Australian Cattle Dog (Herding Group)
The Australian Cattle Dog is a hardy and independent member of the Herding Group. This breed has a moderate build which helps balance the speed and agility needed to control cattle. For the last 200+ years these dogs were used as excellent herding canines and today this service is still in use throughout Australia and other parts of the world where the Aussie Cattle Dog is raised.
Australian Cattle Dogs are highly energetic and must have a job to do in order to keep itself busy. They are equally as playful and are safe to have around children. While they are moderately friendly towards other dogs, they are distant and reserved around strange people and other pets in the house. An excellent watchdog and family protector, the Australian Cattle Dog can fit nicely in a home that maintains an active, outdoors lifestyle.
A Brief History of The Australian Cattle Dog
As its name suggests, the Australian Cattle Dog has its roots from Australia, dating back to the 1800s. During the early period of this time there were vast lands that were used for grazing cattle. These herds of cattle became too wild and boisterous for the services of a traditional herding dog; therefore, a new dog was needed that could handle the job.
This new breed needed to possess certain qualities that could enable it to travel long distances through rough terrain, in severely hot temperatures. The dog also needed to have the ability to control cattle without barking, as this only caused the herd to become wilder and more uncontrollable.
Several bloodlines when into the creation. A man named Hall began the process in 1840 by breeding Dingos and several smooth blue merle Highland Collies. The strain became known as “Hall’s Heelers”. More breeders began crossing Hall’s Heelers with the Bull Terrier, Black and Tan Kelpie, and the Dalmatian.
The result was a breed known as the Queensland Blue Terrier. The name was later changed to the Australian Heeler, and then finally to the Australian Cattle Dog. The standard for the breed was created in 1897. In 1980, the Australian Cattle Dog was officially recognized by the AKC and today is still used to herd cattle and can be seen regularly in herding trials.
Upkeep Requirements for The Australian Cattle Dog
This is one breed that absolutely must have daily exercise, and lots of it! They were bred to work tirelessly and a few brisk walks on the leash is not enough physical stimulation. Instead, they need to run and play vigorous outside games. Coupled with intellectual challenges and obedience training, the Australian Cattle Dog will be a happy camper.
These dogs have tolerance to moderately cool and hot temperatures and can live outside if necessary. However, they like to be inside at night with the rest of the family. A natural-born guard dog, they will protect the family at all costs from intruders. Grooming requirements call for a weekly brushing to remove dead hairs.
The average lifespan of the Australian Cattle Dog is between ten and thirteen years. Major Health Concerns that run common in the breed are deafness, elbow dysplasia, OCD, CHD, and PRA. Minor health issues include PPM, cataracts, vWD, and lens luxation. Veterinarians suggest that Australian Cattle Dogs get specifically tested for hearing, eye, hip, and elbow problems.