Australian Cattle Dog
The Australian Cattle Dog is a kind of herding dog which was developed in Australia for driving cattle in rough as well as long distances. In 19th century, cattle farmer of New South Wales named Thomas Hall crossed the dogs which were used by drovers at his parents’ house area Northumberland, with dingoes which he tamed. The resulting dogs were called as Halls Heelers.
Dogs the settlers brought with them from Europe, called Smithfield and the Old Smooth Collie, because they were not able to handle the long remoteness and unwelcoming climate of the new continent. The Australian Cattle Dog was created by the pioneer settlers by crossing Dingo-blue merle Collies to black and tan Kelpies and Dalmatians in the 1800s. Some sources such as the Bull Terrier breed is also added as well. The resultant was the dogs which are an excellent workers, herding cattle on large ranches. The dogs could work in the stock quietly but unwillingly yet by force, possesses willing and ability to drive cattle across huge distances under unfavourable conditions. With greater stamina, it was well suited to Queensland. Both its instincts guarding and herding are very well-built. In 1893 Robert Kaleski wrote a standard particularly for the breed which was approved in the year 1903 in Australia. It was fully recognized by the AKC in 1980. The dog has also been also known as the Hall’s Heeler, Queensland Heeler and Blue Heeler , Australian Heeler. The word “Heeler” here refers to its herding dexterity of snapping and biting cattle’s heels. Its talents are herding, retrieving, agility, guarding, performing tricks and competitive obedience.
The dog is a powerful, muscular, compact dog who is dexterous and sturdy. It possesses a broad skull which flattens to a definite stop between the eyes, with healthy cheeks and a medium-length, powerful muzzle. The eyes are oval in shape and black, which are always alert. Its ears are pricked; it could be small or medium and are set wide apart from the hair. With muscular body sharp nails and strong appearance it gives a full impression of a sturdy dog.
The dog measures approximately 43–48 centimetres at the withers, and the male dog measures about 46–51 centimetres. The dog is longer than tall, a healthy dog weighs about 15–22 kilograms.
He dog has a natural brush like undocked tail with a solid spot at the end and a white tip. It is set moderately low, following the back. It hangs in a slight curve and may bear its tail higher.
It is a perfect working dog, with active mind, alertness and energy. It ranks 10th in Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs. The hound needs ample of exercise, companionship and a job to do, so a non-working dog might participate in learning tricks, dog sports or other activities that keep his mind and body engaged.
The dog is affectionate, happy and playful at its home. But it is reserved with the one’s it does not know and is cautious in new situations. With others it behaves like a guard dog but when trained for this and it can be socialised to become a good family pet. It is good with considerate children, older but will herd people by nipping at their heels.
The pet requires grooming, brushing and its personal hygiene is to be maintained by keeping its coat clean and odour free. It blows its coat almost once in a year. Also it is called as a “wash and wear” dog.
They need a high level of physical activity. It appreciates a walk around but prefers more of structured activities that engage and challenge it, and can seek regular interface with its owner. While individual dogs have their own abilities and personalities, as a breed the dog is suited to any activity that calls for intelligence, endurance and athleticism.
Health and Lifespan
The dogs do not have much long life they have a medium life span of about 11.7 years which can be maximum upto15.9 years. There is an subjective report of this breed named Bluey, born in 1910 and lived for 29.5 years, but the record is still unproven.
Common health problems
The dog can carry recessive piebald allele that generates a white in the coat and skin and are connected to congenital hereditary deafness. Around 2.4% of Cattle Dogs in study were found to be deaf in both ears and 14.5% were deaf in at least one ear. The dog also suffers progressive retinal atrophy it is mostly found in these dogs.
The Texas Heeler is a first registered cross between the Australian Cattle Dog and the Australian Shepherd. The Animal Research Foundation has registered Australian Cattle Dogs without papers and was the first organisation to recognise the Australian Shepherd. The Texas Heeler was bred for its ability to work cattle and is used as a companion in dog sports. This breed’s appearance is a combination of the parent breeds.