Australian Cattle Dog Dog Breed
Aliases: Queensland Heeler, Blue Heeler, Red Heeler, Bluey, ACD, Cattle Dog, Australian Heeler, Hall\'s Heeler
|Life Span:||12 - 15 years, but may live much longer. The record books show one ACD that lived to be 29 years old.|
|Litter Size:||1 - 7 puppies, average of 5 puppies|
|Group:||Herding, AKC Herding|
|Recognized By:||CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR|
|Color:||Red and blue, some crosses display both colors at the same time. Many have what is called the Bentley mark on their foreheads - a white blaze.|
|Male Height:||46 - 51 cm 18 - 20 inches|
|Male Weight:||16 - 23 kg 35 - 50 pounds|
|Female Height:||43 - 48 cm 17 - 19 inches|
|Female Weight:||12 -18 kg 25 - 50 pounds|
|General info courtesy of terrificpets.com. Additional information about this breed can be found on their website.|
|Living Area:||This dog is extremely active and therefore needs a lot of mental stimulation - much like the Australian Kelpie. A bored ACD is not only trouble, but destructive. It NEEDS to be with people and cannot be left chained or penned in the back yard. If the ACD is isolated like that, it leads to serious personality problems. These dogs need to be part of the action and needs to be constantly on the go.|
The ACD is a sturdy, compact working dog. It is well muscled and very powerful, but agile. Its body is a bit longer than it is high and has a slightly curved tail that reaches just about to the hock.
The front legs are normally perfectly straight when viewed from the front. However, as with many breeds, there can be variations in their conformation.
The head is quite broad and slightly rounded, and flattens to a slight but definite stop. Ears are widely set, and moderately pointed and pricked. They are muscular with thick leather, but are not spooned or bat eared. The inside of the ears has a fair amount of hair.
The medium size oval eyes are dark brown and the foreface is broad and well filled in under the eyes. The muzzle is medium in length, very deep and the skull and muzzle are on parallel planes. The teeth should meet in a scissors bite. This is crucial for this herding dog that heels or bites at its livestock to move them. No overshot or undershot should be present. The lips are very clean and the nose is black. The ACD neck is very strong and blends into the body.
The top line of this dog is level, with a strong back and well-sprung ribs. Its chest is deep and moderately broad, with broad and muscular loins and deep flanks. ACD feet are round with short toes that are well arched and close together. Footpads are deep and hard, with short strong nails. This is one very well put together dog.
The Australian Cattle Dog coat has a double coat, the short, straight protective outer and the short, kinky but dense undercoat. The outer coat is straight hair that lays flat and is rain resistant. Under the ACDs body to behind the legs the coat is longer forming a mild form of breeching near the thigh. The head, inside the ears, fronts of legs and feet all sport short hair. The hair on the neck is longer and thicker, sort of like a mane.
Australian Cattle Dogs don\'t shed year round, instead they blow coat about once a year just before the summer months.
This breed was developed in the 1800\'s in Australia because stockmen needed a dog with the stamina to handle the harsh conditions in their country.
Dogs that came to Australia with the settlers were from Europe and were called Smithfield and the old Smooth Collie. They could not handle the long distances and the harsh weather. That\'s when breed experimentation started.
Some of the breeds used to develop the ACD were: the Dingo, Smooth Haired Scotch Merle Collies, the Dalmatian, the Bull Terrier and the Australian Kelpie. The end result was an outstanding herding dog with superior stamina that could work stock quietly yet with enough insistence to get the job done well. One who was willing and quite able to drive cattle across vast distances in the worst weather conditions.
Robert Kaleski drafted the standard for the breed in 1893, which was finally approved in Australia in 1903. The Australian Cattle Dog was fully recognized by the AKC in 1980.
ACDs are usually reserved with strangers and fiercely protective if they perceive their property and/or people are being threatened. Hard headed and stubborn, once an ACD has taken a shine to you, they are your friend for life. Make no mistake about it though this friendship must be earned. ACDs are also affectionately referred to as Velcro or shadow dogs because they are stuck to you like glue. Anywhere you go they are dogging your footsteps.
These dogs are very loyal, protective and alert and make excellent guard dogs. They are also brave and trustworthy. They can make some serious points in the obedience ring and in herding and agility.
The ACD needs to be handled firmly yet fairly, and it is totally loyal and obedient to its master, and it\'s a one-person dog. They can suspicious of people and dogs they don\'t know and can be very dog aggressive, because they are very dominant.
This is not a good dog with children unless it has known the children since puppyhood. Many tend to nip at people\'s heels in an attempt to herd them. Avoid strictly working lines if you are looking for just a pet, as these dogs are too active and intense for home life.
Australian Cattle Dogs are very easy to train due to their high level of intelligence. The puppies are born white (inherited from Dalmatian crosses), but adult colors are seen in the paw pads.
Thyroid Disease - Medium Risk
The Australian Cattle Dog ranks #54 among all breeds for autoimmune thyroiditis prevalence. While this is not a high risk breed, there is still a good chance of disease transmission through breeding. Therefore, all dogs intended for breeding should be tested first.
|Rank Among Breeds||Number of Dogs Tested||Percent of Dogs With Disease|
You can download the full report (on all breeds) by the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health. Here
Other Health Problems
Australian Cattle Dogs are generally a quite hardy breed, but do have some medical conditions to be aware of:
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy: manifests as night blindness, slowly progresses to total blindness.
- Hip Dysplasia - a hereditary disease that can cause crippling lameness and painful arthritis of the joints.
- Deafness - scientists are not sure if the mode of inheritance of deafness in ACDs is the same as that in Dalmatians (which are reported to have been used in the development of the breed).
- Cataracts - any opacity or loss of transparency of the lens of the eye.
- Dermatomyositis - inflammation of the skin and muscle.
- Portosystemic Shunt - an abnormal blood flow in the liver.
- Patellar luxation - or trick knee, a condition where the kneecap dislocates or moves out of its normal location.
- Ruptured Anterior Cruciate Ligaments - most commonly torn when the dog twists on his hind leg. The twisting motion puts too much tension on the ligament and it tears.