Australian Cattle Dog Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Information

Australian Cattle Dog Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Information

Australian Cattle Dogs are extremely intelligent, active, and sturdy dogs. European settlers bred cattle dogs on expansive ranches, where they are still used today as herding dogs. Cattle Dogs enjoy having jobs as herders and being part of the family. 

Cattle Dogs can make their own decisions, and they are very good at problem-solving and love to be in charge. So, expect him to exhibit those same personality traits whenever he is playing. Especially when playing with children, expect the Australian Cattle Dog to be precisely what he is. The nipper will nip, and the controller will control. 

You might be familiar with the Australian by one of his other common names: ACD, Cattle Dog, Cow Dog, Australian Heeler, Blue Heeler, Red Heeler, Queensland Heeler, and Halls Heeler named for one of the Cattle Dog breeders in Colonial times. Officially, however, he’s the Australian Cattle Dog; the “heeler” moniker comes from the fact that the dogs were bred to herd cattle by nipping at their heels. The lifespan of this breed is 12 to 16 years. The male and female Australian Cattle Dogs weigh between 35 and 45 pounds, and they stand between 18 and 20 inches high when measured at the shoulder.

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What are the Breed Traits and Characteristics of the Australian Cattle Dog? 

The traits and characteristics of the Australian Cattle Dog include loyalty, reliability, and bravery, and they crave attention. They can be headstrong and keen to be the leader of the pack. 

Bred to perform demanding tasks, the Australian cattle dog is vigilant, intelligent, watchful, and courageous. Highly trustworthy and reliable, they have a tenacious sense of duty. Loyal to their owners and wary of strangers, they are fiercely protective when used as watchdogs, although they are not barkers. The Australian cattle dog tends to be aggressive with other dogs and may display dominance and although they are good with children, though not too small as they like to herd by nipping at heels. They have a ton of energy and love to play and run. Though they’re extremely loyal to their family, they can be a bit wary of strangers. The name Blue Heeler refers to the Australian Cattle Dog with the blue coat, while the red-coated Australian Cattle Dog is sometimes referred to as the Red Heeler.

Australian Cattle Dog Features

Breed Information

Australian Cattle Dog Height

Males – 17 to 20 inches

Females – 17 to 19 inches

Australian Cattle Dog Weight

Males – 32 to 62 pounds

Females – 32 to 62 pounds

Australian Cattle Dog Relationship with Family

Loyal and Protective 

Australian Cattle Dog Relationship with Children


Australian Cattle Dog Relationship with Other Dogs

Dominating and even aggressive if not trained

Australian Cattle Dog Shedding Level


Australian Cattle Dog Drooling Level


Australian Cattle Dog Coat Type


Australian Cattle Dog Coat Length

Short smooth/ Medium fluffy/ Blend of both

Australian Cattle Dog Coat Grooming Frequency


Australian Cattle Dog Relationship with Strangers

Wary but friendly

Australian Cattle Dog Playfulness Level


Australian Cattle Dog Adaptability Level


Australian Cattle Dog Trainability Level


Australian Cattle Dog Energy Levels


Australian Cattle Dog Barking Level


Australian Cattle Dog Mental stimulation needs


Australian Cattle Dog Life Span

12 to 15 years

How intelligent are Australian Cattle Dogs?

Australian Cattle Dogs are among the 10 most intelligent dog breeds. Red and Blue Heelers are intelligent and fast learners, though they can be challenging to handle because of their wise ways. Herding dogs are quick thinkers and good problem solvers, but they are prone to getting bored if not challenged regularly. Cattle Dogs are among the best agility dogs around due to their quick wits, although owners can provide interactive toys to engage the Heeler’s smart brain and avoid repetition. 

What is the Average Lifespan of an Australian Cattle Dog?

ACD breeders estimate that Cattle Dogs usually live for 12 to 16 years. Generally, dogs have a maximum life expectancy of around 10 to 13 years, and Heelers often go beyond that assessment. Thanks to their playful behavior and good bonding skills, they have made great companions and friends for many years.

Good care, such as a healthy diet, regular vet visits, and plenty of exercise, has allowed many Heelers to stay active for many years and then still have time to relax and spend quality time with their human families as they age.

What to Expect When Caring for an Australian Cattle Dog?

The Australian Cattle Dog was bred to herd cattle, as his name suggests. To control and direct wild cattle in the harsh Australian brush takes a lot of strength and perseverance, and the Cattle Dogs of today still possess the attitude and stamina that ranchers prize them for. This distinctive personality can be both a blessing and a drawback in the home. The Cattle Dog requires lots of daily exercise and mental stimulation to keep him busy. He was bred to herd cattle through the wilderness from dusk until dawn, making him an excellent partner for biking, kayaking, or jogging. He is exceptionally smart and will quickly figure out tasks such as opening cupboards or dumping the trash if left to his own devices. This intelligence and problem-solving make him a great candidate for dog sports such as agility, obedience, tracking, and, of course, herding. He enjoys learning and working with the people he loves and is very eager to please. He is stubborn and highly intelligent, so an owner with firm control will have to teach the ACD his status in the household and that his owner is the pack leader. 

A very active, high-energy dog, the Australian Cattle Dog needs more than just a quick walk and playtime in the yard. ACDs need a job to remain happy and healthy. Going with his owner on runs every day, or nearly every day, is a good outlet for his energy in other living situations. 

How Big is an Australian Cattle Dog?

The strong head and slightly curved, broad skull of the Australian Cattle Dog herald the dingo ancestry. Cheeks are muscular, and the muzzle and jaws are powerful in appearance. Their medium-sized, pricked ears, a suspicious glint in the eyes, and strong teeth give the cattle dog a slightly intimidating demeanor.

The Cattle Dog’s neck is exceptionally muscular and somewhat stocky. The shoulders are broad, and the chest is deep. The tail is set low and hangs to the level of the hocks. Their solid frame is 17 to 20 inches at the withers, the males slightly larger than the females.

What are Australian Cattle Dogs Known for?

Known for their gorgeous coat colors, these unique-looking Cattle Dogs are also known for their intelligence and energetic nature, making them undeniably one of the best farm dogs worldwide. The Australian Cattle Dog was created through careful breeding of various collie breeds, Dalmatians, and dingoes. One of the reasons the ACD is still one of the world’s top cow herders is his combination of solid herding instincts, courage, and brute strength. The Heeler’s no-fuss coat is perfect for farm life, while its solid, athletic build helps the Cattle Dog cope with the rigors of moving cattle. Heelers were bred to herd cattle for long distances, an instinct that still runs deep in those Cattle Dogs that have been companion dogs in family homes from birth.

Is the Australian Cattle Dog Good For Hunting?

Heelers can learn how to hunt. As one of the top ten most intelligent dog breeds, Cattle Dog owners can quickly train their herders to do various tasks, including hunting. In fact, the tracking game is very similar to the ACD’s instinct to herd cattle or a flock of sheep. Cattle Dogs can learn, with the proper guidance, how to track game and how to return it to their humans.

