The Australian Cattle Dog!

The Australian Cattle Dog came about as the answer to the need for a herding breed that could endure the heat and the harsh Australian terrain, along with long journeys over expansive grazing lands. Not only did this breed prove to be resilient, it is also capable of effectively driving cattle, without startling them by barking. Its development began when Hall crossbred blue-merle Highland collies with dingos, the outcome then known as Hall’s heelers, named for their herding style of nipping at the heels of cattle. Further crossbreeding with the Dalmatian, bull terrier, and even the kelpie also contributed to the sturdier and more functional composition of the Australian cattle dog. At certain periods, the breed was also known as the Queensland blue heeler, and then as the Australian heeler. The Australian cattle dog’s solid and compact build allows for the agility and quickness required to manage wild cattle.

Some Quick Facts:

Life Expectancy:
11-14 years

Energy Level:

Living Conditions:
Good outdoor dog. Land to roam.


Exercise Needs:
Needs activities to feed its working skills and sharpen its mental abilities.

Breed Group:


17 to 20 inches

30 to 35 pounds

Standard Hair Colors:
Puppies of this breed are born white. Adults are usually blue speckled or red speckled.

National breed club:
The Australian Cattle Dog Club of America

Australian Cattle Dog Skills

Developed since 1840 to withstand the harsh terrain and climate of Queensland, Australia, the Australian cattle dog was since valued for its endurance, adaptability to changing weather conditions, and ability to drive cattle in a peaceful manner. Today, the breed is recognized for its aptitude in herding trials, agility, and competitive obedience. It is also adept at retrieving, guarding, and performing stunts or tricks.

Australian Cattle Dog Personality

The Australian cattle dog is a very intelligent breed, as it needs activities that keep it interested or it will behave poorly and even cause trouble. It can be quite attentive and compliant, as long as it is given adequate mental and physical challenges on a daily basis. The breed is also good as travel partner, though it tries to use its herding practice of nipping on running children. Some lines are bred strictly for working: one of these may be too tough for a family pet.

Exercise Needs

A generous amount of physical and mental activity is recommended for the untiring Australian cattle dog. Daily workouts and intellectual training are vital to keeping the dog happy, as is giving it work to do, though it is still happiest when given a regular opportunity to herd.

Living Conditions

This breed mostly lives outside in moderate to cool climates. Apartment life for this breed is almost impossible, as it is better off living in a large yard.

Grooming Requirements

All one needs is a firm bristle brush to comb through the short coat weekly, and baths may be given as needed. This breed sheds its coat up to twice a year.

Health Issues

The breed is at risk of hip dysplasia, deafness, and PRA.

If you liked this dog…

...then consider one like it, without the nipping, the Border collie, a sheepdog that’s just as smart, obedient, and active.


Dog Resources

Raising Your Dog

Dogs By Size

Dogs By Group

petside media network

Breeds: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z