About the Australian Cattle Dog Breed
In the early 1800s, the British were settling Australia. Cattle farming was growing, and for this to succeed, a herding dog was needed that could not only herd cattle but also protect them from dingos. At that time, the most reliable herding dogs were imported from the UK. However, they lacked both protective capabilities and stamina to deal with the harsh Australian environment.
A man named Thomas Hall crossed native Australian Dingos with other dog breeds and over the next 30 years developed what were called “Halls Heelers”. Hall kept these dogs confined to his property and cattle business until his death at which time the “secret” escaped and these dogs became available. Eventually this breed became known as the Australian Cattle Dog or sometimes called Blue Heelers for their tendency to nip at the heels and their blue-tinged coats.
This breed is short and muscular, up to about 20 inches high and weighing between 35-50 pounds.There are only two breed accepted colors blue and red. While there may be other colors such as cream or dark brown, they are not accepted as breed standard.Puppies from the red and blue dogs are born white and develop their color as the grow.
Australian Cattle Dog Temperament
The Australian Cattle Dog is a high-energy animal and is noted as one of the most intelligent dog breeds. The breed is a herding dog and was bred to herd cattle-they are excellent at learning commands and can be somewhat independent. The dog may instinctively nip at the heels when playing or chasing which may scare small children. Australian Cattle Dogs are good at reading human emotions and are loyal dogs that will want to be at your side. They may be wary of strangers and can make good watch dogs!
Australian Cattle Dog Training
Reward obedience with food treats generally work well with this breed as they are intelligent and fast learners. They will figure out what it takes to get that treat and do it! Get your puppy used to being touched-specially if they will be around children because they will nip at the heels and growl…If your puppy nips at the heels-it’s best to stop and turn to face him. When he calms down-praise him. Don’t give him any attention when he is nipping.
Australian Cattle Dogs are intelligent dogs with a streak of independence. They will learn fast with consistent training.
Australian Cattle Dog Health and Care
The breed may be susceptible to the following:
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy – is an eye disease that generally occurs from 3-6 years old and will eventually lead to blindness
- Canine Hip Dysplasia-irregularities in hip joint growth
- Partial or complete deafness