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The Australian Terrier is the smallest working Terrier, which was bred to hunt and kill snakes and rats. It is a small and sturdy dog that has an easy-to-groom shaggy double coat. As a typical Terrier, it is prone to barking, chasing, digging and escaping. This active dog requires long exercise hours so it wouldn’t engage in unpleasant and destructive activities. The elderly and children have a special place in its heart.
Are you thinking of getting an Australian Terrier? Here is a brief background of this dog referred as the Aussie.
The smallest of the working Terriers, the Australian Terrier is said to have descended from a native dog called a Rough-Coated Terrier. This type, also related with the old Scotch dog from Great Britain, was crossed with other British Terriers in Australia. These included the Skye, the Yorkshire and the Black and Tan Terriers. Not to be confused with the Australian Shepherd, the Aussie was bred to hunt and eradicate snakes and rats. The breed was also used as shepherds, watchdogs and companion dogs.
The Aussie is the first native breed recognised and included in shows in the Land Down Under in 1868. It was under the name Australian Rough-Coated Terrier, which was renamed to Australian Terrier in 1897. The Kennel Club officially recognised it in 1933.
The Aussie weighs around 14 to 16 pounds and stands 24 to 26 centimetres at the withers. This small and sturdy pooch is long in proportion to its height. It has a long head with a flat skull and slightly-arched neck. It has small pricked ears free from long hair.
The Australian Terrier has a shaggy and rough weatherproof double coat that resists tangles and easily repels dirt and mud. The hair on the chest and head are longer than the rest of the body. It sheds very minimally and can be groomed easily. It can be brushed once a week and bathed only as needed. Once every three months is optimal as bathing it frequently will cause dryness and ruin the breed’s coarse Terrier coat.
Apart from taking care of your dog’s coat, make sure that its teeth are brushed regularly because small breeds are prone to dental issues. Also trim its nails, as well as look out for flees, skin irritations and other abnormalities.
Aussies are intelligent, confident, silly, and active. They have inherited most of the characteristics of a typical Terrier, which can be off-putting for some. They have a tendency to bark, chase and dig. They also love escaping and running away. They are bossy, stubborn and persistent. If you want a laidback and/or submissive dog, this breed is not for you. If you want a small yet effective guard dog, then this is a good choice.
It can act dominant so it is best to establish early that you are the pack leader. However, you will be pleased to know that it has an empathy towards the elderly, disabled and children. As with other dogs, close supervision is needed with young unruly kids. Learning can be easy for Aussies but repetitive lessons can become boring. Keep your trainings fun and challenging. Positive reinforcements will also help make trainings easy.
There may be particular pre-disposition when it comes to a breed’s intelligence and personality. However, environment, training and socialisation can also influence in raising a well-rounded dog.
A typical serving for this small dog is 1/2 to 1 cup of excellent quality dry dog foodper day. it is important to measure its food and avoid free-feeding to ensure a trim body size. Like in every breed, the amount of food and feeding frequency depend on your pet’s age, size, build, activity level and metabolism.
Typical calorie needs of adult Australian Terriers per day:
Australian Terriers as a small dog has specific needs different from large breeds. Choose high quality brands specifically made for small breeds. Experts recommend dry food as it promotes chewing to maintain good oral health, and keeps stool firm. This breed has a sensitive stomach and skin so inadequate diet can result to kidney and liver complications, intense itching, dry skin, and ear infections. Its diet should be mainly composed of high quality meat such as lamb, beef and chicken. Since all dogs require carbohydrates, avoid sources that contain gluten like corn, wheat and soy.
The average lifespan of Aussies is 12 to 15 years. They are generally healthy but prone to certain diseases and conditions. These include allergies, Patellar luxation, Diabetes mellitus, and Legg-perthes.
As active and energetic dogs, they need a significant amount of physical and mental exercises. Aside from long walks, playing at a securely fenced yard is needed. Make sure they are not alone as they have a tendency to dig and ruin your garden, as well as chase and/or kill small animals. They are also escape artists that can be challenging to catch.
The love and loyalty owners receive from their dogs are priceless. However, the reality is that dog ownership is costly. A rough estimate to care for an Australian Terrier will be £60 to £100 per month. The amount depends on the insurance coverage you choose, which can be around £17 for basic and £40 for lifetime. Food and treats cost about £45 a month. Essential equipment like crates, beds, leashes, collars, bowls, and others will be an additional £200.
In terms of maintaining the wellbeing of your dog, veterinary costs for initial and booster vaccination, regular health checks, and neutering/spaying can go as high as £900 per year. This does not include major veterinary procedures and long-term treatments in case your dog needs them.
Are you sure the Australian Terrier is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz
Still unsure if the Australian Terrier is a suitable dog for you? Take our quick Pet Finder to narrow down your dog breed choices.
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