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Hill’s Brand Horizon

Australian Cattle Dog

dog Breed Profile

The Australian cattle dog is sturdy, compact and solid on its feet.


Upright ears (naturally)



35-45 lbs.

35-45 lbs.


18 in.

(at withers)

19 in.





Blue or blue-mottled with or without other marking, red speckled



>40 minutes/day

Energy level

Very energetic


10-13 yrs.












Grooming Needs


Social Needs


Club recognition

AKC Class.


UKC Class.

Herding Dog



The Australian Cattle Dog Breed

Australian cattle dogs thrive when they have jobs to do. They tend to become destructive when bored.

About the Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian cattle dog is sturdy, compact and solid on its feet.

- FORM -

Australian Cattle Dog personality

Bred to perform demanding tasks, the Australian cattle dog is extremely alert, intelligent, watchful and courageous. Highly trustworthy and reliable, they have a tenacious sense of duty. Loyal to their owners and wary of strangers, they are fiercely protective when used as a watch dog, although they are not barkers. The Australian cattle dog tends to be aggressive with other dogs and may display dominance and herding behaviors toward children.

What to expect

These dogs are highly energetic and require ample opportunities for exercise. Certainly not suited to apartment dwelling, Australian cattle dogs thrive when they have jobs to do. They tend to become destructive when bored.

Australian cattle dogs are suited to any climate. They shed once or twice yearly. Weekly brushing is advised to keep the coat healthy.

History of the Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian cattle dog was a true adventure in creation. The breed as we know them today is the culmination of much experimentation to create the ideal dog for herding fractious beef cattle in Australia. The need for a suitable cattle dog arose in the early 1800s when settlers began spreading westward from Sydney to utilize the vast grazing lands. Here, land holdings were often hundreds, even thousands, of square miles of unfenced land. For the English cattle dogs that were used at the time for herding, the high temperatures, rough terrain and long herding distances were too much to handle. Plus, their trait of barking and heading, which is desirable for working sheep and quiet cattle, made the wild stock stampede.

Much genetic trial and error followed. Eventually, a winning formula was discovered. Smooth-haired, blue merle highland collies, imported from Scotland, were crossed with the native wild dingo dog to produce silent workers known as Hall's Heelers. The heelers were crossed with imported Dalmatians in order to instill the love of horses and loyalty to the master. These speckled Bagust dogs (from brothers Jack and Henry Bagust), were crossed with black and tan kelpies, sheepdogs valued for their working stamina. The result was a compact dog, similar in build to the dingo, but thicker set. Both blue and red varieties were produced, the former gaining greater popularity.

Their working endurance, quiet herding style and obedient devotion to their owners made these dogs highly sought by property owners and drovers. By the late 1800s, the breed (known initially as the Australian heeler and later as the Australian cattle dog) was widely recognized and standardized in Australia. The Australian cattle dog was accepted for American Kennel Club (AKC) registration in 1980.

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