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The Australian Cattle Dog (ACD) was developed by Australian ranchers who needed a cattle drover with endurance for long distances. The ACD’s immediate ancestor was the Hall's heeler, a dog developed from a cross of the dingo and the smooth-coated Scottish collie. In about 1860, the Hall’s heeler was mixed with the Australian Kelpie and the Dalmatian to create the modern Australian Cattle Dog.


ACDs are medium-size, sturdy, and muscular with a strong broad head and a medium-length, tapering muzzle. The almond-shaped eyes are brown and the large nose is black. The medium-size ears are naturally erect. This dog has a muscular neck, deep chest, and muscular hindquarters. The brush tail is long The double coat has a dense undercoat and a smooth hard outer coat of medium length, longer at the thighs and the neck. It may be blue, mottled or speckled, with or without black, blue or tan markings; or red speckled, with or without darker red markings.


ACDs are also known as Blue Heelers, Queensland Heelers, Red Heelers and Cow Dogs.

Here are some fun facts, courtesy of the American Kennel Club.

  • The Australian Cattle Dog has been a huge help to the beef industry of Australia. When populations spread to huge farmlands, Australian Cattle Dogs became indispensable and enabled farmers to maintain huge herds.

  • The most popular working dog used by the early drovers was a breed brought out from England known as the Smithfield, a breed that eventually became one of the ancestors of the Australian Cattle Dog.

  • The Smithfields were interbred with the Dingo, a native Australian breed, to increase stamina and to encourage a silent working dog, but the breed died out. Later, another pair of imports, a pair of Scottish blue merle Highland Collies, were interbred with the Dingo to produce a breed known as the Hall's Heeler. With the success of this breed, various other crosses eventually produced the Australian Cattle Dog of today.

  • The Australian Cattle Dog was accepted by the AKC in 1980 and was shown in the Working Group after a brief period in the Miscellaneous class. When the Herding Group was formed in 1983, the breed was moved.

  • The standard for the Australian Cattle Dog was drawn up by Mr. Robert Kaleski in 1902 and was based around the Dingo type.

  • The Australian Cattle Dog was first known as the Australian Heeler, although it is still called the Blue or Queensland Heeler today.

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