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Australian Cattle Dog

Quick facts

Australian Cattle Dog AKC Group: Herding
Height: Male: 18-20 Inches, Female: 17-19 Inches
Weight: 35-45 pounds
Colors: Blue or blue-mottled with or without other markings, red speckled
AKC recognized in: 1980

The Australian Cattle Dog was bred after finding that the traditional sheepdog like herders brought from the British Isles were not able to withstand the rigors of the Australian Outback. There was much expermentation done in the early 1800s crossing different breeds to try to get a quieter, more rugged heeler.

In 1840, a man named Hall bred blue merle Highlander Collies with the Dingo. Other breeders crossed their “Hall’s Heelers” with other dogs, including the Dalmatian and the Kelpie. This cross resulted in a breed with the herding instincts of the collie, the horse sense of the Dalmatian, and the endurance and quiet style of the Dingo.

The Australian Cattle Dog is known by several other names, including Hall’s Heeler, Queensland Herder, and Blue Heeler.


Australian Cattle Dog Summary
Affection four paws
Cold Tolerance three paws
Ease of Training five paws
Energy level five paws
Exercise Requirements five paws
Friendliness : Children two paws
Friendliness: Other Animals two paws
Friendliness: Other Pets two paws
Grooming Requirements two paws
Heat Tolerance three paws
Playfulness four paws
Protection Ability four paws
Watchdog Ability five paws

Australian Cattle Dogs are not typically recommended as apartment dogs. They require vigorous exercise and a job to do, or they will find their own activities, which most likely will not be acceptable.

Australian Cattle Dogs require early and regular socialization. They tend to act suspiciously towards strangers, so teaching them what is normal behavior in friendly people will help alleviate those suspicions and teach it to recognize abnormal behaviors if necessary.

The heeler was bred to herd, and so has a tendency to nip at the heels of small children, though they do much better with the older child. They have an aggressive tendency towards other dogs of the same sex, and also towards chasing and seizing cats and other fleeing animals.

A challenging combination of intelligence, cleverness, and stubborness, Australian Cattle Dogs will test members of the family during adolescence and must be handled with firm, consistent leadership. They can be versatile dogs in the right hands, but they will run right over other owners.


The average lifespan of the Australian Cattle Dog is 10 to 13 years.

While the Australian Cattle Dog is generally a healthy dog, it is susceptable to certain health problems. These problems include:

  • Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) - A cartilage disease that can affect various joints. The cartilage that normally cushions the joint is damaged or grows abnormally, removing some of that cushion, and causing pain in your dog.
  • Hip Dysplasia - Where the thigh bone does not fit snugly into the hip joint. This can lead to severe lameness or arthritis. A dog diagnosed with hip dysplasia should never be bred, as this is an inherited condition.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) - A group of diseases that progress over time and eventually cause blindness in your dog. The retina either stops developing early or the receptors start degenerating early in life. This is an inherited disorder.
  • Deafness - The inability to hear, either with one or both ears. Some dog breeds are more susceptible to this than others.


Australian Cattle Dogs require a large amount of physical and mental exercise. A simple walk on a leash is not enough. A long jog or extended workout is best. These dogs are best when they have a job to do, especially herding. Herding trials may be a good option.

Australian Cattle Dog Book

Want to learn more?

The Australian Cattle Dog: An Owner’s Guide to a Happy Healthy Pet is a comprehensive book about the Australian Cattle Dog. This 160 page book has all the information you need.

Or you can search for other books about the Australian Cattle Dog.

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