The Australian Cattle Dog is known for agility, loyalty, and companionship. If you want excellent adventure time with a new fur buddy, these dogs are the way to go.

These dogs have several nicknames based on their job, coat color, and the region that they come from, such as the Queensland Heeler, Red Heeler, or Blue Heeler. Let us discover how these fur buddies may or may not fit into your busy lifestyle. 


Height18-29 inches
Weight31-35 lbs
Life span14-15 years
Exercise needs2 hours daily
TemperamentCautious, Energetic, Loyal, Brave
GroomingLow maintenance

Origin of the Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle Dog is a medium-sized dog breed that originated in Australia (obviously). They were developed because the breeds European settlers arrived with on the Australian continent were not fit enough for the harsh climates. The breeds crossed to create these dogs were the Donglo-blue Merle Collie, Dalmatians, and Black and Tan Kelpies. 

The Australian Cattle Dogs are a farmer’s best friend! They were bred as herding and guarding dogs, and they could drive livestock long distances under harsh and dusty conditions. Retrieving, agility, obedience, etc., are a few of their best traits.

In 1893, Robert Kalenski wrote a standard for this breed, and in 1903, the standard was fully accepted in Australia. The Australian Cattle Dog runs by several other names, such as the blue heeler, Australian Heeler, and Hall’s heeler. The term’ heeler’ comes from the fact that this breed snaps and bites the heels of cattle while herding.

Appearance of the Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle Dog is a heroic yet cuddly-looking dog. The appearance of this fur buddy goes:

1. Body Structure

These dogs have a compact, strong body with a straight back and deep chest, which provides them enough lung capacity for endurance. The legs of the Australian Cattle Dog are straight, strong, and pretty muscular, with well-arched toes, which help these fur buddies with their agility and movement. 

2. Coat Appearance

They have a short, dense double coat that helps them work in tough weather. However, their undercoat is soft and insulating. 

These fur buddies most commonly come in two shades: blue and red. Blue cattle dogs have a bluish-gray coat with black and white markings, while the red heelers have a reddish-brown coat with black and gray spots.

3. Head and facial features

The Australian Cattle Dog has a rounded skull, and their head is well-proportioned to its body. Their ears are triangular, medium-sized, and set far apart from each other, which always makes them look like they are on high alert.

an Australian Cattle Dog puppy lying on a branch

Personality and Temperament

The personality of the Australian Cattle Dog is often very happy and outgoing. They can serve as both utility dogs and amazing companions in your adventures. Here is why:

1. Very Smart

These dogs are quite intelligent, as they can quickly learn new tricks and orders. Their intelligence was a need when herding livestock. So, that is why they are quick at making independent decisions. 

2. Alertness

Heelers are incredibly wary of what is near them. A good guard dog needs to be vigilant and aware. They can sense any threat from a distance and act according to their training.

3. Highly workaholic

As a herding and guarding dog, this dog has a strong work ethic as it thrives in the job assigned to it. Whether participating in dog sports, protecting livestock, or actively looking for cattle, they stay caught up.

4. Energetic

Australian Cattle Dogs are very much devoted to their handler families. They form strong bonds with them and will go to lengths to protect them. They are affectionate cuddle buddies and love spending time with their owners.

Known for their distinctive style of herding, Australian Cattle Dogs “bite” or nip at the heel of cattle to herd them, earning themselves the tag of Heelers.

Beige Flags of the Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle dog, like most dogs, has a few traits that cannot be labeled as positive or negative. Those are:

1. Highly self-dependent

These dogs are highly dependent on themselves, which means that they rely a lot more on their personal decision-making skills than their owners. This trait can be a required skill while herding, but while training, this can easily turn your pup stubborn. 

2. Too obsessed with stranger danger

These dogs are mostly quite reserved and uncomfortable around new faces. If you do not socialize them early on, they can think of strangers as threats and be uneasy in crowded situations.

Exercise and Training Needs

The physical activity requirements of these dogs are sky-high. They thrive when they get at least two hours of physical activity. 

