The words Dog Breed Info with the letter D inside of a black paw print

The Purebred Tenterfield Terrier

Information and Pictures

The right side of a black and white with tan Tenterfield Terrier dog standing across patchy brown grass and it is looking to the right. It has pointy perk ears, a long thin muzzle and a black nose and a small docked tail.

"This is my dog Spike. He is a purebred Tenterfield Terrier at almost four years old in this picture. He loves to run and chase the tennis ball and the cat when it runs. He has only ever caught the ball twice and grabs the rough edge and throws it to himself. When he meets people he jumps next to them and tries to hit his nose on their hands. He isn't too fond of water or having a bath. The only bad thing he does is, when I'm at school, he lies in the sun all day and gets burnt. He has never been sick and only barks when people come close to the house, but when they get inside the gate he acts like their best friend."


ten ter feeld ter-ee-er


The measurement of wither to ground and wither to rear point of buttock should be of equal proportions. The length of the head and neck should always be in balance to the whole of the dog. The tail is preferably docked. The head is medium sized in proportion to the body. The head is only slightly arched between the ears. Domed or apple heads are highly undesirable. When viewed from the front and side, the head is to be wedge shaped and well filled in under the eyes. The stop is moderate and when measured from that point to the occiput it equals the distance from the stop to the tip of the nose with parallel plain. The color of the nose is preferably black with the exception of a true liver, which will have a liver nose. There should be strength in the muzzle. The eyes are not large, protruding or round, but slightly oval in shape. As dark as possible with a keen expression and pigmented eye rims. Light eyes and wall eyes are to be discouraged. The ears are V-shaped with slightly rounded tips, set high on the outer edge of the skull erect or semi-erect. If semi-erect, the top third of the ear tips forward. Not wide or large at the base, rather medium in size. The length of the ear to be roughly equal to the width between the ears. The ears are of a thin texture (not thick). The mouth has strong jaws with full dentition and scissor bite. Lips to be tight fitting and pigmented. A wry mouth should be heavily penalized. The neck is strong and clean, of good length allowing head to be carried proudly. The shoulders are well sloped back and not too heavily muscled. Forelegs are of strong, round bone in keeping with the size of the dog, straight when viewed from any angle with sufficient length of the upper arm, which is well angled to the scapula ensuring the elbows are set under the body with the sternum clearly in front of the shoulder blades. The body is short, compact with a level topline, strong without slackness, with powerful loins. Ribs moderately sprung, back ribs deep and reaching well back with only a slight tuck up. The chest is of moderate width and reaching in depth to the level of the elbow, but not below. The Tenterfield Terrier is not too heavily muscled. The rump is well rounded with only a slight slope to the croup. The thighs are long and powerful. The stifle is well bent and the hocks well let down. The pastern should be parallel when viewed from the rear, and vertical when viewed from the side. The feet are compact, round shaped, toes moderately arched. The tail is preferably docked (3rd joint), high set and erect when alert but not carried over the back. Carried gaily showing bold temperament. Sometimes a natural bobtail occurs. The fore and hind legs carried straight forward and parallel. The elbows should move perpendicular to the body, working clear of the sides, stifles neither turning in nor out and the hocks not close, with good rear drive coming from the well flexing hindquarters. The single coat should be short and of smooth texture. Coat colors are predominantly white with black, liver and/or tan markings in its various tones. Brindle markings acceptable but not preferred. Full-color coats are not acceptable. Skin should always be pigmented.


The Tenterfield Terrier is a strong, active, agile working terrier of great versatility and of pleasing proportion. Bright, happy and confident, with an eagerness to learn, showing great loyalty to its owner. Fearless, lively, clever, independent, bold, keen, and very intelligent with an alert expression. Like all terriers, it takes loving patience to train them. They respond well to a positive reinforcement method of training; yelling and hitting will not get a good response from this loving breed. They are friendly and love to cuddle in your lap. This terrier is a useful working dog and a wonderful companion. It needs an owner who understands how to be a strong pack leader. To keep them from developing Small Dog Syndrome, human induced behaviors, owners need to be consistently firm and confident, providing rules they must follow and limits as to what they are and are not allowed to do. Meek owners will find this dog can easily take over the home, causing a varying degree of behavior issues. These issues include, but are not limited to, quick to bark, bossy, feisty, scrappy, stubborn, persistent, impulsive and intense. They may develop separation anxiety, display guarding behaviors, snap and sometimes even bite. They will become untrustworthy with other dogs, children and sometimes adults they do not know. The Tenterfield Terrier can become destructive, and noisy if bored. They do well with children who know how to display leadership and will play games such as fetch with them. Socializing with other dogs in a neutral setting like a Dog Obedience Club is a wonderful idea. If this dog has a stable pack leader and is properly introduced on equal terms and allowed to use normal doggy language, it can get along with other dogs without problems. This terrier should not be trusted with non-canine pets such as mice or guinea pigs. It does have the typical, very strong terrier chase and kill instinct. Terriers were bred to control vermin and the Tenterfield Terrier is all terrier. This means that rodents and Tenterfield Terriers should be kept separated, although the dog may learn to tolerate the rodent in time. A lot of Tenterfield terriers will get along well with cats that stand their ground but will chase cats that are scared and run. Some Tenterfields never get along with cats, while others do, sleeping together like best friends. Tenterfields need human companionship. They would love to accompany you everywhere—they love walking, hiking and jogging. They will even run behind your horse if you have one and like to ride. They are good retrievers, good swimmers and good at Obedience and Agility. And whether you have one or a dozen or more they are all happy individuals who love to be by your side.

Height, Weight

Height: 10 - 12 (25.4 - 30.48 cm)
The weight should be in proportion to the height of the dog.

Health Problems

Prone to hypothyroidism and patellar luxation.

Living Conditions

The Tenterfield Terrier will do okay in an apartment. These dogs are fairly active indoors and will do okay without a yard as long as you take them to alternate safe places to run.


The Tenterfield Terrier needs to be taken for a daily walk or jog. The Tenterfield Terrier will often run for the sheer pleaser of it. They enjoy exercise and need to run. If you do not have a yard for your dog, try to take your Tenterfield Terrier to a safe dog park or a beach and allow it to run off-lead for an hour 3 or more times a week. After its daily walk, it can also be a happy couch potato and enjoy nothing more than to snuggling with you in front of the TV.

Life Expectancy

About 12 to 16 years

Litter Size

About 5 puppies


The Tenterfield Terrier is easy to groom. Comb and brush regularly with a firm bristle brush, and bathe only when necessary.


The Tenterfield Terrier was developed by crossing the Standard Fox Terrier (Smooth) with the Manchester Black and Tan or English Toy Terrier (Black and Tan). At a later stage the Whippet was introduced. At one stage Chihuahua was used, but any outcrossing to other breeds is now quite forbidden. Though the Tenterfield Terrier originated in England in the 1800s, it was developed into the type it is today in Australia, making it one of only a few truly Australian bred dogs. It is found nowhere else in the world. The breed is sometimes confused with the Jack Russell, however they are quite different.

  • ACR = American Canine Registry
  • ANKC = Australian National Kennel Club
  • APRI = American Pet Registry, Inc.
  • DRA = Dog Registry of America, Inc.
A white with black and tan Tenterfield Terrier is sitting in a field of bright yellow daisy flowers facing the left with its mouth open and its tongue sticking out. It has tall perk ears and slanted brown eyes and a black nose.

Taffy from Australia