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Australian Cattle Dog
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.
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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 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 weight for an Australian Cattle Dog is Between
35 - 50 pounds (16 to 23 kg).
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).
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
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
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
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.
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.
• 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.
AKC: Group 7 - Herding Group
CKC: Herding Group
KC: Pastoral Group
UKC: Herding Dog Group