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Home > Dogs > Dog Breeds > Australian Cattle Dog Breed: Pictures, Info, Care Guide & Traits

Australian Cattle Dog Breed: Pictures, Info, Care Guide & Traits

Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dogs are one of the most beautiful and intelligent breeds today. After being mixed with dingoes, collies, and Dalmatians, this breed has a unique body type, coat, and skills that make it perfect for hurting animals in the Outback.

Today, the dog is found all around the globe because of its playful and intelligent nature. However, many homes will not be suitable for an Australian Cattle Dog. For example, homes with other animals, especially cats, would do best without an Australian Cattle Dog.

Breed Overview


17 – 20 inches


30 – 50 pounds


12 – 15 years


Blue or red speckle

Suitable for:

Active families, country homes, homes without other pets


Alert, curious, pleasant, independent

Cat owners aren’t the only people who should avoid getting an Australian Cattle Dog. Many other homes are not suitable for this lively and energetic breed. To find out whether or not Australian Cattle Dogs are right for you, keep reading.

In this guide, we are going to go over everything you need to know about Australian Cattle Dogs before buying the breed. This includes their puppy price, grooming, health, temperament, and more. Let’s sniff out whether this breed is perfect for your home.

Australian Cattle Dogs Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Australian Cattle Dog Puppies

Cute Australian cattle dog puppy walks on a Sunny day
Image Credit: Lilya Fadeeva, Shutterstock

Australian Cattle Dogs are moderately priced when selected from breeders. Their litter size is typically between 1 to 7 puppies, but most mothers have 5. Most likely, you will need to go to a breeder in order to find an Australian Cattle Dog puppy, though you technically can find one at an animal shelter. Just remember there’s no guarantee in getting your Australian Cattle Dog at a shelter because it might not be so easy.

Once you have your puppy, you’ll also need to get your dog spayed or neutered, take them in for regular veterinarian care, and buy the doggy essentials, such as a collar, leash, crate, food, and anything else you need for a new dog. Keep reading the Australian Cattle dog’s full care guide to know what type of food, exercise, and grooming care they need.


Temperament & Intelligence of the Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dogs are considered a great breed because they are generally friendly and highly intelligent. Although they may be a bit standoffish to strangers, they love their family, including children. They are also highly intelligent, often grouped as being some of the most intelligent breeds. They even have the ability to self-train by observing others.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Yes. Australian Cattle Dogs are a great choice for families because they are playful, gentle, and alert around strangers. This makes them a great choice because they know how to play with children gently and will alert you in case something is wrong.

By nature, Australian Cattle Dogs are really playful. This makes them a perfect choice for children. Although all playtimes should be supervised by adults, you don’t have much to worry about with most Australian Cattle Dogs.

With that being said, Australian Cattle Dogs should only be selected if your children are already past the toddler stage. This breed has a natural inclination to herd. Because of this inclination, they can nip at young children in order to herd them. This won’t be as much of an issue as the children get older.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

Australian Cattle Dogs are not the best breed if you have many animals in your household already. Although this breed can be trained early on to get along with other animals, they are much more aggressive to other animals by inclination. They are especially prone to herding animals, which other animals will not like.

Australian Cattle Dogs are especially not good with smaller animals, such as cats or rabbits. They will try to catch and sometimes kill any animal they perceive as prey. Do not select this breed if you have smaller animals in your household already.

This breed isn’t great with other dogs either. Although they can be socialized to get along with most dogs, you may still have issues with the dog as it gets older.

Australian Cattle Dog
Image Credit: Best dog photo, Shutterstock


Things to Know When Owning an Australian Cattle Dog:

Australian Cattle Dogs are not difficult to take care of in terms of food, grooming, or health concerns. However, they require a whole lot of exercise and play, making them an unsuitable breed for city dwellers or inactive families.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Australian Cattle Dogs require high-quality food. It is best to feed them between 2.5 and 3 cups of food a day but separated into two meals. The exact amount you feed your Australian Cattle Dog will change as it grows older, changes its exercise habits, and experiences new phases of life.

It’s crucial to select a dog food that is high in nutrients and is incredibly healthy. Just like you, your dog is what it eats. Select dog food full of animal protein and fat. You want to shoot for as little carbs and fillers as possible.

Also, make sure to provide your Australian Cattle Dog ample amounts of water. Most should have around 40 ounces of water a day to stay hydrated. Of course, give your dog more water if it is particularly active or hot outside.

Australian Cattle Dog in front of Mormon Row in The Grand Teton National Park.
Image Credit: Ethan Stupka, Shutterstock

Exercise 🐕

Because Australian Cattle Dogs were bred for herding purposes, they need a whole lot of exercise and mental stimulation to be happy. In fact, this dog almost needs constant exercise, making them best for households in the country.

