The Australian Cattle Dog is born, as the name implies, to herd cattle. They’re known by many other names, such as Blue Heeler, Queensland Heeler or AuCaDo. Regardless of what you call them, they’re high-energy, active dogs who need jobs to feel accomplished and fulfilled.
While they love to work, they love their owner just as much. Blue Heelers are often called ‘velcro’ dogs because they simply won’t leave their owner’s side. This love and devotion is part of what makes them such wonderful pets and companions.
The other half of the equation is their remarkable intelligence and athleticism. Australian Cattle Dogs aren’t overly large, but they’re strong, agile and adept problem solvers. Which makes sense, since they constantly have to outwit animals thousands of pounds heavier than them.
Height43 to 50 cm at the shoulder
Weight35 to 50 pounds
Life Expectancy12 to 15 years
Coat ColoursBlue, red
Here are some of the qualities you can expect from the Australian Cattle Dog, rated from one to five stars. However, all dogs are individuals, and your Australian Cattle Dog may not display exactly the same characteristics.
The Australian Cattle Dog’s history begins with the Smithfield sheepdog, a herding dog that British settlers brought with them to Australia. These dogs were ill-suited to the sweltering climate and harsh landscape of Australia, so they were crossbred with the native Dingo, as well as a number of other breeds.
It would take many generations of breeding and hundreds, if not thousands of different breeders, but eventually the ancestors of the modern Australian Cattle Dog were born. Blue-coloured dogs were the favourite of Australian ranchers, so breeders prioritised producing more of those pups.
The Blue Heelers, as they were known, would go on to become instrumental in the expansion of the Australian beef industry. To this day, Australian ranchers and drovers still rely on the Blue Heeler to manage their herds.
These dogs are high performers, and the temperament of the dog is vital to how well they can perform their duties. Since this is a dog for active, experienced pet parents, you should buy your dog from experienced, responsible breeders as well. Reputable breeders will have the best knowledge of how to produce well-behaved, obedient dogs.
Your Blue Heeler breeder should be testing the parents and puppies for common health issues, and should be able to give you a rundown of their dogs’ genetic profile. Knowing this information is vital when you’re deciding whether or not to get a Blue Heeler puppy from your breeder.
Yes, but they prefer to work or stay with their owners. These are independent dogs who are supposed to work with their herd. Leaving one of these dogs in a yard alone with no mental or physical stimulation is asking for trouble.
No. They tend to nip and bite, as that is how they herd the much larger cattle that they work with on a daily basis. This can be an issue if the behaviour is left unmanaged – early training work and socialisation can help curb the behaviour.
The information is for general use only. For any specific advice or queries, please consult with your veterinarian.
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