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Australian Cattle Dog

 Photo of Australian Cattle Dog
Photo: Courtesy of Angela Cocker

Australian Cattle Dog Books

Group: Pastoral || Breed Standard


The precise origins of the Australian Cattle Dog, also known as the "Blue Heeler", are not known, but they appear to have been a distinct breed as early as 1897. It appears that they developed from the mating of Border Collies and Smooth-coated Collies used for herding sheep and the Dingo. These were further crossed with the English Bull Terrier, which was relatively common as a sporting and guard dog in the late 19th and early 20th century. The resulting Cattle Dog was of a slightly heavier and more muscular build than the Border Collie and of less temperamental nature, with good herding ability and the stamina to withstand extremes of temperature. Then, In order to create a breed that had a strong natural affiliation with horses, the Cattle Dog was crossed with the Dalmatian.


Height: dogs: 46-51 cms (approx. 18-20 ins); bitches: 43-48 cms (approx. 17-19 ins)

The Australian Cattle Dog (ACD), also known as the Queensland Heeler, Blue Heeler, and Red Heeler, is a herding dog developed in Australia for controlling cattle. It is a medium-sized dog with a lot of energy, intelligence and an independent streak.

Blue: Blue, blue-mottled or blue speckled with or without other markings. Permissible markings are black, blue or tan markings on head, evenly distributed for preference. Forelegs tan midway up legs and extending up the front to breast and throat, with tan on jaws. Hindquarters tan on inside of hindlegs, and inside of thighs, showing down front of stifles and broadening out to outside of hindlegs from hock to toes. Tan undercoat permissible on body providing it does not show through blue outer coat. Black markings on body undesirable. Red Speckle: Good even red speckle all over, including undercoat, (neither white nor cream), with or without darker red markings on head. Even head markings desirable. Red markings on body permissible but undesirable.


Like many herding dogs, Cattle Dogs have high energy levels and active minds. They need plenty of exercise and a job to do, such as participating in dog sports, learning tricks, or other activities that engage their minds. Some individuals find repetitive training frustrating and dull, so owners should aim to make training sessions varied and more exciting in order to keep their dog interested. Cattle Dogs who do not receive the appropriate exercise and entertainment will invent their own, often destructive, activities. These dogs are, by nature, wary. They are naturally cautious, and grow more so as they age.

Breed Care

A brush once a week will be sufficient to keep their coat in good healthy condition


They enjoy working and plenty of good exercise is essential to keep both mind and body in a fit and healthy condition.


The Australian Cattle Dog learns quickly and becomes bored quickly! Frequent brief training sessions are therefore more effective than infrequent long training sessions. See our books on training

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Last link added: 30 May, 2008