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Australian Cattle Dog


  • Origin: Australia
  • Alternate names: ACD, Cattle Dog, Queensland Heeler, Blue Heeler, Hall's Heeler, Red Heeler
  • Size: Medium
  • Life Span: 12-15 years
  • Popularity: Ranked #56 in 2017
  • Availability in India: Moderate
  • Avg Puppy Price in India: ₹30,000 and above
  • Dog Breed Group: Herding Group
  • Guide Dog: No

Is Australian Cattle dog good for Indians?

The Australian Cattle dogs are very trainable and loyal canines who are a pretty decent fit for a country like India when it comes to their adaptability to extreme temperatures. These dogs possess a fairly good tolerance to both heat and cold and can easily survive in tropical as well as snowy places, therefore they would face no problem while residing in any part of India. Also, these dogs are quite easy to handle and have minimal grooming requirements, thus the cost of maintaining this breed is not that high. So, overall the Australian Cattle dogs will be a good option for anyone residing in India. But, one thing that is certainly very important regarding ACDs and shouldn’t be ignored by the potential owners is their high amount of exercise needs and if these dogs don’t receive regular exercise, then it can be very harmful for them in the long run, both physically and mentally.

Australian Cattle Dog Official Breed Standards

The Australian Cattle Dogs are sturdy, symmetrical and compactly built canines who are extremely energetic and equally intelligent. They were bred to work on farms and fields, thus they possess a great amount endurance and strength. The official standards for the Australian Cattle Dogs are given as follows:

  • Australian Cattle dog Height and Weight

The male and the female ACDs are almost identical to each other when it comes to their overall size. The average height of Australian Cattle Dogs is around 17-20 inches (at the shoulders) and their weight lies between 15-22 Kilograms.





15-22 kg

18-20 inch


15-22 kg

17-19 inch

  • Coat

They possess a smooth double coat in which the undercoat is dense and short and the exterior coat is hard, straight and flat-lying which makes it somewhat resistant to water. The coat is especially shorter and smoother on the head, ears and the front of legs, but it’s relatively longer and thicker along the neck.

  • Body

Overall, they have a strong, compact and well-proportioned body. Their neck is of fair length and is highly muscular. The chest is deep and reasonably broad and the back region is sturdy and leveled. The tail is mostly carried low and is moderately bushy. The forequarters and hindquarters are fairly muscular and robust and they provide the required balance to the rest of the body.

  • Head

The head is relatively broad but it should be in balance with the other proportions of the canine. Their eyes are medium in size, oval in shape and are mostly found in dark brown color. The ears are mostly smaller, a little broader and are set wide apart on the head.

  • Jaws

The jaw region is finely developed in which the lower jaw incisors just touches the upper jaws teeth and forms a scissors bite. The teeth are strong, sound and are evenly spaced and the overall muzzle is deep, powerful and is medium in length.

Australian Cattle Temperament

An extremely active and enthusiastic breed, the Australian Cattle Dogs are always happy to be outside the house spending their abundant energy on some kind of physical activity or task. They are very loyal to their owners and stick by their side under all circumstances. These dogs possess a great watchdog ability and are also highly territorial in nature and thus they protect their house, property and its members from any kind of external harm or intruders. This breed is also very intelligent and always remain alert and aware of its surroundings. Early socialization is extremely important for the ACDs as they are mostly not that warm and friendly towards the strangers and remain a bit reserved with them. General temperamental traits of the Australian Cattle Dogs are listed below:

  • Energetic
  • Protective
  • Responsive
  • Intelligent
  • Loyal
  • Alert

Australian Cattle Sogs Overview

The Australian Cattle Dog is quite a hardy and durable breed who was bred for working purposes in the land Down Under. The ACD was specifically used for herding cattle in large farms and later it was also used to guard the stocks during the nighttime.

