The Australian Cattle Dog is a medium-sized, short-coated dog that occurs in two main color forms.Australian Cattle Dog is energetic and intelligent with an independent streak. It responds well to structured training, particularly if it is interesting and challenging.
It was originally bred to herd by biting, and is known to nip running children. It forms a strong attachment to its owners, and can be protective of them and their possessions. It is easy to groom and maintain, requiring little more than brushing during the shedding period.
In the 19th century, New South Wales cattle farmer Thomas Hall crossed the dogs used by drovers in his parents’ home county, Northumberland, with dingoes he had tamed. The resulting dogs were known as Halls Heelers.
After Hall’s death in 1870, the dogs became available beyond the Hall family and their associates. They were subsequently developed into two modern breeds: the Australian Cattle Dog and the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog. Robert Kaleski, who wrote the first standard for the breed, was influential in its development.
There are two accepted coatcolors, red and blue, though chocolate and cream do occur. Blue dogs can be blue, blue mottled, or blue speckled with or without black, tan, or white markings. Red dogs are evenly speckled with solid red markings.
Both red dogs and blue dogs are born white (except for any solid-colored body or face markings) and the red or black hairs grow in as they mature. The distinctive adult coloration is the result of black or red hairs closely interspersed through a predominantly white coat.
This is not merlecoloration (a speckled effect that has associated health issues), but rather the result of the ticking gene. A number of breeds show ticking, which is the presence of colour through white areas, though the overall effect depends on other genes that will modify the size, shape and density of the ticking.
The Australian Cattle Dog is protective of what he considers his territory, and he’ll defend it. He’s also reserved (not necessarily unfriendly) with strangers. But he’s devoted to his owner and family. Once he bonds, he likes to go wherever his owner goes; in fact, punishment to the Australian Cattle Dog is physical separation from those he loves.