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The Pros and Cons of Owning an Australian Terrier
Last year when my husband and I bought our first house we figured it was a good time to get a dog (It seemed like the logical next step for newlyweds who weren't ready for kids!). Now, to be perfectly honest, the dog was more for my husband than it was for me. I had dogs growing up, but they were outside dogs and I never really bonded with them. I thought (thought being the operative word) I just wasn't a dog person. But regardless of that, I knew I would feel safer having a dog around, especially when my husband was gone with the Coast Guard Reserves. Thus we began the dog hunt. Naturally, my husband sat on the couch while I did tons and tons of research on different breeds, types of care, and local vets. I've always liked small dogs and wanted one that would be intelligent, loyal, good with kids, and also be protective. I found that terriers tend to hold those characteristics so I started focusing on small terriers. One day I stumbled upon an article about Australian Terriers and I fell in love. They are one of the smallest terriers, held all the qualities I wanted, and were super adorable! On top of that, they were in our price range (Let's be honest, I was not about to drop a couple grand on a dog!). So I found a breeder, picked out the only little girl in the litter, named her Kimber, and the rest is history! I've now had her almost one year and couldn't be happier. But like anything in life, there are pros AND cons, so here they are...
Pro: They are Good with Families and Other Dogs
Kimber is such a social butterfly! She loves when we have people over or bring her to someone's home. She also plays well with children. She doesn't bombard them or overwhelm them. My little nieces and nephews adore her! She also gets along really well with other dogs. We take her to a local dog park sometimes and it is like Disney World to her. She must meet and converse with every single dog as well as their owners. She's kind of like the most popular dog there and it's pretty entertaining to my husband and me!
Con: They Can be Pretty Hyper
If you are looking for a calm, easy going lap dog, an Australian Terrier might not be the right choice. Pretty much any dog that has "terrier" in the name is going to have a big personality. Not everyone wants that in a dog and that's perfectly fine. I actually love her spunkiness and the fact that she loves to be athletic. Also, as she's gotten older, she's gotten calmer. So if you have a puppy, there's hope for the future!
Dogs with hyper personalities tend to need a little more discipline though. I had to work with Kimber a lot to get her not to jump on people. You have to be very strict with them or they'll run over you, literally! I feel like this is one of the reasons dogs make great practice for kids!
Pro: They are Smart
I am constantly being amazed with how smart Kimber is. She enjoys learning tricks and catches on very quickly. Our dog knows how to sit, stand, jump, drink, go inside, go outside, and stay, all on command. She also picks up on behavior, like when I'm packing she knows she's going to get to go somewhere or when we get our car keys, she wants to go on a drive. She makes me want to take the time to work with her because she enjoys it. Right now we're working on fetch. She's great at going to get the ball, and she brings it back, she just doesn't want to let go of it. She would much rather play tug of war than drop the ball (I have a hunch that's partly my husbands fault. Why are men obsessed with aggressive games?).
Con: They are Loud Mouths
My goodness, Kimber is the most vocal thing in our family! She loves to talk! She barks the most when she's outside and hears another dog, or when we bring her inside after she's been by herself for a while. The good news is that after a few minutes she calms down. We thought about putting one of those bark collars on her but besides it being painful, I didn't want her to be afraid to bark if there was an intruder or something. So I made the choice to just put up with the occasional racket. Besides the barking, she has about twenty other noises she makes. It's actually pretty hilarious! I swear she understands me because it always seems like she has the correct responses. She's always entertaining to be around!
Pro: They are Protective and Loyal
One of my concerns when we first had Kimber was that she was too friendly. Don't get me wrong, I want her to get along with other people and dogs, I just didn't think she'd be a very good watch dog. Well, I was wrong! Not too long ago my husband and I went away for the weekend and didn't take Kimber. I had my sister come by and play with her and feed her twice a day. My sister said when she came up to the the gate and tried to open it, Kimber was growling like a fifty pound Rottweiler! It made me feel good to know that if someone was trying to get into her territory, she would protect it. I've also been on walks with her at night and she growls if she can hear but not see a person approaching. So even though Australian Terriers can't exactly take down a grown man, they will at least alert you to a potentially dangerous situation, and I consider that a pro.
In a Nutshell...
Given these pros and cons, I would personally recommend an Australian Terrier to almost anyone. As I said earlier, I thought I wasn't a dog person. Boy was I wrong! I love Kimber like a family member! I love to cuddle with her, take her on walks, and play with her. She's always happy to see me when I get home and just brings a smile to my face. If you own, or would like to own, an Australian Terrier, please leave me a comment! I don't know anyone else that owns one so I'd like to hear some other feedback and experiences! Thanks for reading!