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10 Australian Dog Breeds (with Pictures)

Nicole Cosgrove

May 21, 2021

Australia is a fascinating country known for its natural beauty and friendly people. When you think about the Australian environment and animals originating from the ‘land down under’, you probably think of kangaroos and koalas. However, Australia has also gifted the world with some incredible dog breeds.

You’ll probably be familiar with several of these dog breeds from Australia, but there may be a few on this list you’ve never heard of before. You may be surprised not to find the Australian Shepherd on the list. That’s because the Australian Shepherd breed of dog does not originate in Australia but was developed in the United States.

1. Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog
Image Credit: Best dog photo, Shutterstock
Size: Medium
Weight: 33-49 pounds
Coat: Short double coat
Colors: Blue, blue mottled, blue speckled, red mottled, red speckled
Temperament: Loyal & affectionate to its owners; cautious around strangers
Lifespan: 10-12 years

The Australian Cattle Dog is a herding breed originally developed to move cattle long distances across rugged terrain. This medium-sized breed with the short, double coat is intelligent, energetic, and independent.

This breed which is often called simply a Cattle Dog is a sturdy, muscular, breed that loves partaking in structured training. A Cattle Dog thrives when presented with interesting and challenging training that requires a great deal of focused attention. This dog forms a strong attachment to its owners and tends to be protective of them and their belongings.

The Cattle Dog needs a lot of mental and physical activity to stay happy and healthy and to prevent bored and destructive behavior. If you have a home with lots of room to run, and you can keep up with an active pooch, this breed may be right for you!

2. Australian Kelpie

Australian kelpie
Image Credit: Pixabay
Size: Medium
Weight: 29-42 pounds
Coat: Short double coat
Colors: Black, black and tan, chocolate, chocolate and tan, blue, blue and tan, fawn, fawn and tan
Temperament: Intelligent, easy to train, loyal to their family
Lifespan: 12-15 years

The Australian Kelpie or simply Kelpie is a medium-sized sheep dog that’s been exported across the world and used to herd sheep, cattle, goats, and other livestock. The Kelpie is a high-energy, intelligent, and independent breed with an innate ability to herd without much supervision.

The Australian Kelpie is at its happiest when it has a job to do. If you’re thinking of getting a Kelpie as a pet, it’s important to remember that this breed becomes bored easily and may make their own fun by engaging in destructive behavior. The good news is that the Kelpie is an easy breed to train and it responds well to positive reinforcement.

The Kelpie is capable of performing many dog sports, search and rescue work, scent work, and service dog duties. While the Kelpie can handle doing work with little supervision, this breed needs human companionship and direction. When left alone at home for extended periods, a Kelpie can get himself into a lot of trouble due to boredom.

3. Australian Silky Terrier

Australian Silky Terrier
Image Credit: Pixabay
Size: Small
Weight: 8-10 pounds
Coat: Straight, long, and glossy
Colors: Blue and tan, black and tan, gray and tan, silver and tan, silver, black and tan
Temperament: Friendly, inquisitive, alert, joyful, quick
Lifespan: 12-15 years

The Australian Silky Terrier or simply Silky Terrier is a small, compact, and short-legged terrier that’s alert and active. This is a little dog with a big personality that’s tough, confident, and loves human companionship.

Under the Silky Terrier’s feisty personality is a loving and loyal companion dog. This dog can live happily in an apartment, as long as it’s offered plenty of exercise. This breed does tend to bark so beware of that if you’re an apartment dweller who is thinking of getting this breed.

The Silky, as he’s called, is a gorgeous little dog with a beautiful, silky coat that behaves much like human hair. While this dog is elegant-looking, it has a big and bold personality and it isn’t afraid to ward off intruders and large breed dogs who enter its space.

Like a true terrier, the Silky is scrappy, tenacious, and fond of barking and digging. The Silky loves a good chase too and is quick to go after cats, squirrels, rodents, and even other dogs. That’s why you should keep your Silky leashed in unsecured areas to avoid having him disappear when something small and furry is around.