This dog was given the title of ‘Heeler’ by the local farmers because of its habit of nipping at the heels of cattle while herding them. And, because of that, a large number of nicknames for this breed like Queensland Heeler, Blue Heeler, Hall's Heeler, Red Heeler etcetera came into existence.

Today, they are mostly seen as reliable companions and house pets all over the world, but still, in some parts of Australia and other countryside places, they are being used as farm dogs and they are happily doing what they were created for.

Popular Australian Cattle Dog types and colors

The Australian Cattle Dogs can be unofficially divided into two types based on the different patterns which are present on their coat. These types are:

  • The Speckled Coat-Type
  • The Mottled Coat-Type

Also, this breed is primarily present in only two colors which are Blue and Red. But, because of the different patterns, there are several combinations in which the coat of an Australian Cattle Dog can be found in. These are as follows:

  • Blue Mottled
  • Blue Speckled
  • Red Mottled
  • Red Speckled

Australian Cattle Dog Breed Characteristics



Sensitivity Level


Affection Level


Potential for mouthiness




Drooling Potential


Barking Tendencies


Energy Level


Friendly towards dogs


Health Issues


Friendly towards other animals




Child Friendly




Exercise Needs


Shedding Level


Grooming Needs


Social Needs


Good for novice owners


Stranger Friendly




Watchdog Ability


Tolerates Heat


Tolerates Cold


Australian Cattle Maintenance and Care

  • Feeding

This breed is very active and athletic in nature, so it is important to provide them with a high-quality nutritious diet so that it can help in re-energizing their body and also keep them fit and healthy. The amount of feeding material should be appropriate to the canine’s age and it can be either home-prepared or commercially manufactured.

  • Exercise

They have heavy exercise requirements and that too on a daily basis. Regular brisk paced walks or running sessions in a well-fenced open area is really beneficial for them. Also, frequent playing sessions or engagement in different kinds of canine sports can be highly advantageous for their overall fitness and well-being.

  • Training

The ACDs are very responsive and alert during any type of training exercise. They are fond of learning different things from their owners are extremely happy when they doing some kind of work. They can be trained to perform several tasks and their high level of intelligence surely aids them a lot during the training and learning sessions. These dogs excel in numerous activities like herding, agility, obedience etc.

  • Grooming and Shedding

Their durable coat only requires a quick brushing session on an occasional basis to remain tidy and free from any kind of matting. Bathing and trimming of nails can be done as deemed necessary by the owner. Therefore, the ACDs have very minimal grooming requirements. But, these dogs do shed quite regularly and in reasonable amounts, however, during the shedding season which comes at least twice a year, they shed more profusely.

  • Health Issues

The Australian Cattle Dogs tend to remain fit and fine throughout their lifetime, but like every other breed, the ACDs may also suffer from a few health problems. Some of them are given below:

  • Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD)
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Deafness
  • Ear Infections
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD)
  • Visits to the Vet

Frequent visits to a veterinarian’s clinic are not required for the ACDs because of their general fitness and good health (only if they are getting proper care and attention from their owners).

Australian Cattle Dogs History and Background

The Australian Cattle Dogs, unlike the Australian Shepherds, actually originated in Australia in the middle of the 19th century. A man named George Elliot crossed the now-extinct Smithfield breed with the native Australian dogs known as Dingoes and later he added the Blue merle Collies into the mix.

These dogs were exclusively used to herd cattle and they were extremely good at their job. Later, a duo of Bagust Brothers wanted to further enhance this existing breed and thus they crossed these dogs with the Dalmatians. The result of this breeding was a canine who had a speckled coat and was now more loyal to the people and was also comfortable around the horses due to increased ‘carriage’ capability.

These selectively bred canines became the ancestors of the modern Australian Cattle Dogs. The Blue colored dogs were relatively more popular and they were given the nickname of Blue Heelers. After many years of breeding, the red color also started to appear in this breed, and they were known as the Red Heelers. This breed was later imported to the United States and then they were eventually recognized by the AKC in the year 1980.