To look into a Tenterfield Terrier’s eyes is to look into its character. Its oval, deep-colored peepers reveal alertness and intelligence. The large, erect ears also suggest an intense dog.
Tenterfield Terriers are compact and well-proportioned, with defined muzzles and strong chests. They are not heavily muscled but are still strong for their size. The tail is often docked, but in some countries such as Australia where docking is now illegal, it is left intact and curls perkily over the back.
Tenterfield Terriers are most often seen in tricolor, with black and brown on a white coat and a black and brown head with white markings. Particolored is also seen.
The Tenterfield Terrier is a loyal and lively dog, very alert and active. These dogs are devoted to their owners and will stick by your side. They love games, which help to keep them engaged and out of trouble.
Daily exercise is a must for this playful little terrier. If you’re taking your Tenterfield Terrier to a dog park, make certain it was socialized with other dogs early on — otherwise, it tends to be aggressive toward them. It is also important to socialize your Tenterfield Terrier with people. They are not recommended for households with small children.
The coat of the Tenterfield Terrier is very low maintenance, needing only a brushing and a bath once in a while.
Like many terriers, the Tenterfield Terrier is prone to chase what it sees as "prey." This could mean the children or the family cat. Don’t let this dog’s small size fool you — it is tenacious and skilled, which means this behavior, though it could seem comical, needs to be nipped in the bud.
Training a Tenterfield Terrier is a joy, as they are gung-ho for any activity, but they can be stubborn.
Tenterfield Terriers are prone to luxating patellas (dislocated kneecaps), so those with this disorder should not be bred.
The origin of the Tenterfield Terrier is thought to have been a fox terrier type found in 19th-century Britain. It was called the Mini Foxie or Little Foxie. Smaller and smaller dogs were developed to make excellent ratters. The breed actually came into its modern state in Australia, where it was accepted into the Australian National Kennel Council in 2002.
It is named for the New South Wales town where George Woolnough was a dedicated fan of the breed. Today, the Tenterfield Terrier is popular in Australia and is growing as a companion dog in Britain and the U.S.