The Top 9 Australian Dog Breeds for Fans

Australian cattle dog

The hard-working cattle dogs or ferocious dingoes may come to mind when you think about Australian dog breeds. It turns out that Australia gave rise to a large number of breeds. However, don't be shocked if the Australian shepherd isn't recognized as a native dog of Australia; despite its name, this well-known breed was developed in the United States.

What Is an Aussie Dog?

While the Australian shepherd is the most popular breed of dog to be referred to as a "Aussie dog," the continent is also home to a number of other closely related dog breeds, including Kelpies, Koolies, and Australian cattle dogs. Numerous Australian breeds are energetic working dogs that fit very well with busy households.

An Australian working breed can be a perfect choice for you if you like outdoor experiences and have the time to provide the exercise, mental stimulation, and training that these dogs require.

Here are 10 dog breeds that originated in Australia.


Some individuals buy a dog to accompany them on morning runs, while others want a dog to curl up with at home. Make sure the breed of dog you buy is appropriate for your level of energy. Otherwise, you risk getting a sad or destructive dog.

  • 01 of 09

    Australian cattle dog in leaves

    These canines, sometimes known as blue heelers, are renowned for their working instinct and distinctive heel-nipping of cattle. England was the first country to bring livestock dogs to Australia. They were unprepared for the sweltering heat and the wide, desert region they had to traverse. To become tough, tenacious, and smart cow dogs, they were bred with various breeds, notably wild dingoes. This breed is not suitable for inexperienced or inactive owners. They are motivated, active, and enthusiastic. They are most comfortable spending the majority of the day outside, having a task to complete, or taking part in dog sports. They are excellent in flyball and agility. They are incredibly intelligent, devoted, and ready to please, making positive teaching techniques effective with them. You may need to concentrate on reducing improper chasing and herding behaviors because of their tendency to crowd.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Herding (AKC)

    Height: 17 to 20 inches

    Weight: 35 to 50 pounds

    Coat and Color: Smooth, hard double coat; color is usually blue, blue mottled, or blue speckled; also comes in a less common red speckled variety

    Life Expectancy: 13 to 15 years

  • 02 of 09

    The Aussie terrier is a working vermin hunter that originated in Britain, just as the blue heeler. The extremes of the Australian terrain and weather were difficult for those terriers to handle. The outcome was a tough Aussie terrier with an easy-to-maintain coat who was also full of courage and self-confidence. They were Australia's first native breed to get official recognition. They are still well-liked now because of their outgoing personalities and people-oriented mentality. They are a loving, intelligent, high-energy terrier. Aussie terriers have a strong hunting drive, a love of digging, and can be difficult to socialize with other dogs.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Terrier (AKC)

    Height: 10 to 11 inches

    Weight: 15 to 20 pounds

    Coat and Color: Rough outer coat and smooth, shorter undercoat; three main colors are blue and tan, solid sandy, and solid red

    Life Expectancy: 11 to 15 years

  • 03 of 09

    Silky Terrier

    The Yorkshire terrier, which is more well-known and smaller, is frequently confused with the silky terrier. They have a tight connection: In Australia in the early 20th century, one of the key breeds that contributed to the development of the silky was the Yorkie. This breed has a lovely, long coat akin to a Yorkie and is smaller and less rough than an Aussie terrier. Although they are people-oriented, silkies should not be confused for lapdogs. They are highly intelligent, independent, and active. They will need instruction and a place to channel their need to dig, as befits their terrier ancestry. In addition, they tend to be talkative, have a high hunting drive, and seem reserved towards strangers. Compared to the Aussie terrier with a rough coat, its coat will require more maintenance.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Toy (AKC)

    Height: 9 to 10 inches

    Weight: About 10 pounds

    Coat and Color: Long, straight coat in blue and tan

    Life Expectancy: 13 to 15 years

  • 04 of 09

    Australian Kelpie

    A sheep-driving breed known as a kelpie developed quite similarly to the Australian cattle dog. They were bred with dingoes to create a tougher working dog, and they are derived from Scottish border collies. The smaller Kelpie is more mild-mannered, less intense, and not as whip-smart than the Australian cattle dog, with whom they share many characteristics. They do not fit in a home where everyone is sedentary. They are extremely energetic, have great stamina, and have a strong drive to work and herd.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Herding; not officially recognized by the AKC (as of 2021) but allowed to participate in the herding category for trials (as of 2015)

