Meet the Breed: The Australian Cattle Dog
The Australian Cattle Dog is a sturdy, medium-sized, short-yet-thick coated dog that occurs in two main color forms. It has either brown or black hair distributed fairly evenly through a white coat, which gives the appearance of a "red" or "blue" dog. It has been nicknamed a "Red Heeler" or "Blue Heeler" based on the fact that they tend to herd animals by nipping at their heels. Their wide-set ears are triangular and upright when the dog is alert. Often one or both of the eyes are covered with a mask. Puppies are born white due to the Dalmatian heritage in the breed, though some claim this is a myth.
Colonial dogs were ineffective at adjusting to the climate and work load required for driving cattle in the arid temperatures of Australia, so a new cattle dog was created by pioneers in the 1800s that combined tame Dingoes with smooth-coated Blue Merle Collies. Kelpies and Dalmatians are also thought to be part of the Australian cattle dog, though there are some discrepancies as to whether this can be verified. These working dogs were admired by soldiers stationed in Australia during the world wars and were exported throughout the world with returning soldiers.
The Australian Cattle Dog is not one for lounging about the house. As highly intelligent, active dogs, they need to have a job and plenty of mental and physical exercise. If they do not get sufficient activity, they may become destructive. They prefer at least a large yard and are not suitable for apartment life. Can be stubborn.
Breed Club Links: Australian Cattle Dog Club of America, Inc.
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Photo courtesy of Sally9258.
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