Cattle Dogs hunt various small game animals, including rabbits, squirrels, moles, gophers, raccoons, and foxes. Cattle dogs can even help identify and retrieve game birds such as pheasants, geese, quail, ducks, and sandhill cranes as bird hunting companions. Even accounts of a pack of Cattle Dogs bringing down a large wild pig, but strong caution is advised to avoid a hog’s potentially dangerous tusks and powerful jaws.

Does the Australian Cattle Dog Like Water?

Yes, Australian Cattle Dogs love water, and they are great swimmers. They love the outdoors, and they excel at water sports. So, if you’re looking for a canine companion when you enjoy the great outdoors, this is the dog for you. They will love being with you while hiking, boating, camping, and swimming.

Are Australian Cattle Dogs Good in Cold Weather?

Yes, Australian Cattle Dogs do well in the cold. The Australian Cattle Dog is exceptionally hardy and adapts well to cold conditions, and it does well in temperatures below freezing. The Heelers have added protection from the cold, wind, rain, and snow because of their double coat. Their dense undercoat provides insulation and lifts the outercoats just slightly off their skins. The undercoat allows the outercoat to shed water and block the wind, keeping it from touching warm, dry skin. Still, Australian Cattle Dogs remain a perfect choice for an outdoor cold-weather companion. He will be happy and excited to hike, run, chase, and play with you until you’re ready to come back inside to get warmed up. Given his intense loyalty and desire to be at your side, he may even be willing to stay out in the cold longer than he should. As the temperature drops and time goes by, the cold will take its toll on a body, both dog and human. It is essential to know when it is too cold and when you have been out long enough. Pay attention to a few warning signs to know when it is time to get warmed up.

What Breeds Make up an Australian Cattle Dog?

Australian Cattle Dogs are the culmination of British Settlers’ cross-breeding the Blue Merle and the Australian Dingo in Australia in the late 1800s. These working dogs have plenty of energy and love to run, and English sheepdog breeds didn’t have the endurance to work long days under the hot Australian sun moving cattle hundreds of miles, so they were crossed with native dingoes. Some studies claim that the native Australian Dingo’s ancestors date as far back as 1500 BC. The Dingo became domesticated and was eventually used for livestock control. Later, the Heelers were crossbred with Dalmatians, Collies, and Kelpies to lock in desired traits.

What does an Australian Cattle Dog Look Like?

The Australian Cattle Dog is compact, solid, and sturdy on its feet.

Dingo ancestry is marked by a broad and curved skull and a powerful head. Cheeks are muscular, and the muzzle and jaws are powerful in appearance. They possess medium-sized ears, pricked teeth, and a pale, suspicious glint, giving them an intimidating appearance.

Unlike other dogs, the Cattle Dog has a stocky neck with considerable muscle. The chest is deep and the shoulders are broad. The tail hangs close to the level of the hocks and is set low. Males are slightly larger than females with a solid frame of 17 to 20 inches at the withers. The two different color schemes of Cattle Dogs are red speckled and blue.

Are Australian Cattle Dogs Born Black?

No, Australian Cattle Dog puppies are not born black. Interestingly, Cattle Dog puppies have all-white coats at birth, and their Dalmatian heritage may be responsible for this trait. After six weeks, you can see a strong pattern in the puppy’s coat, and the color starts changing rapidly.

What is the Difference Between an Irish Water Spaniel and an Australian Cattle Dog?

Irish Water Spaniel originated from Ireland, but the Australian Cattle Dog is an original breed from Australia. Overall, the Irish Water Spaniel is bigger than the ACD. The Spaniel could stand 4 inches higher than Australian Cattle Dogs, and it can also weigh as much as 31 pounds more than the Australian Heeler. The Irish Water Spaniel’s expected life span is three years less than the life span of the Australian Cattle Dog. Both breeds have up to seven puppies per litter, with five mainly reported. The Australian Cattle Dog’s maintenance level is lower than the Irish Water Spaniel.

What is the Difference Between an Australian Cattle Dog and a Boykin Spaniel?

Boykin Spaniel is an American breed, but Australian Cattle Dogs are bred in Australia. Boykin Spaniels and Australian Cattle Dogs stand between 15 and 20 inches in the withers, and they also share similar weights between 36 and 46, with the Australian Cattle Dogs sometimes weighing one or two pounds less than the Boykin Spaniels. The life span of the US Boykin is between 14 and 16 years, and the lifespan of the Cattle Dog is 13 to 15 years. The Spaniel’s litter size is between 5 and 7, and the Cattle Dog has between 1 and 7 puppies per litter. Maintaining the ACD requires less effort than the Boykin Spaniel.

How do Australian Cattle Dogs Interact with Family?

The Australian Cattle Dog is renowned for its loyal nature, intelligence, and endless energy. These dogs are always on guard and are protective of their owners and possessions. Despite their independence, they are responsive to structured training, especially when the trainer makes it exciting and challenging. They thrive when they have a job to do. Because they were initially bred to herd by nipping at the cattle’s heels, they have been known to nip at the heels of running children.

Like most herding dogs, ACDs can be one-person dogs. They also have unique independence, not requiring much in the way of cuddling or affection. However, they can be very stubborn and persistent, so positive treatment and feedback will undoubtedly make a difference. Sometimes their herding instincts can suddenly come into play. They may “herd” family members or nip lightly at heels if they want something.

How do Australian Cattle Dogs Interact with Other Dogs?

Because Australian Cattle Dogs were initially bred to herd cattle, as their name suggests, they often like to take a dominant role in social situations. The Cattle Dog is watchful and often suspicious of strangers, and early socialization is essential so that he does not become too sharp. Outside of their pack, a Cattle Dog’s herding behavior towards other dogs can be aggressive and fierce, especially with the same sex. When socializing with other dogs, they can be determined to “be the boss” and are generally single-minded as they focus on their need to heel other dogs.

Heelers’ dominant behavior becomes more prevalent with smaller or younger dogs. In these cases, Heelers may try to control the other using herding and contact behaviors such as nipping at the heels of the other dogs. This heeling activity can extend to other small creatures such as cats, chickens, and even human children. However, if Heelers are being raised as puppies with other pets in the household, including cats, hamsters, rabbits, etc., they can harmoniously coexist with them. 

Do Australian Cattle Dogs Get Along with Cats?

Cattle Dogs have an instinctive strong prey drive, and squirrels, cats, and other small animals fascinate them. Raising the Heeler from puppyhood with other pets, including cats, will allow all to live peacefully. However, ACDs are likely to consider those outside his household fair game. Australian Cattle Dogs can be dominant and pushy with other dogs. With their strong chasing drives and tendency to nip at the heels of whatever they pursue, Cattle Dogs are not recommended around cats unless raised with them.

How do Australian Cattle Dogs Interact with Older People?

The only reason Australian Cattle Dogs may not be suitable for older people is their excessive energy and need for space to spend that energy. Cattle Dogs are not apartment dogs. To stay in a hard muscular condition and a satisfied frame of mind, Heelers require lots of exercise. Working livestock, agility, jogging, biking, chasing balls, and playing Frisbee are productive outlets for this breed’s high energy. Cooping them up with nothing to do will lead to destructive behaviors and obsessive barking. 

How do Australian Cattle Dogs Interact with Children?

