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Australian Cattle Dog/Blue Heeler

Overview

Originating in Australia during the 19th century, the Australian Cattle Dog was bred for endurance, herding abilities, and toughness. Often referred to as Blue Heeler, Red Heeler, and Queensland Heeler, this breed is considered to be one of the three most popular dog breeds in Australia.

Character

The Australian Cattle Dog is compact, strong, alert, and agile. This breed is trustworthy, courageous, and is exceedingly devoted to the duties they are given. A member of the working and herding group, the Australian Cattle Dog is a combination of substance, balance, power, and hard muscular condition.

Temperament

An extremely intelligent, loyal, and affectionate breed, the Australian Cattle Dog is protective of their family, home, and territory. They thrive on human interaction and activity but are easily bored which can lead to serious behavior issues. This breed is generally not good with children they have not been raised with. They are typically suspicious of strangers and may be aggressive to dogs they do not know. They do not get along well with other household pets or cats. This breed will attempt to herd and nip at the heels of anything and everything that moves. The Australian Cattle Dog has a high level of dominance and is not recommended for the novice, sedentary, or apathetic dog owner.

Care

The Australian Cattle Dog needs weekly brushing with a firm bristle brush. Extra attention should be given to the coat during seasonal shedding. Bathing should only be done when absolutely necessary using a mild shampoo. This breed is prone to such health issues as PRA, deafness, and hip dysplasia.

Coat

The Australian Cattle Dog has a weather resistant double coat. The outer coat is flat, hard, straight, and close. The under coat is dense and short. The color of the coat comes in blue, red speckle, blue speckle, or blue-mottled. The blue coat has markings of black, blue, or tan. Puppies are born white. However, adult coat color is visible in the pads of the paws. This breed is a seasonal shedder.

Training

Early intense socialization and obedience are crucial for the Australian Cattle Dog. This breed is extremely obedient. Australian Cattle Dogs do not respond to harsh or heavy-handed methods. Training must be done with firmness, fairness, praise, consistency, and patience. They are very talented in such areas as herding, agility, retrieving, guarding, competitive obedience, and in learning tricks.

Activity

The Australian Cattle Dog has an inordinate amount of stamina and requires a great deal of exercise. This breed will become destructive if not sufficiently stimulated. They are not recommended for apartment or city dwelling but do best in a rural setting or in a home with a large securely fenced yard.