Updated 26-06-2023

Australian Cattle Dog Characteristics, Facts & Traits

One of the toughest dog breeds is the Australian Cattle Dog. Cattle herding dogs were developed by Australian immigrants and are still in use today on large ranches as herding dogs. Having a career and participating in all of the family's activities are two things that they like doing.

The Australian Cattle Dog, often known as a Blue Heeler or Queensland Heeler, is closely related to the Dingo, a wild dog native to Australia. These savvy herders can outsmart their owners regularly. The Australian Cattle Dog is a powerful, hard-muscled herder that excels at both herding cattle and herding sheep.

When it comes to moving livestock, ACDs excel at all three of these activities. Because of their inexhaustible vigor and flexible stride, they make fantastic jogging companions. ACDs are known for their loyalty, intelligence, alertness, and apprehension of strangers. It's easy for an ACD to become bored and mischievous if he isn't kept on his toes. To maintain their dog emotionally and physically fit, owners of ACDs should engage in some work, sport, or regular exercise with their dog.

Check out the information provided here for all you ever wanted to know about the Australian Cattle Dog breed.


  • There is a lot of physical and mental activity in the Australian Cattle Dog. To keep himself occupied, exhausted, and out of trouble, he requires a regular job or activity.
  • Nipping and biting come naturally to the Australian Cattle Dog. One of the most harmful characteristics is a lack of proper training, socialization, and supervision.
  • Because of the Australian Cattle Dog's tremendous devotion to his or her owner, the dog does not want to be separated from them at any time.
  • Early socialization with children and other pets is essential for the Australian Cattle Dog's success as a family pet.
  • Never buy a puppy from a puppy mill, negligent breeder, or pet retailer if you want a healthy dog. To avoid passing on hereditary disorders to their offspring, a respectable breeder would do temperament and health testing on all of her breeding dogs before they are allowed to breed.


Social Appearance 


As a common misconception holds, only dogs that are small qualify as apartment pets. Many tiny dogs are too energetic and yappy to live in a high-rise apartment complex. Several attributes make a good apartment dog: low activity, serenity indoors, and politeness toward other neighbors are among them. And if you want to offer your dog a bit more privacy in your apartment, this is the place to do it.

Sensitivity Level

While some dogs are unfazed by a firm rebuke, others take offence at even the slightest hint of filth. It's easier for dogs with low sensitivity to handling a noisy, chaotic home, a louder or more aggressive owner, and an unpredictable or variable routine, often known as "easygoing," "tolerant," and "resilient." Playing in a garage band, having small children, or living a hectic lifestyle are all signs that you might fit into this category. Choose a dog that isn't overly sensitive.


You can't tell from looking at them whether or not they're hyperactive, but when they do anything, they do it vigorously. They tug at their leashes (unless you teach them not to), they push their way through barriers, and they down their meals in huge, gobbling gulps. It's unlikely that these dynamos would be a good choice for a family with young children or an old or fragile member because of their high training requirements. On the other side, a low-vigour dog takes a more subdued approach to life.

Potential for Playfulness

Certain dogs are always looking for a game, others are reserved. Consider how many games of fetch or tag you want to play each day and whether you have kids and other canines who can stand in as the dog's playmates, even though an energetic pup seems delightful

Personality Appearance


Sheepdogs, which were intended to herd animals and require a high level of intelligence and attention, need mental exercise just as much as dogs raised to gallop all day do. Digging and chewing are two examples of activities that a bored pet will engage in if they don't obtain the mental stimulation they need. Dog sports and occupations, like agility and search and rescue, are excellent methods to offer a dog a mental workout.

Energy Level

High-energy dogs are constantly ready to go. These dogs were initially meant to retrieve game for hunters or herd animals, which takes a lot of stamina. As a result, they're more likely to jump, play, and explore new sights and smells.

Dogs with low energy levels prefer to sleep all day. When choosing a dog breed, consider your activities and lifestyle. Do you like or dislike a spirited dog?

Easy To Train

Easy-to-train dogs can quickly connect a cue (like "sit"), an action (like sitting), and an outcome (like sitting) (such as receiving a reward). Difficult to train dogs to take more patience and practice.

Many breeds are bright but have a "What's in it for me?" training mentality.

Family Affection Level

Affectionate With Family

Even if they've been nurtured by the same person since puppyhood, some breeds remain aloof and independent; others bond strongly with one person and are indifferent to others, and yet others shower the entire family with love. It's not just the breed that influences a dog's level of attachment; canines who were raised in a home with people around are more likely to form strong bonds with humans.


Behaving well around children, being strong enough to withstand their embraces and affection, and being unfazed by loud, screaming children are all characteristics of a dog that is good with children. There are several names you may not expect to see on the list: Fierce-looking Dog breeds such as Boxers and American Staffordshire Terriers are popular among families with children (which are considered Pit Bulls). A Chihuahua's delicate build and the tendency for snapping make him an unsuitable family dog.

Dog Friendly

There is a world of difference between being friendly to dogs and being friendly to people. Even if a dog is a big fan of humans, it can attack or try to dominate another dog. Other dogs prefer to play rather than fight, and some will simply go away. It's not only a matter of genetics. At six to eight weeks of age, puppies should have spent a lot of time playing with their littermates and their mother, and they are more likely to have good social skills.

