Australian Cattle Dog

A dog is standing in a field with his tongue out.

The Australian Cattle Dog is an agile and energetic breed that has been used for herding livestock since the 19th century. Known for their intelligence, loyalty, and strong work ethic, this breed makes a great companion for active families. With their compact size and muscular frame, the Australian Cattle Dog is well-suited for a variety of outdoor activities such as running, biking, or hiking. 

This breed is known for its blue and red speckled coat, which is often short and dense. They need regular grooming and brushing to keep their fur in good condition. The Australian Cattle Dog is a vocal breed that likes to bark at strangers or animals, so they need proper training and socialization from an early age. This breed also has high exercise needs, making it best suited to an active family or experienced dog owners.

The Australian Cattle Dog is an independent and loyal companion that loves to spend time with its family. Although they can be somewhat stubborn, the breed is highly trainable due to their intelligence and eagerness to please. The key to successful training is consistency and patience, because the Australian Cattle Dog can be strong-willed. 

Overall, the Australian Cattle Dog is a great breed for active families or experienced dog owners. Their intelligence and loyalty make them an ideal companion, but their high exercise needs must be met in order to keep them happy and healthy. With proper training and socialization, the Australian Cattle Dog can make a wonderful addition to any home.

The AKC has these dogs listed as the 48th most popular dog in 2022.

Australian Cattle Dog Information

  • Average Height: 17-20 inches
  • Average Length: 28-33 inches
  • Average Weight: 35-50 pounds
  • Coat Type: Double coat
  • Coat Appearance: Short, straight outer guard hairs while the undercoat is short, fine and dense
  • Coat Colors: White coat that turns either blue-gray or red
  • Grooming Needs: Low
  • Shedding: Moderate
  • Brushing Requirements: At least once a week
  • Sensitive to Touch: Yes
  • Excessive Barking: Yes
  • Tolerance to Heat and Cold: Yes
  • Good Pet: Yes
  • Safe with Children: May display dominance
  • Good with Other Dogs: May display dominance
  • Good with Other Pets: May display dominance
  • Suitable for life in an Apartment: Not the best choice
  • Good for Less Experienced Pet Owners: No
  • Training: Needs Early socialization and obedience training
  • Exercise Needs: High
  • Weight Gain: Yes
  • Health Concerns: Hip and elbow dysplasia, deafness, progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, lens luxation and Willebrand’s disease.
  • Allergies: Yes
  • Average Life Span: 12-16 years

Physical Appearance of an Australian Cattle Dog

A dog standing in a body of water.

The Australian Cattle Dog is a medium-sized breed with a lean, muscular body. Their head is broad and round, with high-set triangular ears and dark brown eyes. Their coat is short and straight with two layers: an outer guard hairs that are short to medium length and an undercoat of short, fine hair that gives their coat a dense, waterproof look. Coat colors are typically white with blue-gray or red patches, though some dogs can be solid black or tan.

Australian Cattle Dogs have a deep chest, strong legs, and a long tail that is commonly docked in countries where it’s legal. The breed stands between 21 and 25 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs between 35 and 50 pounds.

Temperament of an Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle Dog is an intelligent and loyal breed that bonds closely with their family. They’re an energetic breed that loves to play, explore, and stay active. This breed needs an experienced owner who can give them consistent training and socialization. The Australian Cattle Dog can be headstrong and possessive at times. However, with proper guidance and leadership, this breed is capable of learning new commands and responding positively to rewards-based training.

The Australian Cattle Dog is a protective breed that loves to spend time with their family and can make an excellent watchdog. While they are loyal and loving with their family, the Australian Cattle Dog may be wary of strangers or other animals. Early socialization and proper training are essential to ensure the Australian Cattle Dog is confident and well-mannered.

Training an Australian Cattle Dog

A dog with a red frisbee in its mouth.

Training an Australian Cattle Dog can be challenging but rewarding. This breed is notoriously headstrong and needs an experienced owner to provide consistent guidance and leadership. Early socialization and obedience training are essential to ensure the Australian Cattle Dog grows up confident and well-mannered. Positive reinforcement is key when it comes to training this breed, as they thrive on praise and rewards when they learn something new.

The Australian Cattle Dog is an incredibly active breed and needs plenty of physical and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy. Regular exercise, such as long walks or runs, can help keep the Australian Cattle Dog in shape and tire them out before bedtime. Mental activities, such as obedience training, agility courses, or fetch are also great ways to give the Australian Cattle Dog the stimulation it needs.

Obedience Training Classes

Obedience training classes are a great way to help your dog learn some basic instructions. Obedience training isn’t just for your dog, it also helps owners learn to teach and control their new dog. These classes can teach you as an owner the best ways to teach your puppy. The amount of time you spend trying to stop your Australian Cattle Dog barking at strangers can be a lot less if you know the best way to teach them. Because Australian Cattle Dogs love barking at strangers, with or without obedience training you will likely spend a good deal of time teaching them to be quiet.

