The Australian Cattle Dog is just as its name implies; and it is a herding dog that the Australian beef industry could never do without. Bred over a couple of centuries with native dingoes and other cattle dog breeds, all the necessary traits that help manage large herds successfully emerged in the Australian Cattle Dog. Working with others, this breed has the innate ability to expertly command large groups of animals with amazing precision. Without the dingo in their bloodline, the breed would never have the amazing stamina it needs for herding in the harsh terrains and climates of Australia.
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The Australian Cattle Dog is also known as the Heeler, Blue Heeler or Queensland Heeler. This is because the working cattle dog moves a herd by nipping at its hooves and heels. For those not in the cattle business, heel nipping can be a frustrating trait, especially for owners who do not understand that this just the nature of the Australian Cattle Dog. The matter can be handled safely and effectively with a little training. Many owners note that the characteristic never really goes away. The urge to herd is so innate that an Australian Cattle Dog that has never even been around cattle will herd anything it can, be it children or other household pets. However, the nipping is usually light and playful or is used as a welcome home greeting after a long day apart.
Many mistake the Australian Cattle Dog for the Australian Shepherd. While no one can say for sure what their true bloodline is, it is known that the Australian Cattle Dog is a mixture of Australian Kelpie, Smooth Haired Scotch Merle Collies, Rough Haired Scotch Collies, Bull Terrier, the Dalmatian and Blue Italian Greyhound. While that is certainly a lot of different breeds to keep track of, the result is one of the most revered herding breeds of the dog world. Many owners note the unique personality traits that come with their Australian Cattle Dog. This breed of cattle dog is one that bonds quite strongly with its owner.
Thanks to all the different bloodlines, Australian Cattle Dogs have a wide array of unique characteristics, from beginning to end. For example, Australian Cattle Dog pups are born completely white. It is believed this may come from the Dalmatian in their bloodline, another breed whose pups are also born totally white. It can take a number of weeks but eventually their red or blue coat coloring will emerge. The breed also tends to stay active up until their later years. A legendary Australian Cattle Dog named Bluey purchased in 1910 worked herds for an amazing 20 years. He was finally laid to rest in 1939.
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