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Australian Cattle Dog


Australian Cattle Dog - Spud


General Description:

Australian Cattle Dogs are tough, intelligent working dogs with strength and endurance beyond most dogs their size. They were originally bred to heel and bite cattle in the rugged Australian Outback and have the forceful personalities necessary to do so. However, with the proper training and commitment the ACD can be a wonderful companion.



17-20inches 35-45 pounds.



Red or blue.


Energy Level:

Very high.


Life expectancy:

10-13 years.



Not innately good with children but can be if socialized and trained properly. Left unsupervised with kids these dogs can get into trouble due to their natural instincts. Children's impulsive, quick movements and shrill sounds can ignite the herding instinct and can bring out the prey drive in them. Must be trained not to herd and nip children. Young dogs can be too exuberant and energetic for children under 6. Children need to be dog savvy and responsive to instructions by parents on proper behavior around a high energy, movement oriented herding breed.


Other animals:

Many cattle dogs get along fine with other dogs, especially those of their own size and energy level. However, as a rule they can be more dog aggressive than other breeds and may do best as the "only" dog or with dogs of the opposite sex. Many actually prefer to be only dogs as they are people dogs, not dog dogs. Many have high prey drive and are not good around cats or other small animals unless raised with them.



Energetic, athletic. Most like to play ball or Frisbee, go for hikes. Intelligent and trainable, many excel at herding, obedience and agility.



Minimal grooming required. They do have an undercoat and shed quite a bit once or twice year when they blow their coats. Need brushing during shedding season.



Known inherited diseases include hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy (causing blindness), and deafness.


Best with:

Require experienced and confident dog owners who understand how to be leaders. ACDs need a fenced yard or another way to be confined when not supervised. Early socialization and obedience training a must.


Not for:

Those who don't appreciate self-thinkers. These intelligent dogs can be challenging to live with. The are not appropriate for small children unless raised and socialized with them. They are not usually appropriate for apartment-dwellers as they require heavy daily exercise. A walk around the block won't do - they need to run.



ACDs are intelligent and trainable with positive methods. They have a loyal and protective nature. They form strong bonds and love to be with their people. Known as "velcro" dogs, they prefer to be wherever you are. Health is generally good and they are often long-lived.



ACDs need lots of exercise. Stimulated by motion, they often have a high prey drive and may chase kids, cats, wildlife, bikes or cars, anything that moves. They require mental stimulation and daily activities. If you don't give them something to do, they will create their own diversions, often something you don't want them to do. Their high intelligence can make them challenging to live with. ACDs can be possessive of yard and family, and may bite strangers if not properly trained and supervised. They absolutely need to be part of the family and can't be relegated to the backyard. ACDs are demanding dogs that require lots of attention and can't be ignored.


Further Information:
Breed Details

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