Australian Cattle Dogs, also called Blue Heelers, are extremely alert, pleasant pups with keen intelligence and a fierce sense of loyalty. These faithful friends are not considered aggressive and can be an excellent fit for families with kids. However, if you have very young children, ideally, you should find a young pup that can grow up alongside your children and that you can properly train and socialize with your kids. Otherwise, this breed might be better for older children, around 9 or 10 years of age. ACDs can be a bit nippy, which can be alarming for smaller children; another reason early training is so necessary.

Never, ever, under any circumstances leave small children unattended with any dog.

  • Do not let little children crawl on dogs.
  • Do not let little children pinch or pull on dogs.
  • Also, do not let little children get near them while they eat.

How do Australian Cattle Dogs Interact with Neighbors or Guests?

Australian Cattle Dogs are wary of people who are not members of their pack. Most of the time, though, Heelers will regard neighbors and guests with whom they have frequent interaction as pack members. Nevertheless, early socialization of Cattle Dog puppies can avoid unpleasant incidents of dogs herding guests by nipping their heels.

What are the Australian Cattle Dogs’ Physical Traits?

Australian Cattle Dogs are medium-sized dogs with a natural, sturdy build. They thrive on strenuous athletic activities and vigorous exercise.

They are vigilant watchdogs and have a natural drive to be pack leaders. They have easy-care coats in striking colors.

Type, size, and group

Purebred, Medium-Sized Herding Dog

Weight Range

Male: 35-45 lbs.

Female: 35-45 lbs.

Height at the Withers

Male: 19 inches

Female: 18 inches


Strong head and slightly curved, broad skull 

Powerful muzzle and jaws

Natural upright ears

Oval shaped, dark brown eyes


Need vigorous daily walks and also mental stimulation

Life expectancy

12 to 16 years


Double coat, straight


Blue or blue-mottled with or without other markings, red speckled

What is the Coat Color of Australian Cattle Dogs?

Cattle dogs come in two different color combinations that gave rise to their colloquial names, Red Heelers and Blue Heelers. Blue Heelers are blue or blue mottled, with black, blue, or tan markings on the head; while the undercoat is often tan. The red variety has an even, red speckle, with or without darker red markings on the headspeckle.

Do Australian Cattle Dogs Snore?

Australian Cattle Dogs have a low tendency to snore. Obstruction of the nasal passage or nostrils can cause airway obstructions, often the cause of snoring. Another reason could be weight issues, specifically dogs being overweight or obese.

Can Australian Cattle Dogs have Blue Eyes?

Yes, Australian Cattle Dogs can have blue eyes. According to the Australian National Kennel Council’s standards for Australian Cattle Dogs, their eyes must be oval and dark brown in color. However, blue-eyed Heelers are accepted but would not meet show standards.

Do Australian Cattle Dogs have Webbed Feet?

No, adult Australian Cattle Dogs do not have webbed feet. According to the breed standards as prescribed by the Australian National Kennel Council, the Australian Cattle Dogs’ feet should be round and the toes short, strong, well arched, and held close together. The pads are hard and deep, and the nails must be short and strong.

However, according to the American Kennel Club, all dogs start life with webbed feet, but most lose most of their webbing early in life. Webbed paws help dogs swim more efficiently, but they’re also helpful for digging and walking on soft or muddy surfaces. Several breeds have webbed paws, including Labs, poodles, dachshunds, and more, but not Cattle Dogs.

How Fast are Australian Cattle Dogs?

Australian Cattle Dogs have an average running speed of 25 mph. Some Cattle Dogs have been clocked at a top speed of 30 mph at full sprint. Even though ACDs are fast and love to run, they are not at the top of the list of the fastest dogs. The top spot for the fastest canine belongs to the Greyhound with a top speed of 45 mph. Still, running at 30mph is pretty impressive compared to the land animals with the fastest top speed.

Do Australian Cattle Dogs Need a Lot of Exercise?

Australian Cattle dogs were bred to work and herd, and strenuous activities are in their blood, right from a young age. However, you need to be careful with puppies and limit their exercise until they are fully developed to avoid skeletal damage. Adult Cattle Dogs need two to three hours of exercise per day, which is easily achieved if they have herding duties on a farm. A leisurely walk around the block isn’t going to do it. When they’re idle, Heelers can engage in destructive behaviors such as nipping, biting, and destroying stuff around the house. So they always need something to do. Remember, these are working dogs who are happiest when they have a job.

Vigorous walking with your dog alongside you is one way to keep a Cattle Dog busy. If you like outdoor exercise, an Australian Cattle Dog could make a great canine companion while you are jogging, rollerblading, or bicycling.

Is the Australian Cattle Dog Hypoallergenic?

No, Australian Cattle Dogs are not hypoallergenic. The belief that dogs’ hair or fur causes allergies is not valid, and the real source of the reactions is small skin flakes called dog dander and dogs’ saliva protein. People with elevated risks of allergies might want to take care because although Cattle Dogs drool less than some other dog breeds, they still drool, and it might affect their owners with tendencies to suffer allergies.

Are Australian Cattle Dog tails docked?

No, breeders are not expected to dock the tails of their Australian Cattle Dog Puppies. The Australian National Kennel Council’s standards related to the Cattle Dog’s tail say it must not be docked but should be long enough to reach approximately the hock. The setting of the tail is moderately low, following the contours of the sloping croup. At rest, it should hang in a very slight curve. During movement or excitement, the tail may be raised.

Do Australian Cattle Dogs Have Curly Tails?

No, Australian Cattle Dogs do not have curly tails. The standards set by the Australian National Kennel Council indicate that curly tails are a serious fault. At rest, the ACD should hang in a very slight curve. During movement or excitement, the heeler may raise the tail, but under no circumstances should any part of the tail be carried past a vertical line drawn through the root. The tail should have a good brush of hair.

How to Feed an Australian Cattle Dog?

Australian Cattle Dog owners need to feed their animals a balanced diet explicitly formulated for medium-sized breeds. In addition, these dogs are exceptionally active, so they would benefit from eating high-quality food made for active dogs. They should also consume age-appropriate kibble. There are slight differences in dietary needs for adults, puppies, and seniors.

Ensure you feed your Australian Cattle Dog the correct amount of food once you have selected the right type. Dogs of their size will usually require 1 ½ to 2 ½ cups of kibble each day, but check the manufacturer’s recommendations for exact amounts. To prevent bloating, divide their daily food intake across two or more meals.

How Much Should an Australian Cattle Dog Puppy Eat?

The nutritional needs of an Australian Cattle Dog puppy are listed below.

  • Australian Cattle Dog puppies’ protein needs are about 21% to 23% more than adult dogs to grow and support strong bones. Yet, overfeeding protein can cause too rapid development of joints and bones, weakening the skeleton.
  • Watch the calcium content of the Australian Cattle Dog puppy’s food. It should be limited to 3 grams for every 1,000 calories.
  • Your Australian Cattle Dog puppy’s system would also require Vitamins A and D and minerals like zinc, manganese, and copper. 

What are the Health Tests an Australian Cattle Dog Should Take?

