Australian Cattle Dog

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

Australian Cattle Dog
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. 

dna

Key facts about the Australian Cattle Dog

  • Life expectancy : Between 13 and 15 years
  • Temperament : Playful, Intelligent
  • Size : Medium
  • Type of coat : Short, Hard

FCI Group

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 dog Between 17 and 19 in
Male dog Between 18 and 20 in

Weight

Female dog Between 44 and 66 lb
Male dog Between 44 and 66 lb

Coat colour

The ACD is found with a coat of blue, blue and tan, black, blue and tan or red and tan.

Type of coat

The Australian Cattle Dog has a double coat comprising a short, straight top coat and a short, fine and dense undercoat. 

Eye colour

Dark 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.

Temperament

Affectionate

yellow-paw yellow-paw grey-paw

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

Playful

yellow-paw yellow-paw yellow-paw

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

Calm

yellow-paw grey-paw grey-paw

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

Intelligent

yellow-paw yellow-paw yellow-paw

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

Hunter

yellow-paw grey-paw grey-paw

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

Fearful / wary of strangers

yellow-paw yellow-paw yellow-paw

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.

Independent

yellow-paw grey-paw grey-paw

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

Tolerates solitude

yellow-paw grey-paw grey-paw

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

Easy to train / obedience

yellow-paw grey-paw grey-paw

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. 

Barking

yellow-paw grey-paw grey-paw

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

Tendency to run away

yellow-paw grey-paw grey-paw

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

Destructive

yellow-paw yellow-paw grey-paw

The Australian Cattle Dog can be destructive if it is stressed or lonely. 

Greedy / Gluttony

yellow-paw yellow-paw grey-paw

These dogs lean towards obesity if not exercised enough and fed the wrong kind of food.

Guard dog

yellow-paw yellow-paw yellow-paw

The alertness of the Australian Cattle Dog makes this breed a worthwhile watchdog. They are exceptionally protective of their owner. 

First dog

yellow-paw grey-paw grey-paw

The ACD needs to be challenged both physically and mentally in order to stay out of trouble. They should be trained by someone who has experience with the needs of a highly intelligent and energetic dog.

Lifestyle

Australian Cattle Dog in a flat

yellow-paw grey-paw grey-paw

The happiest Australian Cattle Dogs are those that live in the countryside and are able to roam freely. A flat or small outside garden will not do for this dog. 

Need for exercise / Sporty

yellow-paw yellow-paw yellow-paw

The Australian Cattle Dog is an active dog that is accustomed to endless solo explorations

Travelling / easy to transport

yellow-paw yellow-paw grey-paw

Once trained, Australian Cattle Dogs are comfortable with travelling.

Compatibility

Australian Cattle Dog and cats

yellow-paw yellow-paw grey-paw

The Australian Cattle Dog will tolerate a household cat but only if the dog is taught (and reminded about) how to behave.

Australian Cattle Dog and dogs

yellow-paw yellow-paw grey-paw

Australian Cattle Dogs interact well with other dogs but can exhibit dominance. 

Australian Cattle Dog and children

yellow-paw yellow-paw yellow-paw

This dog is boisterous at times, and due to its size, it is liable to knock over small children. The Australian Cattle Dog will also try to herd children and may nip at them to try to bring them into line. 

Australian Cattle Dog and the elderly

yellow-paw grey-paw grey-paw

The Australian Cattle Dog is a good choice of dog for someone of senior years, as long as it can be sufficiently exercised. 

Price

This breed will cost you between £600 and £800 to buy and between £40 and £80 per month to keep.

Grooming

The Australian Cattle Dog has a coat that is very easy to maintain. Occasional brushing is all that is required to keep the coat clean and shiny.  

Shedding

The Australian Cattle Dog coat sheds twice throughout the year.  

Nutrition of the Australian Cattle Dog

It is always worthwhile to feed an Australian Cattle Dog a high-quality and specially formulated dog food rather than human food. 

Health of the Australian Cattle Dog

Life expectancy

The ACD carries a recessive gene that is known to cause deafness. Selective breeding should prevent deaf offspring. Life expectancy is 11 to 13 years. 

Strong / robust

yellow-paw yellow-paw yellow-paw

This particular breed is hardy and adventurous.  

Withstand heat

yellow-paw yellow-paw yellow-paw

The coat of the ACD allows the dog to tolerate hot weather. 

Withstand cold

yellow-paw yellow-paw yellow-paw

The double coat of the Australian Cattle Dog keeps the dog warm even when it walks in the rain and snow.

Tendency to put on weight

yellow-paw yellow-paw grey-paw

Weight gain can be a feature of the Australian Cattle Dog. If your ACD is not exercised as regularly as it should be and is fed too much human or substandard food it will become obese.

Common illnesses

Good to know

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

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. 

Names

Sydney, Aussie, Barbie, Joey

Find out more dog name ideas here

dog-match

Don't know which breed to choose? Do you like them all? Wamiz helps you find your perfect match!