Australian Cattle Dog

Dog Breed Profile

Australian Cattle Dog

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• High energy level
• High exercise needs
• Very playful
• Moderately Affectionate
• Friendly towards other dogs
• Shy around other pets
• Shy around strangers
• Difficult to train
• Great watchdogs
• Very protective
• Low grooming requirements
• Medium tolerance to heat and cold


The Australian cattle dog has an interesting history, with strong determining genetics that make him an active, tireless, hardworking breed. He thrives on physical and mental challenges and once trained, this breed makes an excellent companion. His playfulness may have him giving the odd nip to someone who is fleeing his presence (herding behavior), but he is a great watchdog and is extremely loyal.

It is vitally important that this breed experiences much more exercise than the average dog. Without proper mental and physical activity he may become bored and potentially destructive. The Australian cattle dog is one of the most intelligent dog breeds, and is now recognized by the AKC.

  • Best suited for homes with large yards or farms where they can run
  • Health conditions that need to be tested for include hip dysplasia, deafness and eye issues
  • Grooming needs include regular weekly brushing, occasional bathing when needed. Be prepared for a once or twice a year shedding.
  • Once this breed realizes he is not alpha, training will be easier, resulting in a dog that can easily learn to fetch, perform tricks, obey commands and do well with competitive obedience
  • Under proper conditions (lots of exercise and training) they can make good family pets. They are loyal and protective, but weary of strangers and other dogs.

Care & Health:

 Australian cattle dogs will never be satisfied with just taking a walk. Activity is a way of life for this breed, requiring both mental and physical stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. Sign this breed up for obedience lessons and be prepared to let him run (or run with him). This is not a breed for apartment living; he needs to be busy or he will get bored and may become destructive. Give him a brush once a week, and a bath only when necessary. Cool to temperate climates suit them well.

Major Health Concerns:

– OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), CHD (Canine Hip Dysplasia) and deafness

Minor Health Concerns:

– cataracts, lens luxation, PPM (Persistent Pupillary Membranes), vWD (Von Willebrand Disease)

Test for:

– hips, eyes and hearing

Life Span:

– 10 to 13 years

Additional Notes:

– litters from this breed tend to produce an average of five puppies
Australian Cattle Dog - Blue Heeler


Breed History:

Originally bred to replace European herding breeds in Australia in the 1800s, the Australian cattle dog was originally named Hall’s heelers, after the man who crossbred blue-merle Highland collies with dingos to produce a breed that could withstand rough terrain and travel long distances. They were also able to control cattle without barking which was an excellent trait for a herding dog.

As these dogs gained popularity and became vital to the cattle industry, especially in Queensland, they became known as the blue heeler, the Australian heeler, and eventually the Australian cattle dog. Recognized by the AKC in 1980, this breed is now a show dog as well as a pet and herder.

  • Family history is livestock and herding breeds
  • Originally from Australia (Queensland)
  • First bred in the mid 1800’s
  • Original purpose was herding cattle
  • Today they are herders, pets and show dogs
  • The average size of a male is 35 to 45lbs and 18 to 20 inches tall
  • The average size of a female is 35 to 45lbs and 17 to 19 inches tall
  • Also known as Hall’s heeler, blue heeler, Queensland heeler, and Australian heeler