Tip of the Month

3/12/2012 Breed Spotlight: Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog

Dog Training Tips - Australian Cattle Dog

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 are a native of Australia and excel in herding cattle. Created in the mid 1800’s 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 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 are white for about 3 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” their undercoat. Their body is muscular and compact, with pricked ears and a long low straight bushy tail.

Dog Training Tips

ACD’s, also known as Queensland Blue Heelers, are a favorite with American ranchers because they are able to work all day until the job is done. They do not waiver if cattle are stubborn and make a great family pet. As an owner of an Australian Cattle Dog you should be more determined than they are and have a specific job for them to do. A bored ACD will find something to do on his own and that self chosen duty may not be something that you wanted him to do. Though 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. Where if you use positive methods you are more likely to get a focused pet who is eager to please.

ACD's As Pets

If you have children or small pets you will need to train your ACD to not “herd” them as they love 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”, ACD’s are very independent and intensely loyal. Your puppy will bond with family members and may be wary of strangers. They do not need a lot of space to be happy. Daily exercise and spending time with their owner makes for a content puppy.

If you or your dog trainer can successfully handle a Cattle Dog they will respect you and be in your heart forever.

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