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Getting To Know You - Australian Cattle Dog

Posted by Christina Potter on

Standing at 17” to 20” at the withers and weighing between 33 to 49 pounds, the Australian Cattle Dog is a medium sized dog. This sturdy, compact, muscular dog has a smooth, double coat, with a dense undercoat.According to the American Kennel Club breed standard, the coat should be blue, blue-mottled, blue speckled, red mottled or red speckled, all with or without markings. The permissible markings are black, blue or tan. The color of a red speckle ACD should have even red speckles all over. Due to its color, it is sometimes referred to as a Red Heeler or a Blue Heeler. It sheds, but requires minimal grooming in the way of occasional brushing. It is a healthy breed with a lifespan of 10 to 13 year. All breeds have certain health issues to watch for and the Australian Cattle Dog is no exception. These can include hip or elbow dysplasia, deafness, cancer, progressive retinal atrophy and other eye disorders. Keep all this in mind when looking for a puppy and make sure the breeder abides by recommended health testing.

The first cattle dogs imported to Australia from Britain were unsuited to the temperature and terrain of their new home. They also struggled with the vast distances they had to travel with the cattle. In an effort to breed a herding dog that could meet the challenges of the Australian countryside, various stockmen began crossing different breeds. Thomas Hall, a 19th century cattle farmer from New South Wales, crossed the dogs used by drovers from his parents’ county with tamed dingoes. The litters produced were known as Halls Heelers. Upon Hall’s death in 1870, the dogs became available to people outside the Hall family and its associates, and were developed into two breeds; the Australian Cattle Dog and the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog. True to it’s Cattle Dog name, the ACD is second to none in its ability to control and move cattle. It is extremely intelligent, courageous, trustworthy and alert. It is driven and devoted to hard work. Therefore, like all herding breeds, it will not do well if kept solely as a pet without opportunities to burn off energy and stimulate its mind. Enrolling your pet ACD in a dog sport, such as agility or herding, will help keep his mind and body exercised. It is naturally suspicious of strangers and protective, and will resort to nipping in order to take charge of its environment, if necessary. It is not a recreational barker, but it will bark to sound alarm. It’s high-pitched, intense bark can also be a sign of frustration or boredom.

The Australian Cattle Dogs is highly trainable and has a strong desire to please its people. It is intelligent and capable of learning quickly after only a few training sessions. Once trained, it can carry out routine tasks without human supervision. It can solve complex problems and will not hesitate to do so. While the ACD is loyal, protective, energetic and active, it may not do well with small family pets or young children. For more information on this lovely breed or to find a breeder, go to the Australian Cattle Dog Club of America.

If you enjoy Christina's writing, check her books out! She is the author of “Chester Gigolo: Diary of a Dog Star” and "Insider Training: Chester Gigolo’s Dog Training Secrets Revealed” for which she won the 2016 DWAA Captain Haggerty award for Best Training Book and the 11th Annual National Indie Excellence Award (Animals & Pets). She is also a contributing author to “Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors”. She has written multiple articles which have appeared in various international publications.

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