The Australian Cattle Dog was developed in Australia during the 19th century as a working or drover’s dog. In particular, breed traits were selected to produce a dog with immense stamina, resilience and tenacity, which could deal with untamed cattle, rugged terrain and vast distances.
These dogs had to be biddable, but also had to make quick decisions on their own, with large and dangerous mobs of wild cattle. Their job included protecting the drover’s horse and belongings, and the drover if necessary.
Years of breeding to suit droving needs has produced a dog with superb ability as well as a general purpose dog of excellence.
An excellent pet, the Australian Cattle Dog is renowned for its devotion to the family. Always alert, watchful, extremely intelligent and trustworthy, with an implicit devotion to duty - an ideal dog.
The Australian Cattle Dog should be a strong, compact, symmetrically built working dog. This combination of substance, power, balance and hard muscular condition conveys the impression of great agility, strength and endurance.
Australian Cattle Dog pups are born white, with only black or red head markings and body patches (if any) showing. Their true colour begins to show at about three weeks of age. Accepted colours are blue, blue speckle, blue mottle and red speckle.
Australian Cattle Dogs are a hardy and healthy breed and commonly live to 15 years of age or more. Hereditary diseases affecting the Australian Cattle Dog include Progressive Retinal Atrophy (prcd -PRA) Primary Lens Luxation (PLL). There is a DNA test allowing breeders to breed responsibly.
Deafness can occur for which a BAER test is available. Hip And Elbow Dysplasia has been known to appear within the breed. Many breeders are now scoring their breeding stock.
Maintenance & Grooming
It has a short, dense, weather-resistant coat, does not require a great deal of grooming – only a brush once or twice a week and a bath when required. The coat is shed once or twice a year, but bitches also shed during their seasonal cycles.
The cattle industry absorbs only a small proportion of the Australian Cattle Dogs registered each year. Of the remainder some will be used for breeding or showing, others will appear in the obedience ring or participate in other sports. Most, however, will go to a variety of homes remote from both the dog fancy and rural industry. Early socialisation with dogs and people is recommended.
Information courtesy of the Australian Cattle Dog Society of NSW Inc (October 2015)
Image supplied by Cheryl Edwards
Now you know a little about the Australian Cattle Dog, you may think that this is the dog for you. Before you make a decision, please make contact with the breed club or your State controlling body for purebred dogs. They will be able to give you information about available puppies and also suggest dog shows where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the Australian Cattle Dog and its needs, and whether this breed would suit your lifestyle.