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australian dog breeds

Unique challenges in Australia resulted in some specific traits

If you are interested in the Australian dog breeds, you're probably wondering what makes them different. The Australian continent is quite different from any other on Earth. The 5 main cities around the coast are separated by huge distances, and the 'Red Centre' is vast, arid and dry.


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Most Australian dog breeds came about as working dogs, either to help with herding or for catching vermin, or for hunting. Their ancestors were imported from the U.K., and interbred for the characteristics needed for the job. Even the Australian Dingo was used to develop certain breeds. Of course, the Dingo is still a breed in its own right, although there is some debate about whether it is more wolf than dog. Read more about each breed by clicking on the links below!

Australian Dog Breeds

Australian Cattle Dog
(aka. Blue Heeler, Queensland Heeler)

This is one of the first Australian dog breeds that comes to mind, also called the Blue Heeler or Queensland Heeler. Bred to help drive cattle to market in Sydney over vast distances and rough ground, the Australian Cattle dog is tough, energetic and brilliant at keeping cattle in order. Click on the link below to find out more!

Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog

Australian dog breedsStumpy-tailed cattle dog

Recognized by the Queensland Kennel Club in 1918 as a separate breed from the standard Australian Cattle Dog, due to them having a natural 'bob-tail', the Stumpy Tail also has a bit of a different temperament.

They tend to come in Red or Blue (ie. grey) colors, with speckles. Despite the speckles, the Blue should have no sign of Red, and the Red should have no sign of Blue.


Australian Kelpie

Australian dog breeds - KelpieAustralian Kelpie

The exact origins of the Kelpie are shrouded in mystery and time, but like the Australian Cattle dog, they were developed by breeding imported Scottish Collie breeds with the local Australian Dingo.

They are used on sheep stations, and have developed the trick of jumping on a sheep's back for a short ride, or to scramble across several sheep at a time to get on the other side of the flock.


Australian Silky Terrier

Australian dog breeds - Silky Terrier

 The Silky Terrier was created in Sydney, Australia, by mixing the Yorkshire, Cairn, Dandie Dinmont and Skye terriers with Australian Terriers. Unlike all other terriers, the Silky was not bred to be a working dog, but rather a companion dog. Some sources claim that despite the domestic nature of the new breed, it retained some terrier instincts and was adept at killing snakes.

Australian Terrier

Australian dog breeds

Origins:  Australia
Size:  Small
Grooming: Average
Training:  Easy
Recognition: FCI:  Group 3,AKC:  Terriers, ANKC:  Terriers,CKC:  Terriers, KC:  Terriers, NZKC:  Terriers, UKC:  Terriers


Tenterfield Terrier

Australian dog breedsTenterfield Terrier

Origins:  Australia
Size: Medium
Grooming: Easy
Training: Average
Recognition:  ANKC:  Terriers,  NZKC:  Terrier


Australian Staghound

Australian dog breeds

Origin;  Australia

Bred by crossing the Scottish Deerhound with the Greyhound, the Australian Staghound was used for hunting by early European settlers in Australia.

This is not a single, distinct breed, but rather a type of dog. In England, they would be called a 'Lurcher', which is the product of crossing a Greyhound with any other breed.

They were never used to hunt Stag, but were used for hunting kangaroo and wild boar. Today they make good family dogs, but need space to exercise.


Australian Dog Breeds

Australian Dingo

The Australian Museum identifies the Australian Dingo as Canis lupus dingo, as opposed to the domestic dog which is Canis lupus familiaris, and the Wolf, which is Canis lupus lupus.

It has it's roots in the south Asian Grey Wolf, and is believed to have arrived in Australia around 5,000 years ago, with Asian sea traders. It's believed that humans first arrived in Australia around 30,000 years ago, so the Dingo arrived much later, not with the original migrants.

Bull Arab

Australian dog breedsThe Bull Arab

This an unusual breed of dog, bred specifically to hunt wild pigs. They were developed by crossing the Bull Terrier with German Short-haired Pointer and the Greyhound. They have a very acute sense of smell, and some dogs can detect a pig as much as 4 miles away.

They are then able to track the pig, sometimes for hours on end, before attacking the pig and pinning it to the ground.  Nowadays they are more likely to be family pets, despite having an undeserved reputation for aggressiveness. These are big dogs, and look a bit like the Bully Kutta from Pakistan.


Miniature Fox Terrier

Australian dog breedsMini Foxie puppy

This is a small terrier bred in Australia to tackle vermin. They were developed by crossing the English Fox Terrier with the Whippet and the Italian Greyhound. This combination makes them very fast. They are known as the 'Mini Foxie' in Australia.

Australian dog breedsMini Foxie adult

They are good in a family situation with older children, but should not be trusted with other small pets such as rabbits, gerbils or guinea pigs. They will go after anything that moves, and are tenacious and brave.


Australian Shepherd

Origins:  United States
Size: Medium to Large
Grooming: Average
Training:  Easy
Recognition: FCI:  Group 1, AKC:  Herding, ANKC:  Working, CKC:  Herding, KC:  Pastoral, NZKC:  Working, UKC:  Herding

This is not actually an Australian dog breed, but many people believe it is, so I include it here for completeness. Just click on the link below or the image above to find out the true story!

Australian dog breeds

I hope you enjoyed our short list of Australian Dog Breeds. Please tell us if you think we've missed an important breed, using the Contact Me link. Thank you!


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