If you’re thinking of getting an Australian Shepherd Terrier mix, you’re here for the cuteness, aren’t you? The cuteness, a certain zing of caffeine-wired energy, and a medium-sized bundle of fun?
Step right this way, pilgrim, we may have the mix for you.
But that’s where we get into some initial trouble.
Here’s the thing – the Australian Shepherd is a fairly well-known purebred quantity. Currently, it’s the 17th most popular breed of purebred registered with the American Kennel Club, so you have a fair idea what you’re getting.
Terriers, though – they… well, let’s just say they get about a little. There are, as far as anyone knows for certain, currently 27 separate breeds of purebred terrier in the world. Fun, cheeky, almost insanely bright and inquisitive beasts, practically every single one of them.
So – you know how breeding works. What you get out is a hopefully agreeable blend of the two breeds (and more specifically, the two dogs) you put in.
In this case, with 27 variants of terrier.
Trying to deep dive on 27 breeds of terrier will turn you old before your time, to the point where you no longer have the energy or the hip-strength to actually live with anything that has terrier blood in its veins. How would you feel if we restricted our study this time out to one of the most popular terriers to mate with an Australian Shepherd? You should get an idea of the score, but hopefully your eyes won’t explode with all the TL;DR-worthy variations. Obviously, if you mate a different breed of Terrier with the Australian Shepherd, your mileage will vary.
Cool. OK, let’s try mating an Australian Shepherd with, say, an Australian Terrier, because who doesn’t love an Antipodean pupfest?
Australian Shepherd Terrier Mix: Dog Breeds History
Before we go crazy at the dog breeders, what does each of the breeds we’re looking at here bring to the genetic disposition party?
Australian Shepherd history
No dog makes it as high as 17th on the American Kennel Club rankings without bringing something fun to the game. It beats out 179 other purebreds, darn it. More or less an immigrant wherever it goes, it’s not native to Australia (you can tell because it doesn’t have fangs and an unspeakable desire to kill you).
It’s not a native of the States, either, getting its start in the Pyrenees, the mountains dividing Spain from France. The breed made its way to Australia and took off there for its bright, energetic and hardworking nature. Herding and ranching were not a problem to the bright-eyed breed, and they also served around the house as an excellent rat and snake killer.
Bear in mind, these are Australian snakes – the kind of snakes that scoff at anything you can get in Texas – and you realise there’s no taking this breed for granted.
Originally bred by the French as killers of vermin – rats, mice, anything that moves fast enough to pose a challenge (try it with a Roomba one day, but don’t say we told you), terriers are known for their brightness, their tenacity, and their more or less constant capacity to amuse.
They’re both brilliant and silly, and they’re highly responsive to mood – you want a terrier to go batfink comedy crazy for half an hour, go wild and crazy and affectionate yourself. Wind ’em up and watch ’em go, but be warned, you have to take control of the excitement if and when you want them to stop being batfink crazy too.
Loyal, hardworking and just a touch dippy, the terrier is a lot of dog in a micro-package. They’re Nature’s two-year-olds, so you have to be sure you can handle them.
Australian Shepherd Terrier mix history
The Australian Shepherd Terrier is a relatively recent phenomenon that has taken off in a big way because of the temperament of the mixed breed. Both purebreds have been independently popular for over a hundred years in America, but the crossbreed is really beginning to find its place in American homes in the 21st-century
Australian Shepherd Terrier Mix Personality & Temperament
The temperament of the Australian Shepherd Terrier is one of its big selling points, alongside its size, its loyalty and its potential use as a watchdog (it may not chase off intruders, but it might corner them and bark its head off long enough for you to summon help).
Australian Shepherd personality and temperament
The Australian Shepherd is bright, energetic, and naturally resilient, which makes it a star among working dogs.
There’s a side-note of caution to that, though. Their history as working dogs has given them an outlet for some genetic aggression, which living as domestic pets won’t give them. In fact, the Australian Shepherd Club of America has produced guidelines about their potential aggression during shows. Check the parent dogs if you can, to see if there’s the glimmer of bite-your-hand-off instinct in them – ideally before you take your Australian Shepherd home.
On the other paw, an Australian Shepherd without that strain of aggression will be affectionate, fun, and energetic.
Terrier personality and temperament
The fundamental Terrier is brave, scrappy, loyal, brave, playful, and endlessly playful. mischievous, energetic, active, fearless, independent, playful, and cheerful. Beware though, because unless they’re properly trained, the scrappiness can turn to stubbornness and cause issues.
Australian Shepherd Terrier mix personality and temperament
The Australian Shepherd Terrier mix gets both barrels of the genetics of its parent breeds. That means you get a smart, friendly, affectionate, loyal chunk of fun. It is not a lollopy, chilled-out lapdog though, so if you want something that sits still for hours on end… there are better breeds for you.
Also, be aware that with their ‘family,’ Australian Terrier mixes are friendly. With strangers, they can be wary – which is good when you get intruders, but can be tricky if you have lots of friends or clients in the house. Introduce new people into their circle gradually for the best results.
Australian Shepherd Terrier Mix: Size, Height, and Weight
While they have fairly similar histories, the Australian Shepherd and the Terrier are not exactly a match made in heaven when it comes to stature.
