The Australian Cattle Dog (ACD) is also known by his other common names, including Red Heeler, Blue Heeler, Queensland Heeler, Australian Heeler and Speckled Heeler. The Australian Cattle Dog is an FCI recognized dog breed from Australia. Additionally, this breed of dog was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1980. This is a quite robust, nimble and compact dog, whose character is very difficult to explain due to its amazing versatility. Comparable Breed: The Border Collie and Cardigan Welsh Corgi.
Height: 43-51 inches Weight: 25-50 pounds Lifespan: 11-13 years
The Australian Cattle Dog exudes strength, agility and endurance. This working dog is harmonious, symmetrically built and quite muscled. Dogs of this breed are 46 to 51 cm tall, and 15 to 16 kg heavy. Females reach a size of 43-48 cm and weigh between 14 and 16 kg. Australian Cattle Dogs are covered with a double coat. While the outer layer is smooth, hard and close-fitting to the body, the undercoat is dense and impermeable. The hair is a little longer under the dog’s body and along the neck. Overall, the hair should vary between 2 and 4 cm in length. Australia Cattle Dog comes in two colors: mottled blue or red. Mottled blue Cattle Dogs can also be blue spotted or speckled. In addition, partly black, blue or tan markings are present. Even in red speckled varieties, markings are allowed on the head, especially in dark red.
The Australian Cattle Dog is a very intelligent, robust and enduring working dog. In general, cattle dogs, they are real ‘character dogs’, full of energy, which must be properly directed. They are generally very gentle and affectionate towards family member and familiar people, but they show great aloofness towards strangers. This balanced and vigilant breed of dog is rather unconstrained, which should be accepted. Moreover, absolute obedience should not be expected. Other than herding, the ACD excels at various canine sports, including agility, obedience, and flying disc competitions.
The Australian Cattle Dog is generally very healthy, but like any other breed, he is susceptible to certain health problems. Hence, representatives of this breed are prone to canine hip dysplasia, deafness and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). The Australian Cattle Dog has a life expectancy of 11 to 13 years.
Coat / Care
The Australian Cattle Dog’s hair is smooth and forms a double coat with a short, dense undercoat. The outer coat is close-fitting to the dog’s body, it is short and has weather-resistant properties. The hair is shorter on the head (including the inside of the ears), front legs, and feet. On the other hand, the neck is adorned with a somewhat longer and thicker hair. Extremely short or long hair is considered a serious fault. On average, the length should be between 2.5 and 4 cm long. Australian Cattle Dogs usually come in two colors: mottled blue or red. In mottled blue varieties, blue speckled may be present. In addition, partly black, blue or tan markings are allowed. Such markings are allowed on red speckled dogs, especially in dark red Cattle Dogs. This breed does not require thorough care, but grooming is very important in order to keep it healthy and clean.
If you want to train your dog properly, education requires strong leadership, consistency and authority. The Australian Cattle Dog is a loyal companion, which is always willing to work together with the owner. Nonetheless, he is very self-conscious and therefore needs to learn and socialize from very young age. It is very important to determine who’s the boss in the house and to impose the house rules and limits. The Australian Cattle Dog tends to build a strong bond with his master, and he is very protective of his family. This breed of dog is particularly responsive to positive reinforcement, especially food rewards.
Even though the Australian Cattle Dog is very dependent on his owner’s love and affection, this dog requires freedom. For this particular reason, kennel living is out of a question. Also, a small apartment is very limiting. A house with a yard or garden is the ideal habitat for this breed’s proper development. Although the Australian Cattle Dog usually does not have a particularly strong hunting instinct, he needs intense physical and mental work. In addition, a regular job is a must for Australian Cattle Dogs. This will keep them occupied.
Photo credit: Sally Wehner/Flickr
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