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Australian Cattle Dog

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Australian Cattle DogDescription: An Australian Cattle Dog is a medium-sized, well-muscled dog which is an extremely hard worker. It was developed in Australia after many crosses of various breeds. It all started in 1840 when George Elliott crossed Dingos with blue merle Collies. This cross produced an excellent worker which impressed cattle men who quickly purchased pups as they became available.

Jack and Harry Bagust were brothers from Canterbury in Sydney. They wanted to improve these dogs, so they crossed the female with an imported Dalmatian. As as result, the merle was changed to red or blue speckle and characteristics such as a love for horses and faithfulness to master were obtained. However, it also resulted in losing some of the dog's working ability so the Bagust brothers then crossed the Black and Tan Kelie (sheepdog known for great working ability) with their speckle dogs. This cross proved to be ideal. The stamina and silent heeling characteristics of the Dingo were retained as well as the faithful protectiveness of the Dalmatian. This breed was also able to withstand the heat better than any other herding breed. As word got out, these dogs became increasingly popular and in demand. The blue colored dogs were more popular and they were recognized as the Blue Heelers. It has also been known as the Australian Queensland Heeler. The name was later changed to the Australian Cattle Dog which is the official name of the breed today.

Height: The height for Australian Cattle Dog bitches is about 17 to 19 inches (43 to 48 cm) at the withers and for dogs about 18 to 20 inches (46 to 51 cm) at the withers.

Weight: The weight for an Australian Cattle Dog is Between 35 - 50 pounds (16 to 23 kg).

Coat Type: The Australian Cattle Dog has a double coat. The outer coat is smooth, dense and hard. The way the hair lies flat makes the coat weather resistant. The undercoat is fine and resembles a woolly winter coat. The tail is naturally long, carried low, and has a slight white tip. The average length should be from 2.5 to 4 cms (approx. 1-1.5 ins).

Color: The Australian Cattle Dog's coat can be either blue or red speckled along with a variety of coat patterns and markings. The bluish appearance is created by the mottling of black, gray and white hairs all over the body. A red color should be of good even red speckle all over with or without darker red markings on the head - which are desirable. Red markings on the body are permissible but not desirable.
For those who want to show their Australian Cattle Dog, large solid-color marks on the body are considered undesirable. Very little grooming and coat maintenance is required.

Temperament: The Australian Cattle Dog is a very active and intently focused dog. The can easily become bored which will often lead to destructive behavior in the home or backyard. Plenty of exercise is necessary - dog sports, playing fetch, dog trick and other activities. Owners need to vary their training sessions and make they exciting so their ACD does not lose interest.

The Australian Cattle Dog was bred to herd with force such as biting and if there's no cattle to herd, they'll do so with toys, kids, cats, neighbors, cars and so on. While at times, it can be cute, it can also be dangerous and annoying since they'll bite out of instinct. This breed bites and chews and any toys left for him to play with needs to be extremely durable otherwise it will end up in shreds. A Rubber Horseball is a good choice. Australian Cattle Dogs will chase squirrels, cats and other small animals. If they're raised with other small animals such as a cat, they'll do OK, otherwise, they can be 'cat killers'.

Training at an early age is important; they need to learn to obey you so they won't be destructive and so they won't get hurt (they'll chase cars!) An owner needs to quickly establish himself as the hierarchy - in the same way as the dog's pack leader. Otherwise, the young pup may bond to another senior dog instead which can create problems with the owner having control. This breed is naturally suspicious of strangers.

The Australian Cattle Dog can bond very closely to its owner, so closely it can be intense. This type of breed needs a lot of attention and is not suited for an owner who is not home often or who does not plan on spending a good deal of time with his Australian Cattle Dog.

Health Problems: The most common health issues for Australian Cattle Dogs are: musculoskeletal (spondylosis, elbow dysplasia, and arthritis) and reproductive (pyometra, infertility, and false pregnancy), and blindness. These findings are based on a sample of 69 (still-living) dogs.

Special Interests:
• First recognized as the The Australian Heeler, the Australian Cattle Dog is still called the Blue or Queensland Heeler today.
• The Australian Cattle Dog was first recognized by the AKC in 1980. It spent a brief period in the Miscellaneous class, but was then moved to the Working Group. In 1983, it was moved to the Herding Group.

Classifications:

AKC: Group 7 - Herding Group
CKC: Herding Group
KC: Pastoral Group
UKC: Herding Dog Group


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