8 Things You Didn’t Know About Australian Cattle Dogs

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Whether you call them Blue Heelers, Red Heelers, Queensland Heelers, Australian Heelers, or Australian Cattle Dogs, these unique looking dogs are known daily for their beautiful coat colors, intelligence, and energetic nature.

Australian Cattle Dogs represent the culmination of the crossing of Blue Merle and Australian Dingo by British settlers in Australia in the late 19th century. These working dogs are energetic and love to run. They are devoted to their people and can be good for families as long as they have an outlet for all that energy.

Whether you’re considering getting an Australian Cattle Dog or are already a die-hard fan, here are eight things you should know about the breed.

1. Heelers are one of the smartest dog breeds

Like other working dogs, prostitutes are intelligent and motivated. They also need a lot of training and practice to channel all that intelligence.

For a testament to his incredible mental abilities, watch this video. Meet the late Skidboot, an incredibly intelligent and well-mannered dog who was once dubbed “the smartest dog in the world.”

Skidboot could learn any trick: he could take out the garbage, lead a horse on a rope, and even perform in rodeos.

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In 2003, he entered Animal Planet’s Pet Star contest and won $25,000. He has appeared on numerous talk shows including Jay Leno’s Tonight Show, Oprah Winfrey and Late Night with David Letterman.

2. Australian Cattle Dogs have dense double coats.

Worth knowing: Blue Heelers’ unique coat is waterproof, keeping them dry in the rain. They are equipped with an inner layer and a top layer. The top layer acts as a wick. They shed their undercoat once or twice a year, so they don’t require much grooming (unless they get caught in the mud) other than regular brushing to remove loose hairs and the occasional bath.

3. Australian Cattle Dogs are descended from dingoes

English sheepdog breeds didn’t have the “hump” to work long days in the hot Australian sun and move cattle hundreds of miles, so they were crossed with native dingoes. (Some studies place the ancestry of the native Australian dingo as far back as 1500 BC. The dingo was domesticated and eventually used for livestock control.)

Later, prostitutes were crossed with Dalmatians, Collies, and Kelpies to fix desired traits.

How did this happen?

In 1840, Thomas Simpson Hall, an early settler and rancher, crossed dogs that had been bred to various collie breeds and a dingo. The study he conducted led to the beginning of what is known as “Hall’s Heelers”.

According to Showsight magazine, which specializes in articles on purebred dogs, Queensland native George Elliott followed in Hall’s footsteps and continued to breed her. (The “blue” heels are from this variety.)

Australian farmers and ranchers were delighted with the results and bought the dogs from him. Later, two brothers, Jack and Harry Bagust from Canterbury in Sydney, crossed them with Dalmatians. The Dalmatian cross gives some Australian Cattle Dogs their colorful markings, including a coat that comes in a “blue” or “red” hue.

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4. Heeler puppies are born white

You may be surprised to learn that prostitutes are all born white. This characteristic probably comes from his Dalmatian heritage as well. Puppies start coloring quickly and you can clearly see their pattern by six weeks.

5. Australian Cattle Dogs have many aliases.

These dogs are also known as Blue Heelers, Red Heelers, Queensland Heelers, and Australian Heelers. The name Heeler comes from the fact that they nibble on the heels of cattle, hence “heeler”. Other names refer to the color of the coat and the region they come from. Whatever you call them, they are beautiful!

6. Prostitutes are bred specifically to work with cattle

The name “whore” comes from the work of herding the cattle that bite their heels. Because cattle are meaner and much larger than sheep, it takes a special breed of dog to earn their attention and respect.

Look at this resistance!

7. Heelers were inducted into the AKC in 1980

Man standing on skis petting a dog, Snowy Mountains, New South Wales, circa 1930.

Although the breed standard was established in Australia in 1903 and has been “pure” since 1893, it was only relatively recently, in 1980, that it became part of the American Kennel Club. (The United Kennel Club recognized him later, in 1985). The breed transitioned from the working group to the herding group.

8. The Guinness World Record for the oldest dog is held by a prostitute

Blue Dog.jpg

Public domain, Wikimedia

Typically, these medium-sized dogs live between 12 and 15 years. However, they can live much longer! After 20 years of breeding, Bluey, who lived with Les Hall in Rochester, Victoria, Australia, retired and lived for almost another decade. His record life was 29 years and 5 months. Great.

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Health and Welfare of the Breed

Because Australian Cattle Dogs were crossbred, they inherited some potential health issues, most notably deafness. According to the American Kennel Club, breeders should watch out for progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), which leads to blindness and hip dysplasia. Make sure his ears are free of wax and brush his teeth regularly.

breed temperament

The Australian Cattle Dog is fiercely loyal to its human, loves to herd animals and is good with young children (but not too small as they like to snuggle up to each other while biting their heels). They have lots of energy and love to play and run. Although fiercely loyal to their family, they can be somewhat suspicious of strangers.

Who is the best person for Australian Shepherds?

If he enjoys outdoor exercise, an Aussie Cattle Dog could make a great canine companion as he needs plenty of exercise (two to three hours a day). A walk around the block won’t do the trick, but if you enjoy a morning jog, an ACD will likely want to keep you company.

Alternatively, if you live with farm animals, you will be hard pressed to find a dog better suited to herding work. You will work hard for hours, eliminating the need for additional exercise. If you don’t have a herd that needs attention but have a large yard, an Australian Cattle Dog would love to roam around and explore the grounds.

Remember these are intelligent dogs that need to be stimulated. Don’t expect them to be entertaining all the time. If you are excited about the opportunity to exercise and play with a dog, an Australian Cattle Dog could be the perfect option.

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