Australian Terrier

  • Overview

    These small dogs generally don't weigh more than 14 pounds. Their legs are short and they stand low to the ground. Australian Terriers are the smallest of the working terriers, but despite their size, they make effective watch dogs. They are not yappy, but they do bark to announce all visitors. The Australian Terrier is an amusing little dog who appreciates a frequent amount of exercise. He works well as a pint-sized watch dog and enjoys active outdoor play. Although his natural coat does not require much grooming, owners will still have to commit some time to brushing and caring for this tiny terrier.

    View Grooming Diagram for australian terrier
  • Personality

    This plucky terrier loves to chase around the yard and sniff out adventure, whether indoors or out. They were bred to jump, run and dig out small prey. Australian Terriers still display many terrier characteristics. They are active dogs who enjoy taking on new challenges, so training is generally not too difficult. Although they can be stubborn, like most terriers, they are not as willful or high-strung as the terrier stereotype would suggest. They are also hard-working little dogs who will tenaciously attempt to please their masters. Their spunky personalities make them amusing companions. Aussies generally enjoy humorous, lively play and they move with a spring in their step. Early socialization is crucial for the Aussie. They can be a little bossy or snappy around other dogs and children, so they will appreciate becoming comfortable meeting new friends at a young age. Even with careful socialization, they do not always develop a comfort factor with other dogs and generally prefer to spend time with their human friends.

  • Coat Care

    Australian Terriers should have a casual, shaggy appearance to match their rough coat. They have a harsh, straight outer coat and a short, soft under coat. Their coats come in shades of blue, tan, sandy-liver and red. Australian Terriers are usually seen in a two-colored pattern similar to the Yorkshire Terrier's or in a solid red or light sandy shade. The hair on the Australian Terrier's ears is very short. They have a small top knot that covers the top most part of their heads and gives them a bed-headed appearance.

Australian Terrier
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Your little dog will need to be brushed and combed once a week to prevent his coat from looking to ragged or sloppy.

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With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.

The general rule of thumb for dog bathing is every three months but wire-coated dogs can be done with greater frequency, often within a four-to-six week range. The coat should end up fresh smelling, shiny, with no loose or shedding hair. First give the dog a good brushing to remove dead hair and mats. Place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet the dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last. Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes. Towel dry. The coat should be fresh smelling, with no loose or shedding hair.

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Hair Clipping

The Aussie's coat is kept natural, so trimming and clipping requirements are not onerous. If you plan to show your Aussie, his hair will need to be hand-plucked to make sure the coat retain its shape. If not, you will still need to strip his coat once or twice a year during shedding. Trimming around the feet and ears will help your Aussie look tidy and stay comfortable.

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Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.

Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience.  As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.

You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.

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Eyes / Ears

Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.

It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Wire coated dogs have sensitive ears covered in hair that  need to be checked weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face. West Highland Terriers and other small terriers with white coats are prone to developing tear stains around the eyes, so clean around their eyes with a cotton ball or soft cloth and use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around their eyes.

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Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.

Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.