Photo by Nicolernorman

Australian Cattle Dog - Breed Profile:

Origin: Australia
Colors: Blue merle or red speckle
Size: Medium
Type of Owner: Experienced
Exercise: Regular
Grooming: Very little
Trainability: Very easy to train
Combativeness: May be aggressive to dogs of the same sex
Dominance: High
Noise: Not a barker

Physical characteristics

The Australian Cattle Dog, also known as the Blue Heeler, is a compact working dog with a well-muscled yet agile body which is slightly longer than tall. The chest is deep with well-spring ribs. The topline is level. Viewed from the front, the forelegs are perfectly straight. The croup is rather long and sloping with broad and well-developed thighs. The head is broad and slightly rounded, with a slight, but definite stop. The nose is black. The erect ears are widely set, broad at the base and moderately pointed. The oval eyes are dark brown (sometimes blue), neither prominent nor sunken. The teeth meet in a scissor bite. The lips are tight and clean. The tail is set moderately low. At rest, it forms a very slight curve. This breed is capable of quick and sudden movements.
ACDs weigh 40 to 65 pounds, and their height is 17 to 20 inches. Females tend to be smaller.


Due to its working and herding nature, ACDs should not be treated like a "backyard" dog. This is one of the most intelligent breeds, so proper mental and physical work are a must. If an ACD is bored, it can result in serious behavioural problems. Make sure to be a good pack leader so that the dog can respect you. Firm training is vital. A well-balanced ACD is loyal, protective, and alert. It is difficult to find a more brave and trustworthy companion! Affectionate and playful. Naturally suspicious of strangers, which makes them perfect guard dogs.

Coat and grooming

The double coat is smooth and weather-resistant. It consists of a short dense undercoat and a short, straight outer coat. Occasional baths and brushing should be fine.
ACDs come in blue merle or red speckle. In the blue merle dogs, the colour should be blue, blue-mottled or blue speckled with or without other markings. In the red speckle dogs, the colour should be of good even red speckle all over, including the undercoat, (neither white nor cream), with or without darker red markings on the head.


Australian Cattle Dogs are generally quite hardy, but they do have some medical conditions such as hip dysplasia, PRA and deafness (linked to the blue merle gene).
The lifespan is 12 to 15 years.

Other interesting facts

Puppies are born white (inherited from early Dalmatian crosses), but the adult colour can be seen in the paw pads.