    Height: 17 to 20 inches

    Weight: 25 to 45 pounds

    Coat and Color: Double coat with hard, straight, short, water-resistant topcoat; coat colors come in black, black and tan, red, red and tan, fawn, chocolate, and smoke blue

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

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  • 05 of 09

    Tenterfield Terrier

    The Tenterfield terrier is related to vermin-hunting terriers that British immigrants in Australia brought over, just as the silky and Aussie terriers. Rarely seen outside of Australia, this breed resembles the or the Jack Russell very closely. In and around the New South Wales town of Tenterfield, these terriers were extensively bred. They are closely linked to the small fox terrier, another native breed of Australia; it is simple to mix up the two kinds. They are affable, flexible, brave, devoted, and fun. These dogs are frequently belligerent, have a strong desire to hunt, and have an independent streak. The breed is acknowledged by the Australian National Kennel Council but not by the AKC.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Terrier (ANKC); not recognized by the AKC

    Height: 10 to 12 inches

    Weight: 7 to 10 pounds

    Coat and Color: Short, smooth, single coat mostly in white with black, tan, or liver markings; tricolors also common

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years

  • 06 of 09


    One of the oldest dog breeds in the world is the dingo. Their earliest fossils are around 3,000 years old. Modern dingoes have not experienced selective breeding, therefore they still resemble their progenitors in terms of morphology and feral attitude. The taming and domestication of this stray dog, as well as its appropriateness for keeping as pets and potential effects on the wild population, are still hotly debated topics. In several areas of Australia, it is against the law to possess them. It is ideal to have grown them from a puppy if they are to be maintained as pets. These independent, sharp dogs require lots of room, activity, and excitement. Although they don't often bark, they may be wanderers and develop close relationships with their group. If they go removed from the group or if their routine is altered, they become quickly upset.

    Breed Overview

    Group: None (feral)

    Height: 20 to 23 inches

    Weight: 30 to 40 pounds

    Coat and Color: Can have a thick double coat or a short single coat; most common color is ginger, but options include black and tan and creamy white

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years (in captivity)

  • 07 of 09


    The Koolie is a working or herding dog that has been present in Australia since the early 19th century. It was developed from working dogs from Britain that were imported. Its name is probably a corruption of "collie." It resembles border collies very much. The Koolie is primarily a skilled herding dog with the inclination to circle sheep a great distance before returning them to their owner. The quiet, upright worker canines known as Koolies. They have warmth, agility, loyalty, and patience. They are useful for keeping an eye on the flock while lambs are being born or when wool is being collected.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Not recognized by any kennel clubs

    Height: 16 to 24 inches

    Weight: 33 to 53 pounds

    Coat and Color: Short, medium, and (rarely) long coats; red or blue merle, solid (red, chocolate, or black), or bicolored

    Life Expectancy: Up to 18 years

  • 08 of 09

    Miniature Fox Terrier

    The miniature fox terrier was created as a hunting dog and vermin hunter. It is a little, beautiful, lightweight working terrier. It is referred to as the little foxie in Australia. It resembles the Jack Russell, rat terrier, or American very much. It was created to eradicate rats. It's quick, nimble, and playful. It's a wonderful pet for both old and young families.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Not recognized by any kennel clubs

    Height: 9.5 to 12 inches

    Weight: 7 to 12 pounds

    Coat and Color: Short, fine coat; black, white, brown and tan

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 18 years

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  • 09 of 09

    Bull Arab

    The bull Arab, also known as the Australian pig dog, is a pig-hunting dog created to find pigs from great distances, drag them to the ground, and hold them down by the ear. The name was taken from its lineage, which included and the Middle Eastern sighthound saluki. It is muscular, short-haired, and medium to big in stature. Arab bulldogs are devoted family pets.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Not recognized by any kennel clubs

    Height: 24 to 27 inches

    Weight: 70 to 92 pounds

    Coat and Color: Smooth, short coat; predominantly white with patches of colors, including include liver (with a red nose), black, red, buckskin, blue, silver, tan, and brindle

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

Breeds to Avoid

The majority of Australian breeds are most suitable for active individuals that hike frequently and cover a lot of terrain. For first-time dog owners or those who lead more sedentary lifestyles, these high-energy canines might not be the best choice. You should seek for a high-energy puppy if you want an Australian shepherd-style dog. Avoid low-energy dogs like Cavalier King Charles spaniels, Chihuahuas, or dachshunds who spend the most of the day curled up in a lap.