Australian Cattle Dog – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Are you thinking about getting Australian Cattle Dog, but you are not sure if this breed is for you? Read on and discover if this high-energy dog is a good match for your lifestyle.
Dog Breed Group:
Herding Dogs
17 to 20 inches tall at the shoulder
30 to 50 pounds
Life Span:
12 to 15 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

The Australian Cattle Dog is an extremely active breed. Developed to handle herds of cattle all day long, they do the best in areas with open space.

If you are a city person, they will do fine in an apartment as long as you provide enough exercise and do not leave them alone.

High-energy dogs tend to be destructive when bored, so make sure that your Australian Cattle Dog is never left alone for too long periods. Today, you can still find this breed handling herds of cattle all day long.

In other areas, they are mostly full-time companion dogs. These are purebred dogs, who excel in dog sports, such as agility. These dogs aren’t best suited for first time dog owners.

Bear in mind that this breed comes with a lot of energy to burn off. As such, they need both mental and physical activity to stay healthy and happy, which is important to provide.

Otherwise, you can expect destructive behavior. Provide high-quality food, proper nutrition, and a lot of room to run around.

Quick Facts

Real name: Australian Cattle Dog
Origin: Australia
Breed type: Herding Dogs
Weight: 30 to 50 pounds
Height: 17 to 20 inches tall at the shoulder
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Litter Size: 5 – 6 puppies
Color: Blue, blue speckle, blue mottle, and red speckle
Coat: Short and straight coat

Australian Cattle Dog History

Australian Cattle Dog is one of those dog breeds that have diverse ancestors.

Some breeds just have more diversity in them, than others do, and the Australian Cattle Dog is one of them.

They were originally bred to help workers with cattle duties. This means that farmers needed powerful dogs with high energy levels and intelligence beyond an average level.

They needed dogs that will be easy to train. Moreover, they needed dogs that could perform the most demanding duties, from sunrise to sunset.

Creating this breed wasn’t easy, since farmers needed active dogs who can tolerate the heat, and fight dingoes as well.

As result, breeders mixed Smithfields with dingoes, Scottish Highland Collie, and even Dalmatians. Thanks to Dalmatian ancestry, the majority of these dogs are born white.

Later on, they get to develop their unique patterns and colors. Australian Cattle Dog may have mixed ancestry, but they are considered to be a purebred breed.

The American Kennel Club recognized the Australian cattle dog as a pure breed in 1980, which was a massive milestone in the breed’s popularity.

Australian Cattle Dog Physical Appearance

One look at Australian Cattle Dog is enough to understand that is a muscular and alert dog built to work.

They have a compact body, and a natural, long, undocked tail. Their skull is broad with muscular cheeks and a medium-length muzzle.

Ears are always set upright and are medium in size. Eyes are dark and oval, adding to overall keen expression.

They may be described as medium size dogs, or more likely small to medium.

Overall, they may be up to 50 pounds, and between 18 to 20 inches. As it is commonly the case, females are slightly smaller than males.

As for the color, accepted colors are blue, blue speckle, blue mottle, and red speckle.

Australian Cattle Dog Personality

How friendly can a cattle dog be? According to this breed, a lot. They were carefully bred to have many traits that will suit people, and one of them was affection toward humans.

After all, they get to spend the entire day with people working next to each other.

Overall, this is an active breed that needs constant mental stimulation and physical activity. This is why this breed isn’t for first time dog owners.

An experienced dog owner will always know that active breeds can easily become destructive when bored or neglected. Plus, meeting their activity needs isn’t something that anyone can achieve.

They need a more intense walk, exercise time, and perfectly a participation in some dog sport.

All in all, this breed will demand a lot of owners’ time and energy. They are defensive of their territory, even people.

Some level of stubbornness will always be present. As an intelligent and independent breed, they will try to outsmart you, so focus on providing proper training and socialization from day one.

As puppies, they are curious and extremely playful. Australian Cattle Dog is a good choice for an active family. They will be a great playmate to children, especially if they are raised together.

