The Australian terrier is small, sturdy and medium-boned; it is long in proportion to height. This is a working terrier that should exhibit a ground-covering gait and hard condition. Its weatherproof coat is made up of a short, soft undercoat and a harsh, straight, outer coat, about 2.5 inches long, shorter on the tail and lower legs. It sports a ruff around the neck and a topknot of longer hair adds to its keen, intelligent expression.
One of the quieter terriers, the Aussie is nonetheless a plucky, tough character, ready to go after a rodent when the chance arises. It is fun-loving and adventurous, and needs daily exercise to keep it from becoming frustrated. It is clever and generally eager to please, making it one of the more obedient terriers. It gets along fairly well with other dogs and household pets. It is reserved with strangers. Reflecting its earth dog heritage, it does like to dig.
The national terrier of Australia, this is one of the smallest of the working terriers. It was born in Tasmania, from various European breeds, and shares much of its background with the silky terrier. In Tasmania, the rough-coated terrier was an all-purpose companion, killing vermin and snakes, controlling livestock, and sounding the alarm at intruders. A cornucopia of breeds was crossed with this root stock, among them the precursors of the Skye, Dandie Dinmont, Scotch, Yorkshire and Manchester terriers. The result was a dog that was both useful and striking in appearance. The first of the breed was shown in the late1800s as a "broken-coated terrier of blackish blue sheen." The name was soon changed to the blue and tan, the toy, then the blue terrier, then in 1900 the rough-coated terrier, blue and tan. Although mainly known for its blue and tan coloration, a red or sandy color was also found among the early representatives of the breed. Soon after the breed had made its way to British show rings and homes, and by 1925 it had come to America. It received AKC recognition in 1960.
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