Physical Appearance

Amount of Shedding

To have a dog in your home, you'll have to cope with some level of dog hair on your clothing and in your home. However, the amount of hair that is shed varies substantially between breeds. Some dogs shed all year long, while others "blow" just during specific times of the year, and still, others don't shed at all. Pick a breed that sheds less or lowers your requirements if cleanliness is important to you. This de-shedding tool is perfect for keeping your home a little neater.

Drooling Potential

Slobber-prone dogs may leave huge, wet stains on your clothes and your arm when they come over to say hi. If drool isn't a concern for you, then go ahead and get a dog that doesn't drool excessively.

Easy To Groom

Some breeds of dogs can simply be brushed and gone, while others require frequent bathing, cutting, and other grooming to remain healthy and clean. It's important to think about whether you have the time and resources to properly groom a dog or if you can afford to hire someone else to do it.

Exercise Needs

Even a stroll around the neighborhood can be enough exercise for certain breeds. Dogs designed for physically demanding jobs, like herding or hunting, require regular intense exercise.

When these breeds don't get enough exercise, they may put on weight or engage in other undesirable behaviors, like barking, chewing, and digging. If you're an active person who likes to go outside and play with your dog, you should consider a breed that requires a lot of activity.

Average sizes and life expectancy of the breed


30 to 50 pounds


12 to 15 years


17 to 20 inches tall at the shoulder


Large tracts of land in Australia became available for cattle grazing in the early 1800s. As these cattle grew more feral and difficult to herd, classic European herding breeds were no longer suitable for the job of herding them. A dog was needed that could travel long distances over rugged terrain in hot weather without barking, and that could keep cattle under control without arousing the animals' attention (which only served to make wild cattle wilder).

Highland Collies and Dingos were bred together around 1840 by a man named Hall, resulting in a breed known as Hall's Heelers. When it comes to the white blaze on the head of Australian Cattle Dogs, Bentley's Dog is often regarded as the first dog to have it. Bull Terrier, Dalmatian, and Black and Tan Kelpie, a sheepherding breed, were all crossed with Hall's Heelers by other breeders. To create this unique breed, breeders combined the herding instincts of the Collie and Kelpie with the hardiness and quiet style of the Dingo, as well as traits of the Dalmatian, such as a strong horse sense and protectiveness.

They were known as Queensland Blue Heelers because of their role in Queensland's cattle industry. Australian Heelers and Australian Cattle Dogs were eventually renamed. In 1897, a breed standard stressing Dingo traits was drafted. As a herding dog, the Australian Cattle Dog had nothing in common with established herding breeds in the United States. The AKC officially recognized the breed in 1980 after it was allowed to prove its worth as a herder and a pet.

Personality and Temperament

Because of their high energy level and desire for ongoing mental and physical stimulation, Australian Cattle Dogs make wonderful pets. Depressed or lonely, he can be hazardous. He's prone to biting on and tearing up stuff he shouldn't be. Be prepared to keep an Australian Cattle Dog busy and tired if you choose to live with one. He's less prone to get into trouble while tired.

It's his dominion, and he'll do everything to keep it that way. With strangers, he's more reticent but not unpleasant. Despite this, he is loyal to his owner and his family. The Australian Cattle Dog considers being apart from his owner a sort of punishment.

He's a smart guy who may be difficult and stubborn at times. He can be controlled with frequent, positive training.

The Australian Cattle Dog is bred to be smart, alert, attentive, and brave. They have a strong sense of duty and are trustworthy and reliable. They are faithful to their owners and suspicious of strangers but do not bark. The Australian cattle dog is prone to hostility against other dogs and children.


To relieve boredom, a blue heeler may chew on shoes or furniture if it is not given an appropriate outlet for its energy. They prefer to live in homes that have a fenced-in yard or a large property where they can run around. If you're going for a stroll, a hike, or a swim with your dog, don't leave him or her behind for long periods, especially in confined settings.


Blue heelers are strong and agile dogs. As a result, the joints and ligaments in their bodies are susceptible to damage. A dog's cruciate ligament tear is a serious issue that should be addressed surgically in pups that want to run for the rest of their lives.

Dental Disease

More than 80% of dogs have dental problems by the time they are two years old. As a result, your Australian Cattle Dog is far more likely than other dogs to suffer from dental issues. There is a progression from tartar buildup to gum and root infection, which can lead to tooth loss. You and your friend's health could be in jeopardy if we don't take action to prevent or treat dental disease. As a result, the lifespan of your Australian Cattle Dog could be reduced by one to three years. Your dog's teeth will be frequently cleaned by us, and we'll show you how to keep them that way at home.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): 

The retina gradually deteriorates as a result of this family of eye illnesses. As the condition proceeds, affected dogs lose their ability to see during the day as well as their ability to see at night. When a dog's surroundings remain the same, many of those impacted by eyesight loss adjust well.

