Originating in England, local hunters developed a need for a small, agile dog capable of chasing foxes from their dens. The Tenterfield Terrier was then brought to Australia by early settlers and used as a working dog to help get rid of land rats, rabbits and foxes. Today, the breed is a popular working Terrier and family companion.
The Tenterfield Terrier is extremely affectionate and loyal, a fact corroborated by breeder and enthusiast, Julie Spears. Tenties are loyal, bright intelligent and sometimes stubborn; they really want to please their people and get on well with other dogs and animals that they grow up with, Spears says. The perfect owners for this breed are retired people, young families with family members who are home most of the time, and travellers who like a pint-sized loyal companion.
A child-friendly dog
These dogs get along wonderfully with children and other animals, but early socialisation is a must. As with all breeds, children should be supervised. Tenterfield Terriers are often used as companion dogs for larger breeds and can become best friends with the family cat when introduced as a puppy. They are bright, happy and friendly, and love nothing more than a cuddle in your lap.
Despite its gorgeous looks, the Tenterfield Terrier makes a good watchdog. Tenties excel as watchdogs; they are a great early warning device and will alert their family to any unusual noises or activities in their domain, Spears tells Dogs Life.
This breed loves human companionship and does not adapt well to solitary life in a backyard. A good, safe, high fence is required. Tenties are a very adaptable breed with moderate exercise requirements, Spears says. They are happy with zoomies around the yard or as your jogging partner, or are happy to just sit next to you as you relax. Tenties are suited to a small backyard, but like any dog, they do require some physical and mental stimulation.
They love to accompany you everywhere, whether it is walking, hiking, jogging or even a trip in the car. Spears also mentions the need for a secure yard and time to share, as this is a breed that thrives on human companionship. When housing the Tenterfield Terrier, you must be aware that because of its small size and single short coat, it feels the cold and needs to be housed appropriately. A warm coat in winter is a good idea.
At a [dog] show one day, I heard a shout that there was a dog on the loose, and as I turned around to see if I could help, my Patch barrelled up to me with a cheeky grin on his face. Everyone relaxed and just laughed, saying that he knew exactly where he was going. The naughty boy was determined not to be left behind and had pushed up the floor of the show trolley to get into the top deck and then pushed up the lid of the trolley to make his escape. These dogs generally do not run away, but they will run in search of you, Spears says.
Great in agility
The Tenterfield Terrier is extremely intelligent and responds well to training, but can be stubborn at times. Tenterfields require extra patience and persistence when it comes to training; they need to be taught basics in fun, short, 10-minute bursts, and they respond well to a positive-reinforcement method.
A Tenterfield Terriers short coat is relatively easy to look after, requiring a minimum amount of brushing. Tenterfield Terriers are a short single-coated dog we tend to call wash n wear dogs, Spears says. A quick brush once a day to remove loose hair, nails trimmed every two to three weeks, and an occasional bath is all that is generally required.
The Tenterfield Terrier is quite a healthy, robust breed and has few hereditary diseases, howe’ver luxating patellas can appear. Luxating patellas would have to be the biggest concern, but the Tenterfield Terrier Club of Australia was diligent in screening foundation stock and it is not commonly seen in our puppies. Responsible breeders would never breed from affected dogs, Spears says.
Although the lifespan of this loving breed ranges from 12 to 16 years, it is not unheard of to see Tenterfield Terriers reaching 20. If you have the time and dedication to allow one of these admirable dogs into your home, you will be blessed with an extremely loving and intelligent companion for life.
Grooming: 1 tick
Exercise: 2 ticks
Lifespan: 12-16 years
The Tenterfield Terrier Club of Australia: