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Australian Cattle Dog

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
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.
Hair Length: Medium
Size: Medium, Large
Shedding: Moderate Shed
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 Additional information about this breed can be found on their website.

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
 #54  704  7.7%

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.