Just walking and Australian Cattle Dog once a day will not be enough exercise for this active breed. For this reason, Australian Cattle Dogs are not best suited for city or apartment living. Instead, Australian Cattle Dogs are best for country living or living in homes with large backyards.

Training 🎾

Australian Cattle Dogs are highly intelligent and energetic, but they can be difficult to train. They tend to be stubborn and reserved, meaning they can be much more difficult to train if you have never trained a dog before. You can help fight through their stubbornness with treats and other forms of positive reinforcement.

Even though it may be difficult to train your Australian Cattle Dog, it’s important to do it anyways. Early obedience training is necessary for this breed because they can develop bad habits from their herding background.

fun Australian Cattle Dog shepherd puppy
Image Credit: Best dog photo, Shutterstock

Grooming ✂️

Because Australian Cattle Dogs evolved to survive harsh Australian environments, they have a unique coat that requires very little grooming. You should brush their coat to maintain its appearance and health.

You don’t have to worry as much about shedding. Australian Cattle Dogs only shed once a year, meaning you don’t have to clean up excess hair as much. During the shedding season, you will need to brush their coat more frequently and potentially give them more baths.

Pay attention to the Australian Cattle Dog’s teeth, nails, and ears. If your dog is particularly active, the nails should stay trimmed on their own, but you may need to trim them more or less often depending on the dog’s activity levels.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Australian Cattle Dogs are considered generally healthy, but they are prone to health conditions just like any other breed.

Minor Conditions
  • Play injuries
  • Ear infections
Serious Conditions
  • Deafness
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • von Willebrand’s disease

Minor Conditions:

Australian Cattle Dogs can also experience minor conditions like any other dog. Commonly, it can experience injuries from play and ear infections. Paying attention to your dog’s ears, eyes, nails, and teeth can go a long way in preventing these conditions from occurring.

Serious Conditions:

As for serious health conditions, Australian Cattle Dogs can experience joint, eye, and ear issues. Deafness and progressive retinal atrophy are two serious conditions commonly found in this breed. Hip and elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand’s disease are also common.

Most of these conditions are brought on by old age, but hypothyroidism and von Willebrand’s disease can be tested for at a young age.

Male vs Female

The biggest difference between male and female Australian Cattle Dogs is their size. Females tend to be much shorter. Their personality is generally the same, and they both require high amounts of activity and exercise.


3 Little-Known Facts About the Australian Cattle Dogs

1. Australian Cattle Dogs are one of the most intelligent breeds.

No matter who you ask, Australian Cattle Dogs are actually one of the smartest breeds on the planet. Some people will actually rank them as the smartest breed available. Because they are so intelligent, they are capable of learning a lot of tricks and commands.

This breed is so intelligent, in fact, that they have the ability to self-train. This means that they can observe humans and other dogs in order to teach them skills new tricks and abilities. Australian Cattle Dogs are not the only breed able to do this. Labrador Retrievers, for example, also have this ability. Still, Australian Cattle Dogs are incredibly intelligent.

2. They are descended from dingoes.

Dingoes are dogs that are native to Australia. It wasn’t until the 1800s that Thomas Simpson Hall crossed Collies with Dingoes. This then created what he called “Hall’s Heelers.” Eventually, the dog was continually bred with a Dalmatian cross, creating the Australian Cattle Dog we know today.

The most obvious sign of the Dalmatian background in this breed is their spots. Not all Australian Cattle Dogs have markings, but many do. These markings are attributed to Dalmatians, whereas the dog’s anatomy is largely attributed to the Dingo.

3. All Australian Cattle Dog puppies are white.

Australian Cattle Dogs can either be blue or red speckled in adulthood. This causes them to have a beautiful coat that many people love. You probably even know an Australian Cattle Dog just by looking at its unique coat. Did you know that the puppies are actually all white?

At birth, all Australian Cattle Dogs are born white. It is believed that this fact comes from their Dalmatian background. It isn’t until they are six weeks old that the colors and patterns begin to show through their white coat.


Final Thoughts

Australian Cattle Dogs are a great breed if you have a lot of space for it to play. Their intelligent and alert nature also makes them great as guard dogs and dogs to have around on the farm. Still, this is not the best breed for everyone.

You should not select an Australian Cattle Dog if you have other animals in your home already. You should also opt for a different breed if you don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to training or exercise. City dwellers should especially avoid this breed.

So long as you have enough time and space to dedicate to an Australian Cattle Dog, you’ll be more than happy with this breed. Its intelligent and loyal nature makes it a favorite among many.

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Featured Image Credit: Madelein Wolfaardt, Shutterstock

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