Since they are a highly active breed they may do better with older children. With toddlers, an accident can occur during playtime.

This is why supervision between dogs and children is important, no matter how well they get along. Make sure that your children know how to behave around dogs and to follow house dog rules.

Your home is a multi-dog space? If so, you should have no fears, because the Australian Cattle Dog gets along with other dogs nicely.

At least that is the case if they are raised together from puppyhood.

Be careful when other dogs are around. Why? This is usually a one-person dog, and they may show some signs of jealousy.

Thinking about welcoming small pets into your household? Think again, because Australian Cattle Dog will always see them as prey.

If you raise him together with a cat or a hamster, he should think of them as a part of the pack and leave them alone.

However, if not and you meet them on the streets, the chances are that he will chase and catch them, very often to kill them.

Australian Cattle Dog Training

With training it all comes to basics:

  • Implement training from day one
  • Make training sessions consistent
  • Keep training short
  • Choose to make training time fun
  • Have treats on hand

Training is what makes a dog a good canine citizen. Before your Australian Cattle Dog arrives provide enough toys, a dog bed, and a crate.

Always use positive reinforcement training methods, and never harshly punish your dog.

No dog should ever experience any negative training methods. If you feel like you need support during the training process, think about puppy classes.

This way you will get some effective training inputs from a professional, and you will get to bond with your Fido.

Australian Cattle Dog Grooming

Appearance-wise the Australian Cattle Dog has very unique colors and patterns.

Their coat is water-resistant helping them stay active even when it’s a rainy day. Their famous outer coat is short and always straight.

Australian Cattle Dogs do not shed all year round, but they do ‘blow’ their coat, once or twice a year. The main colors are blue and red speckle. There are markings on the head, usually of dark tones.

All in all, every inch adds to the overall appearance, and keeping the Australian Cattle Dog coat healthy and shiny is every owner’s main concern.

If you’re not a fan of long grooming sessions, you are in luck. Australian Cattle Dog requires minimum brushing efforts.

With the right grooming tools, you should brush your dog only once a week. That should be enough to keep his coat healthy and shiny.

Brushing is a great bonding experience and an opportunity to check a dog’s coat for fleas and any sign of skin infection.

Trim nails monthly, check gums and eyes weekly and learn how to clean dog’s ears.

Australian Cattle Dog Health

Australian Cattle Dogs are often described as healthy dogs.

If you are dealing with responsible dog breeders only, you should know your puppy’s health condition completely.

Responsible breeders will always present you with medical documentation on the breed. Not only that, but they will inform you what you can expect in the future health-wise.

This is why regular veterinarian check-ups are so important. Prevention is the most effective way to keep your Fido healthy and safe.

Yet, like all breeds, certain health issues may appear over time. This doesn’t mean that your Fido will get any of the following conditions, but it does mean that you should be well-aware of them:

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
  • Deafness

Australian Cattle Dog Living Needs

Australian Cattle Dog is a high-energy breed.

As such, he will love nothing more but to spend an entire day outside running free. This is something that can be tricky to do in busy city areas.

They may be fit for city walks, but they won’t be happy without an enormous open space accessible to them all the time. This is why this breed is happier in more rural areas.

Australian Cattle Dogs will hate being left alone, and waiting for people to show isn’t their strongest trait.

If you insist that city life is for this herding breed, make sure that you provide enough exercise and sporting time.

Is Australian Cattle Dog For You?

Be honest when getting a dog.

Make sure that you have enough time to invest in training this active breed and meeting his needs afterward.

Weekly grooming will keep your Australian Cattle Dog in shape, but being a responsible dog owner goes beyond regular brushing.

It’s a lot about training, socialization, exercise, nutrition, and overall proper care.

If you are sure that you can meet this breed’s needs and you have enough experience as a dog owner, then Australian Cattle Dog is a breed to consider having.

Popular Australian Cattle Dog Comparisons

Compare Dog Breeds: