Australian Cattle Dog

History

In the early 1800's, vast areas of Australia became available for grazing cattle and a dog was needed to herd over long distances. In 1840, a man called Hall had cross bred Blue Merle Highland Collies with tame Dingoes to produce the first Australian Cattle Dog called Hall's Heelers. The dogs were excellent at covering a vast range through dense and rough terrain. They would use their mouths to herd wild cattle and nip to get them to where they wanted them. More cross breeding with Bull terriers, Dalmatians and the Black and Tan Kelpie resulted in the Australian Heeler which was renamed the Australian Cattle Dog around 1897.

Behaviour

The ACD is intelligent and one of the easiest breeds to train. They are a working dog and need mental and physical stimulation to be happy. They follow commands perfectly, but will also use their brains to achieve a goal. Once trained, the breed will be a perfect companion and is loyal to the extreme. They do tend to nip at small children, so easy socialisation is important to stamp out this behaviour. They must have a job to do, so competition such as flyball, agility etc is vital to stop the breed getting bored; they will be destructive is they don't have enough to do. They are good with older children and pets if introduced early on, but can be wary of strangers at first. They are protective of their family and home and make good watch dogs. With their tireless energy, they make wonderful running/jogging partners and require a fair amount of daily exercise. They dislike being left alone for long periods and are best suited to someone with an outside job, where they can be part of your life. They like company and will repay you in loyalty and devotion. It is important to remember that ACD's need constant training to keep their minds busy. Any form of mental stimulation is good for the breed. They love learning, so new tricks should be taught often and they will thrive. They can be stubborn, but do want to please their owners; They tend to fixate on one member of the family more and see them as their pack leader.

The ACD sheds a fair amount and require daily brushing to prevent hair all over you home. They can suffer from Canine Hip Dysplasia and Deafness/eye problems are more common in this breed.

Temperament

Australian Cattle Dogs have intelligent, hardy and independent temperaments. Bred to work all day in hot conditions these dogs have incredible stamina and need plenty of exercise and stimulation to keep them happy. They tend to avoid other dogs so it is important to encourage socialisation from an early age.

They love to play and can be good with children although they are prone to nipping at the heels of family members in an attempt to herd them. It is very important that this nipping is strongly discouraged.

Health Problems

Health problems that may be associated with Austrlain Cattle Dogs include canine hip dysplasia (CHD), progressive renal atrophy (PRA : degeneration of retina causing blindness), deafness and elbow dysplasia.

Breed Details

  • Status: Common
  • Life Expectancy: 10 - 13 years
  • Weight: 20 - 28 kg
  • Height: 17 - 20"
  • Rare: No
  • Coat: Short
  • Grooming Requirements: Once a week
  • Town or Country: Country
  • Minimum Home Size: Small House
  • Minimum Garden Size: Small to Medium Garden
  • Breed Type: Herding
  • Size: Medium
  • Energy Level: High
  • Exercise Required: Over 2 hours

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