Australian Cattle Dog
- Other Names: Australian Heeler, Blue Heeler, Queensland Heeler and Hall’s Heeler
- Size: Medium
- Life Expectancy: 13 years
- Average Weight: 33 pounds (15kg)
- Average Height: 18 inches (46cm)
- Grooming: Easy
- Shedding: Heavy
- Exercise: Demanding
- Training: Easy
- Color: Blue, Blue-Mottled, Blue Speckled or Red Speckled
- Country of Origin: Australia
- Personality: Energetic, Brave, Intelligent and Protective
The Australian Cattle Dog was originally called The “Queensland Blue Heeler”. They were bred in Australia to be capable of herding cattle in wide open spaces. They herd the cattle by nipping at their heels, which is what the word “heeler” means. In the 1830s a breed known as the Smithfield was crossed with the Australian Dingo which was the basis for the breed today. They were further cross bred with the Blue Merle Smooth Collie, the Australian Kelpe and the Dalmatian. This resulted in an excellent herding dog with tireless energy and high intelligence. They were renamed the Australian Cattle Dog in the early 1900s and are still known as the prized herding dogs of Australia and North America. The American Kennel Club recognized the Australian Cattle Dog in 1980.
The Australian Cattle dog has a robust, compact, well muscled body. They are working dogs that are very agile and have a high level of endurance. They have a short, smooth double coat that has a dense undercoat. Australian Cattle Dogs can be blue, blue-mottled, blue speckled or red speckled with or without other markings. Black markings are acceptable but less preferred. As puppies they are born white due to a gene that came from early breeding with Dalmatian crosses. Their bushy tails are carried low when relaxed and up high when alert. They have triangular shaped ears that are pricked and of moderate size. Australian Cattle Dogs are hardy, alert, powerful and devoted herding dogs.
These dogs are very hardworking and extremely intelligent. They need a lot of mental and physical exercise to keep them occupied and happy. They are excellent at obedience training and also do well in agility. They are good guard dogs and are very protective of their family and property. They are wary of strangers and can be aggressive towards other dogs. Early training and socialization is very important to prevent them from becoming dominant towards other animals or humans with their protective instincts. A well trained Australian Cattle Dog will be good with children. This breed is not suited as a suburban family dog. They are happiest when put to work and will make excellent companions as working dogs, showing true devotion to their master.
Australian Cattle Dogs are easy to train with their high intelligence. They excel in obedience training and enjoy pleasing their master. Early training is important and they are a breed that needs an experience owner that can show leadership. Some Australian Cattle Dogs may nip at peoples heels, which comes from their natural herding instincts. They need to be taught that it is an unacceptable behavior. Without firm training, these dogs can be overly protective making them aggressive towards other dogs and strangers.
Australian Cattle Dogs are bred to be tireless and active. They need plenty of exercise and should have wide open spaces to run around. They are most suited for farms or rural living and are happiest when performing tasks or working, with herding being their favorite job.
A weekly brush to remove dead hairs is sufficient. Australian Cattle Dogs have short coats that have a low upkeep, but they can be quite heavy shedders.