A classic cattle dog, Australian Cattle Dogs were developed from a mixture of breeds in Australia in the 19th century, and still maintain their energetic herding instincts today.
Also referred to as Blue Heelers, Australian Cattle Dogs are energetic herding dogs bred to drive cattle by biting at their heels. They are alert and active with a bit of an independent streak, requiring proper training and exercise but relatively little grooming (although they can shed a lot!). Born white, they quickly grow a unique blue or red speckle coat, with lighter piebald patterning associated with hereditary deafness. Otherwise, they are generally healthy, with an average lifespan of 12-14 years. They also make great agility dogs, but their herding instincts can sometimes cause problems if they start nipping at children’s feet.
Many breeds were likely mixed to create Australian Cattle Dogs, although the exact mixture is not known. Collies, Kelpies, German Shepherds and even Dingoes are thought by some to have gone into the breed---genomics will one day help us answer this question!
Explore some Embark dogs that share Australian Cattle Dog ancestry.