Australian Cattle Dog (aka ACD, Blue Heeler, Queensland Heeler)


Matchmaker, Matchmaker

Breed Overview

Size:   Medium
Grooming:   Low Maintenance
Exercise:     Very Demanding
Environment:   Preferably access to space to run and herd
Temperament:  Wary of strangers, friendly with acquaintances.  High alert and active.
Life Expectancy:  12-15 yrs.

Interesting fact:  According to the AKC, "In the 1800s, Australians began crossing Dingo-blue merle Collies to Dalmatians and Black and Tan Kelpies.  The result was an excellent working dog identical in type and build to the Dingo but with a thicker set and peculiar markings.  Known originally as the Blue or Australian Heeler, the ACD has played a huge role in to the Australian beef industry, enabling farmers to maintain huge herds."

Appearance:  The Cattle Dog is a compact little dog, slightly longer than tall, standing at a shoulder height of 17"-20" and has a short, weather-resistant coat.  The ACD has prick ears when alert, oval eyes, and a black nose.  Coat colors include red speckled, blue, blue merle and others.  Black markings are not desired for show dogs.  

Personality:  Cattle Dogs tend to be "one person" dogs.  In general they are rather independent and not demanding of affection.  They will sit near their persons rather than on them.  They are loving companions and enjoy praise and positive leadership.  They are also great protectors of their home.  Like Aussies and Border Collies, other popular herding breeds, the Cattle Dog needs lots of action — running and roaming are among their favorite activities.  Cattle Dogs are often seen in agility and playing frisbee at the dog park. 

Health:  Hip dysplasia is a breed concern and some merle dogs are partially or completely deaf. 

Best Match:  If you're attracted to the breed for its compact size or looks, beware:  this is a working dog.  Alert, active, and hardworking, the Cattle Dog needs a job.  Traditionally, Cattle Dogs herd cattle with quiet determination through harsh conditions over long distances.  When kept as a pet this must be substituted with equivalent stimulation, both mental and physical.  Their exceptional stamina makes for a great running, jogging and hiking partner for the active Pacific Northwesterner.  Best fit are active, sporty people, hunters, or cattle breeders.



Featured Adoptable:  Handsome Sidney has come a long way from the insecure, defensive youngster he was when rescued two years ago.  His temperament is typical cattle dog:  reserved when meeting a stranger, but quickly warming up with a treat and a ball toss — and he never forgets a friend.  Sidney needs an active home with a secure yard, with a confident, consistent owner who practices positive training.  He will thrive in herding, agility or tracking, and his brilliant mind that should be exercised as much as his physical self.  A family with children 6 or older will be best — it’s hard for cattle dogs to resist herding little ones.  Sidney’s rescue urges anyone considering adopting this breed thoroughly research it.  To learn more or to meet this beautiful, brilliant athlete, contact