Because Australian Cattle Dogs were crossbred, they inherited quite a range of potential health problems, particularly deafness. According to the American Kennel Club, breeders should check for progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), which leads to blindness, and hip dysplasia. Make sure they don’t get wax buildup in their ears and get their teeth cleaned regularly. New Australian Cattle Dog owners are advised to have the following health tests done:

  • Hip evaluation
  • Elbow evaluation
  • Eye testing
  • BAER testing – Brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) testing is an electrodiagnostic test used to evaluate the hearing of dogs
  • PRA Optigen DNA screening – Test is a screening test for your dog to determine if it carries the genes associated with Progressive Retinal Atrophy.
  • PLL DNA test – PLL is a well-recognized, painful, and blinding inherited eye condition that affects many breeds of dogs.

Even if all the above tests were done, some diseases could develop as the Cattle Dog puppy grows. Keeping a close eye on the Heeler’s health is an ongoing affair.

Seek medical care immediately if you notice any of these types of signs:

  • Scratching or shaking the head, tender ears, or ear discharge
  • Inability or straining to urinate; discolored urine
  • Cloudiness, redness, itching, or any other abnormality involving the eyes
  • Lethargy, drooling, or abnormal behavior following drug administration
  • Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain
  • Slow or stunted growth; sometimes seizures after eating
  • Easily startled, no reaction to unseen sounds

What are the Nutritional Needs of an Australian Cattle Dog?

The nutritional needs of an Australian Cattle Dog include high levels of specific nutrients. The essential nutrients for Cattle Dogs are listed below.

  • Protein: Australian Cattle Dogs need natural animal protein, valuable for the amino acids they contain essential for their health. Equally important is the fact that protein builds lean muscles and provides energy.
  • Fat: Animal protein also provides adequate fat, an additional energy source that boosts the Australian Cattle Dogs’ metabolism. However, there is a fine line between enough and too much. Excessive fat levels in the dog’s daily diet could result in weight gain and, ultimately, obesity. Most importantly, adult dogs and senior dogs need lower fat levels than puppies.
  • Carbohydrates: Although carbs are not essential nutrients, they are crucial energy sources. Giving the Cattle Dog adequate carbs will provide energy, encouraging the body’s protein absorption to build lean muscle. Beware, though, too much carbohydrate can lead to obesity.
  • DHA: DHA is one of the components of omega-3 fatty acids. It promotes proper eye and brain development in Australian Cattle Dog puppies, and develops cognitive development in puppies, and slows cognitive decline in older dogs. Furthermore, omega fatty acids benefit aging dogs by treating chronic kidney disease and canine arthritis. Omega-3 oils improve the coat health of Cattle Dogs.
  • Micronutrient: Taurine is one micronutrient that aids heart health, and other valuable micronutrients for the promotion of healthy joints in Australian Cattle Dogs are chondroitin and glucosamine.
  • Minerals: Beneficial minerals for Cattle Dogs’ growth include a healthy balance of phosphorus and calcium. Pre- and probiotics and chelated minerals provide additional health to the diets of Australian Cattle Dogs.

What is the Shedding Level of an Australian Cattle Dog?

The Australian Cattle Dog sheds more than one might expect for such a short-haired dog, and their short, coarse hairs stick tenaciously to clothing and furnishings. This short double coat is easy to maintain, with a weekly brushing all a cattle dog needs for most of the year. However, he is a shedder with two shedding seasons requiring increased brushing every other day to help remove the loosened undercoat.

What is the Coat Grooming Frequency of the Australian Cattle Dog?

Australian Cattle Dogs have a double coat structure. Few breeds have this type of fur, so understanding and respecting its structure is essential for grooming frequency. Your Heeler’s coat consists of two layers:

  • The outer coat consists of guard hairs. This top layer of guard hair is silky and soft. The guard hairs perform two functions. They protect your ACD’s skin from abrasions and sunburn, but they also help cool air circulate near your dog’s skin. Guard hairs also provide weatherproofing, and to control loose and dead hairs, weekly, or even daily brushing is essential.
  • The undercoat is the fur that insulates your Cattle Dog’s body during cold weather spells. It keeps the heat close to your canine companion’s body. Although weekly brushing is essential, it should never be cut or shorn. 

Your Australian Cattle Dog needs both layers of its coat to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. A healthy double coat is waterproof and prevents sunburn. 

What is the Drooling Level of Australian Cattle Dogs?

The Australian Cattle Dog drool significantly less than some other dog breeds. If you notice any change in your dog’s drooling habit, you should contact a vet as soon as possible. However, drooling is normal and necessary, and some of the typical causes for drooling are listed below.

  • Feeding-related drooling: When a Cattle Dog knows it’s time to eat, smelling the aromas of food, or seeing their owner handling the bag or storage container with kibble typically causes drooling. It is called the “Pavlov reflex.”
  • Excitement: Australian Cattle Dogs are clever, and they will know when a walk, jog, or game session is imminent.
  • Stress and anxiety: Any unusual situations like unfamiliar thunderous noises or expecting imminent danger could cause any Australian Cattle Dog to drool. 

Sexual: A male Cattle Dog’s excitement when seeing a female could also cause drooling. Likewise, a female experiencing her first heat might drool if she picks up the scent of a Cattle Dog boy.

What is the Coat Type of Australian Cattle Dogs?

The Australian Cattle Dog has a double coat, consisting of an outer protective layer of moderately short, straight, medium-texture hairs and a short, dense layer below. The Heeler’s unique coat is water-resistant, keeping them dry in the rain. They have an undercoat and an outercoat, and the top layer acts as a wick. They shed the undercoat once or twice a year, so they don’t need a lot of grooming outside of regular brushing to remove loose hair and occasional baths unless they go rolling in the mud.

What is the Coat Length of Australian Cattle Dogs?

The outer coat of the Australian Cattle Dog is close, each hair straight, hard, and lying flat to be rain-resisting. Under the Heeler’s body, to behind the legs, the coat is longer and forms a mild form of breaching near the thigh. The hair is short on the head, including the inside of the ears, to the front of the legs and feet. Along the neck, it is longer and thicker. On average, the hairs on the body should be from 1 to 1.5 inches long. 

Do Australian Cattle Dogs Smell?

The Australian Cattle Dog’s coat has no oily residue and is not prone to being smelly. The Cattle Dog was bred to work outdoors and has a smooth, double-layer coat that protects him from the elements. This coat has no odor or oily residue, so a Heeler generally needs just a quick brushing once a week and an occasional bath.

What are the Social Traits of the Australian Cattle Dog Breed?

The social traits of dogs in the Australian Cattle Dog breed are affectionate and lovable. They crave constant attention, and it is not uncommon for them to forget their size and climb into their owner’s lap. The social traits of Australian Cattle Dogs are listed below.

  • Child Friendly: Socialized Australian Cattle Dogs are kid-friendly.However, their natural instinct is to herd, so some nipping at the kid’s heel may occur.
  • Family Friendly: Cattle Dogs are affectionate with their human families and submissive to firm, strong masters that can convincingly play the role of pack leader.
  • Stranger Wary but Friendly: Australian Cattle Dogs watch their owners for cues as to how to treat strangers. Any sign of threat to their family will trigger their defensive skills.
  • Dog Dominance: Australian Cattle Dogs tend to dominate other canines, but only if they are not properly socialized.
  • Seniors Friendly: Australian Cattle Dogs may be too much for older people. They need two to three hours of exercise per day, and large play areas.

