Australian Terrier Care

The Australian Terrier--often called the Aussie (or "Aussie Terrier" to distinguish it from the Australian Shepherd)--is a small-sized breed with a rough, low-shedding coat and a scrappy, "large-dog-in-a-small-dog's-body" temperament. Overall Australian Terrier care and maintenance doesn't take too much work, and will consist mainly of dealing with these dogs' bold personalities.

Below you'll find plenty of details on caring for this breed: puppy development, exercise needs, shedding/drooling tendencies, and more are all covered here. Consider this page your definitive Australian Terrier guide--and read on!

Australian Terrier Breed Development

As a small-sized breed, Australian Terrier puppy development typically spans 14-16 months from birth to full maturity.

Physical Development: Aussie Terrier puppies grow steadily in height and length for the first 7-8 months, then those growth rates slow somewhat while the adolescent "fills out" by gaining muscle mass and fat. And when do Australian Terriers stop growing? These dogs normally reach their full adult size (an average of 10 inches at the shoulders in height and 14 pounds in weight) at 10-11 months.

Social Development: Aussie Terrier pups reach adolescence at about five months, sexual maturity at 8-9 months, and full mental maturity by about 15 months (though many will retain their playful puppylike behavior well into adulthood).

For specific milestones in Australian Terrier development, see the chart below.

(NOTE: The Aussie Terrier personality tends toward bossiness and dominance, so these dogs will be hard to handle if not taught proper behavior, hopefully in puppyhood. New owners will need to provide their Aussie Terriers with obedience training and socialization as early in the dogs' lives as possible. If an Aussie Terrier learns respectful behavior as a puppy, that learned behavior should continue as the dog matures.)

Australian Terrier Exercise Needs

These dogs are very active and energetic--but they're also small, so Australian Terrier exercise requirements aren't too extensive. Aussie Terriers will enjoy a lot of outdoor playtime, in addition to a couple of moderate daily walks.

The typical adult Aussie Terrier, depending on its age and overall activity level, will need about 45 minutes of proper exercise per day--which you can achieve with two walks and a good period of play. You can start exercising your Aussie Terrier puppy when it's ten weeks old by taking it on short (5-minute) leashed walks, then you can increase the walks' length and frequency as the puppy grows. And these early walks are a good opportunity to start teaching the puppy obedience, through leash training: have the pup walk beside or behind you on the leash instead of being allowed to lead or "tug" on it. This, in the puppy's mind, establishes you as the leader, and should make obedience training easier as the dog matures.

A few things to keep in mind when exercising your Australian Terrier: first, puppies younger than eight months old shouldn't participate in activities that include a lot of jumping, running on hard surfaces, or navigating of stairs, as doing so can injure their still-developing joints and bones. And regardless of age, all Aussie Terriers must be leashed when in public. Because of their history as vermin hunters, these dogs have very high prey drives, and tend to chase small critters--birds, squirrels, cats, even small dogs--if given the chance. Their terrier temperament also makes them defensive and confrontational with strange people and animals (especially larger dogs). A leash will help you control your Aussie Terrier in these situations. Even when exercising in your own yard, the area will need to be securely fenced to keep the dog from running off after potential prey.

Precautions aside, exercising your Aussie Terrier every single day is an absolute must. These dogs are lively, scrappy, and bold--and if bored or restless they'll turn into behavioral nightmares: they'll dig, bark, chew, and be complete nuisances in general. Consistent exercise will be great for the dog's peace of mind, and for your own sanity as well! A few exercise ideas:

  • Walking: Two 20-minute walks per day is a good target
  • Fetch: Can be played indoors or out; use the dog's favorite toy
  • Hide-and-Seek: Great indoor, rainy-day activity; give the dog a treat when it finds you
  • Canine Sports: Aussie Terriers can excel at obedience and agility trials and other events
  • Laser Pointer: These dogs will love chasing that "little red dot"

When indoors, it's a good idea to give your Aussie Terrier access to one or more balls or toys that will allow the dog to burn excess energy. It's also recommended that you establish a regular exercise schedule for the dog, such as walks after breakfast and dinner and a play period in the afternoon.

Australian Terrier Maintenance

In terms of shedding and drooling, these dogs don't need much care at all. Australian Terrier shedding is minimal, and drooling isn't an issue.

Aussie Terriers have medium-length, rough, double-layered coats that don't shed much. Owners can brush their Aussie Terriers once or twice per week to keep the shedding to a minimum; some also have the coats trimmed by a professional groomer to further reduce shedding and to keep the coats looking nice. Hair cleanup--vacuuming the floors and lint rollers on clothes and furniture--might be necessary once in a while for owners of these dogs, but it definitely won't be a regular chore.

And an Aussie Terrier almost never drools. If your Australian Terrier is drooling excessively, it's likely a sign of a medical issue, in which case a veterinarian's care is needed.