Early Socialization Training

A dog standing in a puddle of water.

Early socialization training can help your Australian Cattle Dog become more comfortable around people and other animals. This should be done as early as possible, ideally before they’re six months old. Socialization can involve introducing your dog to different people, animals, environments, and noises in a positive way. It’s important that the environment is one that the pup finds comfortable and safe, so they can learn to associate these new experiences with positive feelings. 

Socialization should be done gradually and in a controlled way to ensure that the pup is not overwhelmed. With early socialization, your Australian Cattle Dog will be better adjusted and more comfortable around people and other animals.

Kennel Training

Kennel training works very well with Australian Cattle Dogs. If done right they will see the kennel as their safe space, and a place that they can relax and sleep. Most dogs enjoy small spaces and will find a sense of security while inside it. Getting them comfortable in a kennel early on will save you a lot of headaches. You know that they can’t get into trouble while you’re sleeping or at work if they’re in their kennel. It’s also a great place for them to dry off after they come into the house when it’s wet outside.

Clicker Training

Australian Cattle Dogs have a history of being stubborn, especially as puppies. They need to be trained to understand what is good behavior and what is not OK. Clicker training will help them understand what is good behavior. Clicker training has you make a noise with the clicker when the desired action is done. In addition to the click you’ll give them a treat, at least while you train them. Every time your dog hears the click they’ll know they did a good job and you are happy.

Two blue heeler puppies running in the grass.

If your dog misbehaves, try not to punish them because it can discourage them. Instead, remember the clicker training and divert their attention to something else. You might have to do this several times to help your dog understand that they are not supposed to do the undesired activities.

Their Compatibility with Children

The Australian Cattle Dog is a loyal and devoted breed that typically gets along well with children when properly socialized. With patience and consistency, this breed can be trained to become an obedient companion. Early socialization and obedience training are essential for any owner looking to raise a happy and healthy Australian Cattle Dog. This breed loves to be active, so they can make great playmates for older children. When introducing an Australian Cattle Dog to young children, it is important to supervise them at all times and provide consistent guidance.

Best Climate for an Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle Dog is a hardy breed that can thrive in a variety of climates. However, it is best suited to regions with mild winters and warm summers. This breed does not do well in extreme heat or cold, and should be kept indoors during periods of extreme temperatures. Australian Cattle Dogs are also prone to overheating, so if they are outdoors for extended periods of time, it is important to provide them with plenty of shade and water.

The Attention an Australian Cattle Dog Needs

The Australian Cattle Dog is an intelligent and active breed that requires mental stimulation and daily physical exercise to stay happy and healthy. This breed loves to work and excels when given a job to do, so providing them with stimulating activities such as agility courses or obedience training is essential. They are also very social animals, so regular outings to the park or pet store are recommended. Furthermore, this breed needs plenty of attention and affection, so ensuring that you are providing them with the necessary love and care is important.

Health Issues

The Australian Cattle Dog is generally a healthy breed, but there are a few health issues of which owners should be aware. This breed can have hip dysplasia, eye problems, deafness, skin allergies, and joint problems. It’s important to take your dog for regular check-ups with a veterinarian and ensure that they receive proper nutrition and exercise. With good care, the Australian Cattle Dog can live a healthy and active life.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a hereditary problem that can make walking, getting up or laying down difficult and painful. When a dog has hip dysplasia, their hip socket fails to fully cover the ball portion of their thigh bone. The looseness between the hip and leg bone leads to partial or complete dislocation of their hip joint and can cause pain and stiffness. In most cases, medication and exercise restrictions are advised by the vet. Over time the condition could become severe enough that your vet might recommend surgery to correct it.


Deafness occurs when a dog has lost their ability to hear. This can happen due to genetics, age, or even injury. Dogs that are deaf might not respond to sound, and might not be able to hear commands.

It’s important to note that deafness doesn’t mean a dog cannot live a happy and healthy life. With the right training and care, deaf dogs can still be loving companions. They can learn sign language or hand signals to communicate with their family, and they can still enjoy activities like playing fetch or going for walks.

Von Willebrand’s Disease

Von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD) is a hereditary disorder that affects a dogs’ blood clotting process. It’s caused by an inherited deficiency in the von Willebrand factor, which is a protein that helps platelets stick together to form clots and stop bleeding. vWD can cause excessive bleeding during surgery as well as spontaneous bleeding from their nose, gums, and other parts of their body.

Symptoms of Von Willebrand’s Disease

The most common symptom of Von Willebrand’s Disease is excessive bleeding. The excessive bleeding can be seen in the form of nosebleeds, gum bleeds, and other types of spontaneous bleeding from their body. In some cases, dogs might also have blood in their urine, vomit blood, and cough up blood.

