Australian Cattle Dog
Life span: 12-15 Years
Height: 46-51cm (Male); 43-48cm (Female)
Weight: 30-50 pounds
Australian Cattle dog is a pleasant breed to pet with family. They are active, curious, and alert dog breeds. You can easily train these cattle dogs as they are obedient, energetic and smart dogs. They can be loyal and protective to your livestock. Australian Cattle dogs originated from Australia and were used for driving cattle’s on the rough terrain. They belong to medium-sized dog breeds.
This small dog was bred to be both strong and agile. Their ears sit erect atop its head, the tail is long and straight. Their eye color can be blue, brown or light brown and their nose can be black or brown. Their coat is straight and short, remaining close to the body. The coat is most commonly accepted in red or blue colors, but can also be brown or cream colored. The “Blue Heeler” can be blue, blue with black, or blue speckled with or without black. The “Red Heeler” is speckled with red. Their faces can have one or two black eye patches, one called single or half mask, two called double or full mask, if no mask is present they are called plain faced. They are all born white and eventually gain their color as they grow, with only solid colors shown at birth.
Originating in New South Wales, these dogs were the result of crossbreeding dogs from Northumberland used for herding cattle and tamed dingoes. The crossbreeding was done by farmer Thomas Hall, who kept the resulting puppies for his family and friends and called them the “Halls Heelers”. Upon his death (1870), however, the dogs began to spread for others as well, eventually developing into two different breeds, Australian Cattle Dog and Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog. In the 1940s in Queensland, Australia, these dogs were bred to compete in conformation competitions or to be stud dogs and earning the name “Queensland Heelers”. These dogs were thought to produce better offsprings and were better quality than those bred in New South Wales. Mid 1900s this breed appeared in the United States, eventually earning the nicknames “Blue Heeler” or “Red Heeler” relating to its coat color. In 1980 the Australian Cattle Dog was recognized by the American Kennel Club as part of the working group, later changing it to the herding group in 1983.
This breed is known for its love for children and its care for its own space, such as putting toys away. They may, however, attempt to “herd” the children or other pets, due to its strong instinct to do so. Herding will include nipping at the heels of those it tries to herd and should be punished before it becomes a regular behavior. They need a confident owner who establishes themselves as the pack leader. They tend to be very intelligent and cautious of strangers, making them great guard dogs, although they will only bark if the stranger enters its territory. They are happiest when presented with a task to do and need regular exercise and mental stimulation or it might result in destructive behavior.
Although generally a very healthy breed, they are prone to having:
Hip dysplasia, a hereditary disease in which there is an abnormal formation in the hip socket, that may eventually cause painful arthritis. It may also be affected by the environment they reside in.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), in which the dogs may become night blind at first and progressively lose their day eyesight as well.
Ear Infections, which can be prevented by constant cleaning of any debris or excess wax.
Deafness, complete loss of hearing since birth.
Their short coat needs brushing every few days when shedding, otherwise brushing should be done once every two weeks. Bathing can be done occasionally, although wiping the dirt off with a wet cloth might suffice. Its nails have to be trimmed regularly. They need obedience training and socialization as a puppy. They also need daily exercise or a task in order to be happy and entertained, otherwise they might become destructive. They love participating in activities regarding its owner, including competitions.