Australian Cattle Dog: Characteristics, Facts, And Names

The “Blue Heeler” or the “Queensland Heeler” is an amazing dog who is intelligent, strong and very active. Australian Cattle Dog was developed to handle herds of cattle and still does his job as a herding dog on ranches.

The blue heeler is loyal and loves his family although he may not be very friendly with strangers.

He attaches very firmly with his owner and likes to stay with him at all times giving him the name “velcro”.

Australian Cattle Dog Breed Overview

Australian Cattle Dog

Group: Herding Group
Size: Medium (35-50 pounds)
Lifespan: 12-16 Years
Best Suited For: Families, Singles
Temperament: Loyal, Alert, Brave
Exercise Needs: High
Drooling Potential: Low
Grooming Needs: Moderate
Similar Breeds: Australian Shepherd, Border Collie

1. Basic Features

Australian Cattle Dog features

The Australian heeler is a high-energy working dog who loves to stay busy at all times. He must be kept busy at all times to prevent any destructive behavior. He is a compact but sturdy little dog. The Australian cattle dog is a strong dog with a powerful muzzle. Their eyes are dark and oval and always have an alert expression.

Even if the dog is bred for companion purposes, it is important that he is muscular and has well-conditioned muscles. Red and blue are two accepted coat colors. However, they are born white. The outer coat is short while the undercoat is dense. Shedding occurs once or twice a year.

The Australian Cattle Dog excels at various sports besides being a herder.

2. Australian Cattle Dog Origin

Australian Cattle Dog Origin

The Australian Cattle Dog was originated in the 19th century to herd cattle. They were used in Australia to herd cattle in ranches. They have a huge contribution to the growth of the beef industry in Australia which also constitutes an important component of the Australian economy.

The first of these dogs were imported from England but these weren’t up to the mark. So they were crossbred time and again to finally result in the dog that was believed to be the ancestor of the Australian Cattle dog.

The blue dogs were famous in Queensland ranches thus giving them the name “Blue heelers”, Queensland heelers or Queensland blue heelers.

They were then imported to America, where they were considered as a recognized breed.

3. The Personality of Australian Cattle Dog

The blue heeler loves his family and is very protective and loyal.  He will do anything to protect his territory.

These dogs may not be very friendly with strangers and will be reserved around them as they are very smart and alert.

The ACDs need to be well socialized from a younger age as they are very independent. It is important for your dog to get used to a number of different people since puppyhood.

4. Australian Cattle Dog Behavior

The Australian Cattle Dog is extremely active and can turn to destructive behavior if his needs for mental and physical activity is not fulfilled. He might start chewing and tearing items which he should not.

It is better to keep the dog busy and tired. They have natural herding instincts which can cause them to try to herd anything smaller than them like other animals or even children.

They will always prefer familiar faces around them and will be cautious around strangers.

5. Exercise Needs

Australian Cattle Dog Origin

Exercise for an Australian Cattle Dog is of paramount importance. As we already know, his dog loves physical activity and gets destructive if he’s not satisfied. This dog has an incredible stamina and will always enjoy any kind of physical activity.

A walk and playtime would never be enough for him. They need more than just a regular play.

Keeping him busy in a job would keep your blue heeler healthy. A good run, some strenuous exercise or some dog sports are a great way to channelize his energy.

Though they love physical activity, mental exercises are of equal importance for keeping your Australian Cattle Dog happy.

6. Diet Needs

Being an active dog, the Australian Cattle Dog requires a high-quality food. He needs food that is balanced and complete.

It is important to make sure that all the nutritional needs of your dog are satisfied with the food that you’re feeding him.

You can also add supplements to your dog’s food by consulting your veterinary. Eggshells can be added to your ACDs diet as a natural supplement to calcium.

Many breeders also recommend a raw food diet for an Australian Cattle Dog. Whatever you are choosing for your dog, it is important to check with your vet whether it is appropriate for the dog.

7. Trainability

Being highly intelligent, it is easier to train an Australian Cattle Dog.  They are willing to learn new tricks and sports all the time.

It is also highly important to keep the dog busy in some activity all the time to avoid destructive behavior.

Herding, obedience and agility training should continue at all times as they are highly energetic.

Early socialization is also very important for a young ACD. Being exposed to a variety of situations since a young age will make him a little less wary of strangers.

8. Common Health Problems

The Australian Cattle Dog is considered a healthy breed. However, they are prone to some genetic health conditions. Deafness, vision loss, and hip dysplasia being some of them.

The dog may first start to experience night blindness and then may start to lose sight during the day.

Deafness is also an inherited condition and should be tested in puppies. Deaf dogs should avoid being bred.

Some common signs of hip dysplasia are lameness in the legs. It is important to get an X-ray screening if any such signs are shown by your dog.

9. Who should Adopt an Australian Cattle Dog?

adopting australian cattle puppies

Australian Cattle Dogs, as the name suggests are for herding cattle. They fit best to the environment where they’re given lots of physical and mental exercise. They are best suited to work on a ranch or a farm and herd cattle.

The blue heelers are not at all made for an apartment living. They need a lot of space to run and exercise. Also, they do not like being left alone.

If you’re considering adopting an Australian Cattle Dog, it is important to make sure that you do have proper space where he can run around. Also, the dog demands time!

If you need a playful, energetic dog and are willing to spend time with your dog, then the Australian Cattle Dog might be the choice for you.

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