How Does an Australian Cattle Dog Interact with Strangers?

Australian Cattle Dogs are typically reserved with strangers, but their reserve can veer into suspiciousness if you don’t socialize them properly. Cattle Dog puppies need to be cheerfully introduced to friendly people so that they learn to recognize the normal behaviors of “good guys.” Then they can recognize the difference when someone really acts abnormally. They may be suspicious of everyone without careful socialization, making a living with the Heeler difficult.

Are Australian Cattle Dogs Playful?

The Australian Cattle Dog is a good family dog, but he does best with children if he’s raised with them and accepts them early on as members of his household. In such cases, he’s very playful and protective. The breed’s tendency to be mouthy — even to nip and bite — can be a problem with kids, however. He may want to herd them with sharp nips or bite when youngsters play too roughly.

An adult Australian Cattle Dog who has had little exposure to children will not know how to treat them and may be too rough. Some dogs are suspicious of children; because they don’t act like adults, dogs sometimes perceive them as threatening. Most problems can be solved by carefully socializing the Australian Cattle Dog puppy with children, and by teaching him bite inhibition. Bite inhibition, sometimes referred to as a soft mouth, is a behavior in dogs whereby the animal learns to moderate the strength of its bite. It is an important factor in the socialization of dogs.

Are Australian Cattle Dogs Protective?

Australian Cattle Dogs have all the skills to protect their human family members. The first step in protecting yourself, or someone else, from danger, is recognizing the potential risk. So, being cautious is the basis of being protective. They are always cautious and aware of their surroundings, and they will immediately alert their families to trouble before it happens because they tend to be suspicious. They will not be caught unawares by danger.

What is the Adaptability Level of the Australian Cattle Dog?

Australian Cattle Dogs adapt well to lifestyle changes and different living environments. They can adjust to any changing circumstances, just as long as the changes go along with the love and affection of their families. Like moving from place to place, relocating causes minor problems, and Cattle Dogs bounce back quickly if they have enough yard space to get rid of excess energy. Heelers were bred to endure the harsh Australian weather, and they are somewhat adaptable and can endure hot and cold weather conditions. However, their double coats are waterproof and help them manage body temperature, but they are not equipped to spend extended lengths of time in extreme weather. 

What are the Personality Traits of an Australian Cattle Dog?

Australian Cattle Dogs are known for running for hours without tiring. They are ultra-high energy dogs who are happiest when most active. The heeler will keep running and catching that Frisbee or ball until you get tired of flinging it. Sometimes the personality of Cattle Dogs can overwhelm you, and it can be draining, especially for first-time owners, to deal with the demands on their time. Since Australian Cattle Dogs are so very active, they tend to need physical exercise and, most importantly, mental stimulation. 

Be prepared to spend a lot of your time training, playing, walking, and socializing with your Australian Cattle Dog. Without your almost constant supervision, your cattle dog will find ways to entertain himself, and you may not like some of the things he decides to do. Exercise can help prevent a lot of his unwanted behavior. 

Although Australian Cattle Dogs will be affectionate to the entire family, they are famous for choosing just one person to attach themselves to forever. Cattle Dogs will be almost obsessed with that one person who he has chosen to be most loyal to, and at times will live up to the characterization of being a “Velcro” dog. That one person may never be alone again. Because Heelers are courageous and suspicious of strangers, they can be very protective. Australian Cattle Dogs are never afraid to sound the bark alarm if someone unfamiliar enters their area.

Are Australian Cattle Dogs stubborn?

The best Australian Cattle Dogs are versatile working dogs capable of learning a great deal. But Heelers have strong temperaments and independent minds of their own and are not pushovers to raise and train. They can be manipulative, and many are obstinate and dominant because they want to be the boss, and your Cattle Dog will make you prove that you deserve the status of pack leader and can make them do things.

At What Age do Australian Cattle Dogs Calm Down?

Young Australian Cattle Dogs are like little balls of fire, and owners might find them overwhelming. Blue Heeler pups are boisterous and destructive when they don’t have anything else to do, and it is no fault of theirs. It’s in their genes, and their owners have to find ways to calm them down because, on their own, it will take several years before they become calmer. Cattle dogs calm down when they reach maturity at about three or four years of age. 

How Cattle Dogs are raised can play a significant role in managing the Heeler’s excessive energy. Combining physical and mental exercises can go a long way in lowering Cattle Dogs’ energy levels and even helping them sleep better. Advisors say roughhousing and excitement should be kept outside with calmness inside. If that forms part of a puppy’s training, dealing with the little fireball will be easier. 

Are Australian Cattle Dogs Cuddly?

Australian Cattle Dogs are not cuddlers. They do not need, or desire, as much expression or demonstration of affection as many other dog breeds. However, that does not mean Heelers don’t love their human families; they just have a less hands-on way of showing it. Cattle Dogs prefer to give you one or two taps with their front paws, as the extent of showing affection. Cattle Dogs also enjoy being near their humans, even if they need a bit of space. Often, they will move from their owner’s side to closer to an exit where they can keep a protective watch.

Can Australian Cattle Dogs be Aggressive?

There is no dispute among Australian Cattle Dog owners. These dogs are not aggressive, but they are courageous and will stand their ground. However, any rule can be broken. Each breed consists of individuals with different temperaments, but Australian Cattle Dogs as a whole tend not to be aggressive.

Some circumstances exist that result in different reactions in different dogs. Things like barking, cautiousness, chasing things that move, and more could trigger aggression in any dog that feels threatened or those suspecting their owners need protection. If an Australian Cattle Dog reacts aggressively, it would be a natural canine reaction, not particular to the Australian Cattle Dog Breed.

Can Australian Cattle Dogs be Dangerous?

Yes, Australian Cattle Dogs are dangerous if they are provoked and untrained in managing aggression. The Australian Cattle Dog is naturally wary around strangers and incredibly protective around his family. The presence of people or even animals he doesn’t know or is unfamiliar with can make him feel uneasy. Heelers are also very territorial and will watch over and protect their property, human family, and home. They do not allow anyone to trespass into their boundaries without a good cause. If a dog or person crosses into their territory, they will likely display aggressive behavior or frustration as a warning. The Cattle Dog will probably bark to communicate an imminent attack if the intruder does not back away. This behavior is true for most dogs, and provocation, teasing, maltreatment, and more could end in an attack.

Do Australian Cattle Dogs Ever Attack?

Yes, like many other dogs, Australian Cattle dogs will attack if they or their families are threatened. No amount of training can guarantee a dog won’t attack, and even if a dog is provoked or maltreated in any way, it will show signs of aggression building up, which could trigger an attack.

With this advanced warning, the dog’s behavior may be interrupted, or those in danger can move to safety. Signs that an Australian Cattle Dog might attack are listed below.

