The Australian Cattle Dog: A Complete Guide

The Australian Cattle Dog was bred by 19th-century Australian settlers to herd cattle on large ranches.

This breed was influential in expanding the Australian beef industry by calmly but aggressively herding wild cattle with its nips and bites.

Today’s Australian Cattle Dog is the result of many breedings and cross-breedings.

Ranchers sought a hardy dog who could handle the harsh climate and working conditions in Australia.

Dogs that were brought in from England were not performing well, so they were bred to the native Dingo.

Countless breedings by many different ranchers finally resulted in what’s believed to be the ancestors of the present-day Australian Cattle Dog.

The Australian Cattle Dog is a very intelligent, energetic, and strong dog breed. He is still being used as a herding dog.

He thrives on having a job to do and on being part of all family activities. He is loyal and protective of his family, though wary of outsiders.

He is a bold, aggressive, obedient, and territorial dog.

Besides doing herding work, this dog also does well at canine sports, including flying disc competitions, flyball, rally, obedience, and agility.

Australian Cattle Dog – Before You Buy…

The Australian Cattle Dog is definitely not an apartment dog.

What Price are Australian Cattle Dog Puppies?

Australian Cattle Dogs are not a very cheap breed, although though prices can vary anywhere from $250 to $2,000.

How to Find Reputable Australian Cattle Dog Breeders?

Finding a reputable breeder for Australian Cattle Dogs is one of the most important steps you can take in your search for a puppy.

Many health problems are inherited, which is why it’s important to choose an Australian Cattle Dog puppy with a healthy parentage.

Be firm about seeing certificates to verify the health status of the parents before you visit and fall in love with a puppy.

You should research the breeders you are considering.

Find reviews online or by speaking directly with people who have bought puppies from the breeder.

You can also ask referrals from dog owners who have strong and healthy puppies. They will help you get in touch with the breeders they bought their dogs from.

Visit the breeder, the puppies, and the parent dogs before deciding. Be prepared to ask questions.
Make sure you’re convinced with the information that they have given you before going any further.

And remember never to buy a puppy without seeing it with its mother.

Reputable breeders will usually question you to make sure their puppy is going to a good home with someone who knows how to take care of it.

They will also have all health tests performed and be happy to show you the results and all supporting paperwork.

3 Little-Known Facts About Australian Cattle Dog Puppies

  1. The Australian Cattle Dog is known by other names like Halls Heeler, Queensland Heeler, Blue Heeler, and Australian Heeler. The official name, however, is the Australian Cattle Dog.
  2. The “heeler” moniker comes from the fact that the dogs were bred to herd cattle by nipping at their heels.
  3. The Australian Cattle Dog is a “shadow” dog. It’s intensely devoted to his owner and does not want to be separated from them.

Physical Traits of the Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle Dog is watchful and often suspicious with strangers.

With their athletic body, short fur, and upright ears, the Australian Cattle Dog looks a lot like the Australian Dingo.

However, they have more muscular bodies.

Australian Cattle Dogs have short, straight coats that consist of many different shades. It also has an even shorter undercoat.

Their fur is quite rough and protects them from harsh weather conditions.

Australian Cattle Dogs shed a lot, but the coat is a lot easier to maintain.

They should be groomed regularly to remove old hair and encourage new growth.

This will help reduce the amount of hair shed onto your carpets, but it won’t prevent shedding altogether

Shedding is often seen as an inconvenience.

But like many other dog breeds, this is an issue you’ll need to be prepared to deal with if you are thinking of bringing an Australian Cattle Dog into your home.

This breed comes in two main colors: red and blue. The redder ones are sometimes known as the Red Heeler.

However, the markings that can be found on the fur vary and can often leave the dog looking like a combination of two colors.

It is also common for Australian Cattle Dogs to have a mask of darker fur over one or both eyes.

How Big is a Full-Grown Australian Cattle Dog?

Male Australian Cattle Dogs stand 18 to 20 inches tall, and females stand 17 to 19 inches tall.

