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Troy

Australian Cattle Dog

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Troy   

The Australian Cattle Dog

ANKC Standard

(from http://www.ankc.org.au/home/breeds_details.asp?bid=132 )

Group: Group 5 (Working Dogs)

General Appearance: The general appearance is that of a strong compact, symmetrically built working dog, with the ability and willingness to carry out his allotted task however arduous. Its combination of substance, power, balance and hard muscular condition must convey the impression of great agility, strength and endurance. Any tendency to grossness or weediness is a serious fault.

Characteristics: As the name implies the dog's prime function, and one in which he has no peer, is the control and movement of cattle in both wide open and confined areas. Always alert, extremely intelligent, watchful, courageous and trustworthy, with an implicit devotion to duty making it an ideal dog.

Temperament: The Cattle Dog's loyalty and protective instincts make it a self-appointed guardian to the Stockman, his herd and his property. Whilst naturally suspicious of strangers, must be amenable to handling, particularly in the Show ring. Any feature of temperament or structure foreign to a working dog must be regarded as a serious fault.

Head And Skull: The head is strong and must be in balance with other proportions of the dog and in keeping with its general conformation. The broad skull is slightly curved between the ears, flattening to a slight but definite stop. The cheeks muscular, neither coarse nor prominent with the underjaw strong, deep and well developed. The foreface is broad and well filled in under the eyes, tapering gradually to form a medium length, deep, powerful muzzle with the skull and muzzle on parallel planes. The lips are tight and clean. Nose black.

Eyes: The eyes should be of oval shape and medium size, neither prominent nor sunken and must express alertness and intelligence. A warning or suspicious glint is characteristic when approached by strangers. Eye colour, dark brown.

Ears: The ears should be of moderate size, preferably small rather than large, broad at the base, muscular, pricked and moderately pointed neither spoon nor bat eared. The ears are set wide apart on the skull, inclining outwards, sensitive in their use and pricked when alert, the leather should be thick in texture and the inside of the ear fairly well furnished with hair.

Mouth: The teeth, sound, strong and evenly spaced, gripping with a scissor-bite, the lower incisors close behind and just touching the upper. As the dog is required to move difficult cattle by heeling or biting, teeth which are sound and strong are very important.

Neck: The neck is extremely strong, muscular, and of medium length broadening to blend into the body and free from throatiness.

Forequarters: The shoulders are strong, sloping, muscular and well angulated to the upper arm and should not be too closely set at the point of the withers. The forelegs have strong, round bone, extending to the feet and should be straight and parallel when viewed from the front, but the pasterns should show flexibility with a slight angle to the forearm when viewed from the side. Although the shoulders are muscular and the bone is strong, loaded shoulders and heavy fronts will hamper correct movement and limit working ability.

Body: The length of the body from the point of the breast bone, in a straight line to the buttocks, is greater than the height at the withers, as 10 is to 9. The topline is level, back strong with ribs well sprung and carried well back not barrel ribbed. The chest is deep, muscular and moderately broad with the loins broad, strong and muscular and the flanks deep. The dog is strongly coupled.

Hindquarters: The hindquarters are broad, strong and muscular. The croup is rather long and sloping, thighs long, broad and well developed, the stifles well turned and the hocks strong and well let down. When viewed from behind, the hind legs, from the hocks to the feet, are straight and placed parallel, neither close nor too wide apart.

Feet: The feet should be round and the toes short, strong, well arched and held close together. The pads are hard and deep, and the nails must be short and strong.

Tail: The set on of tail is moderately low, following the contours of the sloping croup and of length to reach approximately to the hock. At rest it should hang in a very slight curve. During movement or excitement the tail may be raised, but under no circumstances should any part of the tail be carried past a vertical line drawn through the root. The tail should carry a good brush.

Gait/Movement: The action is true, free, supple and tireless and the movement of the shoulders and forelegs is in unison with the powerful thrust of the hindquarters. The capability of quick and sudden movement is essential. Soundness is of paramount importance and stiltiness, loaded or slack shoulders, straight shoulder placement, weakness at elbows, pasterns or feet, straight stifles, cow or bow hocks, must be regarded as serious faults. When trotting the feet tend to come closer together at ground level as speed increases, but when the dog comes to rest he should stand four square.

