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Blue Heeler (Australian Cattle Dog)
If there were a group of herding dogs and one of them pulled a practical joke, it would likely be the Australian Cattle Dog trying to get one over on the Collie!  By nature the ACD is a prankster, quick and agile with an independent streak and level of confidence not often seen elsewhere in the Herding group.  They don't seem to possess the sense of composure of the German Shepherd Dog or other Herding dogs noted for their general working ability.  Nevertheless, the ACD is a fabulous companion, life is always interesting and perhaps, occasionally, more challenging with one around.  Good handling, training and foundation socializing will make the difference between a dog that is a hazard or nuisance or one that everyone will wish they had!
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General Information
Group(s): Herding Height: 17-20 inches
Weight: 38-55 pounds Longevity: midteens
Colors: blue due to mottling, speckling and/or roaning of black and white hairs, tan markings acceptable or red roaning without any cream or red Coat type: smooth, flat
Recognized Registries: AKC, FCI, UKC, NCA
Overall Appearance: Compact and muscular body type with prick ears and plucky attitude underscore everything that is the Australian Cattle Dog. Appealing and athletic the breed is popular with many people who want a smaller dog but not an ideal choice if that is the goal.
Personaility - Behavior - Training
Energy Level: high
General Nature: happy, cocky, doesn't take much guff off anyone
  with Children: can be good but must be closely supervised as they are not inclined to be tolerant of rude or stupid behavior
  with other pets: can be good but supervision should be mandatory with animals that might initiate a herding/hunting drive
  with dogs: generally good with other dogs of a similarly confident bend
Socialization requirements: very high
Ideal home characteristics: Demands a home that is highly interactive, committed to socializing and ongoing activities with this dog. The ACD does not tolerate boredom well. They are too creative and intelligent and boredom will lead to a variety of problems.
Temperament Notes: Jaunty, cocky, athletic, powerful, fast, agile, tendency to get themselves into scrapes, fearless, loyal, devoted.
Training requirement: HIGH. Socialization, basic manners and some ongoing interest. Great for SAR, competitive herding, agility, flyball.
Trainer notes: Have you ever had a buddy that was a blast to be around when you were having a good time or at a party and a totally difficult personality when things were slower paced or even boring? Welcome to the ACD.  If you want to see them at their best, give them an active life, the more fast paced the better. They WILL keep up with you.  Give them minimal interaction, long days home alone and no mental stimulation (in the form of ongoing training, etc.) and you will have one very difficult dog on your hands that makes his job into something that seems alot like outsmarting you. Whether getting out of fences, barking continuously, chasing other pets, destroying belongings, etc. the ACD won't let the party be gone for long even if it makes you think they are some sort of self indulged Rock Star.  Take time with this dog and they will be a marvel (and still outhink you alot of the time).
Background Information
Year range of first recognition: mid 1800s
Country of Origin: Australia
Original Function: Herding
History: Herding needs in the Australian outback were too harsh for existing herding breeds, so a drover developed the ACD from the local dingos and Scotch Highland Collies.
Adoption Information
Deviations from Standard:
Health Notes: luxating patellas, hip dysplasia, eye problems
Health Testing: CERF, OFA
Questions to ask Breeder:  - The Breeder Questions as listed here provided with explanations and answers you will want to be looking for!

  • How long have you had ACD?
  • Do you own both the sire and dam of this litter (preferably not since the odds are that the complementary match for any female would be owned by someone else)?
  • What qualities do you seek in your breeding stock?
  • What titles do you seek in your breeding stock?
  • What health issues have you seen in the breed?
  • What health clearances do you get on your breeding stock?
  • How did the dam and sire of this litter complement each other?
  • Do you plan to keep a puppy from this litter (this should be yes, otherwise they were just breeding to sell the pups)?
  • What do you consider the ideal Australian Cattle Dog temperament?
  • What would you consider an ideal Australian Cattle Dog home?
  • At what age are the pups allowed to go to their homes?
  • What suggestions for training, housetraining, rearing and socializing do you offer your new homes?
  • Do you have a written contract and puppy guarantee?


Web Sites: - Exceptional Resource for Australian Cattle Dogs in Need of Help in Tennessee National ACD Rescue please see notes below prior to working with them

Other Resources
Breed standard: Standard of the Australian Cattle Dog as per the ACD Club of America

Breeder Ethics: - Breeders' Code of Ethics with the Australian Cattle Dog Club of America

Other: The Australian Cattle Dog Club of America rescue is strangely restrictive and inflexible to the needs of the homeless dogs of their breed.  DigitalDog recommends that those parties interested in adopting a wonderful ACD in need of a home to visit, or to do a search on their favorite search engine for Australian Cattle Dog Rescue "Your State" for more resources.
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