The Australian Cattle Dog, also known as the Australian Heeler, Hall's Heeler, Queensland Heeler and the Blue Heeler, is a courageous, tireless, robust, compact working dog. The dog is agile, well-muscled, powerful and determined while working. The length of the body is a little longer than it is tall. The tail is held moderately low hanging at a slight curve. The front legs are straight, strong, round bone, extending to the feet. The feet are round and the toes are short. The skull is broad is slightly curved between the ears, flattening to a slight but definite stop. The ears are wide-set, moderate in size, and pricked when alert. The nose is black. The dark brown, medium-sized eyes are oval in shape. The teeth should meet in a scissor-bite, with the lower incisors closing behind and just touching the upper.
The Australian Cattle Dog is a loyal, brave, hardworking, herding breed. One of the most intelligent breeds, they are not the kind of dog to lay around the living room all day or live happily in the backyard with only a 15 minute walk. They need much more exercise than that and something to occupy their mind daily or they will become bored, leading to serious behavior problems. They need action in their life and will do best with a job. This alert dog is excellent in the obedience ring and will excel in agility and herding trials. It is absolutely loyal and obedient to its master. They are sometimes suspicious of people and dogs they don't know. They can be very dog aggressive if allowed to be pack leader, for its dominance level is high. This breed does best with a job to do. If you do not have time to extensively work with and exercise your dog, or do not fully understand canine instincts and their need to have leadership, this is not the breed for you.
Height: Dogs 17-20 inches, Bitches 17-19 inches
Weight: Dogs 32-35 pounds, Bitches 30-35 pounds
Prone to hip dysplasia and PRA. The merle colored dogs are prone to deafness.
These animals have incredible stamina and will enjoy all the activity you can give them. Exercise is of paramount importance - without enough they can become bored and destructive. Exercise cannot simply be tossing a ball. While they will enjoy this ball play, their brains need to be stimulated daily. Does best with a job to do. They need to be taken on long daily walks. Makes an excellent jogging companion. Do not allow this dog to walk ahead of you on the walks. He needs to be beside or behind you to re-enforce the human is alpha.
About 12-15 years.
The short-haired, weather-resistant coat needs little care and is very easy to groom. Just comb and brush with a firm bristle brush, and bathe only when necessary. This breed tends to shed their coats once or twice per year (depending on sex status and region).
Dogs the settlers brought with them from Europe, called Smithfield and the Old Smooth Collie (not the smooth collie known today), were not able to handle the long distances and inhospitable climate of the new continent. The Australian Cattle Dog was developed by pioneer settlers in the 1800s by crossing Dingo-blue merle Collies to Dalmations and black and tan Kelpies.
Photos courtesy of Nolan and Jennifer Goplan.
Dakota (rescued from a shelter where he had 1 day left before he was euthanized.)