Australian Cattle Dogs are strong, brave, and determined to do their jobs—whatever those jobs might be. They are adventurous and fearless. Australian Cattle Dogs were bred to drive cattle across vast distances. While yours might not be herding cattle, it'll definitely be on the go!
Originally from—you guessed it—Australia, this medium-sized and high-energy breed can grow to between 35-50 pounds and lives an average of 12-16 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Herding group.
AKC Recognized: Y
Breed's Original Pastime: Herding
Breed Group: Herding
Average Lifespan: 12-16 years
Bark Factor: Moderate
AKC RANKING 73
FAMILY livestock, herding
AREA OF ORIGIN Australia
DATE OF ORIGIN 1800s
ORIGINAL FUNCTION cattle herding
TODAY'S FUNCTION cattle herding, herding trials
AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 18-20 Weight: 35-45
AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 17-19 Weight: 35-45
OTHER NAME Queensland heeler, blue heeler, Hall's heeler
Energy level High energy
Exercise needs High
Playfullness Very playful
Affection level Moderately affectionate
Friendliness toward other dogs Friendly
Friendliness toward other pets Shy
Friendliness toward strangers Shy
Ease of training Hard to train
Watchdog ability High
Protection ability Very protective
Grooming needs Low maintenance
Cold tolerance Medium tolerance
Heat tolerance Medium tolerance
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS AN AUSTRALIAN CATTLE DOG'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
Australian Cattle Dogs are affable and very energetic: this dog is a triple espresso on four legs. They're most comfortable with adults or older children, not as much little kids, and play best with other dogs when supervised.
This breed is very intelligent, very playful, and can be affectionate. American Cattle Dogs are typically friendly with other dogs, but they're reserved with other pets, small animals, and strangers.
WHAT IS AUSTRALIAN CATTLE DOG BEHAVIOR LIKE?
This is a very vigilant breed; Australian Cattle Dogs are motivated and willing to protect you and your home. They are tireless and tenacious and can be somewhat prone to barking.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN AN AUSTRALIAN CATTLE DOG?
These dogs know their own minds and can be challenging to train. You'll want to discourage their nipping early and often. Australian Cattle Dogs are very smart and easily bored, so you might consider agility training, hunting, dog sports, or other rigorous activities to keep their agile minds and restless bodies stimulated.
An under-exercised Australian Cattle Dog is prone to mischief around the house. Keep your furry friend physically and mentally active, though, and they'll respond and obey like a champ.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO AUSTRALIAN CATTLE DOGS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
An Australian Cattle Dog's smooth double-coat is odorless and can be red or blue. They shed their dense undercoats seasonally and require occasional grooming — plan for weekly brushings and baths as needed. Check those prick ears frequently for wax buildup and debris, which can cause infections.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO AUSTRALIAN CATTLE DOGS HAVE?
Responsible breeders should be testing for hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and genetic deafness. Vets may also screen for other congenital eye diseases.
Breed history has moved while this section is under construction. Please check out the first tab for fun facts about this breed's history. You can also read on to learn about this breed's ideal family situation.
ARE AUSTRALIAN CATTLE DOGS GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?
The American Kennel Club doesn't list Australian Cattle Dogs among its breeds recommended for allergy sufferers.
You can reduce your furry friend's impact on your allergies with frequent baths and brushings to reduce loose hairs and allergy-aggravating proteins in your pet's dander. Use a damp cloth to wipe off your dog after playing outside. Smaller dogs have less surface area, so they produce comparatively less dander than larger breeds — definitely something to keep in mind when selecting a lifelong friend! Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies.
WHAT'S AN AUSTRALIAN CATTLE DOG'S BEST DAY?
Watching at the front door and making sure the family is safe, then joining you for a long jog would be an ok day, but if your Australian Cattle Dog also had an hour of obstacle course training in the backyard, she'd have the best day.
SHOULD I ADOPT AN AUSTRALIAN CATTLE DOG?
This dog is not for homebodies or apartment-dwellers — Australian Cattle Dogs need more stimulation than occasional games and leash-walks can provide. If you can't commit to keeping them active, they'll find their own ways to stay busy, including dumping your trash cans and rooting through your cupboards.
If you've been looking for a canine companion to run, jump, and climb with, Australian Cattle Dogs will absolutely be able to keep up with you. They're equally good in warm and cold weather and don't need much in the way of grooming.
Have you decided that an Australian Cattle Dog is the perfect dog for you? Why not be your new best friend's hero and adopt a rescue! Be sure to check out our article on what to expect when you're adopting a dog or cat.