Breed Information Centre

Australian Cattle Dog


Illustration of Australian Cattle Dog

A medium-sized dog, greatly prized in his native Australia for his working ability, he is used for the control and movement of cattle in all environments. He is also known as the Australian Heeler, a name derived from the manner in which he manoeuvres cattle, crouching low behind them and nipping them on the heels. A dog of great stamina and endurance, he is wary of strangers, and protective of his herd and property. He requires plenty of exercise to keep him in hard muscular condition, is very alert, and has an implicit devotion to duty.

The breed was created from intensive and careful crossbreeding when it was found that imported herding dogs could not control tough cattle on long treks to market. Behind the Australian Cattle Dog are breeds such as the Dingo, the Kelpie, the Dalmatian and the Bull Terrier, but the breed has been purebred since the mid-1890s.

Breed Group
Vulnerable Native Breed
How much exercise?
More than 2 hours per day
Length of coat
How much grooming?
Once a week
Supposedly sheds? *
Town or Country
Type of home
Small House
Minimum Garden Size
Over 10 Years

* If you are asthmatic or have an allergy, you should consult your medical advisor before considering obtaining a dog. More information can also be found on the Kennel Club website.

The Pastoral Breed Group

The Pastoral Group consists of herding dogs that are associated with working cattle, sheep, reindeer and other cloven footed animals.

Usually this type of dog has a weatherproof double coat to protect it from the elements when working in severe conditions. Breeds such as the Collie family, Old English Sheepdogs and Samoyeds who have been herding reindeer for centuries are but a few included in this group.

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