Australia's Most Furry Friend: Dogs in Australia

There’s a purpose why it’s called the Land Down Under. With its vast expanses of desert and lush rainforest, there are many places for furry friends to explore. In the city or outback, these four-legged friends from down under have been making themselves quite at home since their arrival on Australian shores many centuries ago. Dogs in Australia come in all shapes and sizes, with every kind imaginable: from little lap dogs to herding breeds to sled dogs that can pull a thousand pounds!

Dogs in Australia are a part of the family, and many homes have at least one. Just like Spanish dogs, they’re often treated like royalty, with their own beds, food dishes, and toys. Australian dogs love to play fetch (or “fetch,” as they say here), go for walks, and swim in the ocean. And when it’s time to relax after a day of adventuring, there’s nothing better than curling up next to their human companion on the couch for a good old-fashioned snuggle session.

Australia is home to several different types of dog breeds. Some are very dangerous, and some are very clever. They work hard and play hard. It takes several hours of training before you can have one in your family, but they will love you and protect you.

History of Dog Breeds in Australia

Some people think that Australian breeds are very intelligent and hard-working. They may be this way because English and Europeans went to Australia in the 1700s and 1800s with the hope of making money with animals.

When the settlers came to Australia, they brought dogs with them. The dogs were not suitable for the hot climate. So, they bred other types of dogs to be better for this climate.

There are many kinds of dogs on the list. Some were made later in the 20th century. Some of these breeds were made to improve traits of other types of dogs, like the Australian Bulldog and Cobberdog. These breeds are not recognized by American Kennel Club or Australian National Kennel Council, but most have organized clubs that monitor breeding practices throughout Australia.

The result of all this hard work? Dogs who are intelligent, athletic, and tireless. This is proof that dogs and humans need each other.

1. Australian Cattle Dog

Height: 18.5 inches

Weight: 42 pounds

Nature: Alert, loyal

Shedding: Regular

Lifespan: 12 to 16 years

Australian Cattle Dogs are brilliant, energetic dogs. They were bred to herd cattle. They require plenty of physical and mental exercise. They become destructive if they don’t have anything to do. But they are loyal to their family, no matter what happens.

English settlers created this breed in the 1800s by crossing English herding dogs with Australian Dingos. This made the dogs better for Australian heat. Many of them are red or blue mixed with other colors like grey and tan. Read about them in The Dogs that Made Australia By Guy Hull, a dog behaviorist.

2. Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog

Height: 18.5 inches

Weight: 38.5 pounds

Nature: Energetic, goofy

Shedding: Occasional

Lifespan: 12 to 15 years

Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs are not just Australian Cattle Dogs with different tails. They are different kinds of dogs with lots of energy, intelligence, and personality that are all their own. Their tall ears and bobbed tails show what kind of dog they are. They come in two variety colors: red or blue merle. If you want a reliable companion who likes to have adventures, the Stumpy is for you!

3. Australian Kelpie

Height: 18.5 inches

Weight: 38 pounds

Nature: Smart, playful

Shedding: Regular

Lifespan: 10 to 13 years

Australian Kelpies are dogs who are great companions, but if they do not get enough exercise, they will become unhappy. These dogs are used to living in the outback in Australia. They are really good at herding sheep and might be able to do search and rescue work. These dogs can also have black or brown coats.

4. Australian Terrier

Height: 10.5 inches

Weight: 17.5 pounds

Nature: Affectionate, lovely

Shedding: Low

Lifespan: 11 to 15 years

Australian Terriers love to play, and they will follow anything that is moving. They can be trained, and they like their humans. But sometimes they can be territorial, so it’s not a good idea to introduce them to new people or pets all at once. They do not like routine activities, so make sure you mix up your playtime with other things too.

5. Silky Terrier

Height: 9.5 inches

Weight: 10 pounds

Nature: Feisty, friendly

Shedding: Occasional

Lifespan: 13 to 15 years

This dog has a really soft coat. We can cut it or grow it. The Silky Terrier was bred in Sydney, Australia. It was made by mixing Yorkshire Terriers and Australian Terriers. This is a small sweetheart that has been around for about 100 years! They like to play and exercise (this is not a lazy dog). It lives well in any type of home.


