Australia has a lot of dogs! In fact, estimates show that there are about 20 dogs for every 100 people on the continent.
It’s not hard to imagine why; dogs make wonderful, loyal companions. However, dogs are as varied as people, and finding the right breed can be overwhelming.
To help you choose, we have curated a list of the nine best Australian dog breeds. From friendly and docile to fast and agile, this list is bound to have a breed that is ideal for you.
- 1 Australian Shepherd
- 2 Australian Cattle Dog
- 3 Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog
- 4 Australian Silky Terrier
- 5 Australian Terrier
- 6 Cavapoo
- 7 Kangaroo Dog
- 8 Miniature Fox Terrier
- 9 Bull Arab
- 10 Conclusion
As its name implies, the Australian shepherd was originally bred to herd livestock. Even when they’re far removed from cows and sheep, the Australian Sheperd continues to be a hard-working, dependable dog.
Lovingly called ‘Aussie,’ the Australian Sheperd is a common favorite for dog lovers. The Aussie dog breed is known for its coat. They may have a merle coat, which translates to blotches of dark spots over lighter fur, giving their coat a marbled look. Aussies can also be a solid red, or black.
Like their coats, the Australian Shepherd also has a great variety in eye colors. They are often heterochromatic, with two eyes of different colors. They may even have bi-colored eyes, also known as ‘split eyes,’ wherein one eye has two colors.
Like their coats, their eyes can be merled, wherein one color mixes with another.
Best for Those Who Need a Friend and Helping Hand
The Australian Shepherd is ideal for people who want a loving, active dog. This breed needs to be around people, and they also love to help.
The best way to keep an Aussie happy is to have them help around the house; fetching newspapers, pulling carts, and being a jogging companion are perfect boredom-busters for this breed.
Because they’re used to the hustle and bustle of activity, the Aussie doesn’t mind a large and chaotic household.
While they do best in large, open spaces, it’s possible to house them in small apartments; just make sure that you give them plenty of play and exercise, specifically at least two to three hours a day.
You will also need to keep them company; Aussies do best with a lot of companionship and have been known to form incredibly strong, lasting bonds with humans.
Australian Cattle Dog
A friend to all, the Australian Cattle dog comes in many names, including Cattle Dog, Australian Heeler, and Queensland Heelers.
They were bred from a mix of native Dingoes, collies, and other herding dogs back in the 1800s.
Their coats come in two main forms. They can have brown or black hair, distributed evenly through a white coat. The former makes their coat appear red, while the latter makes their coat appear blue.
The nicknames ‘Red Heeler’ and ‘Blue Heeler’ are a product of these colorations. Occasionally, chocolate and cream-colored coats occur.
The Australian Cattle dog looks much like a Dingo, but thicker set. They are muscular and compact, making them appear strong and agile.
Of course, the Cattle Dog doesn’t just look strong and fast; much like the Aussie, the Australian Cattle Dog can also run long distances without getting winded.
Best for Active and Sporty Types
The Australian Cattle Dog is ideal for people who are active and sporty. Of course, they’re a great breed for cattle ranchers and hunters, but are also perfect for owners who need a bit of help when getting around.
The Australian Cattle Dog is also fiercely independent; they need lots of exercise, but they don’t need a lot of cuddling and affection.
For those who want the helping hand of an Aussie, but don’t have time to give a lot of attention, this breed is perfect for you.
Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog
The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is born from a cross between European hunting dogs and the Australian Dingo. A relative to the Australian Cattle Dog, this breed is also called a Blue Heeler or just Heeler.
The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog has a proportioned body with long legs. Paired with ears that are always pricked up, this breed gives the impression of intelligence and alertness.
Their coats are straight and dense, can be short to medium-length, and can come in either a speckled red or blue. Most notably, they often have a small stump for a tail, or lack a tail completely – hence their name.
The Stumpy Tail is, at their best, an alert and watchful dog. An intelligent breed, the Stumpy Tail is highly responsive, and will quickly follow the orders of their owners.
While they are smart and loyal, they can be reserved around strangers, which means that they should be socialized regularly.
Perfect For Families With Older Children
Because of their intelligence, the Stumpy Tail is perfect for families and can be an immensely loyal pet.
However, Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs need attention in terms of socializing and training, and won’t do well with a family who can’t give them a lot of attention.
Here’s a video with more details on the Australian Cattle Dog.
Australian Silky Terrier
For those who want smaller-sized dogs, this is the breed for you. As you may have guessed, the Australian Silky Terrier belongs to the terrier family, and its small size puts it in the Toy category.
The Australian Silky Terrier was initially bred to be a companion dog, making them perfect for those who want a dog they can truly cuddle with.
The Australian Silky Terrier has a long, fine, silky coat from which they are named after. Their coats are made of blue and tan; blue on the back, with tan covering their legs, tail, and belly.
Because of their luxurious coats, it’s common to see Silky Terriers with coats grown to their full length.
Perfect for Those Who Want a Companionable Toy Dog
Because of their size and temperament, Australian Silky Terriers are the ideal toy dog. They are perfectly happy to be just that, since they love to be social with their owners, but are laid-back enough for pretty much any activity.
They make excellent companions for brisk walks but are also excited to play fetch if you need to lounge around.