  • The dog’s body posture becomes still and ridged. 
  • An intense stare, possibly showing the whites of the eyes.
  • Lowering of the head and neck in a “guarding” stance.
  •  Growling, deep guttural bark.
  • Curling of the lips, showing the teeth, a classic snarl.
  • A change in the normal happy position of the tail.
  • The hair on the back is standing up.
  • Advancing boldly.
  • Snapping without actually making contact.
  • Nipping and Biting-leading to an Outright Attack.

Can Australian Cattle Dogs Kill Humans?

American Cattle Dogs were bred to herd cattle, and the most successful herding method involves the Cattle Dog nipping, but not biting, the heels of the cattle. It is not aggressive behavior. Despite its bad reputation and fierce appearance, the Australian Cattle Dog is not aggressive by nature and will only attack if it feels threatened. 

Research shows one 2015 U.K. incident when an Australian Cattle Dog attacked and severely injured a man jogging in Hyde Park, London.

According to a 2017 report titled The World’s Most Dangerous Dogs published in The Daily Beast, the Australian Cattle Dog was number 10 on the list. There were 1,499 registered Australian Cattle Dogs at that time, including Blue and Red Heelers and Queensland Heelers. 

The list revealed that three children and four adults had been victims of Heeler attacks. Although five maimings formed a part of the reported Australian Cattle Dog attacks, no fatalities were reported.

Do Australian Cattle Dogs Cope with Being Left Alone?

Australian Cattle Dogs are known to be incredibly close to their owners, but they are susceptible to separation anxiety. Cattle dogs should not be left alone or confined for longer than 1 1/2 to 2 hours at a time. That is about how long it takes for Cattle Dogs to become antsy when left home alone, and they will turn to destructive behaviors to pass the time. It may include nuisance barking and destructive chewing. Australian Cattle Dogs are prone to getting separation anxiety. Anyone who plans to bring this breed into their family home must be prepared to offer genuine friendship and affection into the equation and dedicate time to their canine companion.

Can I leave my Australian Cattle Dog at home?

The Australian Cattle Dog needs companionship. It won’t matter how dog-friendly the environment is; if you’re not around, your canine companion won’t be happy. Australian Cattle Dogs are known to form special bonds with one family member, so separation anxiety might set in when that person has to go somewhere for a few hours. From puppies through adulthood, Cattle Dogs will stress or get bored if left alone for too long. It can lead to excessive barking or other undesirable behavior. It could happen even if other family members stay at home or if there’s another dog to keep them occupied. But even that won’t hold up for extended periods. If you’re a single owner, see what you can do to minimize the dog’s time alone.

Can Australian Cattle Dogs be left alone for 8 hours?

Australian Cattle Dogs may seem aloof and withdrawn among humans. The truth is, they grow very attached to their owners. Potential dog owners should not choose Heelers if they are not prepared to spend the time necessary to train them and prepare them for alone time. While there is a rule of thumb that up to age eight months, a puppy can be left alone for one hour for each month of its age, working up to eight hours by the time the Heeler reaches eight months, this rule does not typically apply to Australian Cattle Dogs. They are prone to separation anxiety, and if it is not appropriately managed during puppy times, the harm could be permanent. If there are times that the Cattle Dog will be alone, it might be worth considering hiring a dog walker or finding a doggy daycare.

How to train an Australian Cattle Dog?

When training your Australian Cattle Dog, it is essential to provide positive support and appreciation to the puppy. Note that the herding genes are already there, so you’ll have quite a task to instill habits far removed from herding. Not to mention its stubbornness and the Cattle Dog trait of wanting to be the pack leader. Below are steps to follow when training your Heeler to be a companion and family pet.

  • The best way to train your Australian Cattle Dog is with positive reinforcement, not yelling at him or punishing him for not listening.
  • It is more affectionate to pat your Australian Cattle Dog under their chin or on their chest rather than patting them on top of their head or back.
  • Reward your young puppy with a pet dog treat when they do what you ask.
  • Many Australian Cattle Dog owners make the number one mistake in letting their puppies do things at a young age that they may not want them to do in the future, e.g., lying on furniture and chewing anything that piques their interest. It will be nearly impossible later to change your canine’s behavior if you allow them to get into this routine.
  • You can effectively train your Cattle Dog puppy by using the correct intonation – use a happy tone when praising and a firm tone when saying “no” (but don’t shout).

Young puppy training for an Australian Cattle Dog usually takes between 8 and 12 weeks to reach your pup’s capacity for learning.

Are Australian Cattle Dogs easy to train?

Australian Cattle Dogs are highly intelligent dogs, clever enough to learn many commands. Their caring nature makes them somewhat easy to train, but only if training starts while the Heelers are still puppies.

Are Australian Cattle Dogs hard to train?

Heelers have challenging combinations of cleverness and hard-headedness. Australian Cattle Dogs will test family members during adolescence and must be handled with firm, consistent leadership. These versatile dogs can learn and do a great deal in firm hands, but they will run right over hapless owners.

How Do You Potty Train an Australian Cattle Dog?

Potty training for the first time could be overwhelming. Below are several tips to simplify potty training for an Australian Cattle Dog puppy.

  • One of the most important aspects of potty training your Australian Cattle Dog puppy is to use a phrase they learn to always link with going potty.
  • It could be “go potty,” “go pee-pee,” or any other short term to repeat every time as soon as the Cattle Dog pup is taken outdoors or to his puppy pad. After a few repetitions, your tiny canine companion will immediately associate the magic words with going potty.
  • The next step is to build a potty routine. You will soon learn that your puppy’s bowel and bladder are pretty predictable, and the pup’s eating and sleeping times will be the basis of the routine. Take your Cattle Dog puppy out to go potty immediately after it wakes up in the morning and after daytime naps, and also before bedtime in the evening.
  • Furthermore, you should also take the puppy out every 30 minutes or one hour if it does not take many naps throughout the day.
  • When your Australian Cattle Dog puppy has finished his pee or poop in the right place, you should give them a reward or positive reinforcement with praise. By rewarding good behavior, you will start a pattern of success, leading to far faster housebreaking and potty training.

Is an Australian Cattle Dog a Good Guard Dog?

Although they don’t bark too much, Australian Cattle Dogs make exceptional guard dogs and watchdogs. They are still very protective of their herd and their pack, often their human herd or human pack. Heelers can be cautious and wary, which makes them excellent guard dogs.

Cattle Dogs are protective of their herd and their pack. They control their aggression, however, until a threat is deemed imminent. Heelers will naturally patrol their property, alert their pack when danger approaches, and become aggressive if they perceive a threat. The heightened protectiveness of the breed makes socialization critical, so they understand when strangers pose a threat and when they don’t.

How Frequently does an Australian Cattle Dog Bark?

Australian Cattle Dogs are often too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. This breed should not be left outside in your yard, unsupervised. To make matters worse, some Cattle Dogs have intense, high-pitched barks that can set your teeth on edge. Some Heelers rarely bark and nothing ever bothers them; they spend their day just quietly hanging out.

Others are highly aware of everything around them, from the cat in the next room to the squirrel in the neighbor’s yard! They hear and see everything, and they stare at everything. It is not unusual to hear Australian Cattle Dog owners saying their Heelers are intense. Still, not all Cattle Dogs bark that much

Do Australian Cattle Dogs Bark a Lot for External Stimulants?

