The Australian cattle dog breed is originally from Australia and unfortunately it is known only in Australia and in Northern Europe where there are some breeders, but in the rest of the world it is unknown.
It was created by man around the middle of the 1800’s, when they tried to have a breed of dogs that could help on farms, especially with cattle herds. Its creator Mr. Mc Hall crossed the short haired blue-merle collies with the dingoes, calling the breed obtained heelers which means heel because they were able to treat the cattle by biting them in that part.
The official standard however dates back to 1903 and some experts claim that there is also the bull terrier among its ancestors.
In Australian farms this breed is very widespread and appreciated, both as a working dog, a guard dog and also as a companion dog.
Character of the Australian cattle dog breed
Known mainly as a working dog, it is a strong and brave dog, fearless and always ready to act. It has a very protective character, both with its master and with its family; it is not particularly affectionate, but it shows itself to be very vigilant and careful in protecting its family unit, in fact it is also a discreet guard dog.
Its task is to defend and manage the livestock both on very large grounds and also in very narrow spaces, a task which it carries out impeccably. It is very reliable in this and knows how to solve problems even on its own. Even after a long day in the pasture, this dog almost never appears tired.
Today, besides being used as a guardian on farms and livestock, it is also kept as a companion dog, but it must have its own space and the rather long daily exercise must never be lacking.
As far as its education is concerned, it is not a dog suitable for those who have no experience with dogs, especially working dogs; in fact, it only accepts the will of the dominant pack leader and therefore an early, coherent and consolidated education day by day is fundamental.
Also under the aspect of socialization, this must be started when it is a puppy; the Australian cattle dog cohabits well with other animals but it must be socialized early.
With strangers it is rather reserved but never intimidated. It is not a dog suitable to stay alone, especially indoors, in fact if left alone it would be better to do it in a garden where it can stay outdoors, as it does not fear much both the heat and the cold.
Appearance of the Australian cattle dog breed
The Australian cattle dog is a medium sized dog; it measures from 46 to 51 centimeters at the withers and weighs between 20 and 22 kilograms. The general aspect is that of a working dog, strong, with a harmonious constitution and gives an impression of great agility, strength and resistance. It is classified morphologically as a wolfhound.
This dog has a massive neck, a deep chest and a muscular rear train, The tail is long.
The head is strong and broad with a medium length, tapered muzzle. The truffle is black, the almond shaped eyes are brown and the ears, of medium size, are always erect and muscular and give an impression of liveliness and intelligence.
The coat of the Australian cattle dog is smooth and hard on the outside, with a short and dense undercoat. It does not have the usual length all over the body, in fact on the head and on the front part of the limbs and feet the coat is short, on the neck it is longer and thicker, as well as on the tail. On average, its length can vary from 2 to 5 centimeters. The fur of its coat is waterproof.
The color can be blue, mottled or spotted with or without black, blue or brown patches, or spotted red with or without darker red markings. The peppering is mostly over the head.
Care and Health of the Australian cattle dog
The cattle dog is a fairly long-lived breed, its average life span is 12 to 15 years. It is a very robust dog, as it is a tireless worker, specimens of this breed usually enjoy excellent health, although it too can suffer, as we will see, from some diseases.
One of the major health problems of the Australian cattle dog is the propensity for congenital deafness. In fact, 2.4% of dogs of this breed are born deaf in both ears, while 14.5% are deaf in at least one ear. In addition, it can suffer from progressive retinal atrophy, which can make dogs blind between the ages of 4 and 8 years and also hip dysplasia.
For the care of the coat it is enough to brush it once a week and bathing can be done as needed, but it does not matter frequently.
The diet must privilege meat, but pay attention to the quantities: he does not eat much, despite being always on the move. Excessive quantities risk giving him serious health problems.