Australian Cattle Dog Breed Traits & Facts

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Last Updated on September 20, 2023

*. The Australian Cattle Dog (also called a Blue Heeler ) is a rising star within the canine world. The breed is known for its flamboyant personality and stunning looks. This unique breed is more than meets the eyes.

This breed is ideal for active families. It has everything that you could want in one package. Dog owners who don’t desire an active dog will likely be better served by another breed. Many Aussies end up in rescue shelters after their new owners realize he’s too difficult to manage ,.

This guide will cover everything you need to learn about the breed. Everything you need to know . about the breed, from their background and how it affects his personality to exercise and training needs. Let’s see if this breed is right for you and your family.

Australian Cattle Dog

Breed History

The Australian Cattle Dog was bred by Anglo-Australian settlers who traveled from coastal towns inland in the 19th century. They found ideal conditions for raising cattle. Their Smithfield dog, their English herding dog, wasn’t able to withstand the extreme heat and harsh terrains. They needed to find a strong herding dog that would thrive in their new environment.

The Smithfield dogs were bred to domesticated Dingoes , who are the wild canines of the Australian Bush .. Some of this mix may also include the Scottish Highland Collie, who are thought to have brought their top-notch herding skills. These dogs were later crossed with the Dalmatian. They were able to herd horses well and also had a natural affinity for protecting their land.

This mix was the Australian Cattle Dog. Thomas Hall, a man from Texas, played an important role in the breeding process. Like many other breeds, their herding method is to chase cattle. This is how he earned the nickname “Hall’s Sheelers “. It is unknown when he traveled to America. But it was in 1980 that he was accepted into the American Kennel Clubs studbook.

His remarkable herding skills, hard work ethic and tough tenacity have earned his employment on numerous ranches across America. Especially in the hotter states where Collies or Australian Shepherds might struggle. He is becoming more popular with active families as a family pet .


The Australian Cattle Dog is a tough cookie . He is known for his ability to work hard even when he has been seriously injured. This pooch is able to handle the extreme heat of the Australian Outback. He is a wonderful choice for people who enjoy the sun and live in warmer climates than other breeds.

He is a hardworking dog that loves a job. You’ll have to find other ways for him to work if he doesn’t have regular jobs. It’s a recipe for disaster to leave him unoccupied all day. Many of these people end up in rescue shelters.

But there’s a silver lining! is a fun and playful dog. If you’re lucky, this pup can play for hours. He is also a great exercise buddy. They will have endless hours of fun playing in the yard. He does take some time to get used to people outside his pack. He can be a protector dog for his family and his home.

He is very affectionate with his family. If he’s satisfied with his work day, he will take a cuddle at night. He is especially close to the person he considers his primary caregiver. He bonds with one person , much like a German Shepherd. Because he requires close contact at all time, he is sometimes called a Velcro dog.

Size & Appearance

This breed is a medium-sized dog that weighs between 35 and 50 pounds. He measures between 17 and 20 inches tall, from paw to shoulder. The breed standard states that the dog has a compact, but strong, symmetrical frame. This is how a working dog should look. His skull is large and flat at the top with a proportionate muzzle.

His triangular-shaped ears are always alert and erect. Their oval-shaped eyes are medium in size and are oval-shaped. It is not unusual to see a blueheeler with heterochromia , which is a pigmentation shift in the eye that creates an single-blue eye .. His nose is round and fleshy and his neck is muscular and thick. His tail extends to his hocks, and he can be carried either straight or low. It’s also bushy like a fox tail.

Coat & Colors

The Australian Cattle Dog is covered in a short, smooth double-coated .. His undercoat is dense and short, keeping him warm in winter and cool during the summer. The overcoat is very close. Each hair sits close to his body and has a stiff texture to repel rain. His hair is shorter around his ears and front, as well as the hair on his legs. Comparable to the fur around his neck and underbelly, which are longer. His hair should measure between 1 and 1 1/2 inches long.

Many people believe there are two kinds of Heeler: the Red Heeler and the Blue Heeler . They are both the same color and both can have spots .. They just have different coats. The Blue Heeler has a black, gray and white color, while the Red Heeler has a black, brown and white color. The color requirements are very strict if you wish to exhibit your Australian Cattle Dog at the show ring.

