Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog

This compact, medium-sized, muscular dog stands at 46-51cm (males) and 43-48cm (females) when fully grown and weighs from 17 to 23kg. The coat comes in blue; blue and tan; blue, black and tan; blue speckled; red; red and tan; or red speckled. For full details, see the breed standard.

  • Dog suitable for experienced owners
  • Extra training required
  • Enjoys active walks
  • Enjoys walking one to two hours a day
  • Medium dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming once a week
  • Non Hypoallergenic breed
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Guard dog. Barks, alerts and it's physically protective
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • May require training to live with kids


Collies accompanied English stockmen to Australia in the 1800s but a tougher dog was needed for the harsh conditions and difficult cattle, so various dogs with specific abilities were crossbred over 60 years, including the Dingo, various collies and sheepdogs, the Kelpie, Dalmatian and Bull Terrier. Finally, by the end of the 19th century, a dog was produced that could herd cattle (by nipping their heels), work with people, use his own initiative and endure all the elements – whether it be extreme rain, cold or heat.


The Australian Cattle Dog is naturally wary of strangers and has strong guarding instincts, so early, thorough socialisation is particularly important. Early work on bite inhibition is advisable, too, as some might nip when overexcited. Although devoted to his family, he can be a handful and is not an ideal first-time breed, requiring more experienced owners.


The Australian Cattle Dog is generally an extremely hardy breed with few health problems. As with many breeds, occasionally hereditary eye disorders, and hip dysplasia (a condition that can lead to mobility problems) can arise. Eye testing and hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore advised.


The Australian Cattle dog needs about two hour's exercise a day including mental stimulation, though he will happily accept more and has great stamina and endurance. Be warned that he is very agile and can jump quite high – enabling him to steal food from counters or jump inadequate garden fences. Don't let him become bored, or he'll provide his own entertainment!


Your dog's diet needs to have the right balance of all the main nutrient groups including a constant supply of fresh water. It's important to conduct regular body condition scores to ensure you keep your dog in ideal shape and remember to feed him at least twice daily and in accordance with the feeding guidelines of his particular food.


The smooth, double-coat is low-maintenance, requiring a brush through once a week. The top coat is harsh and straight; the undercoat, short and dense. The breed's hair is around 2.5 to 4cm long, short on the head and longer on the tummy and behind the legs.

Best Dog Breeds for Children

While many dogs are traditionally thought of as being good with children , all dogs and children need to be taught to get on with and respect each other, and be safe together. Even so, dogs and young children should never be left alone together and adults should supervise all interactions between them.


Is this the right breed for you?

All dogs have their own, unique personality, but there are some instincts and behaviours hat they’re born with. Try our Dog Breed Selector and find out which dog breeds better match your preferences and lifestyle.

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What to consider next


It is incredibly fulfilling to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization. It often means offering them a second chance in life. There are many dogs waiting for a loving family, a forever home. Reputable centers will be very careful about matching the right people with the right dogs. Staff learns all they can about the dogs they take in, and will spend time getting to know you, your family and your lifestyle, before they match you with any of their dogs. They’ll also be happy to give you advice and answer any questions you might have before and after the adoption. Click here for more information.

Finding a good breeder

If your heart is set on a pedigree puppy, then your best bet is to find a reputable breeder. Contact The Kennel Club or a breed-club secretary who may have a list of litters available, or should be able to put you in contact with breeders in your area. Try to choose a breeder who is part of the Kennel Club’s assured breeder scheme.Visit dog shows to meet breeders in person and inquire about availability of pups of your chosen breed. Click here for more information.

Welcoming your dog home

Whether you’re bringing home a tiny puppy or rehoming an adult dog, this is a hugely exciting time for everyone. While you’re waiting for the big day you might need to distract yourself, so luckily there are a few things you need to sort out before you welcome your new arrival. Click here for more information.