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10 Australian Dog Breeds and Their Portraits

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Aussie dogs are a bit like Aussie people. They’re friendly, engaged and seem like they’ve just had a good cup of coffee. In other words, Australian dog breeds, like the Australian Cattle Dog for example, have a wagging tail work ethic.

You could say working hard on the job has been bred into their DNA because most Australian dog breeds were bred to work… Their professional repertoire included catching vermin, wild boar and of course herding.

Let’s take a look at this all-star Aussie line-up of canine companions.

Australian dog breeds that make us ruffing proud

All the dogs in Australia are bred from dogs that arrived with settlers. And as we mentioned, most of them came here to catch pests or herd farm animals. But since then these perky pups have branched out and become household pets too.

And of course, they retain that vivacious hard-working spirit!

Here are the 10 furbulous Australian dog breeds (do you know them all?)…

1. Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog

This Australian dog breed just loves getting the job done. It’s able to work independently on herding its cattle, but will also guard you and your property.

Perhaps because it’s made for wear and tear and the great outdoors, its coat is sometimes called “wash and wear”. That’s a thumbs up for low grooming pet care needs.

Dog groupWorking dogs
Average life span13 – 15 years
Originally bred forHerding cattle (especially in harsh terrain for long distances)
Common health concernsDeafness, blindness and cruciate ligament tears
Other namesACD, Cattle Dog, Blue Heeler, Red Heeler, Queensland Heeler

Read more about the Australian Cattle Dog here.

2. Australian Kelpie


One of the world’s oldest pups was an Australian Kelpie named Maggie. She lived until the ripe old age of 133 in dog years or 30 in human years. Maggie hailed from Woolsthorp VIC, where she belonged to a dairy farmer.

Thanks for all that full cream milk you helped your farm produce, Maggie! It went into many cakes and cups of tea and coffee that were certainly yum and moreish. 10 points for Australian dogs…

Dog groupWorking dogs
Average life span12 – 15 years
Originally bred forHerding sheep, cattle and goats (with very little guidance)
Common health concernsThis is a fairly healthy breed of dog
Other namesBarb, Farmer dog, Kelpie

3. Australian Silky Terrier

Australian Silky Terrier

The Australian Silky Terrier is pretty much the one Australian dog breed not technically bred for a specific job. Instead the Aussie dog was mainly bred as a companion, aka BFF.

That said, they’re still credited with catching Australian snakes, so maybe it’s just a case of working part-time rather than full-time.

Dog groupToy group
Average life span11 – 14 years
Originally bred forUm… ok, not originally bred for working after all 😊
Common health concernsTracheal collapse, dog skin conditions
Other namesSydney Silky (early name), Silky Terrier

4. Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog

Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog

You know how they say “beauty comes from pain“? Well, when it comes to tail docking and ear cropping, this saying goes out the window. In other words, there’s simply no justification for docking – or cutting off – a dog’s tail.

Where are we going with this? Well when it comes to Australian dog breeds, the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog knows how to flaunt style, naturally. This is one dog with a natural bobtail. See, if you want a tailless dog you can have one and still be nice.

Dog groupWorking dogs
Average life span13 – 15 years
Originally bred forHerding cattle
Common health concernsThis is a fairly healthy breed of dog
Other namesStumpy Tail Cattle Dog, Stumpy, Stumpy Tailed Heeler

5. Australian Terrier

If you live in NSW and you own an Australian Terrier dog you probably had better luck than most during the ‘mouse plague’. These little Aussie dogs were bred fit for purpose to keep away vermin (and sit on our laps). 😊

Dog groupTerriers
Average life span12 – 14 years
Originally bred forMousers and ratters (catching mice and rats)
Common health concernsAllergies, musculoskeletal issues, diabetes in dogs
Other namesAussie

6. Bull Arab

Bull Arab

This robust Australian dog isn’t recognised by any breed registers. Watching it hunt feral pigs is both scary and impressive – this dog is the real deal when it comes to no fear.

Its ancestry includes the Greyhound, Bull Terrier and other gun dog breeds.

Dog groupHybrid breed dog (doesn’t fall into any official dog group)
Average life span12 – 15 years
Originally bred forPig hunting
Common health concernsThis is a fairly healthy breed of dog
Other namesAustralian Pig Dog and Aussie Pig (shame!)

7. Kangaroo dog

The Kangaroo dog is a sighthound bred for hunting kangaroos

This Australian dog breed also isn’t a recognised breed. It’s a type of greyhound that’s bred for hunting from several similar pups. We all know how fast a roo can bounce and these dogs were bred to keep up and catch them.

While hunting native animals isn’t allowed these days, the Kangaroo dog is putting its hunting skills to good use in other ways. Nowadays this Aussie dog hunts invasive species including the red fox and feral pigs.

Dog groupHounds (a sighthound, but not officially a recognised breed)
Average life span12 – 14 years (this is the average lifespan of a Greyhound, which may be similar)
Originally bred forHunting kangaroos
Common health concernsNot documented
Other namesAustralian Greyhound, Bush Greyhound, Kangaroo Greyhound, Kangaroo Hound, Staghound

8. Koolie

Koolie is an Australian dog breed
Dog groupNot a recognised dog breed
Average life span15 years
Originally bred forHerding
Common health concernsBlindness, deafness, elbow and hip dysplasia in dogs
Other namesAustralian Koolie, German Koolie, Coulie, German Collie

Lots of dogs that were bred to work are also really popular companion animals and this Australian dog breed is one of them. Not only that, but nowadays this Aussie dog also does great assistance dog and therapy animal work.

Find out more of the health and wellness benefits of sleeping with your dog in your bed because this is pet therapy 101!

9. Miniature Fox Terrier

Miniature Fox Terrier

This perky pup loves being a family dog and has good vibes with kids and other pets, but be aware… It was bred to hunt vermin so it can’t always tell the difference between prey and another small pet.

Like the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog, the Miniature Fox Terrier also (sometimes) has a natural bobtail.

Dog groupToy group
Average life span12 – 18 years
Originally bred forHunting mice, rats and rabbits
Common health concernsThis is a fairly healthy breed of dog
Other namesToy Fox Terrier, Mini Foxie

10. Tenterfield Terrier

Word on the street has it this agile and energetic terrier was given its name by Aussie television host Don Burke. But some say it’s named after George Woolnough, a saddlery owner that lived in Tenterfield and also bred this dog.

Whatever the case is, this little pup packs way above its size in personality and also makes a great family pet. Just note, this Australian dog’s prey drive combined with decades of catching vermin can also make it dangerous around other small pets.

Read more about choosing a family pet to suit your household.

Dog groupTerrier dog group
Average life span12 – 15 years
Originally bred forMouser and ratter
Common health concernsFairly healthy but can be prone to obesity, hypothyroidism and patellar luxation
Other namesNone so far (make one up)!

Australian dog breeds and health

Although many Australian dog breeds are considered to be among the healthiest of dogs, ethical dog breeders still do health screening. Although they’re less prone to specific health problems, they’re still dogs and can still get doggy health issues. Like hip dysplasia in dogs, for example.

Lastly, we’d like to give a paws up to the dingo.

Award-winning dog insurance

Be sure to also read about Australia’s five favourite dog breeds and, no matter what dog you have, consider the benefits of insurance. PD Insurance gives you one or more months of FREE pet insurance when you sign up online.

Not only will your dog insurance help cover emergencies accidents, illness and more, we also aim for a super fast two-day claims turnaround. Click below to get started.

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