Farmers developed the Australian Cattle Dog in the early 1800s from the Smithfield-type working dog of England. The aim was to produce a good working dog suitable for Australian conditions that was also silent.
It took many attempts and iterations before the Australian Cattle Dog was born. After crossing with the Australian Dingo, Rough Collie and Bull Terrier, the Australian Cattle Dog was finally developed.
Also called the Blue Heeler, these dogs are identical in type and build to the Dingo but have a thicker set. They have black patches around the eyes, black ears and brown eyes. The body is a very dark blue with coat evenly speckled light blue.
It has the same tan markings as the black and tan Kelpie on its head, legs and chest. The Red Heelers have red markings instead of black and their coat has a red speckle.
- Australian Cattle Dogs are also called “Heelers” due to their unique method of herding cattle. They’ll nip at the heels of cattle to get them to move.
- Heelers are born with a completely white coat. In fact, their coats don’t start developing color until weeks later.
- Prior to 2016, a Blue Heeler named Bluey held the record for longest living dog at 29 years 5 months.
Australian Cattle Dog Temperament
These dogs are arguably the best cattle herders in the world. And while Australian Cattle Dogs are still used for herding, they made wonderful pets and companion dogs too.
They are very trainable and obedient if their owners put the time in starting from puppyhood. These dogs love being with their owners and need a lot of exercise to keep them happy.
Australian Cattle Dogs are a hardy breed and live up to 15 years. However, some of them have health issues that can arise if they’re working as herders.
These include hip and elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, hereditary deafness, and osteochondritis dissecans