Australian Shepherd size, height, and weight
The Australian Shepherd can weigh anywhere from 40 to 65 pounds, and if you measure from paw-base to shoulder-top, stands anywhere from 18-23 inches tall.
Terrier size, height, and weight
An Australian Terrier usually weighs in around the 14-16 pound mark, and stands around 10-11 inches tall.
Australian Shepherd Terrier size, height, and weight
The Australian Shepherd Terrier tends to err on the side of the Shepherd, with an average weight between 35-75 pounds, and an average height of between 18-23 inches.
Australian Shepherd Terrier Mix: Training and Exercise Needs
You’re going to need to establish discipline with Australian Shepherd Terrier mix, and do it fast, or every training and exercise session can become a random, unfocused game and they won’t get the exercise they need.
Be prepared to put around 2 hours a day into exercising these dogs – the Australian Shepherd usually takes that long to burn off and use their excess energy, and adding the tenacious, playful Terrier DNA into the mix is not going to sedate the dog in the slightest.
Australian Shepherd Terrier Mix: Coat Care, Shedding & Grooming
The Australian Shepherd Terrier mix is an odd combination, when it comes to coat hair and shedding. The Australian Shepherd is a traditional working dog in need of regular coat maintenance. The Terrier needs less regular grooming, but the mixed breed is somewhere between a fussy Terrier and a chilled-out Shepherd.
Australian Shepherd coat care, shedding, and grooming
Australian Shepherds have a double coat, and usually, just for extra fun, it comes in two or three colors. Invest in a handheld vacuum, because you’re going to be sweeping up dog-hair all year round.
Terrier coat care, shedding, and grooming
Normal Australian Terriers need bathing roughly once every three weeks, and brushing and combing once a week. During the brushing, comb out any shedding or matted hair, and during the bathing, make sure you get to the undercoat, as that will help distribute their natural oils for a healthier coat.
Australian Shepherd Terrier mix coat care, shedding, and grooming
As well as up to two hours per day of exercise, you should be prepared to clean your Australian Shepherd Terrier mix twice a week. As in most things, the mix errs on the side of the Shepherd, rather than the Terrier. Thanks for that, genetics!
Bathe them whenever they will stand still long enough to let you – but don’t overdo it, or you’ll dry out their hair. Trim the hair on their legs to keep it tidy.
Australian Shepherd Terrier Mix: Longevity & Health Issues
Before you take an Australian Shepherd Terrier mix home, be sure you know what you’re getting into in terms of their health.
Australian Shepherd longevity and health issues
Like many purebreds, the Australian Shepherd has a few conditions to which it can be particularly prone. Watch out for signs of dysplasia in the hips and elbows.
If you get your Australian Shepherd as a puppy, you should under normal circumstances and barring accidents expect to have them between 12-15 years.
Terrier longevity and health issues
The Australian Terrier is one of those breeds that, for most of its life, is a picture of health, but if and when something hits it, it hits it like a spade in the face. Mostly healthy, they can suffer from Legg-Perthes disease, cruciate ligament rupture (which is about as much fun as it sounds), seizures, and even diabetes.
Barring accidents though, they should have a lifespan of around 14-15 years.
Australian Shepherd Terrier mix: longevity and health issues
Here’s a little fun. On height, weight, and grooming, the Australian Shepherd Terrier errs on the side of the Shepherd.
When it comes to health issues? Terrier all the way. Legg-Perthes disease, seizures, and diabetes are among the notable hazards for this energetic crossbreed. But overall, it also inherits the Terrier’s happy-go-lucky health and longevity.
Australian Shepherd Terrier Mix: Is This the Right Dog For You?
The Australian Shepherd Terrier mix is not the breed for everyone.
Firstly, you’re going to have to be a fairly energetic person, because it will need up to two hours of exercise every day. That’s every day, so if you have trouble sticking to plans or programs, you might want to get a less energetic breed.
Also, you’re talking about a breed that needs grooming roughly twice a week. Remember, a standard Australian Terrier only needs a bath every three weeks and brushing once a week by comparison, so again, you need to be sure you have time in your schedule for adequate grooming of the crossbreed.
It’s a breed that likes an established group around it, but is less happy when it’s one of several dogs in a household, so if you already have three dogs, it’s not the best idea in the world to add an Australian Shepherd Terrier to the mix.
If you have kids, you might see the benefit of having an Australian Shepherd Terrier mix in the household – they’re friendly, energetic, and a great deal of affectionate, quirky fun, so the chances that your kids will get laughter, loyalty, and friendship out of the breed is high.
But if you have an already active lifestyle, and have a talent for committing to plans, programs and routines, the Australian Shepherd Terrier mix might have its name carved on your DNA. If, as well as that, you have a simple sense of humor that loves to laugh at things and repay affection and loyalty, we may well have hit on exactly the breed you need to enhance your life and make you smile for the next decade and a half.
Australian Shepherd Terrier mixes are not among nature’s easiest dogs – they demand a lot of exercise to burn up their energy, and while by no means as grooming-intensive as straight Shepherds, they’re going to rearrange your weekday evenings for sure.
But then, if you wanted an easy breed of dog, you didn’t really want a dog at all, did you? If you wanted an easy dog… you’d get a cat.
The Australian Shepherd Terrier mix will repay the love and energy you put into caring for it tenfold, and give you some unforgettable moments of pure character comedy.
The question, really, is whether you’re the right human for it.