Australian Cattle Dog: Traits And Characteristics, The Perfect Pet For A Farm?

Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog: Traits And Characteristics, The Perfect Pet For A Farm?


The Australian Cattle Dog is a breed of dog known for its high level of intelligence, high activity level, and solid build.

Early settlers in Australia originally bred them to manage cattle herds on huge ranches, and herding is still one of their primary jobs today.

They thrive when they are given responsibilities and included in all aspects of the family’s activities. There is a chance that you could locate these purebred dogs in the care of animal shelters or rescue organizations, even though they are available for adoption.

Don’t forget to provide a home! If you want to welcome a dog into your home, you shouldn’t go shopping. The Australian Cattle Dog is devoted to its family and watchful of strangers, yet it is apprehensive of strangers.

They excel in a variety of canine sports as well, including agility, obedience, rally, flyball, and flying disc contests, in addition to their role as herders.

Be wary, especially if you live in an apartment, because these dogs have very specific requirements that must be met. – both mentally and physically — to maintain happiness and good health and to forestall negative conduct brought on by boredom.

This dog breed is perfect for you if you have a large yard or a house with a lot of open space and the stamina to keep up with such a hyperactive puppy.

Check out the whole list of characteristics and information about the Australian Cattle Dog breed that is provided down below!

History Of Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle Dog was developed by European settlers in Australia in the 19th century to herd cattle on huge estates.

australian cattle dog

This breed was essential in assisting ranchers in expanding the Australian beef industry by herding cattle in a quiet but aggressive manner. However, the cattle might sometimes be difficult to handle and nearly be considered feral.

The modern-day Australian Cattle Dog is the product of a lengthy and complex breeding and hybridization process. Ranchers in Australia were looking for a tough dog to survive the harsh climate and the working circumstances there.

Because the dogs initially brought from England did not live up to expectations, they were crossed with native Dingo dogs. It is thought that the forebears of the modern-day Australian Cattle Dog were the product of countless breedings carried out by various ranchers over a long period.

The blue-colored canines that became the most popular among ranch owners and drovers gained the name Blue Heelers due to this popularity.

They were particularly well-liked in Queensland, where they were given the name Queensland Heelers or Queensland Blue Heelers because of the prevalence of cattle drives in which they participated.

Robert Kaleski began breeding Blue Heelers in 1893, and in 1897, he began taking his dogs to dog shows. As Kaleski believed that this was the type of dog most naturally adapted to the Australian desert, he drew up a standard and based the Cattle Dog on the Dingo.

The Kennel Club of New South Wales sanctioned this standard in 1903, and the modern-day Australian Cattle Dog resembles the Dingo, except for color.

Formerly known as the Australian Heeler, the breed is now more commonly referred to by its current name, the Australian Cattle Dog, which is the designation that is generally recognized as being official both in Australia and worldwide. Despite this, others still refer to them as Queensland Heelers or Blue Heelers.

The Australian Cattle Dog was moved from the Miscellaneous Class to the Working Group in May of 1980 when it was finally approved for registration by the American Kennel Club.

Beginning in September of 1980, he was able to participate in shows held by the Working Group. In January 1983, the breed was moved from the Working Group to the Herding Group.

Appearance Of Australian Cattle Dog

An Australian cattle dog pays you the utmost attention with his erect, tapering ears and brown, oval eyes that twinkle with interest.

australian cattle dog

He also directs all of his attention to you. His head is rounded and large, his muzzle is short and pointed, and his slightly bushy tail hangs loosely off his hindquarters.

His expression is intent and eager, and it seems to question, “What’s next?” His head is curved and broad, and his muzzle is short and sharp.

The body of an ACD is a reflection of the lean, wound-up energy concealed beneath a double coat. His build is evenly proportioned and strong, contributing to his strength and endurance.

He stands approximately 19 inches tall at the withers and weighs between 35 and 50 pounds. The outer coat is short and bristly, while the undercoat is longer and softer. Together, they act as insulation against extremes in temperature.

The hues of an Australian cattle dog’s coat signify his diverse ancestry, which includes Dalmatian, collie, and dingo (a wild dog native to Australia) bloodlines.

The pattern of his fur is either mottled or speckled, and it can have hues of white, gray, blue, black, or red, which contributes to the remarkable appearance of the animal.

