Australian Cattle Dogs are ideal working dogs. No other dog breed can equal their efficiency and reliability as herders. They are very persistent workers, strong, brave, and intelligent. Their devotion to their owners is heart warming.
Origin and History
The Australian Cattle Dogs were developed in Australia as herd and guard dogs. The Australian pioneers discovered that the dogs they brought with them could not stand the hot Australian climate so they crossed the Dingo-Blue Merle Collies with the Dalmatians and the black and tan Kelpies.
The resulting breed with the Dingo look is the sturdy work dog that can drive cattle over long distances in the hot ranches of Queensland, Australia. They are also called Australian Heelers because when they herd they bite the heels of the cattle.
Details and Specifications
Australian Cattle Dogs have double coats consisting of a short dense undercoat and a smooth coat. Every part of this breed is strong, lean, hardy, and muscular; perfectly fitted for the function they were bred for. The neck, shoulders, body, legs, even the teeth that are used for nipping are strong. Their weight is between 30 to 35 pounds and their height is between 17 to 20 inches. They live around 12 to 14 years.
Australian Cattle Dogs were bred as a work dog used in herding cattle so they are very strong, agile, and smart. They are best suited for owners who love the outdoors, and who have strong and dominant personalities. This will keep the strong-willed dog in line and happy.
Once this is established, this strong-willed dog will flourish and become happy. They love physical and mental exercises in the outdoors like Frisbee, fetch, and even car chasing. They are extremely loyal and very protective of their owners.
They are not recommended for children because they have a tendency to bite the heel in play and in defense. They can also get too protective and devoted and may bite the playmates of the child they are guarding when the play gets rowdy.
Australian Cattle Dogs are very intelligent. They are very easy to train and can learn new commands and tricks quicker than other breeds. They make great champion show dogs when properly trained.
Caring and Nurturing (Haircut, Fur treatment, Washing…)
The Australian Cattle Dogs are called “wash and wear dogs” because they are so easy to maintain. Though they shed heavily, their short coats are easy to groom and weather-resistant. Occasional brushing will do. Regular teeth and ear cleaning and nail clipping will contribute greatly to their well being.
This breed is prone to deafness and progressive retinal atrophy. Hip dysplasia may also be a problem for some but is not common.
Food, Equipment, and Games
To keep this active breed from getting bored and destructive, they need to be provided with tasks, challenging exercises, and enjoyable games. Their natural tendency to bite or nip the heels may be relieved or channeled to chewing sturdy toys like rubber baskets or balls. Owners may take them jogging. Vast and fenced running spaces will also do them good.
They do not require special diets and just need well balanced fresh meals.