Australian Cattle Dog

Description

Prominent markings set among a solid dark coat is the characteristic feature of the Australian Cattle Dog. In most types the mask features a patch of black or red over one or both eyes and a white strip split down the middle. The ears are medium-sized and stand straight and broad on the head. The double coat is short on most of the body, the exception the collar to the shoulders, which is longer and thicker. It has a speckled appearance on the collar, top torso, and part of the legs. The coat at the forequarters, hindquarters, and feet is usually a solid, lighter shade. The body is medium-sized and muscular at the neck and the hindquarters. A docked tail is witnessed in types in non-working environments.

Temperament

While highly trainable, the herding nature of the Australian Cattle Dog is difficult to suspend. Whether it is around family (especially young children), guests, or other family pets, it has the tendency to nip (slightly pinch) in attempt to herd. Repetitive training and keeping it busy every day with mental and physical activities may curtail this tendency. If it becomes inactive it may seek avenues of adventure that are generally destructive. Generally playful and lively, and eager to learn it can become a source of entertainment. Guarding property is another natural behavior of the Australian Cattle Dog.

Height and Weight

Height: 17-20 inchesWeight: 30-35 pounds

Health Problems

Hip Dysplasia and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) are the most common health conditions associated with the Australian Cattle Dog. Some types may become deaf.

Ideal Living Conditions

The Australian Cattle Dog appreciates social activities with its family, but likes to reside in outdoor settings, preferably in cooler climates. A home with a large yard that has plenty of room for the Australian Cattle Dog is most suitable.

Exercise

Cattle herding is a physically demanding task and the Australian Cattle Dog is up to the challenge. An Australian Cattle Dog that does not obtain sufficient exercise will generally become very discontent and destructive. It prefers long, exhausting physical activity either alone or with a family member.

Life Expectancy

Average of 11-14 years life expectancy

Litter Size

Average of 5 puppies

Grooming

The short coat of the Australian Cattle Dog requires only minimal brushing. A bath may be necessary to keep the coat clean and smooth. At least twice each year it will shed. More brushing is required during this time.

Origin

The Smithfield was the original herding dog of the Australians.

Group

Herding

Color

Distinct blue markings are characteristic of the Australian Cattle Dog, but some types do not have any markings. Some may have black instead of blue markings. Tan is an acceptable color, but only on the bottom half of the legs., the middle of the chest, and underneath the collar.