Coat: The coat is smooth, a double coat with a short dense undercoat. The outer-coat is close, each hair straight, hard, and lying flat, so that it is rain-resisting. Under the body, to behind the legs, the coat is longer and forms near the thigh a mild form of breeching. On the head (including the inside of the ears), to the front of the legs and feet, the hair is short. Along the neck it is longer and thicker. A coat either too long or too short is a fault. As an average, the hairs on the body should be from 2.5 to 4 cms (approx. 1-1.5 ins) in length.

Colour: Blue - The colour should be blue, blue-mottled or blue speckled with or without other markings. The permissible markings are black, blue or tan markings on the head, evenly distributed for preference. The forelegs tan midway up the legs and extending up the front to breast and throat, with tan on jaws; the hindquarters tan on inside of hindlegs, and inside of thighs, showing down the front of the stifles and broadening out to the outside of the hindlegs from hock to toes. Tan undercoat is permissible on the body providing it does not show through the blue outer coat. Black markings on the body are not desirable. Red Speckle - The colour should be of good even red speckle all over, including the undercoat, (neither white nor cream), with or without darker red markings on the head. Even head markings are desirable. Red markings on the body are permissible but not desirable.

Sizes: Height: Dogs 46-51 cms (approx. 18-20 ins) at withers Bitches 43-48 cms (approx. 17-19 ins) at withers

Faults: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.

Notes: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

QUESTIONS

1. What is my relationship with the breed? (ie breeder, first time owner etc)

2. Where and why was the breed first developed?

3. How common is it in Australia?

4. What is the average lifespan?

5. What is the general temperament/personality?

6. How much daily exercise is needed for the average adult?

7. Is it a breed that a first time dog owner could easily cope with?

8. Can solo dogs of this breed easily occupy themselves for long periods?

9. How much grooming is required?

10. Is it too boisterous for very small children or for infirm people (unless the dog is well trained)?

11. Are there any common hereditary problems a puppy buyer should be aware of?

12. When buying a puppy, what are the things you should ask of the breeder? (eg what health tests have been done (if applicable) and what is an acceptable result to those tests so the buyer has an idea of what the result should be)

If you wish to contribute to the knowledge about this breed, please answer the above questions. (Copy and paste them into a new post).

  • Please only answer if you breed or own a pedigree example of this breed.
  • You do not have to answer all questions
  • Please keep posts limited to answering questions or for asking further questions if you require more (or expanded) information.

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Cala   

1. Bred and showed the breed for a number of years. 1978 - 1995

2. Where and why was the breed first developed?

In the year 1840, a Mr Thomas Hall who owned a property near Muswellbrook, in the Hunter Valley of NSW. imported a pair of smooth haired. blue merle, Highland Collies from Scotland. They were good workers, but barked and headed, which are undesirable traits in the Australian Cattle Dog. Hall crossed progeny of the pair with the Dingo, which produced silent workers, these became known as Halls Heelers. The colour of the dogs with this cross were either blue or red merle, with the majority having pricked ears. and the Dingo shaped head with brown eyes, these were mainly of the 'Dingo Type'

George Elliot in Queensland also experimented with the same crosses, he produced pups of excellent quality. Silent efficient workers. Comments in his diary were made in 1873.

The Bagust brothers of Canterbury in Sydney purchased some of these pups and set about improving on them. They crossed them firstly with a Dalmatian dog. It was this cross that changed them from the merle to a red or blue speckle. As with the Dalamatian the pups were born white, their colour developing at 2 - 3 weeks of age, the purpose of this cross was to instil a love of horses. The dog then became useful for guarding the horse and the stockmans gear. The main problem with this cross was the working ability became lost. The Bagust brothers then on admiring the working ability of the Kelpie decided to introduce The black and tan Kelpie, the result was a compact active dog, identical in type and build to the Dingo, only thicker set. But with peculiar markings found on no other dog in the world. The blu dogs having black patches around their eyes, black ears and brown eyes. A small white patch in the middle of the forehead.

In 1893 Mr Robert Kaleski took to breeding the Blue Heelersand he started showing them in 1897. It was Mr Kaleski, who drew up the first 'standard' for the breed, this was in 1902.

Reference: Australian Cattle Dog Society of NSW, Breed Seminar Boooklet. Copyright.

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DMA   
So are ACD pups born white?

They certainly are regardless of them being blue or red. It's said they are born white due to the Dalmatian in them.