1. Regular walks

Australian Cattle Dogs are pretty playful and can get bored very quickly. If there is a lack of mental or physical stimulation in their daily workout routine, it might lead to behavioral issues.

They benefit from regular walks to dog parks, forest trails, etc. It helps socialize them with newer faces and other dogs and burns their energy. The best way to get your giant furry friend all their needed workouts is by jogging or hiking with them. This benefits both you and your pup as both of you get to burn tons of calories.

2. Add playtime

Including a fun playtime besides their regular walks is a great way to keep them engaged. Incorporate as many puzzle toys in their playtime as possible. This makes them search for food, and exploring and sniffing can help keep them mentally stimulated.

3. Early training

Early socialization and obedience training will keep them from being aggressive toward new people and other dogs. Obedience training and paw-sitive reinforcement are always crucial when raising an Australian Cattle Dog.  

Grooming Needs of the Australian Cattle Dog

An Australian Cattle Dog is extremely easy to care for as their thick double coat is conditioned to be short and functional. Here are easy ways to groom them:

1. Weekly brushing

It lacks a lot of natural oils and is mostly tidy. A quick weekly brushing session with a short-bristled brush will do wonders. 

2. Bath time

They do not have a specifically pungent doggy odor. And that is why they only need to be bathed once they are smelly or have dust, debris, and dirt collected in their fur.

3. Paw and nail care

For essential hygiene maintenance, their paw pads need to be cleaned now and then, along with frequent nail trimming. Long nails can break too easily, leading to painful injuries. 

4. Keep their ears clean

Doggy ears always trap moisture and dust, which means your pooch can easily get ear infections. You must clean their ears with wet wipes to prevent wax build-up and redness. 

Health Concerns of the Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dogs are mostly a healthy breed. But they may suffer from some common dog-related diseases, which you must be cautious about. The reason can be because of unethical, irresponsible breeding. 

1. Deafness

The Heeler dogs, especially the predominantly white ones with blue eyes, have a high chance of being born deaf. We always recommend getting their hearing tested as early as possible when you get your hands on them.

2. Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a common disorder in plenty of dog breeds. One of the leading causes of hip dysplasia is inbreeding by in-experienced breeders. Responsible breeding can reduce the occurrence of hip dysplasia. Animals that might have poor hips should not be bred further.

3. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

This is a fairly common disorder in most dogs. This congenital disease might lead to visual impairment and even blindness. Regular eye checkups are one of the ways to avoid these issues. 

4. Patellar Luxation

Patellar Luxation is seen mainly in small pedigree dogs but can also occur in other dog breeds. Dogs suffering from it skip on their back leg for a few steps before walking again (study). 

Veterinarians can often check for patellar luxation by performing a simple, conscious orthopedic exam within the consulting room. The defect’s seriousness determines whether a dog should be managed with surgery.

Are Australian Cattle Dogs Hypoallergenic?

Sadly, Australian Cattle Dogs or heelers are not considered among the hypoallergenic dog breeds. They shed moderately enough during shedding seasons. The shedding consists of plenty of dander and loose fur. A common allergen that can trigger sensitivities in humans. 

Before getting any dog, we recommend spending time around similar breeds. It is essential to check the severity of your allergic reactions (if any). Not all doggos are made for you, and that is fine. It is never your fault.


The Australian Cattle Dog is an excellent choice for livestock owners. They are quick learners and understand social cues very well. Additionally, if you like to go on hiking adventures, you may love their company. Obedience training and paw-sitive reinforcement is always the best option. Their behavior depends hugely on how you treat them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Australian Cattle Dogs bark a lot?

Australian cattle dogs are not barkers, even if they are herding dogs. They love to do their job quietly. But they maybe a tad bit aggressive towards other dogs.

Do Australian Cattle Dogs like to cuddle?

Cattle dogs don’t often like to cuddle, but if they do, they usually do it through the ‘cattle dog cuddle’. If they lean against you or place their head on their lap, this means that they wish to be affectionate.

How long can Australian Cattle Dogs be left alone?

Australian cattle dogs can only be left alone for up to two hours until they start feeling bored and maybe a bit destructive.

Share the Post: