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Australian Terrier

Terrier Group

The goals and purposes of this breed standard include: to furnish guidelines for breeders who wish to maintain the quality of their breed and to improve it; to advance this breed to a state of similarity throughout the world; and to act as a guide for judges.

Breeders and judges have the responsibility to avoid any conditions or exaggerations that are detrimental to the health, welfare, essence and soundness of this breed, and must take the responsibility to see that these are not perpetuated.

Any departure from the following should be considered a fault, and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.


The Australian Terrier and the Australian Silky (both toy-type breeds) share common ancestors. One version of the breed's history states it is a cross of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier, from which it gained the topknot; the Skye Terrier, from which it got its short legs, long coat and length of body; the Irish Terrier, from which the color of the reds and sandies came; and the Manchester Terrier, from which came the rich tan markings of the blue and tans. It is also said it was crossed with the Yorkshire Terrier to control the size. It is a typical terrier in character and temperament and an effective rodent killer and watchdog.

The Australian Terrier was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1969.

General Appearance

A sturdy, low-set dog, rather long in proportion to height. The desirable size is 10 inches high at the withers and 14 pounds in weight for adults. It has an untrimmed harsh coat, with a definite ruff around the neck, a docked tail and erect ears.


Essentially a working terrier, it is equally suited as a companion dog owing to its loyalty and even disposition.


The head is long and strong, full between the eyes, with a slight but definite stop.


The skull should be long and flat, not too broad and covered with a soft, silky topknot.


The muzzle is strong and powerful, as long as the skull, with clean, tight, black lips.


A full complement of strong, white evenly spaced teeth meet in a scissors bite with the upper incisors fitting closely over the lower.

Faults: Overshot or undershot bites.


The dark brown eyes should be small, oval in shape and set well apart, giving a keen expression.


The black nose is of moderate size, the leather extending to the bridge of the muzzle.

Fault: Flesh-colored nose.


The ears are small, erect, pointed, well carried and set on moderately wide. They are free from long hair and sensitive in their use.


Strong, of good length, slightly arched and flowing smoothly into sloping shoulder blades.


Shoulders are well angulated.


Forelegs are well boned and perfectly straight, parallel when viewed from the front. Pasterns strong and upright without slope.


Long in proportion to height, strongly constructed, with well-sprung ribs of moderate depth and width. Forechest is well developed. Level topline, strong loin, deep through the flank.


Broad, muscular and well angulated.


Stifles well turned and hocks well bent and let down. Viewed from behind legs should be parallel, neither too wide nor to close.


Small and round with compact, well padded, moderately arched toes. Feet turn neither in nor out. Dark nails.

Fault: Flesh-colored nails.


Customarily docked, set high and carried up but not over the back.


The coat should consist of a harsh, straight, dense top coat, approximately 2½ inches long, with short soft-textured undercoat. The forelegs are slightly feathered to the knee. Muzzle, lower legs and feet to be free from long hair.

Faults: Curly coat. Woolly coat.


Acceptable colors include Blue and Tan, and Sandy or Red.

Blue and Tan

the blue may be a dark blue, steel blue, dark gray blue or silver blue. The tan markings are as rich as possible on the face, ears, underbody, lower legs and feet and around the vent. The richer the color and more clearly defined the better. The topknot is silver or a lighter shade than head color.

Sandy or Red

May be any shade of solid sandy or solid red, the clearer the color the better.

Faults: White on chest or feet. All black coat (except in puppies). Runaway tan in the blue portion of the coat. Dark smut in Sandy or Red dogs.

Height and Weight

The desired height is approximately 10 inches for males, slightly less for females. Desired weight is approximately 14 pounds for males, slightly less for females.


The action to be free, springy and forceful. When viewed from the front, the forelegs move truly, without looseness of shoulder, elbows or pasterns. The hindquarters have drive and power, with free movement of stifles and hocks. Seen from the rear, the rear pasterns (from the hock joint to the ground) are parallel. They are neither too close or too wide.


(A dog with a Disqualification must not be considered for placement in a conformation event, and must be reported to UKC.)
Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid.
Viciousness or extreme shyness.

The docking of tails and cropping of ears in America is legal and remains a personal choice. However, as an international registry, the United Kennel Club is aware that the practices of cropping and docking have been forbidden in some countries. In light of these developments, the United Kennel Club feels that no dog in any UKC event, including conformation, shall be penalized for a full tail or natural ears.

UKC Breed Standards: Australian Terrier

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Official UKC Breed Standard

Revised April 15, 2007

©Copyright 1991, United Kennel Club