- 1 OVERVIEW OF THE AUSTRAILIAN TERRIER
- 2 AUSTRALIAN TERRIER FOOD AND HEALTH
- 3 LEASHES AND COLLARS FOR YOUR AUSTRAILIAN TERRIER
- 4 BEST CRATES, BEDS AND DOG HOUSES FOR AUSTRAILIAN TERRIERS
- 5 BEST TOYS FOR AUSTRAILIAN TERRIERS
- 6 GROOMING INSIGHTS FOR AUSTRAILIAN TERRIER OWNERS
- 7 BEST AUSTRAILIAN TERRIER ACCESSORIES
OVERVIEW OF THE AUSTRAILIAN TERRIER
This little working terrier is spirited, intelligent, and lively. The Australian Terrier’s shaggy coat and pointed ears match their mischievous personality, and they have loads of personality tucked in their small stature. With a height of only 10 to11 inches and a weight of 14 to 16 pounds, they are both happy-go-lucky and ready to protect their human family with a big-dog attitude.
As true terriers, they love digging and were bred in Australia to hunt rodents and snakes. If you are pedantic about your well-manicured garden and have pet hamsters or rabbits, this breed might not be the perfect match for you. Since they’ll dash off to chase squirrels or rodents instinctively, it’s essential to keep them in a well-fenced yard and to keep them on a leash when going for walks.
They have a lot of energy bundled in a small package and need to get out for walks and play daily to prevent them from acting out at home and becoming bored. They do well in obedience, agility, and earth dog competitions and are always ready to join you for an adventure.
Australian Terriers are great family dogs. They are extremely loyal and affectionate with children and the elderly. They can be possessive over their pet parents, and that means even other dogs in the household may get bossed around by your terrier.
Since they are low-shedders and easy to groom, they can be good apartment pets. They will only adapt to apartment life, however, if they get out a lot to play, run and expend all their energy. They will bark, and let the entire apartment block know you haven’t taken them out for their daily walks if you fail to do so.
Australian Terriers are smart and will catch on to whatever you teach them. If you allow bad behavior, they will most likely continue to do it throughout their adult life, so teach them good manners from a young age. Keep it interesting. The little Aussie can get bored with repetitive training. Always use positive reinforcement with encouragement, praise, and treats. Despite thinking they are twice their actual size, these pups can be sensitive and should never be trained with harsh or forceful methods.
If you’re thinking of welcoming an affectionate and happy Aussie companion to your home, here’s what you need to know.
AUSTRALIAN TERRIER FOOD AND HEALTH
Although Australian Terriers are generally healthy dogs, ailments sometimes experienced in the breed are patellar luxation, diabetes, and Legg-Perthes.
If you are buying a puppy from a breeder (as opposed to adopting one), make sure the breeder is reputable and can show you health clearances for the puppy and the parents. This will prevent the likelihood of genetic diseases and common ailments.
Patellar luxation generally affects the hind legs and is common in smaller dog breeds. It happens when the knee joint slides out of place and can cause crippling pain. Patellar luxation can be treated with anti-inflammatories and sometimes with a leg brace and physical therapy. In severe cases, leg surgery may be required. Many dogs that experience patellar luxation go on to live happy, healthy lives after treatment.
Legg-Perthes disease affects their hind leg joints and is thought to be hereditary or possibly due to injury. The head of the femur bone does not receive enough blood supply which causes it to collapse or become deformed. Legg-Perthes can be successfully treated with surgery.
Diabetes mellitus presents itself with similar symptoms in dogs as it does in humans. Your pup will have increased thirst, urinate more frequently, have an increased appetite, and display weight loss. The condition can be controlled through diet and insulin.
Other conditions to be aware of in Australian Terriers are allergies. These can be food, inhalant, or contact allergies. Always be aware of irregularities such as rashes, breathing difficulties, itchy skin, or an upset stomach.
To keep your dog healthy and your vet’s bills down, it is important to keep their weight in check. Ensure that your pet pal gets enough exercise and monitor their diet carefully. Avoid feeding them table scraps and take their snacks and training treats into account when determining their daily calorie allowance.
Although the amount of food your dog needs will depend on their activity level, age, and weight, an adult Australian Terrier generally requires half to one cup of dry food divided into two meals. Make sure your pet pal gets high-quality food with all the nutrients they need.
When feeding your dog dry food you can optionally wet it with some pet gravy. Lean meat such as deboned, skinless chicken, or fish with some sweet potato or rice are good cooked options for adult dogs.
Puppies should only get puppy-specific formulas and never adult food. The packaging will give you an indication of the quantity according to their age and weight.
Be careful when giving your Aussie human food. Check that the ingredients are safe for dogs to eat since many foods are toxic to dogs. These include onions, garlic, raisins, grapes, xylitol, chocolate, and caffeine, among others. High-sodium, high-fat and sugary foods should be avoided.
LEASHES AND COLLARS FOR YOUR AUSTRAILIAN TERRIER
Your Australian Terrier should get at least 30 minutes of vigorous walking and playing daily in one or two sessions. Socialize your pet pal from an early age so they can get used to other dogs and people.
With their inherent chase instinct, it is essential to always keep your Aussie on a leash when out for walks. Using a back-clip harness is the best option for these small dogs. The harness-style leash eliminates any pressure against the dog’s throat or neck which is usually experienced with a collar. The pressure from a leash attached to a collar can cause permanent damage to your pup’s trachea, thyroid, or neck, and restrict blood flow.
