Blue Heeler dogs are good family dogs
The medium-sized dog has a sporty, compact stature, with the larger males reaching a maximum height at the withers of 51 cm. The erect ears sit on a broad skull. The Australian Cattle Dog has a thick undercoat. The short stick hair can be speckled blue or red and always has tan-colored markings. However, the puppies are born white-piebald, little by little more and more speckles are added. The harmonious overall appearance of the breed should radiate strength and dynamism.
The gallery of ancestors of the Australian Cattle Dog is as colorful as its appearance. Because this is made up of different dogs that colonized Australia with European immigrants. The dogs served the farmers as energetic drovers, who were also able to work with large herds of cattle and drive them across large stretches of the continent. Presumably the first of these cattle dogs looked similar to the ancestors of today's bobtail, but long coats proved to be detrimental in the Australian climate. Thomas Simpson Hall is considered to be the pioneer of Australian Cattle Dog breeding. In the first half of the 19th century he not only imported and successfully bred polled cattle from Great Britain, but also set up a dog breed. To do this, he crossed stippled working dogs, the so-called drover dogs, with tamed dingoes. The resulting "Hall's Heelers", as they were called, were very successful cattle dogs. After Hall's death, in turn, these dogs were crossed with other four-legged friends, including Australian kelpies - not least to achieve a more harmonious appearance, because the character of the "Heeler" already corresponded to the wishes of many farmers with large herds of cattle and a lot of work for hard-working four-legged friends . This is how the modern Australian Cattle Dog came about. The first breed standard appeared in 1903, in the further course there was a stronger separation of work and show lines.
Courage and perseverance characterize the Australian Cattle Dog as an excellent driving dog. But what about his suitability as a companion dog? The pretty powerhouse has a lot to offer for this as well: He is smart, docile and eager to work and is loyal to his pack. He is rather aloof towards strangers, quite a herding dog. The Australian can make an excellent watchdog and is a very good companion for sporting activities. However, he is definitely a four-legged friend with rough edges, in other words: a real head of character. Because as a driving dog he is used to working independently and tends to want to get his way. The hierarchy and its fixed place within it are very important for this dog. He likes to be subordinate to a fair pack leader and then scores with loyalty and great personal focus. It is possible for an Australian Cattle Dog to become very fixated on one person in the family that they feel a part of. In addition, males in particular can tend to show intolerance towards other dogs.
Education for free spirits
In addition to consistent behavior, a confident demeanor is also important for owners of this breed, because the Australian Catttle Dog literally smells insecurity and quickly takes advantage of this to question pack leadership - after all, he himself knows exactly where to go! So always appear calm and confident when working with your Australian. Consistency, not hardness, is the secret of success, because the animal free spirit is more likely to block if it is excessive hardness. In a good relationship, however, this dog wants to please his caregivers. The important thing is the dog's origin from a breeder, with whom the puppies have already got to know a lot, so that your animal family member does not upset anything as quickly as possible. Visit puppy play lessons and the dog school so that your little loner can get to know different dogs of other breeds and thus strengthen his social skills as a junior.
Also read our articles on puppy training!
With an Australian Cattle Dog you have numerous employment opportunities: Adult representatives of the breed are excellent companions on horseback or bicycle rides. They benefit from the fact that they hardly have any hunting instinct, but have a high following drive - ideal conditions for joint excursions. Many dog sports are fun for the Australian - try what works best for both of you. You can choose from among others agility, obedience, flyball, dog dancing or dog frisbee. When doing sporting activities, remember to train age-appropriate - that is, start more strenuous units with the adult dog - and always adapt the training to your four-legged friend without overwhelming him mentally or physically. The clever four-legged friends are also suitable for training as therapy or rescue dogs. And last but not least, they are of course still excellent herding dogs and cattle dogs who like to do their original duties on large plots.
Australian Cattle Dog Diet
You are definitely doing something good for your four-legged friend with a predator past with food that offers high-quality protein in the form of meat. Meat should be at the top of the list of ingredients and it is best not to include inferior grains at all. The manufacturer's information on the daily amount of feed is only a guideline, which you should adjust according to the constitution and activity of your animal family member. Some Australian Cattle Dogs are relatively hungry - so always keep the slim line of your four-legged friend in view and, if necessary, counteract it in good time by reducing the daily amount of calories. Zero diets make you sick at most. Beware of "side treats": It is best to eliminate them entirely or replace them with dry food from the daily weighed out ration. From time to time, give dry chews such as rumen or beef ears to give your dog the opportunity to chew extensively. Fresh water should be available for your darling at all times.