Although no two coats are ever exactly the same, many cattle dogs have a contrasting color patch above one or both eyes that is a different hue than the muzzle. This patch can be found on either side of the dog’s face.

Personality Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle Dog is a very active breed that consistently requires mental and physical stimulation.

australian cattle dog

He is prone to harmful behavior when he is bored or when he is alone himself. He has the propensity to rip and gnaw on things that he shouldn’t.

If you choose to share your home with an Australian Cattle Dog, you should be prepared to regularly keep him active and exhausted. It’s much less probable that he’ll get into trouble if he’s exhausted.

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The Australian Cattle Dog is a territorial breed fiercely protective of the area it claims as its own and would fight to the death to protect it. In addition, he presents a reserved demeanor around strangers, albeit not necessarily unpleasant.

However, his loyalty lies with his owner and his family. Once they have formed a link, the Australian Cattle Dog enjoys accompanying their owner everywhere they go.

The Australian Cattle Dog considers being physically separated from those they love as punishment. Although he has a lot of intelligence, he may be headstrong and stubborn sometimes.

His tendency for independence can be reined in with the help of consistent, constructive instruction. A dog’s temperament can be influenced by a variety of things, including its genes, experiences, and environment.

Puppies with pleasant dispositions are outgoing and energetic and aren’t afraid to approach people or ask to be carried by them.

Pick the puppy that is behaving the best, not the one that is bullying the other puppies in the litter or the one who is cowering away in the far corner.

Always be sure you meet at least one of the parents, and in most cases, the mother will be the available one, so that you can confirm that both of them have pleasant personalities and that you will feel at ease with them.

When attempting to predict what a puppy will be like as an adult, it is helpful to spend time with the puppy’s siblings and any other relatives that the parents have.

When they are young, Australian Cattle Dog puppies, like puppies of any other breed, require early socialization, which involves exposing them to various people, sights, noises, and experiences.

Through proper socialization, you can ensure that your Australian Cattle Dog puppy will mature into a well-adjusted and balanced dog. The best way to get him started is to put him in a kindergarten class for puppies.

The act of routinely inviting people over, taking him to crowded parks and stores that are dog-friendly, and taking him on strolls to meet neighbors can all assist in developing his social skills.

Overview Of Australian Cattle Dog

  • Dog Breed Group: Herding Dogs
  • Height: 17 to 20 inches tall at the shoulder
  • Weight: 30 to 50 pounds
  • Life Span: 12 to 15 years

Health Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dogs generally enjoy good health; nevertheless, like other breeds, they are predisposed to several diseases.

It is vital to be aware of these diseases if you are considering getting an Australian Cattle Dog of any breed, even though not all Australian Cattle Dogs will develop any or all of them.

If you want to buy a puppy, you should look for a reputable breeder who can provide you with health clearances for both of the dog’s parents. Clearances from the veterinarian demonstrate that a dog has been examined for and found to be free of a certain disease.

When it comes to Australian Cattle Dogs, you should be on the lookout for health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand’s disease; from Auburn University for thrombopathia; and from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that its eyes are normal.

All of these clearances should be in good standing. Checking the OFA website will allow you to verify that you have received the necessary health approvals (

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) refers to a group of eye illnesses that cause the retina to deteriorate gradually over time. Affected dogs experience night blindness early on in the course of the disease; as the disease develops, they also lose their vision during the day.

As long as their environment does not change, many canines that are afflicted can adjust well to their diminished or absent vision.

Hip dysplasia is a disorder that runs in families and manifests itself when the thighbone does not fit properly into the hip joint. While some dogs appear to be in obvious agony and limp on one or both hind legs, others don’t show any apparent discomfort symptoms.

In either case, the dog’s age may play a role in the development of arthritis. (X-ray screening is the most reliable method for diagnosing the issue.)

If a dog has hip dysplasia, it should not be bred with other dogs; therefore, if you want to acquire a puppy, you should ask the breeder for documentation that both of the puppy’s parents have been checked for hip dysplasia and are healthy.

Deafness: It is possible to test for deafness in puppies while they are still very young, although deafness is inherited in Australian Cattle Dogs. Deaf dogs should not be bred.

