Australian Cattle Dog

FCI GROUP: Sheepdogs and Cattledogs

FAMILY: Livestock, Herding

Allowed as pet in Singapore HDB Flat: No

Origin: Australia, 1800s. The Australian Cattle Dog was developed by pioneer settlers in the 1800s by crossing Dingo-blue merle Collies to Dalmatians and black and tan Kelpies. Some sources say the Bull Terrier breed may have been added as well.

Original Purpose: Cattle herding.

Behaviour and Temperament: Hardworking, independent, energetic, alert, courageous.

Breed Characteristics: Playful but can be nippy, a quality needed to herd cattle. Happiest when working or training. It needs action in its life and will do best with a job. Strong independent character means he is best with experienced owners.

Physical Features: 43 to 51 cm, 16 to 20.5 kg. Colours are red speckled, blue or blue-mottled; puppies are born white because of a gene they inherited from the early Dalmatian crosses.

Coat Type and Grooming: Straight outer coat, short dense undercoat. Minimal care; a good brushing once a week is sufficient, bathe when necessary. Moderate shedding twice a year. Estimated Basic grooming charges in Singapore: S$70 – S$90.

Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years. (The oldest dog on record was an Australian Cattle Dog named Bluey who lived 29 years and 5 months).

Health Concerns: Eye problems (PRA, cataracts), merle-coloured dogs are prone to deafness, hip dysplasia.

Exercise: Very high; a tireless working dog. It needs a lot of exercise and something to occupy its mind daily or it will become bored, leading to serious behaviour problems. The Australian Cattle Dog is an excellent jogging companion.

Housing: Would not do well in an apartment; needs lots of space to meet his high exercise needs. Does best with a large yard.

Sociability: Needs to be supervised with children. Suspicious of strangers. Suspicious of and dominant to other dogs; will chase cats. If you are adopting a pet, avoid working lines, as these dogs may be too energetic and intense for home life.

Trainability: Extremely high; positive reinforcement works best with this energetic breed.

Activities: Cattle herding, herding trials.

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