A healthy Australian Cattle Dog is very robust. However, there are dispositions for certain hereditary diseases in some lines, which are more likely to occur in these than the average dog. First of all, a serious breeder is the best protection against hereditary diseases. One issue to consider with this breed is possible deafness, which is related to the color expression: More than one in ten Australian Cattle Dogs is deaf in one or both ears. Therefore only buy from breeders who have audiometric hearing tests carried out! Large face masks and body patches also reduce the risk of numbness. The breed's eyes can also be compromised, such as from lens dislocation (PLL), in which the lens of the eye shifts into the anterior chamber of the eye. If left untreated, this can lead to cataracts and blindness in your four-legged friend. The disease can be ruled out via genetic testing. The diseases that can be inherited in the Australian Cattle Dog also include spondylosis and skeletal hyperostosis (DISH). In spondylosis, the hereditary component is not always present, but responsible breeders should be able to present appropriate X-rays of the parent animals with regard to hyperostosis, in which the bone substance increases. The breeder should also have tested the hips of the parent animals negative for hip dysplasia. A completely healthy Australian Cattle Dog can live to be 14 years and older.
Grooming an Australian Cattle Dog is straightforward: brush its coat once or twice a week to remove any loose hair. During the change of coat, more frequent brushing can be useful, but you will find dog hair everywhere in your four walls - the breed simply has quite a lot of hair. You should only bathe your four-legged friend in an emergency and then with a mild dog shampoo. It is usually sufficient to let dirt dry and then brush it out. Regularly check your eyes and ears, which you can clean with a special cleaner if necessary. Also keep an eye on the claws - if they are not worn enough, which can especially happen with older animals, you will have to use the claw scissors to tackle them. If you are unsure, you can have your veterinarian show you.
Requirements: house, yard - and heart!
With whom and where can an Australian Cattle Dog lead a completely happy dog life? One thing is clear: The active breed does not belong in a city apartment. This dog needs space to run around, long forays through nature and, best of all, a large piece of land on which it can watch and herd. The family connection is also important for the four-legged friend, who is very attached to their caregivers. In addition to the appropriate spatial requirements, dog lovers who want to move an Australian Cattle Dog into their home also need a lot of time every day for their new family member. After moving in, common walks and the exercise of the energetic dog are on the agenda every day and for many years - and only those who put their heart and soul into employment, upbringing and care will enjoy living with this active herding dog for years to come. Even responsible beginners who are willing to learn can keep a representative of the breed on this basis. Before you move in, think about taking care of your four-legged friend in the event of illness or vacation. Tip: Today, many hotels like to welcome well-behaved companions. You should also calculate the regular costs that you will incur in the form of animal-friendly nutrition, dog tax, liability insurance and visits to the vet.
Before your Australian Cattle Dog moves in, take care of the basic equipment so that it can feel right at home in its new home. This includes bowls for water and food as well as a harness or collar and leash - you may need a tow or flex leash in addition to the standard leash. In order to transport the dog safely, you should think about the best individual protection for car journeys in advance. Regardless of whether it is a transport box, transport grate or seat belt for furry passengers - the motto is: the main thing is safe! Make your new roommate comfortable with dog blankets and baskets and delight them with exciting toys, which are best exchanged from time to time to provide a change. Finally, prepare to take care of your four-legged friend: a brush and massage glove, a mild dog shampoo, claw scissors, ear and eye cleaner and tick tweezers are useful basic equipment for all-round clean coexistence - don't forget the lint brush!
A matter of trust buying a puppy
As already indicated, many details are important when breeding the Australian Cattle Dog: A breeder needs extensive knowledge of the breed in order to develop visually and characteristically suitable breeding goals against this background and to realize them with their own breeding animals. He spares neither time nor money to have the necessary examinations carried out, because the health of his protégés is of course important to him. In addition, the young dogs are extensively influenced by many things from everyday life at the breeder's first few weeks so that they can grow into relaxed and social representatives of their breed. A good breeder will not entrust his puppies to everyone for cash, but will inquire in detail about the new home of his juniors. Of course, young dogs from a reputable breeder also have a corresponding price, but under no circumstances should you save up and buy a puppy only from a breeder belonging to the association. However, membership in a club is not enough - when you visit a puppy, ask about health care and get an idea of the surroundings and the parent animals, which should make a healthy and open-minded impression on you.
We wish you always good adventures with your clever Australian Cattle Dog!
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