The Australian Cattle Dog was developed to be a strong biting dog, one able to drive wild cattle over long distances. Its speckled coat camouflages it when nipping at the bovines' legs. Its punishing jaws are essential to a cattle dog in mustering and moving wild livestock. Protecting its master's family and home is a responsibility the Australian Cattle Dog takes as seriously as squiring cattle.
Origin of Australian Cattle Dog
When Australian stockmen required a herding dog to help control the half-wild cattle and sheep, they set out to breed one. The process began in the 1830s when a stockman named Timmins crossed a Smithfield , a tough but noisy working breed, with a Dingo. The resulting Timmins Biter had the Dingo's silent ways but proved difficult to manage. A further cross with Collies enhanced tractability, but barking became a problem once more. Again, the Dingo was used. Later, to improve temperament, Dalmatian stock was introduced. To further develop working ability, the Australian Kelpie was interbred. This final cross produced just the versatile canine the stockmen were searching for.
Their creation, the Queensland Heeler, later renamed Australian Cattle Dog, possessed stamina, reliability, and uncanny intelligence.
Characteristics of Australian Cattle Dog
General appearance: sturdy, compact, symmetrically built. Height: dogs 45.7 to 50.8 cm (18 to 20 in.); bitches 43.2 to 48.3 cm (17 to 19 in.).
Weight: under F.C.I. and American standards, 15 to 23 kg (33 to 51 lb).
Head: blunt, wedge-shaped, with broad skull. Strong under jaw.
Eyes: alert, oval-shaped, medium size, brown.
Ears: medium size, broad, muscular, pricked.
Body: back strong. Shoulders broad, muscular Ribs well sprung.
Forequarters: strong, round, straight legs.
Hindquarters: legs broad, strong, and muscular; thighs well developed.
Coat: straight, weather-resistant outer coat; short, dense undercoat.
Color: blue or red, with or without markings.
Practical information about Australian Cattle Dog
Bred to withstand the rigors of the Outback, its weather-resistant coat needs only routine brushing. But as an energetic working dog, the breed does require plenty of exercise.