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Australian Terrier - Temperament & Personality

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015
Australian Terrier


The Australian Terrier is the quietest breed of terrier. Eager to please and obedient, Australian Terriers, although less “yappy” than their counterparts, are spunky, scrappy, persistent and full of personality. Though tiny, these working dogs are sturdy and always vigilant, making them excellent watchdogs. And unlike other terriers, Australians can easily coexist with other pets.

Activity Requirements

Though Australian Terriers are small dogs, they require regular exercise. They were originally bred to be herders and hunters of small pests, so they are happy in a yard with room to run and chase toys or birds. Apartment dwellers can raise a happy terrier if they commit to walking their dog regularly, taking trips to the dog park and engaging in plenty of games of fetch.

Australians do well in families of all sizes and ages, so long as they are active. Children can help exercise Australian Terriers by playing fetch, or hiding toys for them to find in the yard.


Once firm leadership is established, Australian Terriers can excel in training. Though small and generally possessing the desire to please, Australian Terriers are also independent and like to be the boss. Early training and a confident air can teach the Australian who is really in charge of the home. Positive reinforcement and rewards are the best method to train this breed.

Like other breeds of terrier, Australians are quick to bark and quick to take a chase. Though they may listen to you one-on-one, if an Australian Terrier takes off after a small animal, he probably won't obey your commands to come home. For this reason they should be kept on a leash or in a fenced-in yard at all times.

Behavioral Traits

Australian Terriers were developed in Tasmania to be cattle herders and hunters of pests like snakes and rodents. Their small size made them excellent ratters, and their boundless energy and fearless nature made them excellent herders. These same drives to run and hunt are still found in modern Australians. If left to their own devices outdoors, they will dig and dig some more. They can exert dominance over small children, but proper training at an early age can prevent bad behavior.

Like other breeds of terrier, the Australian will bark early and often. But they tend to bark less than other breeds. They can be a bit reserved when introduced to a stranger, but generally maintain good manners.

They will coexist pleasantly with other pets, but like other breeds of terriers, the Australian can become aggressive toward dogs of the same sex.

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