Australian Cattle Dog


A small to medium sized Australian Cattle Dog
Australian Cattle Dog Quick Summary
Also Known AsQueensland Heeler
Height (at withers)17-20in (43-51cm)
Weight30-35lbs (13-16kg)
Hair Colour(s)Varies
Lifespan12-15 years
Energy LevelMedium
Litter size1-7
Barking TendencyMedium
Exercise requirementsHigh
Ease of trainingHigh
Suitability for kidsMedium
Animal compatabilityMedium
Aggression levelsLow
Distress if left

The Australian Cattle Dog, also known as the Queensland Heeler, has a strong, athletic build complimented by an eager expression. The coat is close and smooth and comprises a waterproof overcoat and a denser undercoat. Colouring can vary and includes red, blue speckled or mottled, with black or tan markings on the head. There is often a face mask consisting of a patch over one or both eyes.


Australian Cattle Dogs are an intelligent and highly trainable breed. Bold, loyal and courageous, they make good companions and even travel companions, and enjoy a wide range of activities. They are confident and headstrong, meaning they need to be handled assertively and firmly and so are best suited to experienced dog owners. These dogs need to be kept occupied to remain attentive and compliant, otherwise they can get bored easily and this can lead to destructive behavior, and they need a lot of exercise. Having a suspicious personality, they are very wary of strangers and make good watchdogs. They get on with older, more considerate children, but can be aggressive and wary around other dogs and are not suitable around cats unless they have been raised with them from puppy-hood. Due to their inbred herding instincts they may try to gather children and visitors into groups by nipping at the heels and being vocal, espeically if they run.

History & Skills

As the name suggests, Australian Cattle Dogs originate from Australia and were developed in the 1800s to withstand the harsh terrain and hot climate of Queensland. The result of cross breeding Scottish Highland Collies with Dingos, and later with Dalmations, Bull Terriers and Australian Kelpies, again as the name suggests they were bred for herding cattle, often over long distances. Not only did they prove to be resilient and adaptable to changing weather conditions, they were capable of driving cattle effectively and without startling them by barking (usually by heel nipping). The breed has also been known as the Queensland Blue Heeler and the Australian Heeler. Today, they are recognised for their ability in herding trials, agility and competitive obedience. They are also adept at retrieving, guarding, and performing stunts or tricks - good all rounders.

Breed Specific Ailments

Australian Cattle Dogs tend to live between 12-15 years. There are a number of health problems commonly associated with this breed, including hip dysplasia, glaucoma, lens luxation, and deafness.


Australian Cattle Dogs require pretty low maintenance grooming, and the coat only needs brushing once a week with bathing only as needed. However, this breed sheds heavily twice a year, where the coat will require daily brushing to get rid of dead hair and keep it smooth and in good condition, and so may not be suitable for allergy sufferers.

Exercise & Environment

Australian Cattle Dogs require a generous amount of physical and mental activity. Daily walks are essential, and some form of mental training will keep them happy, as will giving them work to do, athough they are still at their happiest when given regular opportunities to herd. These are great outdoor dogs that like cool to moderate climates and space to roam, and are not suitable for small homes.


FCIFCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale
KCThe Kennel Club (UK)
AKCAKC - American Kennel Club

Breed Clubs

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Owners Gallery

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