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Kavik   

How do they compare in temperament to other herding breeds eg Kelpie and Border Collie?

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DMA   
How do they compare in temperament to other herding breeds eg Kelpie and Border Collie?

Basically cattledogs rush in where kelpies fear to tread. :D

Actually kepliechick is probably the person to ask here as she has much experience with all three breeds.

Edited by DMA

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spanky   

I have to ask... all the cattle dogs I've ever met have been very aggressive dogs. I have always been wary of them as a breed, because the ones I've met were snappy and quite scary. Is this normal for the breed?

I'm in the process of researching the best breed to herd cattle and it's obviously what they were developed for, but I don't want a dog that is going to bite someone for knocking on the front door.

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I have to ask... all the cattle dogs I've ever met have been very aggressive dogs. I have always been wary of them as a breed, because the ones I've met were snappy and quite scary. Is this normal for the breed?

I'm in the process of researching the best breed to herd cattle and it's obviously what they were developed for, but I don't want a dog that is going to bite someone for knocking on the front door.

I dont know if I am allowed to post or not but I was brought up with ACD and some family members still own them. But from my experiences with them they are VERY protective of their family and will not hesitate to bite someone or stand up for themselves or loved ones. They are very dominant towards other dogs even if they have been brought up with the other dogs since it was a pup. But that is MY experiences with the breed.

Edited by ridgeback-lover

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DMA   

My experience of having cattledogs as companion dogs is that their behaviour is varied according to individual dogs. For example the recent ones of the family...

Anzac is happy-go-lucky type & will get along with everyone.

Smokie is wary of strangers & keeps his distance, but won't attack unknown humans although he may become aggressive with unknown dogs albeit it depends what the dog in question is doing.

Max was aggressive to any strange human or dog outside of the house &/or yard, but just kept his distance if an unknown person was in the yard or house, but was very suspecious of strange dogs in the yard or house.

Digger is like Anzac.

And the new boy is an unknown quantity, at the moment, because I've only had him a week. He comes across as a happy-go-lucky type but he has had one serious fight with my Athena (which he didn't start I might add).

Edited by DMA

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Cosmolo   

Not sure if i am allowed to post this as i don't have a pedigree example of the breed ( :D please delete if this is not ok) but i always described the difference between border collie's, kelpies and ACDs as follows-

Poke a border collie and they giggle

Poke a kelpie and they bounce around asking questions about where we're going and what we're doing

Poke a Cattle Dog and they'll simply say 'don't'.

IMO and experience ACD's are a little tougher than Kelpies and borders- tougher shouldn't mean aggressive, but as they're bred to work cattle rather than sheep they have to be this way. Like any dog an ACD is what you make it, good socialisation and training and teaching from day one mouthing/ nipping people is not the right thing. I don't believe ignoring mouthing as a puppy is a good thing for this breed as they are often in drive when they are doing it- i met a 12 month old pure ACD who was aggressive to his family because he had learned nipping/ biting worked well to get attention as they had not been able to put a stop to it when he was a puppy.

My most trusted dog with children is our red ACD (not pedigree) who worked cattle for the first 2 years of her life. I would not describe most of the ACD's i've met as dominant with other dogs (if they have been well socialised) BUT- they will not tolerate overt rudeness or aggression from other dogs and will respond accordingly- this can get them into trouble.

Our ACD has changed many people's minds about the breed as she is truly exceptional with people and children. They do need strong leadership and training but we adore them and will always have an ACD in our life.

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Ravyk   
I have to ask... all the cattle dogs I've ever met have been very aggressive dogs. I have always been wary of them as a breed, because the ones I've met were snappy and quite scary. Is this normal for the breed?

I'm in the process of researching the best breed to herd cattle and it's obviously what they were developed for, but I don't want a dog that is going to bite someone for knocking on the front door.

I dont know if I am allowed to post or not but I was brought up with ACD and some family members still own them. But from my experiences with them they are VERY protective of their family and will not hesitate to bite someone or stand up for themselves or loved ones. They are very dominant towards other dogs even if they have been brought up with the other dogs since it was a pup. But that is MY experiences with the breed.

I also don't know if I can post, as I have an ACD X, and have been around some before [close neighbours pets]. [Feel free to remove the post if you see fit].