Their weight ranges from 30 to 50 pounds.

What is the Life Expectancy of the Australian Cattle Dog?

The life expectancy of Australian Cattle Dogs is 12 to 16 years.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle Dog is very intelligent, energetic, and strong.

The Australian Cattle Dog is a high-energy working dog. He is not a couch potato.

He wants to be active and busy most of the time. His energy must be spent well, or he will grow bored and resort to doing something naughty, like trashing things or digging up the garden.

The Australian Cattle Dog is very loyal to his humans. He usually bonds closely to one person.

He’s also known as a “Velcro” dog because he bonds so closely with his humans. He likes to be close to his chosen person 24/7.

Because the Australian Cattle Dog was bred to herd, he is a mouthy dog. His instinct is to nip cattle, children, pets, cars, and anything that moves.

Australian Cattle Dogs have a strong tendency to bite, even when playing.

This tendency must be properly directed with socialization and training while he’s still a puppy or it can turn into dangerous behavior.

He has a strong prey drive and gets fascinated by small animals like kittens and squirrels.

If the Australian Cattle Dog is raised from puppyhood with other pets, including cats, he can be trusted to live peacefully with them in his home.

He’s likely to consider those outside his household to be fair game, though.

The Australian Cattle Dog is generally friendly, but he is protective of his family and home turf, and he tends to be wary of strangers.

Australian Cattle Dogs are a tough breed. They needed to be tough to manage the rough terrain, high temperatures, and long distances in his job on the ranch.

This makes him both highly tolerant of pain and intensely focused. He’ll keep working even when he’s injured.

Pay close attention to this dog and make sure that they rest or stop competing when they’re tired or when they get hurt.

The Australian Cattle Dog’s Diet

Because Australian Cattle Dogs are bred for being able to handle a lot of exercise, it means they can handle a larger diet as well.

Putting them on a healthy diet should not add on weight. Let the dog eat a healthy amount, as long as it’s getting plenty of exercise.

How Much Exercise Does an Australian Cattle Dog Need?

The Australian Cattle Dog likes a lot of exercise. But remember that they should get exercise on a regular basis.

Since these dogs were bred to handle large distances, as well as short spurts of activity, you should be able to exercise them about as much as you yourself can handle.

It’s a good companion for getting out of the house, although you will want to be wary of a slightly aggressive nature with other dogs.

Australian Cattle Dog Health and Conditions

It’s important to know about the health issues that can affect your Australian Cattle Dog.

In some cases, they can be avoided by proper health testing.

In others, early diagnosis improves your dog’s chances of survival.

Like many purebred dogs, Australian Cattle Dogs are prone to inherited eye troubles.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy causes slow, painless loss of sight until the dog is completely blind in both eyes. This can take as long as several years or as little as several months.

Another eye disease that these dogs can suffer from is lens luxation, where the lens of their eye separates either partially or completely.

My Final Thoughts on the Australian Cattle Dog

Bold and athletic, the robust Australian Cattle Dog enjoys romping and roughhousing.

He is definitely not an apartment dog. To stay in good and healthy condition, Australian Cattle Dogs need plenty of exercise.

Working livestock, agility, jogging, biking, chasing balls, and playing Frisbee are productive outlets for this breed’s high energy.

With strangers, the Australian Cattle Dog is watchful and often suspicious.

Socialize them at a young age so that they don’t become too sharp or distrustful of everyone and everything.

He can be dominant and pushy with other dogs.

It’s not recommended to put him together with cats, unless he was raised with them.

He is clever and hardheaded, and he will test your patience. He needs an owner who is firm and consistent with their leadership.

These highly adaptable dogs can learn and accomplish a great deal with the right owner, but they will run right over unlucky owners.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3

OVERALL SUMMARY

4.5
Cost to Buy
10
Cuteness Level
9
Family Safety
8
Friendliness
6.5
Health Concerns
7.5
Life Span
4
Exercise Required
5
Food Required
OVERALL RATING 6.8 / 10

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