The Australian Terrier is one of the smaller dogs in the terrier group. The dogs have short legs and a long head. The ears are erect and pointed in a V-shape, the small eyes are dark brown or black and the nose is black.
The tail is set high and erect and may be docked for working terriers (tail docking is outlawed in many countries in Europe, with the exception of working dogs).
The Australian Terrier’s feet are small and similar to those of a cat with black nails. The weatherproof double-coat features a harsh, coarse outer coat and a soft and short undercoat. Coat colors include blue and tan, sandy and red, and may include black points or markings.
Its weatherproof coat is made up of a short, soft undercoat and a harsh, straight, outer coat, about 2.5 inches long, shorter on the tail and lower legs. It sports a ruff around the neck and a topknot of longer hair adds to its keen, intelligent expression.
One of the quieter terriers, the Aussie is nonetheless a plucky, tough character, ready to go after a rodent when the chance arises.
It is fun-loving and adventurous, and needs daily exercise to keep it from becoming frustrated.
It is clever and generally eager to please, making it one of the more obedient terriers. It gets along fairly well with other dogs and household pets. It is reserved with strangers. Reflecting its earth dog heritage, it does like to dig.
These dogs are tough and have great confidence. They are energetic and active, yet loyal to their family members and curious. They have superior senses of sight and hearing, making them excellent watch dogs.
Australian Terriers need a daily walk and/or play to expel energy. They should be exercised in a safe or enclosed area because of their instinctive desire to chase small prey.
One version of the breed's history states it is a cross of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier, from which it gained the topknot; the Skye Terrier, from which it got its short legs, long coat and length of body; the Irish Terrier, from which the color of the reds and sandies came; and the Manchester Terrier, from which came the rich tan markings of the blue and tans. It is also said it was crossed with the Yorkshire Terrier to control the size.