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Australian Cattle Dog


Country of Origin: Australia

Height: Males 18–20 inches, females 17–19 inches 

Weight: 33–50 pounds 

Coat: Smooth double coat with close, straight, hard, weather-resistant outercoat and short, dense undercoat

Colors: Blue (solid or with markings), red speckle

Other Names: Australian Heeler; Blue Heeler; Hall’s Heeler; Queensland Heeler; Red Heeler

Registries (With Group): AKC (Herding); UKC (Herding)




This breed was developed to work alongside the cattlemen of Australia. Derived through intensive and careful crossbreeding over a 60-year period, the Australian Cattle Dog was the result of the deliberate introduction of various breeds—including the Dingo, Australian Kelpie, and Blue Smooth Highland Collie—to serve specific purposes. He came to be because imported herding dogs were not capable of controlling the tough cattle on long treks to market. The Australian Cattle Dog, on the other hand, could move livestock over any terrain and in almost any weather.




The Australian Cattle Dog is extremely intelligent, courageous, and ever alert—he is always “on duty.” These dogs are described as having two speeds: extremely fast and comatose. They take things seriously, have a high prey drive, consider themselves almost indestructible, and consider their “person” the center of their universe.




  • Exercise: This is a breed that can go all day and that truly needs a job. Without sufficient physical and mental stimulation, the Australian Cattle Dog will direct his vast reserves of energy into potentially destructive and harmful pursuits.
  • Grooming: Regular brushing is necessary to keep his dense undercoat in check and particularly when he blows his coat, but the Australian Cattle Dog is a fairly wash-and-wear breed.
  • Life Span: The average life span of the Australian Cattle Dog is 10 to 13 years.
  • Training: Alert and intelligent, the Australian Cattle Dog is a quick study. The greatest challenge to his owner is keeping him from becoming bored, as he is equally eager to learn and to please. His strong prey drive must be tempered with training or it can get him into trouble when he wants to chase cars, animals, and even people.
Find a Nylabone chew, treat, or toy for your Australian Cattle Dog!

Excerpted from World Atlas of Dog Breeds, 6th Edition. © 2009 T.F.H. Publications, Inc. Used by Permission.

World Atlas of Dog Breeds

World Atlas of Dog Breeds Book

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