If you want a collar for your pet, use it for an identification tag. Remove it in the evenings or when you are at home. Leaving the collar on permanently can cause hair to fall out, bald patches around the neck, rashes, or infections.
Check the size of the collar and harness daily as your puppy grows. Upsize as needed before it becomes too tight and causes choking or pain.
BEST CRATES, BEDS AND DOG HOUSES FOR AUSTRAILIAN TERRIERS
These little Aussies are companion dogs who love spending time with you. Their small size and low shedding nature make them ideal indoor pets who will most certainly want to sleep indoors with their human family.
Even if an outdoor dog house won’t be necessary for this pup, a crate can be useful for training and serve as their own indoor den. If you decide to get a crate, make it comfortable for your pet pal with a blanket or mattress and a soft toy. Although used for training, do not use it as punishment. Keep it a positive space for your Aussie where they can retreat for a nap.
A soft crate cover can turn it into a cozy evening hideout. Make sure the cover has a flap door so your pet pal can easily enter and exit as needed. When choosing a crate you need to make sure it has good airflow and that it is big enough for your fully grown pet to move around and stand without any restriction. Keep in mind that their mattress will also take up some space.
There is a wide range of dog beds for small breeds. They come in different styles, fabrics, shapes, and colors. Odor-resistant beds with a removable cover for washing are the most convenient. If your dog suffers from joint problems, look into an orthopedic bed or memory foam option for extra joint support.
BEST TOYS FOR AUSTRAILIAN TERRIERS
Besides their daily walk, Australian Terriers need some entertaining playtime with their family.
If you have a puppy, be sure to get some teething toys. These give them something rather than your shoes to chew on to help relieve aching and itchy gums. Some types can be frozen which helps with inflammation, while others are flavored or textured.
Older dogs will also enjoy rubber chew toys or flavored ropes. Teeth cleaning toys have small nodules that assist with removing plaque, however, they are not a replacement for brushing.
An outdoor agility training kit is a fun way for your pup to expend all its energy while jumping through hoops and over poles. This will keep your Aussie mentally and physically engaged. Depending on the set you get it may include tunnels and plastic hoops as well as weave and jump poles.
Erratic balls and Kongs make a game of fetch even more fun with their unpredictable bouncing styles. Some snowman-shaped Kong fetch toys hold a treat inside. Once your terrier retrieves and returns the toy to you, it can be rewarded with a treat.
If your pet pal loves water, consider a splash mat or outdoor pet pool if you live in a warm climate. The splash mat connects to a regular garden hose and sprays fountains of water across a non-slip surface for your pet (and your kids) to run through.
GROOMING INSIGHTS FOR AUSTRAILIAN TERRIER OWNERS
Australian Terriers have a weatherproof double coat that comes in either tan (with a blue saddle), red or sandy. Although the undercoat is soft, the top coat is rough. This gives them a somewhat shaggy look, however, it serves to repel dirt naturally which means bathing often is not necessary.
If you bathe your Aussie too much the shampoo will soften their coat which renders its natural dirt-shedding capability ineffective. It can also cause the skin to become dry and flaky. Bathe them when they are dirty or around once every three months. If your pet pal loves rolling in smelly things, they’ll need a wash more often.
Your terrier does need weekly brushing to keep its coat in good shape and to remove dirt and dead or loose hair. The long hair that grows between their eyes can sometimes cause irritation so you will need to trim or pluck these if needed.
Use a pin brush for brushing and be gentle against sensitive areas such as their legs, belly, whiskers, and ears. When brushing your pet pal weekly, check their eyes, skin, mouth, and ears for any redness, sores, or infections. This will allow you to treat irregularities before they turn into something serious.
Clip your puppy’s nails once a month if they are not worn down naturally. Dogs have blood vessels in their nails which makes this a little tricky so you may want to get a professional groomer to do this for you.
Brush your dog’s teeth daily with dog-specific toothpaste. This will help prevent tartar build-up and gum disease. Don’t ever use your own toothpaste to brush your dog’s teeth as it can make them very ill.
Dogs can be finicky about having their paws, mouth, and ears touched. Get your dog used to being groomed and checked from a young age and always make this a positive experience with plenty of encouragement. If they are not used to being checked and groomed, vet visits and grooming will likely be unpleasant for everyone when they’re older.
BEST AUSTRAILIAN TERRIER ACCESSORIES
Your pet pal’s double coat protects them from the elements and water, however, the same can’t be said for your car’s upholstery. If you and your pet pal enjoy days at the beach or lake, get your pal a drying coat. This will keep your car upholstery from getting wet when it’s time to head home. The coat fits your pet almost like a dog jacket and is made from absorbent toweling fabric. Make sure the one you buy is also machine washable.
Get a pet portable water bottle for hikes. The water bottle lid forms a small drinking bowl so you don’t have to carry a bulky water bowl with you to keep your pet hydrated. Foldable water and food bowls are also an option that can fold flat into your backpack.
If you are often out for a walk in dim light conditions, keep your Aussie visible to traffic and people with a leash and harness that feature reflective strips. A reflective collar can also do the trick.
To learn more about small breeds like the Australian Terrier, check out our breed hub page.