Australian Cattle Dog Information

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(Australian Heeler, Blue Heeler, Australian Cattledog, Queensland Heeler, Hall’s Heeler, Australischer Treibhund) Australian Cattle Dogs have a stout, well-built body that is agile and strong. They are a compact working dog with exceptional stamina and endurance. Australian Cattle Dogs have a body that is just longer than it is high. Their front legs are straight when perceived from the front. Australian Cattle Dogs have a wide head that is sloped between their wide-set, semi-pointed, pricked ears. Their teeth meet in a scissors bite and their oval-shaped eyes are dark brown in color. The breed’s tail is curved and reaches to the hock. Australian Cattle Dogs have a double coat that is weather resistant and features a short, straight outer coat and a short, thick undercoat. Their coat is either blue speckled or red speckled. Blue speckled coats may or may not have black, blue, or tan markings. Red speckled Australian Cattle Dogs should be evenly speckled all over the body with darker markings on the head.

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Some pure bred Australian Cattle Dogs exhibit a white marking on their forehead called a 'Bentley Star'.

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Australian Cattle Dogs are a working, herding dog that isn’t accustomed to living alone or spending its days in a small backyard. They are highly intelligent and full of energy, so they can become bored without a job to do. This boredom can lead to behavior problems and destruction. Australian Cattle Dogs love to be part of the action and they do best with lots of space. They are extremely intelligent, loyal, and alert. They make terrific guard dogs as they are very courageous and trustworthy. Australian Cattle Dogs make happy, dependable pets if they are rigorously trained from a young age. This breed tends to gravitate and obey one person, and they can be suspicious of strangers. Australian Cattle Dogs have a propensity to be aggressive towards other dogs, and they generally aren’t suited for children. Some Australian Cattle Dogs might nip at people’s heels in an attempt to “herd” them. Potential owners of this breed should avoid having the strict working lines of this breed as household pets. Australian Cattle Dog puppies that have been firmly trained and socialized from a young age make acceptable and loving household pets.

Most Australian Cattle dogs are born with the instinct of aggression. They natural will claim territory and defend it. If one of these dogs begins to show aggression and starts misbehaving, the worst thing to do is put them in a pen. Penning them up with strengthen their aggression and will not help them improve. It is best to properly train and socialize this breed from birth. This breed may not be suitable for first time dog owners.

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17 – 20 inches

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30 – 35 pounds
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General Health

Australian Cattle Dogs are prone to hip dysplasia, PRA, and deafness. Typically, this breed lives for 12 to 15 years, and they average 5 puppies per litter.

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Originally developed to herd cattle on large ranches, the Australian Cattle Dog was constructed from a mix of breeds like the Smithfield and the Old Smooth Collie. Pioneer settlers in the 19th century brought dogs with them from Europe and began to experiment with new crosses. The Australian Cattle Dog is primarily derived from the smooth, blue speckled Collie and wild Australian Dingoes. Breeds like the Australian Kelpie, the Bull Terrier, and the Dalmatian were also added to the mix. The end result was the versatile and hardy Australian Cattle Dog. A man by the name of Robert Kaleski formed a standard for the breed in 1893, and it was later approved in Australia in 1903. In 1980, the Australian Cattle Dog achieved full recognition by the AKC.

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Australian Cattle Dogs have a short, weather-resistant coat that needs little maintenance and grooming. Brushing with a firm bristle brush and bathing only as necessary are sufficient. Australian Cattle Dogs shed their coats once or twice per year, depending on the dog’s gender and region.

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Ideal Environment

Australian Cattle Dogs need a significant amount of exercise as they are a breed with incredible stamina and energy. Without rigorous exercise, the Australian Cattle Dog is likely to become bored and destructive. For this reason, Australian Cattle Dogs are not recommended for a small household or apartment. They do best with a large yard and a job to do.

The Australian Cattle Dog is an active breed and may require at least two hours of exercise each day.

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Dog Training!

If you're having problems training your dog or getting control, you should read our review of Adam will do whatever it takes to help you whip your dog into shape. I've used them to help with my Great Dane as well as help friends train their dogs. It's the first place I go to help answer users Questions. Many training issues are too extensive to answer in this forum, which is why I refer a lot of the load to his site. Update: I've been using and recommending DogProblems for three years now. I, as well as my users, value the techniques we've learned. I get weekly emails from users who have become better owners from the information they received.

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Australian Cattle Dog Q&A

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I'm writing for my brother who adopted an approximately 2-year-old male cattle dog from a shelter in September 2007. He does not have any major problems except when my brother tries to take him for a walk, the dog jumps up and tries to grab the leash and will snarl and bark. They have tried several suggestions from people to try and train him to walk on a leash, but he becomes very aggressive and will not stop jumping. After they walk/drag him about a block, the dog gets tired and then walks normally on the leash. Any suggestions out there? They tried keeping still until he calms down and maybe he will realize that they won't take him for a walk until he behaves but that doesn't work. They have tried a soda can with pennies in it and throwing it at his feet and he will stop for an instant and then keep on acting up. They are getting extremely frustrated with him and I am afraid they will give up on him. He's house trained and is very well behaved in the house except for when he is bored and then he will look for something to get into. Please help. Thanks. Margie