According to research, there is a connection between the color white and the condition of deafness. The genes that allow puppies to be born white or with white hairs in the coat that form a roaning pattern are linked to deafness.

The brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) test can help diagnose hearing issues; however, it is not a treatment and cannot restore normal hearing.

Living Needs Australian Cattle Dog

Imagine a cattle dog from Australia wandering the vast emptiness of the outback in search of cattle.

From the moment the sun rises until it sets, he is responsible for managing his herd, monitoring potential dangers, and completing any additional chores that his owner may assign.

Keeping this in mind, it is simple to understand why he would never be content living in an apartment or sitting around waiting for his humans to come home for hours.

Reinforce his home environment by installing tall, secure fencing so that he can securely play fetch and other outdoor games without being chased by wildlife or passing cars if he is not working with you on the task.

Many owners of cattle dogs have stories about their pets leaping over fences as high as six feet when they get a strong running start, particularly when they are going after a Frisbee.

ACDs have high hunt drives due to their innate tendency to guard the herd. As a result, if they are not introduced to cats and other dogs in the home when they are still puppies, there may be problems.

In most cases, older Australian cattle dogs adopted by a family do better if they are the only animal in the household.

Even though Australian cattle dogs can spend the night outside in big enclosures equipped with runs and secure dens to snuggle up in, they would much rather be inside with their owners.

On the other hand, if the two of you filled the day with lots of activity, he might not worry too much about where he sleeps as long as there is a guarantee that he will do much of the same with you the next day. This would be the case if the day was full of activity.

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Care For Australian Cattle Dog

The active Australian Cattle dog thrives in a setting that provides him with plenty of opportunities for mental and physical challenge.

He is not the type of person who would do well living in a small space like an apartment or being left alone for extended periods. When he is bored, he is destructive, and he tends to chew a lot.

He requires a place to live, with a yard enclosed by a sturdy fence or a rural farm or ranch.

Suppose you are considering getting an Australian Cattle Dog. In that case, you need to ensure that you will be able to give him the necessary outlet for the natural energy and sharp intelligence he possesses.

Because he was born to herd and chase, that is precisely what he will do: he will herd and chase anything, including cars because that is what he was bred to do.

Canine sports are something to consider if you aren’t a sheep or cattle farmer. This dog adores the action and the various obstacles that come with playing sports.

The Australian Cattle Dog should begin training and socializing at an early age. He risks becoming fearful if he is not properly socialized when young, just like any other dog.

Socialization at a young age is one of the best ways to ensure that your Australian Cattle Canine will mature into a well-rounded dog.

Because he tends to mouth, chew, nip, and bite, he must be handled cautiously. He must be trained not to put his mouth on other people but rather on suitable chew materials, such as durable toys.

Feeding Of Australian Cattle Dog

The recommended daily dosage is 1.5 to 2.5 cups of premium dry food, which should be served in two separate meals daily.

NOTE: The amount of food that an adult dog needs to consume varies depending on his age, size, build, metabolism, and how active he is. Because each dog is an individual, just like each person, their dietary requirements will not all be the same.

It should go without saying that a dog with a high activity level will require more than a dog whose primary activity is lounging around the house.

The quality of the dog food that you purchase is another factor that plays a role. The higher the quality of the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing it, and the less you need to shake into the bowl it eats from.

Instead of putting food out for your Australian Cattle Dog all the time, you should measure his food and serve it to him twice a day. This will help you keep your dog in good form.

You should give him the eye exam and the hands-on test if you are unsure whether he is overweight. First, look at him from a lower level. A waistline ought to be discernible to the viewer.

Then position your hands so that they are on his back, with your thumbs running along his spine and your fingers spreading outward. Without exerting too much force, you should be able to feel his ribs but not be able to see them.

If you can’t help him, he needs fewer calories and more activity.
See our recommendations for buying the right food, feeding your puppy, and feeding your adult dog for more information on how to nourish your Australian Cattle Dog properly.

Coat Color And Grooming Of Australian Cattle Dog

The weather-resistant exterior coat of the Australian Cattle Dog is short and straight, and he has a deep undercoat. The Australian Cattle Dog was developed in Australia.

