Breed Spotlight: Australian Cattle Dog


Australian Cattle Dog Facts

Australian Cattle Dog
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Characteristics & History

Extremely intelligent, loyal, courageous and intense are just a few adjectives to describe the Australian Cattle Dog (ACD). As a member of the AKC Herding Group, they rank 60th among registrations. As the name suggests, they’re a native of Australia and excel in herding cattle.

Created in the mid-1800s from crossing the Australian national dog, the Dingo, with smooth-haired Blue Merle Scotch Collies, a “heeler” was formed. From the best of those litters, they were crossed with Dalmatians to create their love of horses and protectiveness of their master. Next, they were crossbred with the Black and Tan Kelpie, which produced the intelligent and determined working dog that we see today. Australian Cattle Dogs were accepted into the American Kennel Club in 1980.


When Australian Cattle Dogs are born, they’re white for about three weeks. Then, their distinctive markings begin to appear. Their short thick double coat can be blue or red, mottled or speckled pattern, with or without black, and with blue or tan markings.

Weekly brushing will help to keep his coat in good condition. Though short-haired during the spring season, the ACD will shed or blow his undercoat. His body is muscular and compact with pricked ears and a long low straight bushy tail.

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Dog Training Tips

Australian Cattle Dogs, also known as Queensland Blue Heelers, are a favorite among American ranchers because they’re able to work all day until the job is done. They don’t waiver if cattle are stubborn, and they also make a great family pet.

As an owner of an Australian Cattle Dog, you should be more determined than your dog is and have a specific job for him to do. A bored ACD will find something to do on his own and that self-chosen duty may not be something you wanted him to do.

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Though ACDs are highly trainable, you need to be very positive in your training methods and not use forceful techniques. Using techniques of choke chains and leash corrections can result in stubborn and difficult dogs, according to some. If you use positive methods, you’re more likely to get a focused pet who is eager to please.

Owning an Australian Cattle Dog

If you have children or small pets, you’ll need to train your Australian Cattle Dog to not herd them, as this breed loves to make sure anything that moves is under control and in order. This needs to be done at an early age.

Nicknamed the “Outback Outlaw,” ACDs are very independent and intensely loyal. Your puppy will bond with family members and may be wary of strangers. They don’t need a lot of space to be happy. Exercising everyday and spending time with their owner makes for a content puppy.

If you can successfully handle a Cattle Dog, he will respect you and be in your heart forever.

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