The AUSTRALIAN TERRIER and the Australian Silky Terrier, a toy breed, share the same ancestry. Both breeds were developed in Australia, a process that began in the early 1800s when a puppy from the mating of a pair of broken-coated dogs, blue with tan markings, was taken to England, when her owner emigrated from Tasmania. There this female was mated to a Dandie Dinmont Terrier and some of her offspring eventually came to Australia, taken there by a settler.

Then the experimenting began. It must be remembered that in the mid-19th century Australia was much more isolated from the rest of the world than it is today. And if the Australians wanted a dog of a particular type, they created it out of the materials at hand. Such was the history of the Australian Terrier. From the Dandie Dinmont it was given its topknot; from the Skye Terrier its short legs, long coat, and length of body; from the Irish Terrier the colour of the reds and sandies; and from the Manchester Terrier the rich tan markings of the blue and tans. It has also been said that there were several crosses to the Yorkshire Terrier, presumably to control size. The end product of all these crosses was a lively little dog of typical terrier character and temperament, an efficient rodent killer and watchdog. In short, just what the breeders wanted.

Within a few years these terriers were breeding true to type and made their debut in 1872 at a dog show held in Melbourne. In 1896 the first Australian Terrier Club was founded in that city and a breed standard draughted. Originally both the erect and drop ear was correct, and a slightly smaller dog was called for. The present standard was approved by the Australian National Kennel Council in 1961 and has remained the blueprint for the breed throughout the world.

First specimens were introduced to Britain in 1906, but it was to be another thirty years before the Australian Terrier was granted official recognition by The Kennel Club (England). First Canadian registrations were recorded in The Canadian Kennel Club Stud Book for the years 1936-1937. The breed’s most illustrious member was Australian-bred Ch. Tinee Town Talcbac who won a total of eleven Best in Show awards in his homeland and three all-breed Best in Show awards in the United States.