BISS, Multiple BIS GCh. Agassiz's Wild Blu Yonder, HIC, CGN, VS (left) and Ch. Agassiz's I'm A Survivor, HIC (right)

       

Agassizís Quiet Riot of Catalyst, HIC, CGN, RA MCL 

Ch. Catalyst's Red Storm Rising, RPT, Group Winner and multiple Group Placer

Ch. Agassiz's Krystal Blu Persuasion, HIC, CGN, VS

The Breed

A few things to know before considering this breed.....


Around the mid 1800ís there were a few failed attempts to produce a cattle dog that was good at driving cattle in  Australia's outback.  A pair of "Smooth Coated Collies" were then imported from Scotland and then crossed with the native Dingo. This infusion gave the breed the reputation for working silently, behind the stock. Then between 1870 and 1880 the Dalmatian cross was introduced. This helped to calm the dogs while working around horses, but they still needed a dog to work all around the herd.  Some literature say that the a  Bull Terrier infusion was tried, resulting in the dogs being too stubborn.   In 1890 the final cross with the native Australian Kelpie produced what we see as the Australian Cattle Dog of today.  Robert Kaleski finalized the breed standard and in 1902 the Kennel Club of New South Wales adopted it.

A "true blue" Aussie, the Australian Cattle Dog's prime function is the movement and control of cattle in confined and wide, open spaces. The ACD being alert, extremely intelligent, watchful, courageous and trustworthy, made this breed a tribute to the ability of the many Australian stockmen who knew what they wanted in a cattle dog and with limited breeding stock at their disposal, set about producing it.  Many nicknames for the breed include "Blue Heeler", "Red Heeler" and "Queensland Heeler".  They have also been affectionately labeled as the "Velcro Dog".

While naturally suspicious of strangers, and still retaining the protective instincts and native cunning which made him such an invaluable guardian of the stockman and his herd, the Australian Cattle Dog nevertheless can make a good companion dog under the proper care and a good understanding for the breed.   Being a medium size breed and and an easy keeper for grooming, they are starting to become a popular breed....however, they are not the dog for everyone!  Adding a cattle dog as member of your family should not be taken lightly, as there are many important considerations.  

An Australian Cattle Dog is a cautious dog and when warranted can be protective. If something is out of the norm to this breed they will let you know, and until they are comfortable with the situation, an ACD may watch with a suspicious eye.  Still very much a working dog, even when living in suburbs, the ACD likes to feel useful and is never happier than when he has a job to do.  If you want your ACD to be a good "canine citizen", then socialization is extremely important. When working the farm an ACD has a job to do, being a social butterfly is not likely a part of the daily routine.

Although not usually an extremely hyper dog, long walks or hikes, plenty of room to exercise and channel their energy, plus an active lifestyle are definitely prerequisites for keeping this intuitive breed of dog at his happiest.   As young energetic dogs, the ACD does not make a good apartment dog.  

The ACD is also not without "quirks".  This breed was born and bred to use its mouth when working, so it is not uncommon for an ACD, especially young pups, to nip or "mouth" alot. Therefore,  it is not unusual to see the herding instinct emerge when there is alot of activity, like young children running around in the yard.  

Then there are the "teenage" years, generally 18-24 months, where your dog will test you to the limits.  The ACD is very keen and intuitive and can be easy to train.  However they can have a stubborn streak as well!   Once you get past those stages, you will generally have a great companion dog.   Unless under special circumstances, having your dog spayed or neutered is a must.

The Australian Cattle Dog is a medium size breed.   There are two main colours, blue and red. Variations to these colours include mottling or speckling.   The males standing 18" to 20" at the shoulder, the female slightly smaller. Average weight ranges from 40 to 55 lbs.  To read the official Canadian Kennel Club standard please click on this link - CKC ACD Standard