Australian Cattle Dog
- AKC recognized in 1980
- Lifespan: 12 – 16 years
- Size: Medium
- Energy: High
- Recommended Crate Size: 36” dog crate*
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The Australian Cattle Dog is a breed of herding dog originally developed in Australia for droving cattle over long distances across rough terrain. It is a medium-sized dog with a short coat and has two main colors. It has either black or brown hair evenly distributed through a white coat. This gives the appearance of a "blue" or "red" dog. It should not be confused with the Australian Shepherd. They are rather similar but come from a totally different breed.
The Australian Cattle Dog has the nickname of "Blue Heeler" or "Red Heeler", based on its coloring and practice of moving reluctant cattle by nipping at their heels. Without peer as a cattle herder, it is willing and ready to work all day long. Their strength, courageousness, and agility make them well suited to control and direct cattle to confined and open spaces.
This breed can be red or blue (sometimes in a speckled or mottled pattern), also with or without blue, black, or tan markings. The Australian Cattle Dog was originally bred to herd by biting. As such, it is known to nip running children. It forms a strong attachment to its owners and can be very protective of their possessions.
The American Kennel Club formally recognized the Australian Cattle Dog in 1980. These high energy working dogs are known as one of the most intelligent, based on their obedience to command. The breed ranks 10th in Stanley Coren's for The Intelligence of Dogs.
It needs a lot of regular exercise, a job to do, and companionship. Thus, it is very good to allow it to learn tricks, participate in dog sports, and other similar activities that engage its mind and body.
The Australian Cattle Dog is a muscular, sturdy, compact dog, which gives an impression of strength and agility. It has a broad skull that flattens to a definitive stop between the eyes. It has muscular cheeks and a deep powerful muzzle of medium length.
The pricked ears are small to medium in size and set wide apart, with covering hair on the inside. The eyes are dark and oval, with a keen and alert expression. Its shoulders and neck are muscular and strong; the feet arched and round, with sturdy, small toes and nails; and the forelegs are parallel and straight.
It is recommended to provide feed formulated to medium-sized breeds. It is highly recommended to discuss your dog’s feed with your veterinarian and/or breeder in order to determine size and frequency of meals in order to ensure a health, long life. It is also important to ensure that clean, fresh water is always available.
Aside from routine maintenance, this Cattle Dog is easy to maintain and groom, needing little more than a good brushing during its shedding period. The most common health problems found are progressive blindness and deafness (both hereditary conditions) and accidental injury. Its coat requires weekly brushing and occasional baths.
A slicker brush will be very useful to keep their coats in good condition. Trim their nails as needed to avoid cracking and overgrowth. Check their ears to avoid a buildup of debris and wax, which can lead to infection. Teeth should be brushed and its mouth checked regularly.
The Australian Cattle Dog is biddable, and responds well to training. As with dogs from other working breeds, it is very intelligent and energetic with an independent streak. It responds well to structured training, particularly if it is challenging and interesting.
Australian Cattle Dogs are responsive but if you want to avoid unwanted outcomes while training ensure consistent, engaging, and unrepetitive tasks. Game training is recommended to make the Cattle Dog understand that obedience leads to enjoyment.
Pet Crate Size
Pet Crates Direct recommends 36" dog crates* for most adult Australian Cattle Dogs.
* Links for crate sizes will bring you to the most appropriate Amazon page.