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Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog

The ‘Aussie’ Cattle Dog is a compact, muscular and robust medium-sized dog with an intelligent expression and alert, pricked ears. Their coat is close and dense, offering excellent protection against weather and scrubby undergrowth.

The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for experienced owners
  • Extra training required
  • Enjoys active walks
  • Enjoys walking one to two hours a day
  • Medium dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming once a week
  • Non hypoallergenic breed
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Guard dog. Barks, alerts and it's physically protective
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • May require training to live with kids

Key Facts

Lifespan: 13 – 15 years
Weight:  17 – 23kg 
Height:  43 – 51cm 
Colours:  Blue, blue and tan, blue black and tan, blue speckled, red, red and tan or red speckled
Size:  Medium
UK Kennel Club Groups: Pastoral

Ratings

Family-friendly: 4/5
Exercise needs: 5/5
Easy to train: 5/5
Tolerates being alone: 3/5
Likes other pets: 4/5
Energy level: 5/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 3/5
Australian Cattle Dog running in the field

Personality

Smart and quick to react, the Aussie is a very fast learner, but their tendency to use their teeth to move other animals (including humans) can be an issue. Early socialisation and training to encourage a softer mouth is necessary. Naturally wary of strangers and very willing to guard and alert via barking, this is a breed that needs plenty of training and experienced owners, but will reward that by being a loyal, hard-working companion. 

Australian Cattle Dog lying on the grass with leaves

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Australia

Australian stockmen in the late 1800’s found that the Collies imported to Australia were not tough enough for the harsh conditions and bold livestock. Over 60 years of crossbreeding, including Dingo, collie, sheepdog, Kelpie, Dalmatian and Bull Terrier went into producing the Australian Cattle dog. These efforts produced a clever yet biddable dog who could use their own initiative when needed, working tough livestock in very difficult conditions. 
Australian Cattle dogs also go by the name ‘Heeler’ which refers to their working practice of nipping at the heels of the cattle they are driving. 

did you know?

Did You Know?

  • The Australian Cattle dog is one of very few breeds to have intentionally been bred using the wild Australian Dingo. In attempting to produce a dog tough enough to work Australian cattle, initial crossbreeds proved to be too tough, biting stock too hard, and the breeds creators had to try again using smoother Collie blood until they found the right mixture. 
  • They have water-resistant double coats which allows water to bead and fall right off them, keeping them dry and happy when in the field. 
  • Their ties to the Dingo mean that they have impressive stamina and many owners report that they have seemingly endless energy! 
  • One of the oldest dogs in the world was an Australian Cattle Dog called Bluey, he lived to an astonishing 29 years of age and was happily chasing sheep for almost 20 years. 
  • In 2009, an Australian Cattle Dog called Sophie was thrown off a boat she was on with her family off the coast of Queensland, Australia. Astonishingly, the strong-willed pup then swam five miles back to shore and ended up on St. Bees Island. She survived by hunting feral goats until she was eventually found by a ranger who reunited her with her family. 

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