The Australian Cattle Dog, a breed also known as the Queensland Heeler, Blue Heeler, and Red Heeler, is a breed developed in Australia for, as the name implies, managing cattle. The Australian Cattle Dog tends to be muscular, athletic and stable in appearance. The reason it’s sometimes called Blue or Red Heeler is due to it’s abnormal colouring, which can vary between light blue and light red. As puppies the colours are bright and vivid, but as they mature the colours darken and eventually they look like “normal dogs”.
The exact origin of this breed is unknown, but they seem to have been an existing breed as early as 1897. Everything started when Smithfields were used in Australia for cattle management, but they were noisy and harsh, so they were bred with the Dingo, a wild dog still existent in this country. The breed was however not perfect and it has since then been manipulated much until the Australian Cattle Dog arose. They have been bred with including bull terriers, Australian Kelpies, Scottish Highland collies, Dalmatians, and probably a good deal of other breeds as well. The Australian Cattle Dog easily becomes frustrated while training, and has been a challenging breed to train for many. It’s definitely not a good choice for new dog owners or people without much time and movement. They are however intelligent, easy to teach and they thrive on new experience. They’re both loyal and independent, handling their tasks well. Australian Cattle Dogs are also expert Frisbee catchers, and with just a little training they can master this activity and enjoy it for a full lifetime. They are also commonly used in competition, and for many other simple tasks.
The most common health issues for this breed are spondylosis, elbow dysplasia, arthritis, pyometra, infertility, false pregnancy and blindness. The average lifespan is 11-12 years. There is a record of an Australian Cattle Dog named Bluey who lived over 29 years, but this is highly uncommon. Australian Cattle Dogs need a high level of physical activity to remain healthy. They also need mental stimulants, and can even solve complex puzzles easily. If the Australian Cattle Dog is not kept occupied enough they may take on other mischievous deeds instead, so a lot of attention is required. They can be aggressive towards species, dogs and protective of both territory and master. He may also sometimes try to gather children and visitors into groups by nipping and biting at the heels, all due to its ancient herding instincts.