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The Pros and Cons of Owning an Australian Terrier

Updated on July 1, 2012
Kimber at 3 months
Kimber at 3 months


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!

Kimber and me (I'm hiding my face!)
Kimber and me (I'm hiding my face!)

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!

Kimber having her first driving lesson
Kimber having her first driving lesson

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!

I own this book and it's very helpful


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      2 years ago

      I have an Australian Terrier puppy...6 months. She is a social butterfly. I take her to the dog park all the time. I've even had someone tell me they hate little dogs but my dog "Sydney" was just too cute. She is very stubborn but very smart and easy to train. My husband hates dogs but loves her and loves she doesn't shed. Great dog!

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      4 years ago

      I would love to have an Aussie terrier puppy desperately, but I'm not quite sure where to buy one? Any tips or where you bought Kimber?

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      Denise T. of Colorado 

      4 years ago

      Kimber sounds awesome. I have two Australian Terriers and I might as well have written this article. Everything you said here is spot on. My little girl Aussie is named Fossie and sounds so much like Kimber. Wow is she smart and loving! I believe you have to have a certain personality to train and discipline these dogs since they have such strong personalities, but I too love that! Every day both my Aussies make me laugh and they love me to play with them. The things they do amaze and delight me all the time. Tug of war is one of their favorite games. I have a female and male and they are quite different in some ways. While my Aussies love children and people in general, they are not too fond of other dogs, especially the male. I bring them out in public quite a bit to Home Depot, traveling, etc. and people stop me all the time and kids squeal when they see how cute they are. I have owned dogs all my life and have had these two now for 11 years. They are still beautiful specimens and quite healthy. They are the most interesting, fun, loveable dogs I have ever owned. I am smitten by these dogs. I would keep buying more but most husband will only allow two! My dogs also make several different types of noises and "talk" all the time. I call them kitty-cat dogs because they kind of do a meow too. And they can climb and do acrobats every bit as good as a cat. One word of caution with this breed perhaps more than some other breeds of dogs, a prospective buyer should really make sure they are getting an extremely well bred Australian Terrier. I have heard horror stories about some poorly bred Aussies, they can be a mess. My female came from a litter that produced a national champion and she is exceptional herself. I love my Aussies! Thanks for your article.


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