Originating from Australia, the Australian Cattle Dog, also known as an Australian Heeler, was bred to manage cattle, hence the breed's name. Originally called Hall's Heelers, these dogs were developed by a cattleman named Thomas Hall in 1840 from crossing blue smooth-coated Collies with the feral Australian Dingo to produce a breed that could withstand the harsh and hot conditions of Australia. It is believed that ancestors of the Bull Terrier and Dalmatian were incorporated into the lineage during the breed's history to improve their endurance and protectiveness, although it is uncertain when. Hall's Heelers were bred to black and tan Australian Kelpies, another native Australian herding breed, which resulted in the four different varieties of today's Australian Cattle Dog: blue-ticked, red-ticked, stumpy-tailed red, and stumpy-tailed black. The breed is also referred to as Blue Heelers or Red Heelers, depending on the color of the coat.
The strong, compact, well-built body of the Australian Cattle Dog attests to their ability as a hard-working herding dog. While having a similar appearance to the Australian Dingo, they have a more thickset body with unusual markings. Their moderate build gives them the ability to deal with unruly cattle by having high endurance, speed, and agility. The blue or red water-resistant coat of the Australian Cattle Dog has a short and dense undercoat just beneath a short, straight, smooth, and dirt-resistant topcoat. They have oval-shaped eyes, moderately-sized pricked ears, and a medium-length muzzle with a black nose. The breed's tail hangs at a slight curve when relaxed or raised during movement or excitement.
The Australian Cattle Dog is the hard worker of the dog world. They are always ready and able to get the job done, whatever it may be. They have the benefit of their physical strength, agility, and independence to be efficient at what they do, while also being vigilant and reliable. These strong-willed dogs are very intelligent and can be stubborn if they do not have a calm and firm owner to teach them the rules of the house. Proper obedience training is needed to curb the nipping and biting that these dogs tend to do because of their natural instinct to herd. Due to the nipping, the breed does better with older children and other pets should be supervised until you know how your dog behaves in different situations. Australian Cattle Dogs were bred to work long hours out in the field and require a regular job or activity to keep them busy and out of trouble, making them great as a running or hiking partner. Finding an activity that you and your dog enjoy will help them satisfy their mental and physical needs. Even though Australian Cattle Dogs are hard-working and determined, they are also easygoing, friendly, and just as dedicated to their family as they are in their work.