Tenterfield Terrier

7-10 lbs
England and Australia

The Tenterfield Terrier is a small, highly effective ratting Terrier that is descended from ship’s dogs that accompanied sailors coming to Australia from England. They are spunky little dogs with a nature that is both curious and courageous and while they are active and require a great deal of exercise, they are often affectionate and calmer in the home. This breed is known to be good with children, but they may be more contentious with other dogs and their high prey drive may make them unsafe for cats or smaller, fast-moving animals. While they can be stubborn in the face of harsh training methods, they respond very well to positive training in short bursts. 

purpose Purpose
Ratting Terrier, Companion
history Date of Origin
ancestry Ancestry
Smooth Coated Ratting Terriers

Tenterfield Terrier Health

Average Size
Male Tenterfield Terrier size stats
Height: 10-12 inches Weight: 7-10 lbs
Female Tenterfield Terrier size stats
Height: 10-12 inches Weight: 7-10 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Allergies
Minor Concerns
  • Hypothyroidism
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Obesity
Occasional Tests
  • Blood and Urine Tests
  • Skin Scraping Test for Allergies
  • X-rays or other radiographic imaging

Tenterfield Terrier Breed History

The first ancestors of the Tenterfield Terrier were believed to be small pest control dogs from England. While most believe that smaller sized Fox Terriers formed the basis of the breed in England other breeds of Terrier may also have contributed to this excellent ratter, possibly including Toy Manchester Terriers, as well as Old English White Terriers and Black and Tan Terriers, both of which are now extinct. These dogs, being both small and agile, made good ships dogs, dispatching rats and other vermin with ease and in this way, they were brought to Australia at some point in the 1800s. They quickly became popular throughout the Australian countryside, not just as an effective way to eradicate disease-carrying pests, but also as hunting dogs for small game and as family companions. These Terriers seem to have been bred most extensively in the area of New South Wales, particularly near the little town of Tenterfield. A saddler by the name of George Woolnough, immortalized by his grandson Peter Allen in the song Tenterfield Saddler, was known to have owned and bred these little dogs, who at the time were referred to as Miniature Fox Terriers. In the early 1990s, the name Miniature Fox Terrier was deemed inappropriate, as they are not simply a miniaturization of another breed, and in 1993, the name Tenterfield Terrier was officially adopted, in part to honor George Woolnough’s contributions to the breed. While this breed has not yet been recognized by the major kennel clubs, it did receive recognition in 2002 by the Australian National Kennel Council. 

Tenterfield Terrier Breed Appearance

The Tenterfield Terrier breed is a well-balanced, compact canine with a strong, straight back and powerful hindquarters. They have a wedge-shaped head with just a slight rounding to the skull and a moderately long muzzle, usually ending in a black nose, although brown is also acceptable. The dark brown eyes of this Terrier have a definite oval shape to them, the medium-length ears are set height on the head and are slightly pointed, and they may be either held erect or the top third of the ear may fold forward in a semi-erect position. Their legs are typically strong and straight with compact, round paws with slightly arched toes. The short, no fuss coat of the Tenterfield Terrier is white with patches of black, tan, liver, or blue and their tails can come in lengths that can range from a full-length tail to one that has no tail vertebrae at all. Unlike many other breeds, the natural shortening of the tail of this Terrier is not known to lead to any health issues. 

Eye Color Possibilities
brown Tenterfield Terrier eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Tenterfield Terrier nose
brown Tenterfield Terrier nose
Coat Color Possibilities
white Tenterfield Terrier coat
black Tenterfield Terrier coat
brown Tenterfield Terrier coat
blue Tenterfield Terrier coat
pied Tenterfield Terrier coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Tenterfield Terrier straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Tenterfield Terrier Breed Maintenance

When it comes to grooming, this dog is exceedingly easy to maintain. They don’t tend to have a strong doggy odor, so bathing is only required a few times a year, and over-bathing may lead to the development of skin issues or contact allergies. Their simple, single-layer coat tends to shed dirt and dust, a good quality for a dog that has to chase rats into all sorts of dark corners, but doesn’t tend to require a great deal of brushing to keep it healthy and smooth. It is also important to regularly check your dog’s ears to ensure that they are clean, dry, and free from infection. Care of the teeth and nails must be maintained as well, with cleaning of the teeth taking place at least three times a week and a nail clipping once a month.

