The origins of the Australian Cattle dog started when George Hall and his family moved to Australia from northern England. They intended to make a fortune out of growing and selling cattle.
To control the cattle and to make the move from the field to the market easier, they needed a droving dog. However, the imported dogs from England can’t tolerate the harsh Australian heat. So, they devised a plan to breed a new kind of dog that is suitable for their needs and can adapt to the harsh weather.
After countless failure, Thomas Hall managed to come up with a combination of Collie, Smithfield and wild Dingoes (native in Australia). This new ‘breed’ can tolerate extreme heat, are intelligent and have the endurance of a wild Dingo while maintaining the droving ability, easy trainability and working force of British Dogs.
Traits and Behavior
Because they were bred to drive cattle in the Australian heat, this breed is extremely athletic and has high endurance. They are also the hardest worker and toughest of dogs. They can work throughout the day with minimal rest if need be.
They are as loyal as they are hardy. They will follow their master anywhere and performs commands without delay.
However, they are not that affectionate and aren’t independent. Most Australian Cattle Dogs don’t do well when left alone for a long period.
This breed is naturally suspicious of strangers. They aren’t that friendly with new people, even if they were trained to socialize with others.
Some can be quite protective and defensive and untrained dogs have shown aggression towards humans. They are not vicious, but they won’t hesitate to bite when their family is threatened.
This can pose a problem since they can’t distinguish a guest from a robber.
The breed is well known for its obedience and agility. They are willing to respect authority, especially from their owners. However, this dog is highly dominant and would like to be on top. An owner needs to train and exert his dominance over his pet to prevent aggression.
Pet Care and Diseases
The Australian Cattle Dogs possibly have the most intense exercising needs. They may require 2 to 3 hours of rigorous activity daily to stay healthy. This breed is not advisable for the elderly or people with health problems who can’t tolerate strenuous activities.
If Australian Cattle Dogs are under-exercised, they tend to be destructive, anxious, noisy, and aggressive. Activities fit for this breed include long runs, rock and mountain climbing, surfing and skiing.
Professional grooming is not necessary for this breed. They just need brushing and regular baths.
They also need nail clipping and teeth brushing as maintenance. Owners should take note that this breed sheds constantly, so, most often, they leave a trail of hair.
This breed is generally healthy; however, they are prone to deafness and skeletal problems.
Pet owners should have their dogs checked both by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) to detect any problems early on. Other health issues include cataracts, dysplasia and urolithiasis.
The Australian Cattle Dog looks similar to other Collies, but with distinct features. They are a medium-sized dog with males standing at 18 to 20 inches and females at 17 to 19 inches.
A healthy Australian dog generally weighs around 33 to 55 pounds. They are short and are longer than they are tall, with a curve in the middle part of their body.
They are considered to be the most natural-looking dogs, with no exaggerated features. Their bodies are noticeably athletic and are built for running.
The head resembles a Dingo, which is a wedge shape proportionate to its body, with a wide muzzle.
Their eyes are oval and dark brown in color. The ears are upright and slightly points outward. This breed has a double coat designed to resist the harsh weather. A weather-resistant outer coat covers a short, dense undercoat.
This breed has two acceptable colors, blue (a white and black mix that appears blue) and red speckles.
The Australian Cattle Dog has an average life span of 12-14 years. A litter may consist of 2-7 puppies. This breed is also known by many names such as ACD, Cattle Dog, Blue Heeler, Red Heeler, and Queensland Heeler.
Visit this dog club website dedicated to Australian Cattle Dogs. Click this link: