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 homeleand and three all-breed
Best in Show awards in the United States.