The Australian Cattle Dog

AustralianCattleDogsThose who are lucky enough to live with Australian Cattle Dogs, who also go by the acronym, ACD, are very loyal to it. They are some of the smartest and most loyal dogs, and life is sometimes challenging with them, but it is always an adventure. Australian Cattle Dog owners have to be able to do the training for the dogs, and to set themselves up as “leaders”.

Australian Cattle Dogs are sometimes referred to as “Velcro dogs” because they form such a close attachment to their owners, and they want to take part in everything that they do. This dog will turn into a real companion when you are working at the ranch, running, hiking, biking, or just going about your daily duties. Australian Cattle Dogs don’t thrive if they’re always left on its own in the yard.


This breed goes by different names. They’re sometimes called Queensland Heelers, Red Heelers, and Blue Heelers. They’re not names that you would guess that the dog would go by. However, when they’re in purebred form, they all refer to the identical dog. There are different clubs recognize Australian Cattle Dog as the official name, and they are the American Kennel Club as well as the Australian Cattle Dog Club of America, the parent club of the breed in the U.S. These dogs are compressed, compact, and have a nice, symmetrical appearance. They are working dogs that are born with a white color, but they have darker colors as they grow older over the course of their lifetimes. There are some misconceptions about these dogs so to clear them up quickly, let’s stop some rumors. First of all, a dingo is not an Australian Cattle Dog. Second of all, there is not any temperamental difference between red and blue dogs. Australian Cattle Dogs don’t even possess a merle gene. The unique coat color is probably a result from a ticking gene. Optimally, adult males get to 18”-20” at the shoulders, and females are 17”-19”.

As opposed to what some pet owners think, the Australian Cattle Dog does possess a tail. The tail is seen with the Australian and American breed standards. Australian Cattle Dogs are real athletes, they employ their tail and turn it into a rudder when they’re making sudden movements in direction, whether they’re herding the cattle, performing agility work, or playing with the family in the backyard. There is very little grooming that they require. They just need regular baths, some brushing to get rid of the old hair and trimming of the nails for the dogs that don’t have the effect of wearing them down.


Where did these dogs come from anyway? The Australian Cattle Dogg was first created as a breed in Australia in the 1800 when it was discovered that the herding dogs that came from Great Britain had trouble with the unfenced range area, the kinds of cattle, and the climatological factors, all of which were at variance with their native land.

Training and Exercise

It’s unsurprising, because of the initial purpose, that the Australian Cattle Dog is a high-octane dog and a very smart one too. This will mean that your Australian Cattle Dog will need a point in life or a job to be content. Lots of dog owners have training for their dogs to teach them obedience, rallying, tracking, agility, herding, and other performance events. Find an outlet that will let your dog get rid of all its mental and physical energy. Training and mental exercise are good for the Australian Cattle Dog and the owner.

Puppies and Young Cattle Dogs

AustralianCattleDogpuppyIn the case of young dogs and puppies, it’s the job of the owner to be somewhat smart and modify activity levels. You want to wait until the dog grows up and the joints are fully formed before it has physical activity extremes like twisting, leaping, repetitive jumping, and long day hikes because it can cause chronic injury.

Young puppies have to be trained not to nip. Some inhibition of biting is instructed by other puppies in the litter, and that is why it is critically important for Australian Cattle Dog puppies to stay in their litter to the point when they reach 7-8 weeks old. Puppy classes are a great way to start training your Australian Cattle Dog. Exposure and socialization to different situations, places, people, and dogs is a critical part of raising an Australian Cattle Dog that will be integrated into a community of other dogs and people. Usually, positive training methods are the optimal solution for this dog, and they make training a lot better for the owner too. These are smart dogs, and if you make training fun, they will have an urge to learn. They are great at clicker training. Preventing unwanted behaviors from ever occurring and time-outs generally solve most of the problems.

Training methods that are harsh physically are just seen as challenging for a dog that is designed to get a kick from a cow and not get dissuaded from their task. There are more positive methods for gaining respect. Teaching your dog follow the general commands and then having the dog earns what he desires (giving them a “nothing is a given approach) helps set up the pack order in a safe and kind way.


herdThe herding Australian Cattle Dog works on its own and is often forced to think on its own. It prods cattle that are stubborn coming in at a low angle from behind the cow, nibbling at the part of the weight-bearing leg known as the hock, and doing a duck out of the way to avoid getting the kick. A stubborn cow doesn’t inhibit the dog from working. Instead, it just gets even more serious about getting the job done.

Genetics, Health and Longevity

In general, Australian Cattle Dogs are reliable, spritely dogs with a median lifespan that goes about 12-16 years total. Although, there are some health concerns to look at for breeders and owners to be aware of.

  1. Breeds must have their elbows and hips x-rayed to make sure that they have no dysplasia. PennHip and OFA offer this procedure.
  2. Blindness is an issue with some Australian Cattle Dogs. You can do a quick DNA test to see if there is any progressive retinal atrophy before they dogs ever get bred so that none of the puppies will be born with it. Before the test came out, PRA caused blindness in 25% of Australian Cattle Dogs if they had a long enough lifespan for it to start. which was usually about 6-8 years.
  3. CERF testing is performed by some veterinary opthalmologists to check for the presence of inherited eye diseases.
  4. This breed has genetic deafeness. Adults and puppies can get tested to find out if they can hear in both ears. Australian Cattle Dogs are so smart that puppies can copy their littermate’s responses and appear to have functioning hearing.
  5. You can check on the testing and results of many of these medical disorders on the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals website.


Dog breeding is a huge responsibility. Make sure that you mull very carefully before you use your dog as a bitch or a stud. At the very least, your dog needs to be tested for the disorders that were outlined before. Your dog has to be a good example example of the breed in relation to the standard and have a great temperament too. You need to be ready to spend cash in raising the pups, and it will be in excess of what you make selling them. You have to also make a long commitment to the dogs. For most of your dogs, the volunteered decision to neuter or spay your dog, in cooperation with a vertinarion, is a great choice.



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