Height: 28 inches

Weight: 68 pounds

Nature: Gentle, alert

Shedding: Low

Lifespan: 10 to 15 years

American Kennel Club doesn’t recognize this kind of dog, but it is recognized in Australia. It was bred by combining Greyhounds, Scottish Deerhounds, and Foxhounds in the late 18th century. This type of dog has a long body and deep chest; they are sweet and gentle as long as they get to play all day. They were designed for hunting rabbits and boars but may not do well with other small pets like cats or guinea pigs if you have them at home.

7. Koolie

Height: 21 inches

Weight: 42.5 pounds

Nature: Intelligent, energetic

Shedding: Regular

Lifespan: 10 to 15 years

Australian Koolie Breeders International says these dogs love to work. They used to be called German Coolies, because people from Germany who settled in Australia had herding Collies. These dogs were bred with the Collies and can be found in colors like tan, black, white, and merle.

8. Bull Arab

Height: 25.5 inches

Weight: 80 pounds

Nature: Sweet, brave

Shedding: Regular

Lifespan: 12 to 15 years

Bull Arabs are known as the Australian Pig Dog. They were bred to hunt for boars, pigs, and other animals. They can be aggressive while hunting, but they are very friendly with their family when they’re at home. Their coat is usually white with some color markings on them to show how muscular they are; don’t be fooled, though, because Bull Arabs love their families and can be very loyal!

9. Tenterfield Terrier

Height: 11 inches

Weight: 10 pounds

Nature: Confident, loyal

Shedding: Occasional

Lifespan: 12 to 14 years

Tenterfield Terriers are a type of dog that learn new skills and love to do them. They might be from Foxhounds brought to New South Wales centuries ago. They have a short, white coat with black, tan, or blue markings. Tenters are very intelligent, and they should never be left alone for too long. Include them in action! Smaller pets should be careful because they have hunting instincts.

10. Miniature Fox Terrier

Height: 10.5 inches

Weight: 10 pounds

Nature: Curious, adaptable

Shedding: Occasional

Lifespan: 12 to 18 years

The Mini Foxie is like a Tenterfield Terrier. They are like that because they both look alike and act the same way. The Mini Foxie is white with some black or tan markings on it. These speedy pups have kept farms and homes rabbit-free since the 1800s! You will get a good, loyal, playful, and sprightly companion with one of these dogs!

11. Australian Cobberdog

Height: 22 inches (Standard size)

Weight: 50 pounds (Standard size)

Nature: Friendly, gentle

Shedding: Low, Hypoallergenic

Lifespan: 12 to 15 years

Australia has a new dog. It is called a Labradoodle. The dog was created to be a therapy pet. They are small to big and can be any color. They are excellent pets for your family because they do not bark much, are very friendly, and learn good tricks quickly.

12. Australian Bulldog

Height: 19 inches

Weight: 70 pounds

Nature: Happy, loyal

Shedding: Seasonal

Lifespan: 12 to 15 years

Australian Bulldogs were bred because they could not be in the sun for long periods of time. English Bulldogs are animals that cannot withstand high temperatures like Australian dogs can. They make great pet animals for families and children, but you need to keep them out of the sun for a long time.

13. Australian Shepherd

Height: 20.5 inches

Weight: 52 pounds

Nature: Smart, athletic

Shedding: Seasonal

Lifespan: 12 to 15 years

Despite being a thoroughly American breed, we included Australian Shepherds to our list since they are part of the herding group. Aussies were developed in California, but Basque sheepherders in Australia began the breeding process before moving their flock to America’s western coast in the 1800s. Aussies have weather-resistant coats with white underbellies and varieties of speckled blue, black, grey, tan, and red on their backs and faces. They also have tiny bobtails. The Australian Shepherd Club of America considers them to be delightful sweethearts who enjoy a good day’s work. With proper care to your Australian Shepherd, you'll ensure an active and healthy dog. 

For more information about Australian dog breeds, click here

Frequently Asked Questions about Dogs of Australia

What is Australia’s most popular dog?

Golden Retrievers are kind dogs. They will probably get along with your other pets. This is because they are easy to get along with. That is why people like them so much in Australia, too.

What is the official dog of Australia?

Australian cattle dogs are related to the dingo. It’s a muscular dog, but it can be compact.

What was the first dog in Australia?

There was a type of dog that came to Australia from somewhere else. It probably came with traders from 700 years ago. Aboriginal people in the Kimberley tell of this dog in their tradition, and it has appeared in rock paintings, Dreamtime stories, and corroboree dances.

What is the healthiest dog breed in Australia?

The Australian cattle dog is the healthiest and longest-living dog. They live for about 12-16 years on average.

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