You don’t get more Australian than an Australian Cattle Dog. Often referred to as Red Heeler or Blue Heeler based on their colour, for those who have seen the movie Red Dog will know how beautiful and loyal these dogs are.

They’re an Australian icon, and this Australian Cattle Dog Breed Profile is here to fill you in on the history of the breed and whether they would suit you and your family as a pet.

Also known as

Australian Heeler; Blue Heeler; Red Heeler;

The Australian Stumpy Tale Cattle Dog can also be classified as an Australian Cattle Dog.

About the Australian Cattle Dog breed

Being iconic, the Australian Cattle Dog is one of the most popular dog’s in Australia. In the Outback you’ll find almost every dog owner has either a Blue Heeler or a Red Heeler. If they don’t, they’ll likely own the other popular working breed which is a Collie.

Australian Cattle Dogs somewhat represent a miniature German Shepherd, but their history lies with a number of ancestors. The breed evolved in the early to mid 20th century mostly from Collies and the Dingo, yet possibly with Kelpie and Dalmatian blood. You may be surprised at this last breed, but it is believed the Dalmation was the source of the speckles on Blue and Red Heelers.

As a staunch workhorse, Australian Cattle Dogs have proven to be excellent working dogs, originally used exclusively for cattle droving.

The latter half of the 20th century saw the Australian Cattle Dog gain popularity on the Australian dog show scene, and the general public began to take a keener interest. They have since become much loved family pets Australia-wide as well as being one of the most popular Australian working dogs.

Australian Cattle Dog temperament & lifestyle

With bounds of energy, dexterity, and keenness for both mental and physical stimulation, Australian Cattle Dogs make for excellent working dogs but also wonderfully loyal and enjoyable pets for active families. Owners of Blue and Red Heelers find the breed to remain active throughout their lifetime, and it’s likely two or three long walks a day will still leave your dog eager for more exercise.

If you put their energy levels aside, they’re a loyal, intelligent, loving, and non-aggressive dog who integrate well with people, children, and often other dogs.

Are Australian Cattle Dogs easy to train?

Yes, as one of the most intelligent and eager to learn breeds of dog you will find the Australian Cattle Dog to learn fast and learn well. They do however become very excitable when they’re young, so chose your training schedule wisely for optimum results.

Feeding & dietary requirements

As working dogs it would seem to make sense to feed one of the many Australian Working Dog brands of dog food. Although these offer a cheap feed, the reality is they are the opposite of what a highly active breed needs. The assumption with working dog foods is the dog will burn off a great deal of carbohydrates without suffering the negative consequences, and as such are made mostly from cereal and cereal by-products which are harsh on digestion and lead to all manner of illnesses in later years.

A more optimum diet for an Australian Cattle Dog is one rich in meat proteins, organs, and meaty bones, combined in part with foods which mimic the gut contents of prey.

For country folk it is often easy and relatively cheap to source whole prey ingredients, and for those in the cities we have a wide variety of commercial products including air-dried, freeze-dried, raw BARF patties, or even mail order dog dinners. These come at a price, and your energetic Heeler will chow through a fair amount, so feel free to mix with whatever quality meat products you can buy from the supermarket or local butcher.

Vital statistics

Height 20 in., bitches 19 in. 

Weight 15.5kg (35 lb.), bitches 14.5kg (32 lb.) 

Colour blue-speckled or red-speckled (these flecks show the Dalmatian blood, as do the black head patches). 

Coat short, head long and harsh, weather-resisting. Fairly narrow; ears set high and erect; back short ; legs fairly long with compact feet; tail long and carried low, although horizontal when the dog is excited.

Buying an Australian Cattle Dog puppy

How much do Australian Cattle Dog puppies cost?

You can pay as low as $300 for a Blue Heeler or Red Heeler in Australia. A top breeder may sell Blue Heelers for upwards of $1000, and the popularity of the movie Red Dog has led to an increase in price for Red Heelers which can be as much as $3000.

Where can I buy an Australian Cattle Dog puppy near me?

The best starting point for finding an Australian Cattle Dog puppy in Australia is to search the Australian Association of Pet Dog Breeders (AAPDB) Member List. Full members have had their premises audited by a registered veterinarian for compliance against the AAPDB Code of Ethics, which means they meet animal welfare standards.

Individual states have their own organisations in which breeders can become members.

Dog breeder organisations by Australian state:

How can I tell a good breeder?

A good breeder will be listed by one of the above organisations, but there are many ways to tell if they’re responsible or not.

Social media recommendations from other local dog owners can help point you in the right direction, but always take due diligence when buying a puppy.

A good breeder will always be happy to answer questions, allow for multiple viewings, and should not be pushy in any way. When picking up the puppy they should be willing for you to go to their premises, not ask to meet in a park or public place.

Good breeders will be proactive in asking you questions to ensure you will be a responsible dog owner, and will supply you with an information pack. Many will ask you to sign a contract to ensure the puppy is taken care of, or if they find out this is not the case they will have a legal right to reclaim the puppy.

Further information

If you have any further information on the Australian Cattle Dog dog then please comment below and we will add it to the Australian Cattle Dog breed profile. Thank you.

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