The average Australian Cattle Dog does not shed their coat continuously throughout the year; rather, it will “blow” its coat once or twice a year (think of a snowstorm).

After only a few weeks, the undercoat will fall off in large clumps. The coat of the Australian Cattle Dog can be blue or red with blue speckles.

There may be black, blue, or tan markings on the head; partial tan on the forelegs, chest, and throat; and full tan on the jaw and the rear legs.

There are occasions when the undercoat is brown, and the outer coat is blue. The term “red speckle” refers to a completely red coat down to the undercoat and may even include dark red markings on the head.

The Australian Cattle Dog does not require a great deal of primping, but he must have some grooming to remain clean and healthy. You should brush him regularly, perhaps once every four weeks, to help spread oils and remove grime.

Brush him often when shedding, so you can remove the dead hair. You should bathe him whenever necessary, which is essential if he’s dirty or smells horrible.

You should give your Australian Cattle Dog’s teeth a good brushing at least twice or thrice a week to prevent tartar accumulation and the bacteria that may be found in it.

If you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath, brushing your teeth at least once daily is ideal. If your dog does not walk frequently enough to wear down its nails naturally, you should trim them once a month.

It is a sign that they are excessively lengthy if you hear them clicking on the floor. Maintaining the feet in good condition includes keeping the toenails short and properly clipped.

Because dogs’ toenails include blood vessels, if you cut too deeply into them, you risk causing bleeding, which may make your dog less cooperative the next time he sees the nail clippers being used.

Therefore, if you do not have experience clipping dog nails, you should seek advice from a groomer or a veterinarian. Checking his ears once a week for redness or a foul odor, which may be signs of an infection, is recommended.

When you examine your dog’s ears, wipe them clean with a cotton ball that has been moistened with a mild ear cleanser with a balanced pH. Doing so will help avoid ear infections. Just clean the outside of the ear and avoid putting anything in the ear canal at any point.

When your Australian Cattle Dog is still a puppy, you should get him used to being brushed and examined. Handle his paws often, as dogs are sensitive about having their feet handled, and examine the contents of his mouth.

You can build the framework for smooth veterinary checkups and other handling when he’s an adult if you make grooming a good experience for him by giving him praise and prizes while he’s being groomed.

Check the skin, nose, mouth, eyes, and feet for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation when you groom your pet.

The eyes should be free of any redness or discharge and should be clear. Because you examine yourself so thoroughly every week, you will be able to identify any health issues at an earlier stage.

Other Animals And Children With Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle Dog is a terrific choice for a family pet; however, he gets along best with children if he is brought up with them and learns to accept them as family members from an early age.

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When this occurs, he is both playful and protective simultaneously. The breed’s propensity to be mouthy, even nip and bite, can be challenging when dealing with children.

When the children play too harshly, he could want to give them sharp nips to herd them, or he might bite them. An adult Australian Cattle Dog that has not spent much time around youngsters would not understand how to behave around kids and could be overly aggressive.

Since youngsters do not behave in the same manner as adults, some canines view them as potentially dangerous. Most issues can be resolved by exposing the young Australian Cattle Dog to a wide variety of people, particularly children, and by teaching him to bite inhibition.

You should always teach children how to approach and touch dogs and constantly supervise any interactions between dogs and small children to prevent any biting, ear or tail tugging, or other aggressive behavior on the part of either party.

This is true regardless of the breed of dog. Teach your child that they should never approach a dog when he is eating or sleeping and never attempt to take the dog’s food away from the dog.

No child should ever be left unattended with any dog, regardless of how friendly the dog is.
The Australian Cattle Dog gets along well with other canine residents of his household, particularly if he was socialized with them from the time he was a young puppy.

On the other hand, because he is so loyal to a single family member, the Australian Cattle Dog and the other dogs in the household can engage in bouts of jealousy or physical conflict.

Now, regarding cats and other small animals that the Australian Cattle Dog typically considers to be prey: if he is raised with a cat or other animal from the time he is a puppy, he will probably consider it a member of his household and leave it alone.

This is the case when that cat or animal is a potential threat to him, He’ll probably chase it, catch it, and maybe even kill it.

