They may look like dingoes or coyotes, but the Australian Cattle dogs are a breed of their own –they are smart, active, playful, and loyal. With proper training and socialization, they can be the most lovable and charming canine. Learn more about Australian Cattle Dogs here.
Australian Cattle Dogs | The Canine Bundle Of Energy
Australian Cattle Dog Personality
- Extremely active
- Highly intelligent
- Prone to biting and nipping
- Very loyal and protective
- Reserved and quiet
If you want to raise Australian Cattle dogs (simply known as cattle dogs), then you should be ready to get them very active. They’re one of the few canines that continue to function according to purpose: herding.
They live and breathe work, so if you decide to raise them outside farms and ranches, they need constant physical and mental activities. Or else, they will become very bored and become destructive.
Australian Cattle dogs are referred to as heelers because of their manner of herding cattle. So even if they’re not co-managing the farm with their owners, they could still nip at the heels of people, especially children who love to play around. This can be a problem if you have young ones.
The dog is usually reserved and cautious around strangers. They don’t bark unless it feels threatened, but they can become aggressive.
It’s important to understand the positive side of an Australian Cattle dog’s temperament. They could bite if they believe their owners are about to get harmed. It may take a while for them to warm up, but once they do, they are loyal to you. In fact, they would follow you around! Thus, they are not to be left alone.
They are intelligent canines, which can be both a good and a bad thing. On the one hand, it means they are quick and easy to train. They even make great dogs compete in conformation events. However, they can also be stubborn and willful, so you need to have lots of patience and determination.
Some canines can benefit from early socialization and training to correct destructive and aggressive behavior. If you’re planning to purchase from responsible breeders or adopt, try to have a puppy. Nevertheless, older dogs will do well if they went through obedience training and is comfortable being around new people.
Size & Color
The Australian Cattle dogs are a medium-sized breed. Males can grow between 18 and 20 inches at the withers while females are shorter at 17 to 19 inches. These are sturdy, stocky dogs, which can weigh 30 to 50 pounds. They can be heavier than an Australian Kelpie but lighter than an Australian Shepherd.
They come in different shades, but there are only two acceptable colors: red and blue. The blue heeler dog may have their blue mottled or speckled. They can also have tan markings. The red ones tend to have a more even distribution of the color, which could sometimes make them look like a coyote. While puppies, they can both appear white.
The Australian Cattle dogs can outlive a lot of other dog breeds, and they are healthy. But they can also suffer the same health conditions prevalent in other dogs such as the following:
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) – It is a general term for eye diseases that affect the receptor cells of the eyes. The retina can experience a gradual loss of function that, eventually, the dogs will lose their eyesight. There’s no known cure for the condition, but there are supportive treatments available. Because this is hereditary, you should not breed dogs that carry the gene.
- Elbow Dysplasia – It is the abnormal development of the elbows that lead to their malformation. Dogs that have the condition are at a very high risk of suffering from arthritis very early. Although not all dogs with the condition will exhibit symptoms, many experience lameness, and pain. One of the treatment options is surgery, which is expensive but has a high success rate.
- Deafness – The Australian Cattle dog breeds may also be diagnosed with deafness, which is either partial or complete. The problem may also be hereditary, which means it is linked to certain genes, or congenital, which indicates malformation of some parts of the ears. It’s also possible they develop reduced hearing, especially when the cochlea becomes damaged.
- Von Willebrand’s Disease – it is a blood clotting disorder where the canine has a defective or missing gene that helps create a platelet plug. It may take a much longer time for these dogs than other breeds to clot, which raises the risk of blood loss or excessive bleeding.
- Persistent Pupillary Membrane (PPM) – It is an eye condition characterized by the presence of fetal membrane that looks like strands. It occurs when this membrane fails to break down as the pup grows up. Although it doesn’t cause any serious effect on the eyes, it can partially obstruct the vision.
The Australian cattle dogs can live for as long as 13 to 15 years. They need a vigorous physical exercise to keep them busy and fit. The more exhausted they are, the less likely they can become destructive. You can take them on long walks or hikes twice a day for 45 minutes each. You can also exercise them with agility or obedience training.
Food & Diet
Due to their level of activity, Australian Cattle dogs need between 1.5 cups and 2.5 cups of high-quality food. This should be divided twice a day. Pups may require about 6 cups a day, but as they mature, their servings will equal to those of adults.
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- Brush hair 4 times a month unless the dog is shedding
- Bathe only when necessary
- Brush teeth 2 times a week
- Clean ears once a week
- Trim nails once a month
The Australian Cattle dogs are very easy to maintain. They need hair brushing only once a week, and it’s usually to bring out the natural oils. They also shed but only lightly. However, their undercoat can form lumps twice a year. When this happens, brushing daily can help get rid of them.
Bathing should be limited only when necessary such as when they become very dirty. Other grooming procedures like trimming and cleaning of ears are periodic. Teeth need brushing at least twice every week.
Price Of An Australian Cattle Puppy
Australian Cattle dog puppies usually cost between $500 and $700. They become more expensive if they’ve already been trained or show events quality. Adopting a pup may cost $150 to $300.
If you think the Australian Cattle dogs can sometimes look like dingoes at first glance, it’s because they are related in some way. George Hall, who owned cattle stations, wanted to breed a drover dog that could herd the cattle and travel for long distances. Hence, he obtained the dogs from his parents’ county, Northumberland, and then cross-bred them with the dingoes.
The dogs, however, stayed as personal property until George Hall died. Breeders became interested, and Robert Kaleski developed the standards.
The breed eventually arrived in the United States sometime in the 1940s when soldiers stationed in Australia during World War II exported them.
Is there a difference between the blue and red Australian Cattle dog beside the color? Some say the blue ones are more attractive to women.
How active are the Australian Cattle dogs? See them in action:
Are you ready to handle Australian Cattle dogs? Their energy may wear you down, and they may be stubborn, but when you show them a lot of love, they will mellow and reveal their other side: sweet, loyal, and affectionate.
What do you love about Australian Cattle dogs? Share your thoughts in the comments below!