Australian Cattle Dog

Other names/Nicknames:
  • Queensland Heeler
  • Queensland Blue Heeler
Country/Date of Origin:
  • Australia
  • 1800′s
  • Females:  17 to 19 inches
  • Males:  18 to 20 inches
  • 35 to 45 pounds
  • One-person dog.
  • Not friendly to strangers.
  • A natural and determined guard.
  • Totally unbribable.
  • A serious-minded, working dog.  Not given to frivolities.
  • The stocky body is deceptive.  This is an athlete.

The first records of the Australian Cattle Dog date back to about mid-19th century Australia.  In the tropical north, a robust, short-coated dog was needed to herd large, half-wild cattle in the outback.  Beginning with British foundation stock, primarily the Smithfield Heeler, the Aussie stock-men added Dingo blood and a dash of Kelpie for tractability and intelligence.  The result is a no frills, working dog.  Not the most handsome canine, the Aussie Cattle Dog survives for one reason—it is good at its job.  No other breed could drive such rambunctious cattle such long distances in such heat.  The Australian Cattle Dog is as tough as the land that formed it.  Quick to be recognized in its homeland, the breed was entered in the stud book in 1903.  It was not until 1979 that it was given status with the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Body Type:
  • A sturdy, compact, medium-sized dog with a muscular build.
  • The tail hangs in a slight curve and is not altered.
  • The ears are erect and are not altered.
  • Rough, moderately-short, double coat.
  • Permissible colors are mottled blue, with or without markings in black, blue, or tan; or speckled red with or without darker red markings.
  • Moderate grooming.
Health and Wellness:
  • Hip dysplasia.
  • Congenital deafness.
  • Portosystemic shunts.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy.
  • Pyoderma.
What you should know:
  • Long-lived.  The Guinness Book of Records lists an Australian Cattle Dog as living longer than any other dog.  Bluey worked cattle and sheep for 20 years before dying at the age of 29 years and five months.
  • In Australia, these dogs ride with the jackaroos (cowboys) on motorcycles and jump from the moving bikes to work the cows.
  • Heelers work cattle by nipping at the heels and dropping to the ground or leaping nimbly out of the way before the animals can kick.
  • Australian Cattle Dogs are prized for their snake killing abilities.  They seem to have a particular hatred for the reptiles.
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