Australian Cattle Dog

Other names: ACD, Cattle Dog, Blue Heeler, Red Heeler, Queensland Heeler

Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle Dog (ACD) is a breed of herding dog native to Australia. It was originally bred for its ability to drive cattle across the vast plains of the Australian continent but is now more commonly seen as a companion pet. The ACD is said to be one of the most intelligent dogs of all. 

Key facts about the Australian Cattle Dog

Life expectancy :

8

20

13

15

Temperament :

Playful Intelligent

Size :

Origins and history

The Australian Cattle Dog first arrived in the UK from Australia in 1980. Its popularity gave rise to an influx of the breed from countries other than down under. The breed was soon recognised by the Kennel Club and its popularity as a pet has steadily risen ever since. 

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 1 - Sheepdogs and Cattledogs (except Swiss Cattledogs)

Section

Section 2 : Cattledogs (except Swiss Cattledogs)

Physical characteristics of the Australian Cattle Dog

    Adult size

    Female : Between 17 and 19 in

    Male : Between 18 and 20 in

    Weight

    Female : Between 44 and 66 lb

    Male : Between 44 and 66 lb

    Coat colour

    Blue
    Red

    Type of coat

    Short
    Hard

    Eye colour

    Brown

    Description

    A sturdy and muscular dog of great agility; the powerful muzzle and strong haunches belie a gentleness of character. The ears are medium sized and pricked.

    Good to know

    This breed has been popular among famous dog-parents, including Matthew McConaughey and Mel Gibson.

    Temperament

    • 66%

      Affectionate

      The Australian Cattle Dog is extremely affectionate and forms a very close bond with its owner. 

    • 100%

      Playful

      The ACD is playful with people it knows although it may try to herd and dominate.

    • 33%

      Calm

      The Australian Cattle Dog is not a nervous dog and does not easily scare. 

    • 100%

      Intelligent

      The ACD’s exceptional intelligence lends itself to excellent obedience and responsiveness. 

    • 33%

      Hunter

      Australian Cattle Dogs are herding dogs. They do not have an instinct to track prey but they will enjoy herding other animals and people. 

    • 100%

      Fearful / wary of strangers

      The Australian Cattle Dog is wary of strangers; the dog’s want to protect the family comes to the fore when meeting unfamiliar humans. An owner’s gentle encouragement is required.

    • 33%

      Independent

      This dog is in all respects independent, so much so that it is likely to try to dominate others of the household if it sees a chance to do so.

      Behaviour of the Australian Cattle Dog

      • 33%

        Tolerates solitude

        The Australian Cattle Dog will tolerate solitude but only in small doses. 

      • 33%

        Easy to train / obedience

        A strong-willed animal is the Australian Cattle Dog and one that is easy to train. However, being independent the Australian Cattle Dog requires a stronger-willed leader who is confident and consistent. 

      • 33%

        Barking

        This dog is known for its excessive high-pitched barking. 

      • 33%

        Tendency to run away

        Reinforcing the ‘recall’ command is always worthwhile with this dog even though the dog is, on the whole, exceptionally obedient.  

      • 66%