I have owned 5 cattle dogs over the years - I currently have 3 - and sometimes they can be quirky. Your brother's dog may have been dragged roughly or fallen from the back of a truck and had the leash hold him. They are very smart dogs with long memories. He may have tried this without success, but, if not, I suggest that he start with a short leash or light rope and tie it on the dog's collar and let him wear it around the house or yard for a few days. When the dog comes over to be petted, always do so, holding the leash or rope gently and give him a treat - little treats work as well as big treats (like rice krispies, one or two at a time). Gradually, increase the length of rope so you can walk holding it and do so in the house, just briefly, say from couch to chair, then a treat and lead him a brief distance to get his supper if you start having success with this until he can wear his leash in the house for long periods of time and it can be picked up and you can lead him short distances without him reacting. If he backslides, shorten the distances again. Remember to praise him and pet him, don't drag or scold. When he gets the hang of this indoors - which should really only take a few days, start the outside walks slowly and keep the treats in your pocket. Good luck with him. They are awesome dogs. Cindy


Hi, I am very interested in getting an ACD. I also have a passion for hunting, duck hunting to be specific. I'm wondering how ACD's are in the water and can they be trained as a good Gun Dog? I know that they have some aggression and that might be bad with handling the birds. Can they be taught to be quiet when ducks are coming in? I know this is an odd question haha but thought I'd ask expeirenced owners about it. thanks...

An ACD dog would actually not be a good gun dog at all. It has herding instincts, as outlined in the breed specs, and I can say from personal experiance that ACD's will kill the bird and eat it before you even had a chance to save it. Try looking at the retriever and hunting breeds. Some hae been bred for duck and/or quail hunting and to retrieve your catch.


My 2 year old male ACD has a very dominant personality. This behaviour started with barking at strangers and very slow acceptance of our male friends. Recently he has bitten the trouser legs of 2 chance met strangers. I feel he has not accepted me as 'pack leader' and his behaviour is protective. He is great with us and deals with our 4 year old son with no problems. He fits the characteristic working stock personality even though he is a chocolate brown X and 27 kilos. I am concerned that this behaviour will escalate. He is great with other dogs. I am unable to run him as he needs nor do agility with him because of my health. Any suggestions, observations, or advice?

My first question is - is your boy neutered? If not, this should be done ASAP. Also, if you are able, an obedience class would give you the skills to establish yourself as pack leader. It would also be a good opportunity for socialization.


We have recently accepted a blue heeler puppy who has been badly abused by his previous owner, we are a little unsure as to how to commence training him so that he doesn't feel threatend by a firm voice. He has a very sweet nature and loves children and females but is very timid around males. Is anyone able to offer any suggestions? Thank you, any advice would be appreciated....Carol

carol, An abused dog takes time to work with . Start with finding a trainer that does hands free training by this I mean someone who trains with treets not with physical domination Socialize your dog with other people and dogs but let the dog go up to the people do not force the dog to go to a stranger this may take months to do but give it time cattle dogs are very smart and he will begin to trust people again use soft vocal correction and move slowly around the dog so not to scare him give him give lots of affection but let him know your the pack leader and he is the follower this will take alot of stress off the dog also take him for walks and spend time playing with him cattle dogs need somthing to do or they will make up something to do and that may not be something you will like I hope this will help you to get on the right track with your dog visit your local pet store for locating a trainer for you and your dog good luck. Tim


Hi, me and my partener have had our red speckle Australian cattle dog for about a month, she is 5 months old and has a lovely playful character. Its only taken a couple weeks to get her fully house trained, and it didn't take long for us to realise how intelligent she is. We expect her to do naughty things some times as she is so young, but her behaviour is defiantly worse with me. After reading about some of you're experiences it soon became clear that she sees Sam (my partner) as the leader of the pack. Some times he only has to look at her to get her to behave, but she just wont listen to me no matter how firm i am with her. Iv tried everything. its almost as if she thinks me being female is my weakness. She has never gone to bite me, but does growl sometime when i tell her no, followed by her jumping and nipping trying to play. please help me as i love her dearly but feel nervous with her on my own sometimes. Thanks x

Hello, I'm mom to a female red speckle ACD named Sadie. We have had Sadie since she was 16 weeks old and she'll be two in August. My thinking is your having issues because you are nervous not because you are a woman. You have to be willing to show her that she can't control you, I do NOT mean hit or mistreat your dog. I think you should take some time without Sam to leash walk her, throw her ball around, be the one that feeds her and gives her treats. When you tell her no don't get emotional just be firm in what you are saying, also constancy is a must. I have always been the one Sadie listens to above everyone so again I think your dog is just testing the boundaries. We were having issue with Sadie trying to bully our youngest son Matt., before Sadie's behavior became a real problem I started having Matt hold the leash when we went on walks, Matt would be the one to feed Sadie, and we would all throw ball as a family but Sadie tried to resist Matt having control she wouldn't take him the ball therefor when Sadie would bring me the ball I would hand it to Matt, it took a little bit for Sadie to finally just start taking the ball to Matt. After a few weeks of showing Sadie that Matt was allowed control over her not the other way around we've had no issues and Sadie now treats Matt with the same respect and loyalty as the rest of the family. The growling is just another way she's trying to control you or she may just be a talker. i know that sounds strange but Sadie has several different growls some are playful some are a warning. With your red only being five months you could nip these small issues fairly quick and easily, remember this breed is super smart and beyond loyal. Good luck and let me know how it's going. Nikcole


hi, i was wondering, do the cattle dogs get too protective over their pups?


We live in Ind it gets hot, so we cut her hair and it not growing back out ,why. It has come in places.What about this winter need it 0 or below?

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