4. Bull Arab

Bull Arab
Image Credit: 3sby, Shutterstock
Size: Medium to large
Weight: 60-95 pounds
Coat: Short double coat
Colors: White with black, liver, tan, or brindle patches
Temperament: Calm, highly intelligent, loyal, easily trainable
Lifespan: 12 -15 years

The Bull Arab is an Australian dog purposely bred for hunting pigs. This short-haired, muscular dog has a calm temperament. This is a highly intelligent dog that’s easy to train.

This breed is well-suited for hunting, guarding, and farm living. It’s an independent breed that’s even-tempered and kind. Because it was developed to track wild pigs, the Bull Arab is often called the Australian Pig Dog or Aussie Pig Dog.

The Bull Arab is a tough and active dog that is known for its power, speed, and endurance. The breed is found primarily in Australia where it’s still used as a working dog to hunt wild pigs and other feral animals.

A Bull Arab is loyal, kind, and even-tempered, making this breed a great guard dog and companion. They’re friendly toward adults and kids they know and can make great family dogs. However, since this breed is designed to live an active lifestyle, a Bull Arab needs lots of exercise every day to keep it happy and well-behaved.

5. Koolie

tri merle koolie
Image Credit: Pixabay
Size: Medium
Weight: 33-49 pounds
Coat: Short double coat
Colors: Black, red, chocolate, black and white, red and white, tri-colored red or black with white markings and brown points
Temperament: Sweet-natured, devoted, active
Lifespan: 12-18 years

The Australian Koolie or Koolie is a working dog that’s known for its speed and stamina herding sheep and driving cattle. This is a sweet-natured dog that is devoted to its owners, making it a great family dog.

The Koolie is a newer breed that’s been around for less than 200 years. This breed was developed by crossing a blue merle Collie with a black and tan Collie. The breed got its name from immigrants from Germany in Australia who couldn’t pronounce “collie” and called the dogs “coolies’ instead.

A Koolie is a dog that’s often mistaken as shy or timid because this breed can be reserved around people it doesn’t know. The Koolie is a patient, loyal, and dedicated dog that’s equally committed to his work and his owners.

This dog is a bundle of energy and one that loves to walk, run, romp, and play. A Koolie makes an excellent running partner and enjoys brisk walks, hiking, swimming, and other activities that allow him to burn energy and show off his speed and stamina.

A Koolie may be a great pet for you if you’ve got the space for this dog to run. You should also have time available to partake in lots of activities that will keep this dog mentally and physically healthy. 

6. Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog

Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog
Image Credit: Yana Tinker, Shutterstock
Size: Medium
Weight: 32-45 pounds
Coat: Medium length to short
Colors: Red or blue speckled
Temperament: Intelligent, loyal, obedient, devoted, alert, courageous
Lifespan: 12-15 years

As the name suggests, the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog has a naturally docked tail. This breed of dog was developed to herd cattle and it also goes by the names Stumpy and Stumpy Tailed Heeler.

The Stumpy is a rugged, highly intelligent dog with prickled “stand up” ears and long legs. This dog is alert and watchful and very responsive to its owner and reserved around strangers. As a working dog, the Stumpy needs lots of physical activity that’s challenging both to its body and mind.

The Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog excels at dog agility, obedience, showmanship, flyball, frisbee, and herding events. A Stumpy requires consistent training and activity throughout its life. It makes a great family dog that is more than willing to join the gang for all types of fun activities outside the home.

This isn’t a breed that’s well-suited for apartment living in a big city as the Stumpy needs space to run free. If you have lots of space around you and want a four-legged companion to share your active lifestyle, the Stumpy may be a good fit for you.

7. Tenterfield Terrier

Size: Small
Weight: 7-10 pounds
Coat: Short
Colors: Tri-color, black and white
Temperament: Eager, confident, loyal, bold, fearless, alert
Lifespan: 12-14 years

The Tenterfield Terrier breed was developed from Miniature Fox Terriers that traveled with their British owners to Australia during the 19th century. This charming breed is a small dog that loves to run, jump, and play, making it a great family dog.

