Australian Cattle Dog
|Australian Cattle Dog
Blue coat color; this dog's tail is docked.
|Country of origin
|Bluey, ACD, Cattledog
|Classification and breed standards
|This breed of dog is
The Australian Cattle Dog (ACD), also known as the Queensland
Heeler, Blue Heeler, and Red Heeler, is a
dog developed in Australia for controlling
cattle. It is a
medium-sized dog with a lot of energy and an independent streak.
One variant of Blue face markings
The Cattle Dog's coat comes in a variety of markings, sometimes quite
striking. The basic coat colors are blue and red speckle. For dog
owners whose interest is primarily in their qualification for
even markings are preferred over uneven markings, and large solid-color marks on
the body are undesirable. For owners who are more interested in their dogs'
performance in activities such as
the breed's strong work ethic and intelligence are of more importance than the
exact coat markings.
The mask is one of the most distinctive features of an ACD. This mask
consists of a darker red patch over one or both eyes (for the red speckle coat
color) or a black patch over one or both eyes (for the blue coat color). These
are called, respectively, single mask and double mask. ACDs
without a mask are called plain-faced. Any of these is correct according
to the breed standard, and the only limitation is the owner's preference.
Red speckle coat color with undocked tail
Many Australian Cattle Dogs have a stripe of white hair in the center of the
forehead, usually 1/2 inch to 1 inch by 2 inches to 3 inches (about 2 cm by 7
cm) called the Bentley Mark. This is similar in appearance to the blaze
markings sometimes found on
to legend, a popular dog owned by Tom Bentley passed on this distinctive mark to
all Australian Cattle Dogs.
A female Australian Cattle Dog should measure about 17 to 19 inches (43 to 48
cm) at the
withers. A male Australian Cattle Dog should measure about 18 to 20 inches
(46 to 51 cm) at the
ACD is a well-muscled, compact dog with a short, dense coat and a naturally long
tail. An ACD in good condition should weigh roughly 40 to 50 pounds (18 to 23
dock ACD's tails. This is a controversial practice and, in some countries,
is illegal or is prohibited for dogs in the
Docking Australian Cattle Dogs' tails is a practice peculiar to the United
States - ACD tails are not docked in their country of origin, Australia. This is
not to be confused with the Stumpy-tailed Cattle Dog, which is born with a
naturally docked, or 'bobbed' tail; this animal strongly resembles the ACD in
colouring, but has a slightly taller, leaner conformation.
dogs, Cattle Dogs have high energy levels and active minds. They need plenty
of exercise and a job to do, such as participating in
learning tricks, or other activities that engage their minds. Some individuals
find repetitive training frustrating and dull, so owners should aim to make
training sessions varied and more exciting in order to keep their dog
interested. Cattle Dogs who do not receive the appropriate exercise and
entertainment will invent their own, often destructive, activities. These dogs
are, by nature, timid or wary. They are naturally cautious, and grow more so as
they age. Their cautious nature towards strangers make them perfect guard dogs,
when trained for this task.
Cattle Dogs drive cattle by nipping at their heels, but they have also been
known to herd other animals, such as ducks or chickens without instruction when
left to their own devices. When around people, their instinct to herd is
sometimes hard to suppress and they can nip at people to herd them. If these
dogs will be around children, they and their owners must have sufficient
training to know how to manage or avoid such situations.
Australian Cattle Dog activities
ACDs need and enjoy any activity, such as diving and swimming.
Australian Cattle Dogs not only tolerate a high level of physical activity,
they almost demand it. Like many other
dog breeds, they have active and fertile minds that turn mischievous if not
properly channeled. ACDs are highly intelligent and can be very bossy.
When not active, an ACD can be kept occupied with mental puzzles such as a
Kong stuffed with treats or a
Buster Cube. Among the most popular activities for Australian Cattle Dogs is
agility. While the ACD is ideally suited for this work, since it is a
breed and thus very reactive to the handler's body language, some ACDs
become easily frustrated at the repetition and routine necessary to hone agility
skills. As for many breeds, frequent brief training sessions are more effective
than infrequent long training sessions. For this reason, many handlers find
training an ACD to be challenging. It is important to always change the methods
and exercises and not allow the dog or handler to get into a rut. ACDs thrive on
change and new experiences.
An ACD finding a scent article as part of obedience competition.
Only a few ACDs, therefore, have excelled in
For example, the
American Kennel Club awards an "Obedience Trial Championship" (OTCh) to the
dog-and-handler team that defeats a large number of other teams in open
competition. A handful of ACDs have reached this level. While ACDs enjoy the
challenge of obedience competition, such as retrieving a scented article, the
majority of ACDs are easily bored with precision drilling.
Australian Cattle Dogs in movies
- mad dog (blue) and a Dingo (red) in
The Sundowners (1960)
- Dog in
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
- Zip in
Last of the Dogmen (1995)
- Various dogs in "Brokeback
- Buetow K. The Australian Cattle Dog : An Owner's Guide to a Happy
Champion Red face markings
A young ACD at the top of a dog agility A-frame
This guide is licensed under the GNU
Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.
Recommend This Page To A Friend!