Exercise Requirements

The Australian Cattle Dog

is a very energetic dog. Let us repeat – this is an extremely energetic dog. He should be on a farm or ranch all day. But if not, he needs at least 90 minutes of intense activity to satisfy his working needs. This dog is not suited for a leisurely stroll in the neighbourhood. To get his heart pumping, he needs to be engaged in high-impact exercise.

It doesn’t stop there. He will need lots of interactive playtime and mental stimulation when you’re at home. He won’t just lie on the couch and take a nap. Interactive play, such as tug of war or fetch in the yard, will be essential for him. He will also require solo playtime such as puzzle-dispensing toys or chew sticks.

If you don’t direct your energy, he will find other tasks to do such as digging up flowerbeds and destroying furniture. This will also result in unruly herding and problematic behavior . It can also lead to a hostile family environment due to his nipping techniques. It is important to be honest with him about the exercise you can offer him. He is not the right fit for your family.

Living Conditions

He can live in an apartment or large house, but needs access to a yard .. He is an outdoor-loving pooch and loves fresh air and scents. He will become destructive if he doesn’t have access to a yard. His yard must be secure as he loves to run and herd animals, including other dogs, yard animals, and vehicles. When he’s ready, he can be a master escape artist!

The Australian Cattle Dog is a great companion for children. He sees them as small members of his pack and loves them. Only if he grows up with them. He might view his new sibling not as part of his pack, but as something to herd. This pup would be best with a family that already has children , so he can immediately respect them as his elders.

Another consideration when it comes down to his suitability for living with children or other animals is his predisposition .to herd things HTML1. He nips his ankles, which is the same herding method he uses. He will nip if he considers children or animals to be herding animals. This will lead to frustration, unhappiness and possible injuries. All these are important things to think about. They can thrive in a loving family environment if they are raised in the right place.


This breed, like many other excellent working dogs is independent. Although he can be trained in the herding area, this is largely due to his natural instincts and not his herding education. He is a strong, headstrong dog that needs a more determined master. This breed is not recommended for new dog owners.

His independence is a sign that he won’t be completely obedient. If he feels right, he will follow your lead. It’s a smart idea to enroll your Australian Cattle Dog in puppy obedience courses . A balanced approach to training is recommended for this breed. Toys and balls are the breed’s motivator, so make sure to use these items in your training. Be persistent! It is possible to fool independent dogs into believing it isn’t working. But it is.

He is naturally protective of his family. It’s superimportant to socialize him starting at an early age. He might become too protective if he isn’t socialized early enough. Mix him with other dogs at the local dog park, invite new people to your home and let him experience new sights and sounds.

It is important that you do not allow him to herd , people or other objects in your home. You can redirect his attention if you see him doing this. This behavior should not be tolerated as it can lead to a dysfunctional family dynamic. Be sure to research how to avoid these behaviors, and get ready to act quickly when he does. This breed requires crate training. Look for a crate made with reinforced steel that can contain this energetic breed. You should also leash train your dog as he won’t be happy walking on his own.


The Australian Cattle Dog is a relatively healthy dog that enjoys an averagely long lifespan of 12 to 16 years. This is a fantastic canine lifespan, but you need to keep him healthy and help him get there. Make sure he has regular vet visits and that he is getting enough exercise. You can also help him stay healthy by feeding him the highest quality food you can afford.

He is more likely to be affected by certain health issues than others. Below are the conditions you should be aware of. This list is not exhaustive but it’s a good place for you to start.

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

The breed is susceptible to hip and elbow dysplasia. This is often caused by uneven growth of bones, which results in grinding and wear to the joints. If left untreated, this can cause problems in his mobility and eventually arthritis. It could indicate joint dysplasia if your dog is unable to stand, walk, or use his legs properly.

Eye Conditions

The breed is susceptible to a variety of eye problems, with progressive retinal loss being the most common. This is the gradual deterioration and eventual complete blindness of the retina. Primary lens luxation, also known as dislocation of the lenses, is another common condition that can lead to blindness. If your dog is causing problems, take him to the vet.


Like many other herding dogs such as the Border Collie or Aussie Shepherd, the Australian Cattle Dog is prone to inherited deafness. Reputable breeders will run their puppies through a BAER test to determine if they are deaf. Ask for certificates.


The Australian Cattle Dog is a very energetic dog. However, he needs only two to three cups of food per day. It all depends on how energetic he is and if he is a working dog. It also depends on his age and how big he is. To ensure that he is not starving, always follow the instructions on the packaging. It is not healthy for your Heeler to be overweight.