Dogs with vWD could have prolonged bleeding during surgery or after injury.


Cataracts are a common eye condition that can cause vision loss and blindness. Cataracts occur when the lens in an eye becomes cloudy or opaque, blocking light from passing through to the retina. This can lead to decreased vision, or even complete blindness.

There are several causes of cataracts, including genetics, diabetes, trauma, and certain medications.

Cataracts can be a serious condition, but with proper treatment, your dog can regain their vision and live a happy life.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a degenerative eye disorder that affects the retina of dogs. It’s an inherited condition, meaning it’s passed down from parent to offspring.

PRA is caused by a mutation in the gene responsible for producing the photoreceptor cells in the retina. These cells are responsible for converting light into electrical signals that are sent to the brain and interpreted as vision. As PRA progresses, these photoreceptor cells die off, leading to blindness.

Symptoms of Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Symptoms of PRA can vary depending on the breed and type of PRA, but generally include:

  • Night blindness
  • Decreased vision in dim light
  • Dilated pupils
  • Eye Cloudiness
  • Head tilt

As the disease progresses, these symptoms could worsen and eventually lead to total blindness.

Bathing, Coat, and Cleaning

The Australian Cattle Dog has a short, dense coat that does not require much maintenance. Regular brushing with a firm-bristled brush is recommended to help remove dead hair and debris. This breed should only be bathed when necessary as over-bathing can strip the natural oils from their coat. When bathing an Australian Cattle Dog, it is important to use a mild shampoo specifically formulated for dogs. Additionally, their nails should be trimmed regularly and their ears should be checked for any debris or wax buildup.

A close up of a bowl of dog food.

Feeding an Australian Cattle Dog

Feeding an Australian Cattle Dog is an important part of keeping them healthy and happy. This breed does best on high-quality dry food that is formulated for large breeds. The amount of food should be determined based on the dog’s activity level, age, and size. It is important to ensure that the dog has access to fresh water at all times as well. Treats can also be given, but it is important to keep these limited as too many treats can lead to obesity and other health issues.

The Australian Cattle Dog requires a high-quality diet that meets their nutritional needs. This breed is an active working dog, so they require food with plenty of protein and fat to help sustain them throughout the day. A combination of wet and dry food can provide them with balanced nutrition. It is also important to ensure that the diet contains adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids.

Related Questions:

Are Australian Cattle Dogs Good or Bad?

Australian Cattle Dogs, also known as Blue Heelers or Queensland Heelers, are highly intelligent and versatile working dogs. They were originally bred for herding livestock, particularly cattle in the harsh Australian outback. These dogs are known for their endurance, agility, and strong work ethic.

One of the key factors that make Australian Cattle Dogs good is their intelligence. They are quick learners and excel in tasks that need problem-solving and critical thinking. This makes them highly trainable, and they are often used in various working roles, including herding, search and rescue, and obedience competitions.

Australian Cattle Dogs are also known for their loyalty and devotion to their families. They form strong bonds with their family and are protective of them. This makes them excellent family pets. They will go above and beyond to keep their loved ones safe.

It’s important to note that Australian Cattle Dogs might not be the best fit for every individual or family. Their high energy levels and strong herding instincts can make them challenging for inexperienced dog owners or those who are not able to give them the physical and mental stimulation they need.

A dog is standing in a field with his tongue out.

Can Australian Cattle Dogs Be Aggressive?

Australian Cattle Dogs, like any breed, have the potential to have aggressive behavior. It’s important to note that aggression in dogs is often a result of various factors, including genetics, socialization, training, and individual temperament. While some Australian Cattle Dogs might have aggressive tendencies, it does not mean that all members of the breed are inherently aggressive.

Proper socialization and training from an early age can play a crucial role in preventing aggressive behavior in Australian Cattle Dogs. Exposing them to different people, animals, and environments can help them become well-rounded and adaptable. Positive reinforcement training techniques are also recommended, because they promote good behavior and strengthen the bond between the dog and their family.

Are Australian Cattle Dogs Jealous?

Jealousy is a complex emotion that can be observed in both humans and animals. When it comes to Australian Cattle Dogs, their individual personalities and experiences will determine whether or not they have any jealous behaviors. While some Australian Cattle Dogs can have signs of jealousy, it’s important to note that not all members of the breed will have this emotion.

Like any dog, Australian Cattle Dogs can form strong bonds with their owners and may show signs of possessiveness or protective behavior. This can sometimes be mistaken for jealousy. It’s important to consider the context and individual temperament of the dog before labeling it as jealousy.

If an Australian Cattle Dog does have jealous behavior, it’s essential for owners to address it in a positive and constructive manner. This can involve providing equal attention and resources to all dogs in the household, setting clear boundaries and rules, and practicing positive reinforcement training techniques.