About Australian Cattle Dog
Country of Origin, History of the breed
The Australian Cattle Dog originated from Australia in the later part of the 19th century. The Australian Cattle Dog became popular owing to its high level of stamina and herding abilities. Their ability and inborn drive to control the movement of other animals, like a herd of cows, to pasture by leaping and nipping at their heels. They received their name as 'Heelers' owing to their habit of nipping at the heels of a cattle while herding.
Description of the Breed
A typical Herding Dog, the Australian Cattle Dog is a medium sized dog that is mainly used for herding cattle. The Australian Cattle Dog is a hard-muscled, sturdy and athletic dog without any trace of being frail or delicate. The Australian Cattle Dog is also well known for its agility.
As the name suggests, the coat of the Blue Heeler is blue in color with black, blue or tan markings. Although the puppies of a Australian Cattle Dog are born white in color, their coat color starts to change within 14 to 21 days.
A seasonal shedder, the Australian Cattle Dog is double-coated (to beat the weather) with the outer coat being plane and even. The Australian Cattle Dog has dark oval eyes and pointed ears widely set on a round broad head.
Height: 17 to 21 inches
Weight: 35 to 45 pounds
Temperament of the Dog
The Blue Heeler is a highly intelligent, energetic, independent, obedient, patient and agile dog. The Australian Cattle Dog is loyal, devoted, highly dependable, affectionate and protective by nature. They love to stay around humans and mix well with those children who were around them from their puppy stage.
Lack of activities and boredom can lead to major behavioral problems. They are aggressive towards strangers and don't usually get along well with other pets like cats or unknown dogs. Their courageous personality enables them to be perfect watchdogs apart from acting as herders or retrievers.
Basically, being herding dog by nature, they always have the instinct to herd anything that moves, be it adults, kids or cattle. Their high dominant self makes them aggressive a number of times. Many a times the Australian Cattle Dog has nipped at the heel of a child or an adult trying to herd them.
Training the Australian Cattle Dog is easy, however, their stubborn self may react aversely to harsh methods. Thus positive reinforcements are important to fully train the dog.
A herding dog by nature, the Australian Cattle Dog needs high amount of exercise that involves running, retrieving and playing. Lack of activities and boredom can lead to major behavioral problems like aggressiveness and destructiveness. They enjoy it immensely when their owners involve them in activities that will keep them physically and mentally busy.
Suitable for apartment living?
The Blue Heeler is most unsuitable for apartment or small space living. They are usually content living in huge farms (preferably in the country side or rural areas) with lots of free space to run and play around. A house having a big fenced yard suits them fine as well.
A seasonal shedder, the Australian Cattle Dog needs regular brushing or combing with a firm brush to keep away ticks and mites. Eyes and ears should be cleaned regularly for hygiene purposes. Bathing should be done when only necessary.
The most common health issues noted by owners have been musculoskeletal (spondylosis, hip and elbow dysplasia, and arthritis) and reproductive (pyometra, infertility, and false pregnancy.