Brushes for Tenterfield Terrier
Slicker Brush
Slicker Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Tenterfield Terrier requires monthly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Tenterfield Terrier Temperament

These small canines are active and bright with a curious and confident nature. They are always ready to learn and do new things and although they tend to become stubborn and recalcitrant with harsh training methods, they are very responsive to training that is based on positive reinforcement. They tend to be loyal and affectionate towards their families and while interactions between canines and the younger set should always be properly supervised, Tenterfield Terriers are known to be particularly good Terriers for children. They may require a great deal of socialization to be amicable with other dogs and they have a strong prey drive which may result in the chasing of cats and other smaller animals. This breed also tends to very alert, making them suitable watchdogs, and with enough exercise do well in smaller spaces, but they are also prone to barking and separation anxiety, making them a less appropriate choice for people who are out of the home for extended periods of time. 

Tenterfield Terrier Activity Requirements

This is an active little canine that requires at least an hour to an hour and a half of vigorous activity each day in order to be at their happiest and healthiest. While they are willing and eager to join you on walks, jogs, swims, hikes, and even bike rides, they are also well-suited to a number of other canine sports, including agility training, lure coursing, and earthdog trials. Like other Terriers, some Tenterfield Terriers have been known to be difficult to house train, and while they are courageous they can also be easy to startle, often leading to unexplained cringing.

Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
10 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes
activity minutes

Tenterfield Terrier Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
1 cups
cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$0.90 - $1.00
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$25.00 - $30.00
food bag monthly cost

Tenterfield Terrier Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Tenterfield Terrier size stats at six months
Height: 10.0 inches Weight: 6.0 lbs
Female Tenterfield Terrier size stats at six months
Height: 10.0 inches Weight: 6.0 lbs
12 Months
Male Tenterfield Terrier size stats at 12 months
Height: 11.0 inches Weight: 8.5 lbs
Female Tenterfield Terrier size stats at 12 months
Height: 11.0 inches Weight: 8.5 lbs
18 Months
Male Tenterfield Terrier size stats at 18 months
Height: 11.0 inches Weight: 8.5 lbs
Female Tenterfield Terrier size stats at 18 months
Height: 11.0 inches Weight: 8.5 lbs

Tenterfield Terrier Owner Experiences

15 Years
4 People
House & Yard
Our Tenterfield was a wonderful family pet. Sadly now in doggie heaven, he was very active, but still loved to snuggle on the couch with the family. He was easy to toilet train, but still had some accidents when he was younger when excited. Loved going in the car for drives. He never liked water so the beach or river were not his favourite places and he wasn’t keen on baths either. He wasn’t very sociable with other dogs unless he spent some time getting to know the other dogs. A very loyal breed & very protective of their human family. Only downside to Barney was his fur. Even though he had soft, short hair, it would stick to all fabrics, but nothing that a sticky roller or Lily brush couldn’t fix. Highly recommend for active families, even with a small yard, Barney would entertain himself with zooming around the yard or playing with his toys. Never fretted when we were away from home for work, but coming home to him in the evening gave us pleasure. We sure miss him ❤️
11 months ago
18 Years
4 People
The most precious dog I’ve ever owned. Loyal, sweet disposition. Quiet in nature unless it time for work. Then the energy come out. Can easily be convinced to not chase cats or cattle... with myself claiming ownership. My Tenterfield came from England 18 years ago. The family went back to England and had to leave their dogs and made me promise not to neuter him. Though I go 3 breedings from him all his puppies were and are wonderful. Though they are half breeds. He single pawed changed out bird protection for our 82 acres of vineyard. They have an amazing hunt drive and incredible speed to match. In fact when he first started working any starling who wouldn’t leave the canopy ran the risk of being caught. Our need for netting for birds stopped after 10 years. Bird strikes where the dogs go can’t be more the 1 percent. When the bird pressure is bad they actually look up and cover the area where the flocks move. Birds normally leave soon after their presence. I don’t really understand how they work. I’ve only taught them their target bird starling. They don’t bother other birds who hangout in the vineyard. Rats and gophers don’t stand a chance. After heavy rains in the winter comes a new sport. Gopher getting. Gopher stay just below the surface of the soil. Work changes from running thru the vineyard to “To ground hunting. Pulling out gophers one after another. One after another. My little guy is 18 and retired to a quarter acres now and I probably won’t ever be able to replace him. But I would tell anyone this is a great dog. It took me 16 years to identify his breed. Give them a job. Get use to the concerned look and love them to the end.
3 years, 9 months ago
Book me a walkiee?
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd