Australian Cattle Dog
Dogs the settlers brought with them from Europe, called Smithfield
and the Old Smooth Collie (not the smooth collie known today), were
not able to handle the long distances and inhospitable climate of
the new continent. The Australian Cattle Dog was developed by pioneer
settlers in the 1800s by crossing Dingo-blue merle Collies with
Dalmatians and Kelpies.
Some sources say that the English Bull Terrier breed may have been
added as well. The result was dogs who were excellent workers, herding
cattle on large ranches. The dogs worked the stock quietly yet forcefully,
willing and able to drive cattle across vast distances under harsh,
hot dusty conditions. With superior stamina, it was well suited
Both its guarding and herding instincts are very strong. In 1893
a man named Robert Kaleski wrote a standard for the breed. In 1903
the standard was approved in Australia. The Australian Cattle Dog
has also been known as the Australian Heeler, Hall's Heeler, Queensland
Heeler or Blue Heeler. "Heeler" refers to its herding
skill of snapping and biting cattle's heels. Its talents are retrieving,
herding, guarding, agility, competitive obedience, and performing
The Australian Cattle Dog, also known as the Australian Heeler,
Hall's Heeler, Queensland Heeler and the Blue Heeler, is a courageous,
tireless, robust, compact working dog. The dog is agile, well-muscled,
and powerful and determined while working. The length of the body
is a little longer than it is tall. The tail is held moderately
low hanging at a slight curve.
The front legs are straight, strong, round bone, extending to the
feet. The feet are round and the toes are short. The skull is broad
is slightly curved between the ears, flattening to a slight but
definite stop. The ears are wide-set, moderate in size, and pricked
when alert. The nose is black.
The dark brown, medium-sized eyes are oval in shape. The teeth
should meet in a scissor-bite, with the lower incisors closing behind
and just touching the upper. The ACD has a smooth double coat with
a short dense undercoat. Coat colours include red speckled, blue,
blue-mottled or blue speckled with or without other markings. Black
markings are not desired in the show ring. Puppies are born white
because of a gene they inherited from the early Dalmatian crosses.
You can sometimes tell the adult colour by looking at the paw pads.
The Australian Cattle Dog is a loyal, brave, hardworking, breed
that is a dog used for herding live stock. One of the most intelligent
breeds, they are not the kind of dog to lay around the living room
all day or live happily in the garden with only a 15 minute walk.
They need much more exercise than that and something to occupy their
mind daily or they will become bored and can develop issues and
They need action in their life and will do best with a job. This
alert dog is excellent in the obedience ring and will excel in agility
and herding trials. Can be obedience trained to a very high level.
Firm training starting when the dog is a puppy and an understanding
that the master is the leader along with daily walks and plenty
of exercise will produce a wonderful and happy pet. Protective,
they make an excellent watch dog as they naturally guard their territory.
It is absolutely loyal and obedient to its master. They are sometimes
suspicious of people and dogs they don't know.
They can be very dog aggressive if allowed to be pack leader, for
its dominance level is high. Teach your Australian Cattle Dog that
you are the pack leader and you will not tolerate him fighting with
other dogs. Well balanced Cattle dogs are good and trustworthy with
children. Some will nip at people's heels in an attempt to herd
them and an owner needs to tell the dog this is not acceptable behaviour.
If you are adopting a pet, avoid working lines, as these dogs may
be too energetic and intense for home life.
Australian Cattle Dogs will learn quickly and must have a firm
hand as behavioural issues can arise with meek owners, and or owners
who do not provide the proper amount and type of exercise. This
breed does best with a job to do. If you do not have time to extensively
work with and exercise your dog, or do not fully understand how
dogs live within a pack and their natural ways this is not the breed
Height: Dogs 43-51cm. Bitches 43-48cm
Weight: Dogs 15-16kg. Bitches 14-16kg
Prone to hip dysplasia and PRA. The merle colored dogs are prone
Not recommended for small dwellings or living in flats and does
best with at least a large garden. Does best with a job to do and
lots of interaction.
These animals have incredible stamina and will enjoy all the activity
you can give them. Exercise is of paramount importance - without
enough they can develop problems and behavioural issues. Exercise
cannot simply be tossing a ball. While they will enjoy this ball
play, their brains need to be stimulated daily. Does best with a
job to do and lots of interaction. They need to be taken out where
they can run freely at least twice a day. The breed makes an excellent
jogging and running companion. Do not allow this dog to walk ahead
of you on the walks. He needs to be beside or behind you to re-enforce
the human is alpha.
About 12-15 years.
1 - 7 Average of 5 puppies
The short-haired, weather-resistant coat needs little care and
is very easy to groom. Just comb and brush with a firm bristle brush,
and bathe only when necessary. This breed tends to shed their coats
once or twice per year (depending on sex status and region).