Always feed your pooch a life stage-appropriate food. This is especially important for puppies as it will provide all the necessary nutrients for growth and development. You should look for a brand that has high quality ingredients as well as a balanced diet. You can switch to adult kibble when he is one years old.

A well-balanced diet includes meat protein and healthy carbs and oils, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Fish, flaxseed and fish oils are rich in healthy omega fats that will benefit his skin, hair, brain function and overall well-being. For an energetic dog, we suggest feeding him a kibble with a protein content of at least 25%. This will give him energy and help his muscles work hard.


The Australian Cattle Dog

is easy to groom. The Australian Cattle Dog’s short, straight coat requires brushing only once per week all year. There’s no need to worry about tangles or curls. Just a quick brush down will get rid of any dead hairs and dust he collects on his adventures. A soft bristle brush is the best for this breed.

During shedding season, your dog will shed heavily and blow his coat .. To manage his shedding, you will need to brush him multiple times per week. As well as the bristle brush, we suggest investing in a deshedding tool. This will result in less hair on your sofa and clothes, and more hair on the brush that goes into the bin.

He will only need bathing once every 12 weeks or so, or as and when you think he needs it. He has a pleasant, clean smell and is easy to train. You can gently wash his skin and fur with a natural dog shampoo. To make bathing easy for your dog, start bathing him early.

Brush your dog’s teeth once per week with doggy toothpaste. This will help to prevent and freshen breath. His nails will naturally fall if he is active. If they start tapping on the ground, it is likely that they are too long. Cleanse his ears once per week using a damp cloth to get rid of dirt and bacteria.

Breeders & Puppy Costs

Although Australian Cattle Dogs may not be the most well-known breed, there are many reliable breeders. It’s not difficult to find them. You might need to travel and will likely be placed on a wait list. Don’t worry! Good things are for those who wait. The average price of a puppy from a reputable breeder is around $1,000 and up. Expect to pay more if you’re looking for a puppy of a prestigious lineage.

A reputable breeder can walk you through the process and answer many questions about your life. To ensure you are the right family for this breed, they may visit your home. Meet the parents and the puppies, and request to see their health certificates. A great place to start is with the AKC’s list of breeders.

Avoid puppy mills or poor quality breeders . A Heeler that is sold at a low price could be unhealthy or not even a Heeler. Do your part to stop their cruelty. You should immediately leave if you have a negative feeling about them.

While an Australian Cattle Dog puppy may not be the most costly to take care of, they are still very expensive. It is important to provide everything your dog needs such as beds, collars, harnesses, and crates. Also, consider the ongoing insurance and medical costs . These financial obligations should be considered when making a final decision.

Rescues & Shelters

Rescue is another option. It is an excellent idea, especially when you consider how many there are. Go to your nearest rescue shelter . Talk to staff if you don’t see a Heeler. They might be able point you in the direction of one at a nearby shelter. It is more rewarding than buying a puppy, and it saves lives.

If you are unable to find one at your local shelters, don’t be afraid! Others focus all their efforts on rehoming this breed of dog. The Australian Cattle Dog Rescue Inc lists contact details by state, and they have lots of additional information.

As Family Pets

  • The Australian Cattle Dog is an energetic dog breed.
  • They need at least 90 minutes of daily intense activity.
  • Without adequate exercise, he will become destructive.
  • He is very protective of his family and home.
  • This breed often forms a close bond with its main caregiver.
  • You can expect lots of fun for the whole family with this breed.
  • He doesn’t like to be left alone and is known as a Velcro dog.
  • You should own a home with a large secure yard for this pup.
  • He can live with children and other animals if he socialized early.
  • This breed has a strong prey drive and will chase and herd everything.
  • He is an independent dog who needs a strong-willed and experienced dog owner.

Final Thoughts

The Australian Cattle Dog, a remarkable breed that is tough to the core . is an amazing breed. This dog is capable of handling almost any situation, as long as it’s not left alone. This pup is able to handle extreme weather and work with a big smile. Although he is independent and stubborn, he has charm, affection, companionship and lots of fun.

This breed needs a special type of family in order to fulfill its every need. He is not suitable for your typical family. If you’re a good match, you will find an Australian dog that is your best friend!

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