The Australian Cattle Dog Breeders in Australia in the early 1800's. This breed can trace its heritage back to being a direct descendant of four specific breeds: the Dingo, the Blue Merle Highland Collie, the Dalmatian and the Black and Tan Kelpie. It originally herded cattle in the rough outback of Australia. Here it developed not only its nutritional requirements but its legendary stamina and endurance.
The Australian Cattle Dog is a poor choice for young children and apartment living. She is a very dominant dog who needs hours of physical exercise a day and loves to chew. She can become very destructive if she gets bored. She was bred to herd cattle and may try to herd other pets, dogs and even the children in the household if given a chance. They can also be a bit nippy with kids or when annoyed. There are always exceptions to the rule and these characteristics of the breed are generalizations. She basically needs a large safe enclosure or a farm for exercise.
|Australian Cattle Dog|
The Australian Cattle Dog is considered a one or two person dog and is suspicious of strangers. They can be very aggressive with other dogs partly because of dominance issues. Some of these dogs have their tails cropped, especially if they are to work with swine.
The Australian Cattle Dog was developed in Australia around 1830 by stockmen needing a sturdy dog that could work hard and stand the rigors of an extreme environment. There is controversy as to which dogs actually make up the base stock of this breed. The Dingo (native wild dog to Australia), the Dalmatian, the Australian Kelpie, the Bull Terrier, the Blue Italian Greyhound, the Rough Haired Scotch Collie, the Blue Merle Collie, the Old English Sheepdog, and the Smithfield are some of the dogs that probably make up this breed.
|Australian Cattle Dog|
As with dogs from other working breeds, Australian Cattle Dogs have a good deal of energy, a quick intelligence, and an independent streak. They respond well to structured training. They are not aggressive, but form a strong attachment with their owner and can be very protective of them and their possessions. They are easy to groom and maintain. The most common health problems are deafness and progressive blindness (both hereditary conditions) and accidental injury; otherwise, they are a robust breed with a lifespan of 12 to 14 years. Australian Cattle Dogs participate in a range of activities, from obedience, agility and herding competitions, to participating with their owners in hiking, flying disc, and endurance events, and working as therapy or assistance dogs.
Native food supplies for this breed would have been those found in the Australian outback (a high desert environment) and would have included ground vegetables, wheat, oats and meats from beef, rabbit, and kangaroo. A special note concerning the meats; all the meats from this area have
a very low fat to muscle ratio.
|Australian Cattle Dog Puppies|
The Australian Cattle Dog is one of the dog breeds affected by progressive retinal atrophy. They have the most common form, Progressive Rod/Cone Degeneration (PRCD), which causes the rods and cones in the retina of the eye to deteriorate later in life, and the dog becomes blind. PRCD is an autosomal recessive trait and a dog can be a carrier of the affected gene without developing the condition. The gene mutation has been mapped to canine chromosome 9 and the mutation can be identified, if present, through DNA testing. It is thought that the incidence of carrier dogs could be as high as 50%.
Australian Cattle Dogs demand a high level of physical activity. Like many other herding dog breeds, they have active and fertile minds and if they are not given jobs to do they will find their own activities which might not please the owner. They will appreciate a walk around the neighbourhood, but they also need structured activities that engage and challenge them, and regular interaction with their owner. While individual dogs have their own personalities and abilities, as a breed Australian Cattle Dogs are suited to any activity that calls for athleticism, intelligence, and endurance.
Approximate Adult Size. The Australian Cattle Dog male can be 18 to 20 inches at the withers (highest point of the shoulder) and the female can range from 17 to 19 inches at the withers. Either sex can range in weight from 30 to 50 pounds.
|Australian Cattle Dog Puppies|
Australian Cattle Dog Special Health Considerations. The Australian Cattle Dog is relatively healthy but there are a some serious genetic problems to be concerned about. Canine hip dysplasia (genetic based looseness in the hip joint that can lead to arthritis pain and lameness) is a serious one. Some have deafness problems and others can be prone to juvenile cataracts or progressive retinal atrophy. There are also hypothyroidism (sluggish thyroid gland which can result in weight), glaucoma, skin lesions, liver abnormalities and osteochondritis.
Australian Cattle Dog Grooming. The Australian Cattle Dog has a short coat that sheds seasonally. Baths should be infrequent and firm bristle brushing is needed weekly or so. Her teeth should be brushed at least twice a week with toothpaste and toothbrush designed for dogs. Brushing removes the accumulation of plaque and tartar which can cause cavities (rarely) and periodontal disease. Dog periodontal disease can lead to pain, loss of teeth, bad breath and other serious disease.