Australian Terrier

Last updated October 2009

A breed standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance including the correct colour of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed.

From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch information related to this breed for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However, if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as highly undesirable, it must not be rewarded in the show ring.

General appearance

A sturdy, low-set dog rather long in proportion to height. Untrimmed, harsh coat with definite ruff around neck extending to breastbone, assists hard bitten and rugged appearance.


Strong terrier character; alertness, activity and soundness. Essentially a working terrier, it is equally suited as a companion dog owing to its loyalty and even disposition.


Friendly, extrovert, obedient and anxious to please. Lives happily in town or country. Not aggressive but courageous if attacked.

Head and skull

Head long with flat skull of moderate width, full between eyes, with slight but definite stop. Muzzle strong but powerful, of equal length to that of skull, which should be covered with a soft, silky ‘top-knot’. Nose black, of moderate size, leather extending to bridge of muzzle.


Relatively small with keen expression and of dark brown colour, set well apart and not prominent.


Small, erect, pointed, well carried, set on moderately wide, free from long hair and sensitive in their use (puppies under six months excepted).


Jaws strong and punishing, scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.


Long, slightly arched, shapely and strong, blending into long, well-laid shoulders.


Forelegs well boned and perfectly straight, parallel when viewed from front. Pasterns strong without slope, slightly feathered to knee.


Long in proportion to height, strongly constructed, with well sprung ribs and chest of moderate depth and width. Level topline. Loins strong. Flanks deep.


Moderate length of quarters, broad with strong muscular thighs, stifles well turned and hocks well bent and let down. Viewed from behind, parallel, neither too wide nor too close.


Small, well-padded, toes closely knit and moderately arched, turned neither in nor out, with strong black or dark toenails.


Previously customarily docked.

Docked: Set high and carried erect but not over back.

Undocked: Set high and carried upright as straight as possible, giving good overall balance.


Free, springy and forceful. When viewed from front, forelegs move truly without looseness of shoulder, elbows or pasterns. Hindquarters have drive and power, with free movement of stifles and hocks. Seen from rear, legs from hocks to ground parallel, neither too close nor too wide.


Body coat consists of harsh straight dense top coat, approximately 6.35 cms (2½ ins) long with short, soft-textured undercoat. Muzzle, lower legs and feet free from long hair.


  • Blue, steel blue or dark grey blue, with rich tan (not sandy) on face, ears, under body, lower legs and feet and around the vent (puppies excepted). The richer the colour and more clearly defined the better. ‘Top-knot’ blue or silver of a lighter shade than head colour
  • Clear sandy or red, smuttiness or dark shading undesirable. ‘Top-knot’ a lighter shade


Height: approximately 25.5 cms (10 ins) at withers. Weight: approximately 6.5kgs (14 lbs).


Any departure from the foregoing points 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.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

*Note for prospective puppy buyers

Size – The Kennel Club breed standard is a guide and description of the ideal for the breed; the size as described does not imply that a dog will match the measurements given (height or weight). A dog might be larger or smaller than the size measurements stated in the breed standard.