Other Names :
Blue Heeler, Hall's Heeler, AuCaDo
Country of Origin :
The Australian Cattle Dog is the outcome of a deliberate breeding programme. Various dogs with specific abilities were crossbred over a period of 60 years. During the 1830's a collie type dog was crossed with the native wild Dingo. The result was a dog, called Timmon's Biters, that barked less and was better at driving the herds. In the 1840's 2 blue-merle smooth coated collies were crossed with the Dingo, the best of the resulting litter were kept. These dogs were known as Hall's Heelers. Timmon's Biters, Hall's Heelers and Dingos were used in further breeding experiments. One experiment involved a male Dingo being bred with a blue merle collie. A Dalmatian was then introduced which made the breed good with horses but not as good at herding. The Bull Terrier was then added but made the dogs too rough so they were bred out. They can still be seen, ever so slightly, in the AuCaDo of today, in their head shape and temperament. Later on the black and tan was added, this reintroduced the original herding capabilities. This was the final dog to be used in the breeding programme and the AuCaDo has been bred true since 1893.
Dogs of great stamina and endurance, Australian Cattle Dogs are a picture of strength and agility, with intense watchful eyes. They are compact and symmetrical and should look well-muscled, with a double coat. The undercoat is smooth, short and dense; the outer coat is hard, straight and weather-resistant. They move freely and tirelessly with powerful drive from the hindquarters and are capable of quick and sudden actions.
The only colours in this breed are blue and red-speckle with black, tan, red or blue markings on the head.
Bitches will measure between 43 to 48cms at the withers, dogs between 46 to 51cms. Both will weigh between 16 to 20kgs.
This breed is largely free from genetic conditions and has a low susceptibility to disease. Proper selection for breed type is important as conformation problems e.g. cobbiness, weediness, straight shoulders and stifles can arise. Check the thick undercoat regularly to avoid skin problems. PRA can develop later in life, between the ages of 6 and 8, and so it is important that the parentage has been tested.
The Australian Cattle Dog belongs to the Working Dog group and is used for cattle-herding, as a companion and seen in the show-ring.
Feeding & Ownership
This dog is relatively easy to feed, only really requiring greater nutrition during working periods.
AuCaDo's are extremely courageous and hard-working, always being alert to the job on hand. They will behave in an exemplary manner towards children and other household pets if adequately socialised when young. They are a quiet breed, barking very little and are very loyal to their handlers. They are versatile dogs, giving lots of satisfaction to their families and enjoying being involved in all family matters, They generally prefer to be the only dog in the household.
Australian Cattle Dogs are very intelligent and eager to work and learn, making them very easy to train. However, temperament changes through adolescence are common, especially a lack of self-confidence, and so owners must be consistent and reassuring at these times.
Suitability for Children
Overall Exercise Requirement
This breed needs copious amounts of exercise to keep it in good physical and mental condition. Competition work, as in agility trials, would be ideal. As puppies, the breed experience a rapid growth rate between the age of 9 to 12 months and during this period exercise may have to be adjusted.
Suitability as a Guard Dog
Ease of Transportation
Level of Aggression
Other Animal Compatibility
AuCaDo's require very little grooming; an occasional brush or comb is all that is required.
Up to once a week
Amount of hair shed