The Tenterfield Terrier is friendly, intelligent, outgoing, adaptable, and bold, even though it’s small in stature. This dog does best when it has a big yard to romp around in. Because of its high energy, a Tenterfield Terrier can be challenging to train but the breed does respond well to positive reinforcement.

Ideal for active owners who enjoy playing, walking, and even jogging with their dog, the Tenterfield Terrier thrives on outdoor activities. This makes it not ideal for apartment living, despite its small size.

8. Miniature Fox Terrier

Mini Fox Terrier
Image Credit: Kazz Smith, Shutterstock
Size: Small
Weight: 7-10 pounds
Coat: Short
Colors: Black, white, brown and tan
Temperament: Loyal, friendly, courageous, inquisitive, bold
Lifespan: 12-18 years

Known in its native Australia as the Mini Foxie, the Miniature Fox Terrier is a small, lightweight, working terrier developed to be a hunting dog and vermin router.

Miniature Fox Terriers are the smaller version of their cousins, the Fox Terrier. Although they’re smaller in size and weight, the Mini Foxie is faster than the Fox Terrier and has more hunting and chasing instinct in its blood.

Mini Foxies love adventures and are brave, explosive, and full of action. These dogs need to be well-trained as they will hunt for fun. This little breed also loves to roughhouse and investigate new things.

The Miniature Fox Terrier will want to be outdoors as much as possible, running, playing, and exploring. The Mini Foxie loves kids, making this breed a good fit for an active family.

9. Australian Labradoodle

Australian Labradoodle
Image Credit: Pixabay
Size: Medium
Weight: 15-25 pounds
Coat: Medium length soft fleece, wool, or hair
Colors: Chalk, cream, apricot, gold, red, black, blue, silver
Temperament: Intelligent, social, comical, gentle, playful
Lifespan: 12-16 years

The Australian Labradoodle breed dates back to the 1980s. It was developed with the idea of creating a breed with the temperament of a service dog that was allergy and asthma-friendly.

This breed is a cross between a Poodle, Cocker Spaniel, and Labrador Retriever. This is a highly intelligent and friendly breed that makes an excellent family dog. This dog takes to training very well because it’s eager to please and loves being the center of attention.

Australian Labradoodles make great therapy dogs due to their intelligence and gentle nature. With proper training and socialization, an Australian Labradoodle shouldn’t have any problem getting along well with both animals and humans.

This dog loves romping and playing just as much as it enjoys being close to its owners getting attention and cuddling. This sweet-natured dog with the allergy-friendly coat can live happily in both apartments and homes as long as it’s given plenty of opportunities for getting the physical activity it needs.

10. Australian Terrier

Australian Terrier
Image Credit: Pixabay
Size: Small
Weight: 14-16 pounds
Coat: Medium harsh textured
Colors: Blue and tan, red, sand
Temperament: Loyal, even-tempered, alert, spirited, courageous
Lifespan: 12-15 years

The Australian Terrier or Aussie as it’s also called is a small, sturdy, self-confident terrier known for its longish torso. This little dog makes an excellent watchdog. It’s an outdoor lover that enjoys digging and chasing small furry critters every chance it gets.

The Aussie is the result of interbreeding many terriers including the Cairn, Dandie Dinmont, Norwich, Scottie, Skye, and Yorkshire. The Australian Terrier was developed specifically to be a fearless rodent and snake exterminator.

This is a dog that doesn’t like to be neglected and it practically demands to be a part of the family. It’s a loyal, even-tempered dog that makes a good family pet. An Aussie loves playing and going on all types of outdoor adventures.

With its compact size and low-shedding coat, the Australian Terrier is a good choice for active apartment dwellers. If you’re looking for a watchdog, this breed is a good choice due to its loyalty and tendency to alert its humans when something’s amiss.


Featured Image Credit: K.A.Willis, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.

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