Fun Facts

Bluey, an Australian cattle dog, was one of the oldest living canines at the time of his death. He was born in 1910 and worked as a herder until he reached the ripe-old canine age of 20. This is equivalent to nearly 103 human years. —but didn’t pass away until 29.

“Shadow dogs” is a typical nickname for Australian cattle dogs because they desire to maintain a very tight relationship with their masters. They have been known to adhere to famous people like Velcro, including actors Matthew McConaughey, Owen Wilson, and Mike Wolfe from the television show “American Pickers.”

If you think you’ve seen Australian cattle dogs with bobbed tails, the dogs you’ve seen are actually what the American Kennel Club refers to as American stumpy tail cattle dogs; related but are considered to be entirely separate breeds.

Rescue Groups

Many people buy Australian Cattle Dogs without having a very good idea of the responsibilities that come along with owning one of these dogs.

A great number of Australian Cattle Dogs are looking to be adopted or fostered. We have not mentioned all available rescue organizations; quite a few exist.

If you cannot find a rescue organization that serves your region on the list, you can get in touch with either the national breed club or a local breed club.

They will be able to point you in the direction of an Australian Cattle Dog rescue.

  • Australian Cattle Dog Rescue Inc.

Organizations of Different Breeds

The following is a list of breed clubs, organizations, and associations that are dedicated to the Australian Cattle Dog and may provide you with extra details.

  • Australian Cattle Dog Club of America

Questions People Also Ask: (FAQs)


Is An Australian Cattle Dog Suitable As A Pet For A Family?

The Australian Cattle Dog is an excellent family pet and can be nurtured alongside children. They have a childlike sense of wonder and will delight in the high-energy company of young people. However, due to the breed’s tendency to bite and herd, they must be closely supervised in the presence of young children.

What Sets A Blue Heeler Apart From An Australian Cattle Dog, And Vice Versa?

The Australian Heeler was the original name for the Australian Cattle Dog. However, the breed is commonly referred to as the Blue Heeler or the Queensland Heeler.

The disposition of blue and red Australian Cattle Dogs is the same. Contrary to what some people may believe, there is no difference between the two.

What Is The Cost For An Australian Cattle Dog?

The cost of purchasing an Australian cattle dog can range from approximately $250 to $3,000, with the average cost falling in the middle. The price of a dog can be affected by many different things, like its exact family tree and where the breeder lives.

Adopting an Australian cattle dog rather than purchasing one is the most financially responsible option. But if you want the best possible outcome, you should work with a rescue group that knows how to take care of dogs of this breed.

What Kind Of Intelligence Does An Australian Cattle Dog Possess?

Temperament. The Australian Cattle Dog is a working dog with a lot of energy, a busy mind, and a strong sense of self. According to Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs, this breed is one of the most intelligent dogs in terms of its capacity to learn obedience commands, and it was ranked tenth overall.

Is A Blue Heeler A Suitable Breed For Living In The House?

The Australian Cattle Dog is a Wonderful Pet for Families and an Observant Companion. Blue Heelers are a common name for Australian Cattle Dog breed puppies.

They are very alert, friendly, smart, and have a fierce sense of loyalty. These dependable pets aren’t considered aggressive so they might be a good choice for families with kids.

Are There Any Heelers That Do Not Have the Bentley Mark?

Nevertheless, there is one physical trait that almost all heelers share, and that is the “Bentley mark.” A patch of white fur appears on the dog’s forehead, and some call it the Bentley star.

Regardless of what you call it, it is a characteristic of the breed. There is a chance that every dog, regardless of the color of its coat, could have this particular physical characteristic.

Does A Cattle Dog Have A Loud Bark?

Barking. Australian Cattle Dogs are often overly eager to raise the alarm at every new sight and sound they encounter. It is not safe to let a dog of this breed unattended in the backyard or other outdoor space.

The situation is much more intolerable because some Cattle Dogs have powerful, high-pitched barks that can make your teeth ache.

Is It Difficult To Train A Cattle Dog?

What makes them unique may also make them quite difficult since their “smarts” and independent streak also need their owners to be constant, strong, and positive leaders. This is because what makes them remarkable can also make them quite demanding.

Cattle dogs, when properly motivated, are highly quick learners who flourish when training is both enjoyable and demanding. You must make it both if you want your cattle dog to succeed in training.

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