Reactions to external stimulants are unique and almost hardwired into the Australian Cattle Dog’s DNA. The intelligence level of Cattle Dogs makes them likely to develop responses to external stimuli. For example, let someone knock on the door or drive in the driveway, and the Cattle Dog’s ultra high pitched warning bark will follow. When Australian Cattle Dogs are young, the sounds that they react to can be numerous and almost invisible to you, but a real sign of danger to them. 

It goes back to one of the characteristics they were selected and bred for in the early years of the Cattle Dog breed’s development. An important job they had was to protect their owners. That loud, ear-piercing bark signifies that he is sensing approaching danger. Most Australian Cattle Dogs outgrow this in time as they become more socialized and their training advances.

What is the need for Mental Stimulation of an Australian Cattle Dog?

Australian Cattle Dogs are highly intelligent dogs that need mental and neurological stimulation. Mental stimulation is essential for a Cattle Dog to function optimally, and it can also prevent anxiety and destructive behavior. Providing mental enrichment for an Australian Cattle Dog is quite simple, but the benefits are significant. Anything that activates, enriches, and stimulates the Australian Cattle Dog’s mind provides mental stimulation, whether internal thought or external, using the environment. The inspiration can include using toys, puzzles, and other interactive toys and activities including agility, flyball, herding, obedience, rally, and tracking, all perfect ways to stimulate Australian Cattle Dogs.

The benefits of mental enrichment for the Cattle Dog are listed below.

  • Assists and stimulates the Heeler’s brain growth
  • Improves an ACD’s problem-solving skills
  • Builds an Australian Cattle Dog’s social skills and confidence
  • Allows the Heeler to engage in natural and spontaneous behaviors
  • Mental stimulation allows for happier and more balanced Australian Cattle Dogs, reducing the risks of depression.

Aside from burning off surplus energy, exercising also provides interaction and socialization opportunities. Your Australian Cattle Dog will be better able to focus with appropriate physical and mental exercise, preventing problem behaviors.

What are the Breed Standards of the Australian Cattle Dog?

ANKC, the Australian National Kennel Council provides the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament, and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Some of the breed standards for the Australian Cattle Dog breed are listed below. 

  • Coat: The coat is smooth, a double coat with a short dense undercoat. The outer coat is close, each hair straight, hard, and lying flat, so that it is rain-resisting. 
  • Blue Coat Color: The color should be blue, blue mottled, or blue speckled with or without other markings. The permissible markings are black, blue, or tan markings on the head, evenly distributed for preference. Black markings on the body are not desirable.
  • Red Speckle Coat: The color should be of good even red speckle all over, including the undercoat, with or without darker red markings on the head. Even head markings are desirable. Red markings on the body are permissible but not desirable.
  • Size: The Australian Cattle Dog falls into the medium dog category. They are strong, compact, symmetrically built working dogs, and substance, power, balance, and hard muscular condition convey the impression of great agility. 
  • Muzzle: The foreface is broad and well filled in under the eyes, tapering gradually to form a medium-length, deep, powerful muzzle with the skull and muzzle on parallel planes.
  • Weight: Both male and female Cattle Dogs weigh between 35 and 45 lbs 
  • Height at the withers: Male Australian Cattle Dogs stand between 18 and 20 inches high and 17 to 19 inches for the female Cattle Dogs.
  • Ears: The ears should be of moderate size, preferably small rather than large, broad, and muscular at the base. 
  • Eyes: The eyes should be medium-sized, oval-shaped, expressing alertness and intelligence. The eye color is dark brown.

Though the breed standard was set in Australia in 1903 and has been “pure” since 1893, it wasn’t part of the American Kennel Club until relatively recently, in 1983. (The United Kennel Club recognized it even later, in 1985). The breed moved from the Working Group to the Herding Group.

What is the General Information about the Australian Cattle Dog?

The Australian Cattle Dog started in Australia’s rugged interior way back in the 1800s. Cattle are far larger than sheep, and farmers needed a special canine to keep the animals in line. They created the Australian cattle dog through careful breeding that involved Dingoes and various other breeds. Any working dog or high-drive dog can be challenging for a standard owner, and Cattle Dogs are arguably at the more extreme and intense end of the working dog spectrum.

Heelers were bred to herd cattle for long stretches, an instinct that still runs deep in the breed. The Cattle Dog loves nothing more than running full-speed ahead with a task, which means you’d better come up with a way to wear him out, or he’ll make his own fun at your home’s peril. A tired Cattle Dog is a happy and healthy cattle dog. When it comes down to it, the Australian Cattle Dog is not a great breed for first-time owners or those looking for an easy keeper of a canine or a lapdog. His needs stretch beyond those of the average breed, both physically and mentally. With that in mind, the ACD is an excellent companion for adventure lovers ready to take on the next hiking trail or farmers looking for a tireless worker. Thanks to his intelligence and athletic prowess, an Australian Cattle Dog is also a dream dog for canine sports enthusiasts.

What are Other Names for Australian Cattle Dogs?

The Australian cattle dog is a colorful canine known by many names, including:

  • Cattle dog
  • Queensland heeler
  • Australian heeler
  • Halls heeler
  • Heeler
  • Blue heeler
  • Red heeler
  • ACD
  • Cow dogs

Are Red and Blue Heelers the same?

Yes, Red and Blue heelers are the same. The different coat colors have nothing to do with their breed. The registered name for this breed is the Australian Cattle Dog. Cattle Dog puppies are born white, and as they grow either brown or black hairs grow, and the blend with the white hairs those with black hair appear blue, and those with brown hair appear red. They were bred to herd cattle, and their primary tactic is nipping at the heels of the cattle, which is why they are called Blue Heelers and Red Heelers. They are also called Queensland Heelers among other names.

Where to Buy or Adopt an Australian Cattle Dog?

Choosing a reputable Australian Cattle Dog breeder is essential. Potential Australian Cattle Dog owners must know that they will get a healthy dog that will not develop problems years later.

Some US and AUS breeders are listed below:

  • Sugar-N-Spice, Goodyear, AZ
  • Backdraft ACD’s, Bourne, MA 
  • Adams Ranch ACD’s, Phelan, CA 
  • Kombinalong Kennels, New South Wales, AUS
  • Morview Kennels, Queensland, AUS
  • Wazwallaby Australian Cattle Dog Breeder – Childers, Queensland, AUS

The recommended steps would be to use the guidance of the Australian National Kennel Council when choosing a breeder. That way, the buyer can be sure they choose a reputable breeder who has agreed to abide by the prescribed breeding standards.

How much is an Australian Cattle Dog?

The average price of an Australian Cattle Dog puppy is from $600 to $1000, although some sell for up to $3000. The price is primarily reflected by the dog’s lineage, the breeder’s reputation, where you buy them from, and the demand for ACD pups in the area. Other additional costs of this breed may set you back a further $1000, while they typically cost around $1000-$2000 per year to look after.