ACDs can be very smoochy and can be submissive dogs as well, I think it really depends if they have been bought up as a working dog or a pet dog. Mine submits to nearly anything, even submitted to a small pom X once, which was a sight to see :D They can be quite boisterous and easily excited, particularly when you come home. But at the same time, they are content to snooze most of the day away, as long as they can be near you. As DMA said, they have a happy-go-lucky personality.

Exercise wise, mine gets a 1/2-1 hour walk daily, and close to 1 hour playtime plus 15-20mins of training at home. About 1-3 times a week, they are taken to an oval or the beach, where they run and play ball for anywhere between 1/2 hour to 2 hours.

I've discovered not much grooming is required. Mine gets a brush once 1-2 weeks, except when moulting, then he is brushed nearly every day or hair goes flying every time he moves.

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Cosmolo   

Do any breeders find typical temperament differences between males and females?

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We have had ACD's since 1989, and have enjoyed showing them around Australia.

I would be confident in saying that the biggest and best improvement in the breed, in the last 10 years, is in their temperament... I think this is a huge improvement. I remember a show in Katherine, N.T., about 15 years ago, when the 4 dog class winners were lined up in the race, ready for Ch Dog. One dog decided that another dog was invading 'his space', so it was on... The 4 of them, (now also including the Open Dog winner, so now 5 boys), all wanting to 'kill' each other, growling, lunging, barking etc, etc, (you get the picture...). The poor judge was standing there, and asked for all the dogs to be placed in the 4 corners of the ring, with the 5th in the middle. That day, he chose his Ch winner, while the dogs were on the stack... No moving the ACD's that day in the Ch lineup... While I can look back fondly on that trip to Katherine, I am now embarrased by my dogs behavior, and wouldnt tolerate it now...

I would feel confident in saying that now the breed, Australia wide, is much less dog aggressive, and much less of a handful to live with, show and work... Sure some may still have problems, but, overall we have done a damn good job, making this wonderful breed, less of a timebomb/handful... JMHO, of course :laugh: . I know down here in Tassie, the 3 exhibitors showing ACD's regularly get each others dogs out of crates, show them, when necessary, putting them away in trailers, etc, etc... I would not have dreamt of doing this even 10 years ago :rolleyes:

Do any breeders find typical temperament differences between males and females?

Cosmolo, I personally find the boys to be more smoochy, and generally a bit more over the top, with, wanting attention... Other than that, not really any other differences...

Before anyone asks, the reds are not more aggressive than the blues, either :laugh::laugh: . They are colours, not temperament indicators :eek: ;) ;)

Edited by rajacadoo

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Cosmolo   

Thanks rajacadoo- thats what i've found with the boys too.

Edited by Cosmolo

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becks   

When my brother worked in Oz, his boss had a 'bluey' would this have been a blue ACD?

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When my brother worked in Oz, his boss had a 'bluey' would this have been a blue ACD?

Could have been an ACD or an Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle dog.

Strangers in the street often say "Allo Bluey" to my stumpy tail cattle dog X. :confused:

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becks   

What is the difference between a stumpy tail cattle dog and an ACD? Presume there is more then tail length?

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What is the difference between a stumpy tail cattle dog and an ACD? Presume there is more then tail length?

Here is a link I found with some info about stumpy tail cattle dogs, with some info quoted from the site below:

http://www.wolfweb.com.au/acd/stcd.html

"The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is NOT a short-tailed Australian Cattle Dog, but a different breed. Some of the differences between the two include:-

The Stumpy Tail is a "square" dog, having a 1:1 height - length ratio, or a "square" dog, whereas the ACD ratio is 10:9 ratio oh length is to height.

The Stumpy Tail has a finer and more wedge-shaped head than The Australian Cattle Dog.

The Stumpy Tail has no tan markings at all.

The Stumpy Tail’s ears are high set( but smaller rather than large while the Australian Cattle Dog’s ears are lower set) and moderately pointed at the tip.

The Stumpy Tail is a more racy, active dog than the Australian Cattle Dog.

The Stumpy Tail’s tail is naturally bob-tailed and must not be docked."

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KYLOTT   
So are ACD pups born white?

They certainly are regardless of them being blue or red. It's said they are born white due to the Dalmatian in them.

Got to do with the Merling Geen Same as the dalmation Unfortunatly also caries a deafness gene

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