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Breed Information

The Australian Terrier is a small, sturdy, medium-boned working terrier, rather long in proportion to height with pricked ears and docked tail. Blue and tan, solid sandy or solid red in color, with harsh-textured outer coat, a distinctive ruff and apron, and a soft, silky topknot. as benefits their heritage as versatile workers.

Australian Terriers are sound and free moving with good reach and drive. Their expression keen and intelligent; their manner spirited and self-assured.


Their harsh coat resists matting and repels dirt and mud easily. The breed has a weatherproof double coat which sheds little and is suitable in any climate. Keeping their coat in good condition also keeps them cool in summer and warm and dry in cold or rainy weather. Their nails should be trimmed regularly to avoid overgrowth and cracking.

Working with a responsible breeder, those wishing to own an Australian Terrier can gain the education they need to know about specific health concerns within the breed.

Good breeders utilize genetic testing of their breeding stock to reduce the likelihood of disease in their puppies.

A Terrier in One Word?


They are feisty, tenacious and energetic.

Terriers project the attitude that they're always eager for a spirited argument.
They make wonderful pets but require an owner who has the determination and patience to match their dogs character.

Being a Terrier Owner is Not Easy! It requires a sense of humor, but for the right person, you couldn't ask for a better companion.

The word "terrier' comes from the Latin word "terra", which means earth. It was given to these tough little dogs because they were particularly skilled in tracking small game into the ground. Because of their alert personality and small size, terriers are very popular.

The Australian Terrier was originally bred toward the end of the nineteenth century in Australia. Busy newcomers needed a dog that could share their rugged lives, one who would help guard their homes and gold mines, who would control varmints, and withstand both the hot summers and wet, windy winters. With these qualities, they also wanted to add companionship, affection, and loyalty to their comparatively lonely lives.

The Australian Terrier is a tough, mischievous little dog with the courage of a much larger dog. It has boundless energy and is very loyal, showing great affection for its immediate family and its extraordinary intelligence makes it a responsive and very protective companion. It is an alert, amusing and lovable little dog. Spirited, curious, and self-assured, it has very keen hearing and eyesight, so it makes an excellent watchdog. The training of the Australian Terrier needs to be strict because this self-confident dog prefers to follow its own ideas, although they learn very quickly.

Own an Australian Terrier and you will never be bored!

Top Breeders Genetics

Can becoming a successful dog breeder really be that easy? No. But you have to start with facts and a strong platform for your breeding program. If this were a textbook, it would lead you through step-by-step lessons designed to build layer upon layer of knowledge so that you would really understand the opening sentence. Student or Master, you need only to read that sentence again, then follow along here.

You could buy dozens of dogs and try all the fancy methods but unless you understand and apply that maxim, you would surely go back to knitting or whatever creative thing you enjoyed before you decided to become a dog breeder. You could study genetics until you were conversant with terms like genotype, phenotype, and homozygous. You'd be convinced that you knew all there is to know about breeding great dogs. A lot of good people get only that far but if you have gone on, you find them boring because they just throw around terms like they understood them.


Hopefully, you caught on to this: while a great male brings a breeder glory, it is the bitch that sustains a breeding program. The strength of the sire is the power of the dam.

The problem for some is that the lesson seemed too simple, for others it was too much like work. For those who rely on statistical data; Bill and I are owner-handlers who don’t “network,” have no dogs at public stud and keep fewer than four breeding bitches, yet we’ve had over half of the Akita Hall Of Fame Producers including the #1 and #2 Sires and Dams. All of our Top Ten Producers broke existing show records and a few set new records which still stand today. The "power of the dam" has also enabled us to breed top winners and/or producers in three other breeds so it is not just a trite saying; we know where the power is and how to use it. You can do likewise.