Thyroid Problems

When a dog's thyroid gland doesn't produce enough hormone, it's known as hypothyroidism. There are numerous symptoms to watch out for, including skin and coat dryness, hair loss, an increased risk of contracting other skin illnesses, weight gain, anxiety, aggression, and other behavioral abnormalities. Every year, we'll conduct a blood test to detect the disease. Replacement hormones in pill form are the most common form of treatment.

Bleeding Disorders

Dogs can suffer from a variety of inherited bleeding diseases. They might be moderate or severe, depending on your pain tolerance. This might happen when an animal has a significant injury or undergoes a surgical procedure. Blood clotting condition Von Willebrand's illness is common in Australian Cattle Dogs. Before doing surgery, we'll run a variety of tests to see if this patient has Von Willebrand's disease or another related ailment that affects blood clotting time.

Hip Dysplasia

The thigh bone does not fit tightly into the hip joint due to a hereditary problem. One or both of a dog's back legs may appear to be in pain or lame, but this is not always the case. (The most certain way to diagnose the condition is by X-ray scanning.) As the dog ages, he or she may suffer from arthritis. You should not breed dogs with hip dysplasia, so if you plan to acquire a puppy, make sure the breeder can confirm that the parents have been examined and found to be healthy.


In the Australian Cattle Dog, this is an inherited condition, however, it can be detected early on in the puppy's life. No one should breed deaf dogs. Dogs with white or morning coats are more likely to be deaf, according to a study. Even though BAER testing can help diagnose hearing issues, it's merely a diagnostic tool, not a cure.

Recommended Health Tests 

  1. Hip Evaluation
  2. Elbow Evaluation
  3. Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  4. PRA Optigen DNA Test
  5. BAER Testing
  6. PLL DNA Test


The first and second or third stated ingredients should be protein and whole grains or veggies for healthy nourishment for your dog. If your dog is developing and needs something tough to help clean their teeth and gums, dry kibble is a suitable option. Digestive systems of puppies are well-developed enough to handle foods with a coarser texture.

With age, you may want to convert to canned food or soak your dog's dry kibble before feeding them to make it simpler for their digestive system to process it. The healthy joints of a blue heeler might be aided by taking glucosamine supplements.


Blue heelers don't require a lot of upkeep. To keep them healthy, bathe them as needed, trim their nails once a month, brush their teeth, and occasionally clean their ears.

Blue heelers' two-layered coats require more care as they age because they shed so much, especially in the spring when they shed their winter coats. Brushing your blue heeler numerous times a day is essential during this period to remove dead hair. If you want to get the greatest results, you'll need an undercoat tool.


A blue heeler's life wouldn't be complete without it. The breed has a strong desire for physical activity as a result of its hardworking heritage. Playing fetch multiple times will exhaust your blue heeler. This breed also requires mental stimulation for at least 30 minutes a day, so keep a variety of puzzle, chew, and tug toys on hand to keep your dog happy.


This herding dog is extremely intelligent and quick to pick up new skills. So, it's a rather simple process to learn. These dogs are known for their independence, so keep that in mind. Border collies and these breeds have a lot in common. The herds they move are in charge of the Australian cattle dogs. There are occasions when they try to take control of a family. As a result, it is even more critical that an owner asserts authority during the training process. These dogs, like any students, are quick to pick up the material. Treats can be useful in ensuring that training sessions are successful.

Children and Other Pets

While the Australian Cattle Dog is a great family companion, it is best if children are introduced to him early on. So he becomes humorous and protective. Children's mouthiness, nipping, and biting can be an issue. He may use hard nips to herd them or bite if they play rough.

Adult Australian Cattle Dogs who have never been around children may be overly rough and rebellious. Because youngsters don't behave like adults, dogs may be wary of them. Most issues can be resolved by training and socializing the Australian Cattle Dog puppy.

To avoid any biting or ear- or tail-pulling, you should always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children, regardless of breed. Your child should never approach a dog that is eating or sleeping or try to take its food. No matter how friendly a dog is, never leave a youngster alone with it.

Australian Cattle Dogs get along with other family dogs if they've been raised together since puppyhood. Because he is so connected to a single person in a family, other dogs may be jealous or squabble.

If he's reared with a cat or other small animal, he may treat it as a member of the family and avoid any confrontation. What if I don't intervene?


In a short period, puppies of this breed can grow to be rather enormous. At the age of eight weeks, they weigh 10.5 pounds. Puppies require a lot of room to play and grow from the beginning. They're also the best option for a family. These puppies/dogs are sociable and like spending time with their families.

Puppies of the Australian Cattle Dog breed typically cost between $800 and $1,200.

Dog breeds related to the Australian Cattle Dog

Border collies, Welsh corgis, and German shepherds are canine breeds that have some resemblance to Australian cattle dogs.

Border collies 

Like the Australian cattle dog, this herding dog is highly intelligent and vigilant. It's also a breeze to learn.

Welsh Corgis

Like the Australian cattle dog, the Welsh Corgi has a powerful and compact build. Furthermore, its intelligence and concentration are well-known.

German Shepherd

Another intelligent and devoted dog with a lot of energy. The sharp ears of both this dog and the Australian cattle dog make them excellent listeners.