan. The Aussie is naturally quite clean and requires minimal grooming to be a good pet or companion.

As a true terrier, the Australian Terrier is bold, agile, alert, and lively. Filled with self-confidence and possessing a ‘big dog personality in the body of a small dog’, he is not the dog to back down, even when faced by other larger breeds. This tough little customer has a reputation for friendliness and affectionate devotion for his human companions. He known for his loyalty and is an even tempered playmate for children.

Hardy and adaptable, the Aussie is a good choice for those with more restricted living arrangements. However, he is fun loving and enjoys playing and therefore needs regular exercise to ensure he remains trim and fit. As with all dogs, early obedience training and socialization will ensure he develops into a charming and well mannered adult.

Like most terriers, he will want to be the boss so you need to assure him that that job is already taken!

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