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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog

Origin: Australia

AKC Group: Herding

Height: 17 inches (Male)

Weight: 33 pounds (Male)

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Male height: 
17 inches
Male weight: 
33 pounds
Smooth double coat with close, hard outercoat and short, dense undercoat.
Blue, blue mottled, blue speckled or red speckled, with or without other markings.

The name says it all; this is an Australian breed developed to work alongside the cattlemen of this rugged continent. Beginning in the early 1800s, Australian settlers began creating a breed of dog to assist in mustering and moving wild cattle. He would need to be strong, full of stamina and able to bite. Throughout that century, hardy stock of Dingo, Kelpie and Highland Collie was used to obtain a compact, highly intelligent, active, controllable herding dog. The Australian Cattle dog's original standard was written by Robert Kaleski in 1902 and was approved by the Kennel Club of New South Wales in 1903. He gained American Kennel Club (AKC) recognition in 1980.

Challenged by the varying and often inhospitable terrain of Australia, the cattlemen there bred a versatile dog who could move livestock over anything and in almost any weather. This is an extremely intelligent, strong-willed, courageous and ever-alert breed, with strength and endurance unlike other dogs of comparable size. He is always "on duty." He takes things very seriously, considers himself almost indestructible, and thinks that his "person" is the very center of his universe.
At home: 
Australian Cattle Dogs are best suited to a living arrangement that allows them plenty of space in which to move - and preferably a job to do. He cannot be left alone for hours on end, as this will only result in a frustrated dog prone to destructive tendencies. With an active family willing to give him the mental and physical stimulation he needs, he can be a great family pet. The Australian Cattle dog is very loyal and protective of his family and territory. His desire to chase cars, animals, and even people must be corrected with training, and he should be kept on a leash until you are sure that he has a reliable recall.
This is a dog with copious amounts of energy and stamina - he can go all day and so truly needs a job to do. Daily bouts of exercise several times a day are necessary to keep him healthy.
The Australian Cattle dog should be fed a nutritionally balanced diet specifically formulated for his age and lifestyle.
Alert and intelligent, this breed is a quick study. The greatest challenge to his owner is keeping him from becoming bored, as he is equally eager to learn and to please. This strong-willed dog needs strong leadership and clear rules, or he may begin to think of himself as "top dog."
Australian Cattle Dogs are very affectionate and loving toward children, but they do have a tendency to nip at their heels when running. Although gentle, they are naturally suspicious of strangers. They require socialization with other dogs, and because they have a high prey drive, should not be left alone with small pets.
The average life span of the Australian Cattle dog is 10 to 13 years. Breed health concerns may include deafness; hip dysplasia; patellar luxation; and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).
Fun fact: 

The Australian Cattle dog is commonly known as the Blue Heeler, the Australian Heeler and the Queensland Blue in his native land.

Grooming blurb: 
Although regular brushing with a pin brush is necessary to keep the dense undercoat in check, the Australian Cattle dog is a fairly "wash-and-wear" breed.
Copyright by T.F.H. Publications, Inc. This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.