For example, looking through the pre-vetted breeders and sellers on the American Kernel Club marketplace is a good idea and a good starting place. This way, you can compare breeders side by side, look for puppies of different ages, and be able to contact multiple breeders ahead of time and any visits. Just remember they also go by the names of Blue Heelers, Red Heelers, and Queensland Heelers when researching, and these are different names for the same breed. 

What are the Rescue Clubs for Australian Cattle Dogs?

Some Australian cattle dog rescues in the U.S. include:

  • Australian Cattle Dog Rescue Incorporated – US & Canada
  • Australian Cattle Dog Rescue Association – NY & East Coast
  • Texas Cattle Dog Rescue – TX
  • Australian Cattle Dog Rescue of Illinois – IL
  • Arizona Cattle Dog Rescue – AZ
  • AuCaDo Australian Cattle Dog Rescue – MI
  • New Hope Cattle Dogs – CO
  • Carolina ACD Rescue & Rebound – Carolinas & Southeastern US
  • Pacific Northwest Cattle Dog Rescue WA & OR & TX

What is the History of the Australian Cattle Dog?

A cattle farmer and early colonist named Thomas Simpson Hall crossed dogs previously bred with multiple collie strains with a dingo in 1840. The breed he produced led to the beginning of what’s called “Hall’s Heelers.”

Showsight magazine, which specializes in articles on purebred dogs, reports that George Elliott in Queensland continued breeding the heelers, and this strain became known as the “Blue Heelers.”

He sold the dogs to Australian farmers and cattle owners who loved the results. Jack and Harry Bagust, two brothers from Canterbury in Sydney, later bred these dogs with Dalmatians to instill in them a love for horses and a devotion to their masters.”

Australian Cattle Dogs crossbred with Dalmatians sometimes have blue or red coat colors, which can be quite striking.

Can an Australian Cattle Dog be black?

No, Australian Cattle Dogs can not be black; not according to the breeding standard of the Cattle Dog Club of Australia. Australian Cattle Dog puppies are born white. After six weeks, you can see a strong pattern in the puppy’s coat, and the color starts changing rapidly. The color change occurs because darker hair grows in between the white. Those hairs are either black or brown, and their coats then appear blue or red, but never black. From there, the names Red Heelers and Blue Heelers. 

Is an Australian Cattle Dog the same as a Kangal?

The Australian Cattle Dog originated in Queensland, Australia, and the Kangal Dog originated from Turkey. The Australian Cattle Dog’s height can be between 17 and 20 inches, and in contrast, the Kangal dog stands between 28 and 34 inches high. The Kangal Dog may weigh up to 63 pounds, and the Cattle Dog’s maximum weight is 35 pounds. A Kangal Dog may live for 12 to 15 years, and the Australian Cattle Dog’s lifespan is only 9 to 12 years. Both breeds have similar litter sizes. The Kangal Dog is a working dog, while the Australian Cattle Dog is a herding dog and a companion dog. 

Is an Australian Cattle Dog a Mastiff?

No, the Australian Cattle Dog is not a Mastiff. The list below shows some of the canines that fall in the Mastiff Category.

What is the Average Maintenance for an Australian Cattle Dog?

Depending on the breeder, the price of an Australian Cattle Dog puppy is between $600 and $1500, but it could be as much as $3000. Factors that impact the price of an Australian Cattle Dog puppy include the bloodline, gender, and the show quality and location. Reportedly, the initial cost and expenses during the first year after buying an Australian Cattle Dog puppy could be between $4500 and $8500. After that, the average annual expenditures could be between $2200 and $4500. Potential Australian Cattle Dog parents need to be aware of the expenses they will encounter. The first year of a Cattle Dog’s life will involve significantly higher vet costs like vaccinations, tests for congenital diseases, microchipping, neutering or spaying.

Some of the essential costs are listed below.





Premium Food

$250 – $750



$100 – $150


Cleaning Materials

$25 – $30


New Toys

$100 – $200



$170 – $180


Vet Bills & Preventative Care

$7000 – $1500



$100 – $200



$200 – $300


Registration and Tags

$10 – $20



$70 – $1320

Many other oddball needs will factor into dog ownership, with several being one-time purchases or as-needed buys, like training treats, harnesses, food and water bowls, etc. Some items can be bought secondhand to save some money, including crates, outdoor kennels, and more.

How to Name an Australian Cattle Dog?

Naming an Australian Cattle Dog might require different criteria than new Cattle Dog parents might expect. It is never the actual name the Australian Cattle Dog responds to; instead, it is the sound and how it is said.

The building blocks necessary include tone and syllables, as listed below.

  • Australian Cattle Dogs respond best to two-syllable names because they are not short enough to confuse single-syllable command words like Sit, Come, Down, and No. However, they are not long enough to become puzzling. 
  • Simple examples of names for Australian Cattle Dogs include Kylie and Sheila for girls and Rusty or Striker for boys.
  • Cattle Dog owners set on a specific single-syllable name can go with it, but find a way to stretch it to sound like two syllables, such as “Blue” stretched into “Blue-hoo” and using two different tones when calling him.
  • Australian Cattle Dogs respond most positively to high-pitched, excited, and happy sounds when calling them and soothing, quiet sounds when they get nervous or overzealous.
  • Some Heeler parents find their Australian Cattle Dogs respond and recognize their names better if they say them in a sing-song voice.

What are the Different Types of Australian Cattle Dog?

The Australian Cattle Dog Breed is one of a kind. However, the dogs within the breed are two different colors, but only one type. Australian Cattle Dog puppies are born white. After six weeks, you can see a strong pattern in the puppy’s coat, and the color starts changing rapidly. The color change occurs because darker hair grows in between the white. Those hairs are either black or brown, and their coats become blends that appear blue or red. Red and Blue Heelers are dogs that Australian cattle ranchers use for herding livestock over long distances. In present times, this dog breed is also accepted as a favored companion dog, cherished in many households.

What are the Similar Dog Breeds to the Australian Cattle Dog?

Similar dog breeds to the Australian Cattle Dog are listed below.

  • Australian Shepherds, contrary to popular belief, are not indigenous to Australia. The breed‘s origins are in the United States of America, dating back to the early 1800s. 
  • Bearded Collies, like Australian Cattle Dogs, are herding dogs with origins in the United Kingdom. Their height is similar to the ACD, but the Collies weigh about 30 pounds more.
  • Belgian Malinois dogs, also called Belgian Shepherd Dogs, are herding dogs originating from Belgium. They stand about 7 inches higher than Australian Heelers and weigh about 40 pounds more.
  • Bergamasco Sheepdogs are Italian herding dogs, somewhat bigger than the Australian Cattle Dogs. The Italian dogs are significantly heavier, with weights of about 50 pounds more than ACDs and standing about 5 inches higher.
  • Border Collies originating from the U.K. are classified as working dogs. They are slightly longer-legged, standing about 5 inches higher than Australian Cattle Dogs, but the weights of the two breeds are similar.

Michael Brady

Michael is an animal-lover who specializes in marketing. He started running Dog Food Care with his mother, Sarah, after leaving his office job. Michael gained enough flexibility in his schedule to be able to adopt a dog of his own and welcomed Emmie the dachshund into his home in 2020.