So what's the secret? Well here it is. In the sixties, we noticed that most “dominant sires” (Dobermans, Rottweilers, etc.) produced greater numbers of outstanding bitches than they did sons. My mentor, Dorothy Gooch of Skyraider Dobermans, planted a seed that grew into a belief. The more I asked other breeders if these “genetic rules” applied in their breeds, the more convinced I became that it was indeed the dam of a great sire who passed on the most important breed characteristics. Taking it a step further, I observed that a stud was only as good as the bitches he served unless he was extremely dominant in which case, it was his daughters that would earn him a reputation as a great sire. Sachmo became the Top Sire of all Working Breeds having sired only 41 litters in his lifetime. Three decades later, thankfully, some correctly remember him for the long list of ROM bitches he sired rather than those 101 AKC Champions in the record books.

Now, through scientific advances of the nineties, aspiring breeders can really understand what “the strength of the sire” means. Now we may be able to prove much of what top breeders previously only “knew.”

Most people agree that the bitch has the greatest influence on a litter. The rationale has always been that it is she that nourishes and teaches the pups but we now have the technology to prove why she contributes so much to a breeding program.

I’ve always been fascinated by differences between dog breeders and livestock producers. The latter have exhaustive data on hardiness, weight, and reproductive ability (qualities not to be overlooked!) because cattle, pigs, chickens, etc. are an economic crop. Dairy farmers know how many gallons a heifer will produce at maturity based more on her mother or grandmother's record than on the herd sire. We who breed companion animals have had to muddle about without the economic incentives that spur great scientific advances.

The Breeder's Genetic X Factor

Now from the Thoroughbred Industry comes news of a genetic revelation. It is believed, and soon to be proven, that the female passes on intelligence and physical attributes through something called the “X Factor.” I was surprised to learn that the X chromosome is actually much larger than the Y (male) chromosome. Perhaps that is why it carries such a heavy genetic load! The female or X chromosome, is responsible for most of the highly desirable characteristics for which dog and horse people strive. If a mare gets the magic double X, she is even more empowered to reliably produce outstanding progeny, including great sires. What we dog breeders have learned from each other, geneticists are finally confirming.

So knowing that, how does one reach the pinnacle of success in dogs? There are two roads. The shortest route is buying and campaigning a great male. The other is buying a great bitch and using her wisely. It depends on whether one wants instant or long term gratification. Both goals are equally important, especially when it takes a sizeable budget to mount a successful campaign. A person may have to choose which goal is most satisfying because rarely is a person able to do both nowadays. The sport is healthy because there are dedicated fanciers who present outstanding breed specimens created by the most talented of breeders. It is a wonderful partnership.

With all the gnashing of teeth about over-population, less is going to have to be more. If you have discovered that your forte’ is study, nurturing, and creativity, then put your money and time into a great bitch that comes from a line of great bitches. She should become a ring star herself before being bred. You will have to think carefully if she is of a late maturing breed. The question of whether to breed her first or show her first is always a tough one.


But one thing is as certain as anything ever is when it comes to genetic formula, if she is from a line of powerful bitches, she’ll surely give you males that not only win, but with a little luck and planning, they too can pass on her qualities to your next generation. That is why “The Strength Of The Sire Is The Power Of The Dam.” He had a powerful dam.

by Barbara J. "BJ" Andrews

From Judge Sandra Goose Allen:

  • A Breeders job is to preserve the breed type. Breed type is defined by the standard. A Breeder does not improve upon the standard. You can improve your individual dog and line, but the standard sets the type.

  • There is only one correct type of Australian Terrier. It is defined by the standard. Dogs may diverge to a lesser or greater degree from the standard and still be recognized as an Australian Terrier.

  •  To really comprehend the standard, you must study, study, study, study it. Watch your competition and read everything that has been written on the subject. Seek out those who have been in the breed many years -the lessons they can teach you are invaluable.

  • Being objective is difficult - especially when you love your own dogs; however, you will never breed better dogs until you can evaluate them objectively, despite your affection for them. Never inflate the dog's quality in your mind just because it's all you have. Show it, finish it, but don't breed it.

  • I urge all Breeders to hold the best interest of the Australian Terrier paramount in your minds while striving for breed type. The standard is your bible. It is not the win today, but what comes out of the whelping box tomorrow that counts.



The Australian Terrier Club of America


The American Kennel Club


AKC Breed Standard


Puppy Application


Vaccination & Health Information

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