The Silky Terrier is also considered one of the fastest learners. These are great for people who don’t have the time and energy to clean up after messier, larger dogs.
As long as you train them well, and give them enough play time and socialization, the Silky Terrier can be the perfect pet for you.
Much like the Australian Silky Terrier, the Australian Terrier was bred to be a companion dog. This breed was intended as an Australian hunting dog and was used to keep away rats and hunt in hedges.
Because of this interesting combination, the Australian Terrier makes for a cuddly, yet impressively intelligent companion.
The Australian Terrier has short legs, an elongated body, and a coat that can be grey, blue, or brown. Despite their small size, these dogs are considered smarter than average.
This makes them very easy to train, and they love to be kept busy with chores and play time.
Perfect for Large Families
Pretty much everything about the Australian Terrier was made for those who want a companion dog for a large household.
Bred to be a companion dog, Australian Terriers are social and love to be around humans. Because they’re easy to train, they’re not hard to look after, so long as you provide plenty of socialization and exercise.
Their small size also lends them as ideal for families who don’t have space for a larger dog.
Unfortunately, Terriers may not be the best breed if you already have a pet in your family. Terriers are rather bossy and do not get along with other dogs and cats.
If you have small children, you may have to keep a close eye on your terrier. Because of their size, terriers don’t mix well with clumsy toddlers and can lead to injuries on both the child and the pet.
With an appearance like a stuffed animal come to life, Cavapoos have a sweet expression that has stolen the hearts of many dog lovers.
Also called a Cavoodle, the Cavapoo is a mix of two already adorable dog breeds: the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Poodle. Because of this, Cavapoos can either have a long, straight Spaniel coat, or a short and curly Poodle coat.
Their coat comes in a wide variety of colors, like black, white, and gold. Paired with large, dark eyes, the Cavapoo is definitely one of the most adorable dog breeds.
Perfect for New Parents
Bred to be a family and companion dog, the Cavapoo is known to be incredibly friendly and gentle. They’re perfect companions for families who have small children.
Cavapoos would rather befriend everyone they come across and are considered one of the most peaceful Australian dog breeds.
Because of their adaptability, the Cavapoo is perfect for nearly any household. If you have a small apartment, this breed is for you.
The Cavapoo doesn’t need a lot of space; a daily walk is enough for this small, mellow dog. New parents who have to watch after a small child, living in a small apartment, will find this breed the ideal addition to their family.
Cavapoos are sociable and friendly, but this means that they are susceptible to separation anxiety and don’t do well being left alone for long periods. Of course, if you have to stay at home, either due to work or children, this shouldn’t be a problem for you.
This video goes into more detail on this Aussie dog breed.
The Kangaroo Dog was bred for hunting. Also called Roo Dog, the Kangaroo Dog was intended to hunt game by sight. This has given them an incredible range of vision, paired with speed and agility with which they catch prey.
The Kangaroo Dog has a short, smooth-coat. Paired with long, slender legs, this breed can bear a striking similarity in appearance to kangaroos.
Perfect for: Runners and Families In Rural Areas
Because they were bred to hunt, this kind of Australian dog can be incredibly loyal and obedient. Their agility and stamina make them the ideal running companion; chances are, you’ll be winded long before your Roo Dog.
They are also the ideal dogs for those who live in rural areas. A large space is necessary for them to stretch their legs and run around.
Miniature Fox Terrier
For those who want a smaller version of the Roo Dog, look no further than the Miniature Fox Terrier.
Also known as the Mini Foxie, this breed was originally made for a farmstead, to take care of mice. They were considered to be an essential part of Australian farming during the early 19th century.
The Miniature Fox Terrier is a small dog, with a short, smooth, and dense coat. Their coats can come in black, white, brown, and tan.
They have a strong and sturdy build, giving them an expression of dependability, despite their size.
Best for Families with Young Children
Because of their history, the Miniature Fox Terrier is a fast and agile dog. They enjoy hard work and helping out their humans, and are also loyal to boot.
They are incredibly easy to train, making them perfect for households. Because of their size, they are also great for families with small children.
Despite its name, the Bull Arab is an Australian hunting dog breed. They’re made from a mix of the Bull Terrier, Shorthaired Pointer, and the Greyhound. They were meant to pin down their game until their owners arrived.
The strength, agility, and intelligence required to pull off this hunting technique still show in the Bull Arabs of the modern day.
The Bull Arab has a large body with a sturdy build. Their coat is either black, silver, or tan, and they can have either flecks of white or larger white spots on most of their coats.
Perfect for Busy Families
The Bull Arab is intelligent and easy to train. They are also calm, independent, and can be reliably left alone for long periods.
This no-fuss pet is also known to be incredibly loyal and can form strong bonds with their humans. However, because of their large size, they are better for families who have older children.
Despite this, there is still a large backlash against the Bull Arab. Because of their Bulldog bloodline and appearance, the Bull Arab has a reputation for being aggressive.
However, this has been attributed to a false perception of bulldogs; studies have shown that the Bull Arab is no more aggressive than most other breeds.
Picking a dog breed can be a massive decision. Hopefully, this list has helped you choose the perfect Australian Dog Breed for your needs.
Of course, any dog can be the perfect breed, so long as you give your pet enough love and care!
Do you have experience with Australian dog breeds?