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The Australian Cattle Dog Shop

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Australian Cattle Dog Breed Summary

High-Energy, Independent, Devoted and Loyal

These dogs originate from Australia, where even to this day they remain highly prized working dogs, mainly due to their immense stamina and fantastic temperaments. They have since become a popular choice of pet both in Australia and across other parts of the world.

Often, they are referred to as Heelers, a reference to their habit of nipping livestock at the heels when they were herding them. These dogs can, however, be slightly suspicious of strangers and are often protective over their hooman families, though they are very loyal by nature.

Fun Fact: One Australian Cattle Dog, called Bluey, lived until he was 29 years old! He herded sheep for more than 20 years of his life before retiring.

Kennel Club Group Herding
Lifespan 12 - 14 Years
Height (at the withers) Males 18in - 20in, Females 17in - 19in
Weight Males and Females 35lb - 50lb
Coat Smooth, Double Coats. Undercoat is Shorter and Much Denser
Color  Blue, Blue & Tan, Blue Black & Tan, Blue Speckled, Red, Red & Tan, Red Speckled
Eye color Dark Brown
Common health issues Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Hip dysplasia, Elbow dysplasia, Congenital deafness
Other Names ACD, Cattle Dog, Blue Heeler, Red Heeler, Queensland Heeler

Un-like other lazier breeds, Australian Cattle Dogs are extremely high energy and independent, so need a home that can allow them to run around and play with their owners. If these dogs are unable to direct their energy, they will resort to entertaining themselves, such as digging up yards and emptying trash cans, so it’s vital that both the dog and ‘hooman’ share high-energy passions! These dogs are also highly loyal and devoted to their families, often creating a specific bond with one person, giving them the nickname of ‘Velcro dogs’. Because of their past, where they would nip cattle in order to herd them, they are prone to biting during play, so they must be trained and socialized correctly, to avoid unwanted and potentially dangerous behavior. They are a very tough breed​ and have been bred to keep working on, even if in pain or injured, so owners must pay careful attention to their dogs and make sure they stop working in the event of this happening. Overall though, they are generally very friendly and protective of their ‘hoomans’, and when trained correctly, make a lovely family pet.

These dogs, as the name may suggest, were originally bred in the 19th century to herd cattle. They also actually helped to put Australian Beef on the map! But the Australian Cattle Dog breed that we see today is quite different from the ones in the 19th century​ and has since become a lot smaller due to innumerable breeding by ranchers. These dogs do come in two colors; tan and blue, but ranch owners seem to prefer the blue-colored dogs and these are even nicknamed ‘the blue heelers’.