Dog Breeds

Australian Cattle Dog Advantage and Challenges


  • Loyal, brave and trustworthy
  • Gentle, protective and obedient with its one chosen human
  • Makes a fine guard dog
  • Extremely intelligent and learns quickly
  • Easy to groom
  • A very energetic and talented herding dog


  • Requires lots of daily exercise and mental stimulation
  • Will quickly become destructive if frustrated and bored
  • Needs to be part of the action – won’t do well if left alone in the backyard
  • Not recommended for kids unless thoroughly socialized to them from early puppyhood
  • Tends to be dog-aggressive and highly suspicious of people
  • Early socialization and firm obedience training are a must
  • Not a dog for an inexperienced owner
  • May try to herd you by nipping your heels

Australian Cattle Dog Physical Characteristics


  • 17-20 inches


  • 30-35 lbs.


  • Short, straight outer coat with a dense and water-resistant undercoat


  • blue or red speckled

Life Expectancy

  • 12-15 years
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Australian Cattle Dog Personality

The Australian Cattle Dog, or Heeler, is a tough, hard working and energetic herding dog. ("Heeler" refers to its herding method of snapping and biting at cattles’ heels.)A one-person animal, this breed is tremendously loyal, gentle and protective of its beloved owner. The brave and trustworthy Heeler is the 74th most popular breed registered with the AKC in the United States.

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Australian Cattle Dog History and General Information

History and Origin

Developed by Australian settlers in the mid-1800’s to herd cattle, the Australian Cattle Dog arrived on the scene when it became clear that the herding dogs the settlers had brought with them from Europe were not hardy enough to withstand the long distances and inhospitable climate of their new environment. A tougher new breed was derived primarily from mixing various herding collies with the hardier indigenous Dingo and Australian Kelpie. The result was an excellent and tireless herding dog that could drive its herd across vast distances under harsh conditions.

General Information

The endlessly energetic Australian Cattle Dog is born to be part of the action – this dog won’t do well if left alone in the backyard. Extremely intelligent, this working dog needs to keep its mind and body exercised – otherwise it gets bored easily, which will soon lead to big behavioral problems. It needs plenty of exercise and a job to do, such as participating in dog sports , learning tricks, or other activities that engage its mind. Loyal, protective and brave, this trustworthy breed makes an excellent guard dog – while this dog is gentle and obedient with its one chosen human, it will likely be highly suspicious of everybody else, whether human or canine. Often very dog aggressive and people-shy by nature, early socialization and obedience training are a must so that your Australian Cattle Dog will grow up to be a happy pet and good citizen. And be aware that they don’t call this dog the Heeler for nothing; your Cattle Dog may try to herd you and your family by nipping your heels. Firm training from early puppyhood and plenty of daily attention, affection and exercise will help curb this habit and will result in a happy and well-adjusted pet.

The short-haired coat needs little care and is very easy to groom. Just comb and brush with a firm bristle brush, and bathe only when necessary.

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Australian Cattle Dog Health

Health Ailments

A generally healthy breed, the Australian Cattle Dog is prone to hip dysplasia, PRA, and deafness.

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Australian Cattle Dog Community

Your Australian Cattle Dog

Send us pictures and stories about your pet.

Australian Cattle Dog Discussion Group

Get tips from other Australian Cattle Dog lovers – and submit a few ideas of your own.

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