Australian Cattle Dog


The Australian Cattle Dog was developed in Australia in the 1800s when it became clear that European herding dogs could not withstand the country’s rough terrain and climate. Australian cattlemen needed a dog who could herd a wilder type of cattle; crosses may have included Dingos, Highland Collies, Black and Tan Kelpie, and the Dalmatian. Though the breed was slow to catch on in the U.S., it has proved an untiring and effective herder. The AKC recognized the breed in 1993.


Medium, 35 to 45 pounds; females 17 to 19 inches; males 18 to 20 inches.


Blue or red (mottled or speckled), with or without black, blue, or tan markings.


Intelligent, independent, tenacious, energetic, hardy, and untiring. Loyal and protective; suspicious of strangers. Needs a job. Herds children, sometime with nips.

Energy level:


Best owner:

Active owners with time and energy for hard, daily exercise; a family with older children and a fenced yard.


A lot of physical and mental activities (more than a walk — think agility course and obedience lessons), opportunities to herd, regular brushing.

Life expectancy:

10 to 13 years.