Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle Dog (ACD) breed originated in the 1800’s in Australia and is a cross between three breeds—the Dingo-blue merle Collies, Dalmatians, and Black and Tan Kelpies. The American Kennel Club reports that no other dog can match the ACD’s cattle herding ability and that this breed has actually helped Australia’s beef industry with its ability to contain herds.

Common Characteristics

  • Size: 21 to 50 pounds
  • Lifespan: 6 to 15 years
  • Pet purchase cost: $101 to $500
  • Allergies: Moderate
  • Shedding: Moderate
  • Primarily suited for indoors


Common Reasons for Surrender

Australian Cattle Dogs have high energy levels and require plenty of attention and exercise, something many people do not fully realize when they bring the breed into their home. They are also herding dogs which means, if you have children or other pets, your Australian Cattle Dog may want to herd them whether the kids or pets like it or not.

While Australian Cattle Dogs tend to have a reputation for nipping people, not every dog is a biter. If you’re willing to work with and to train your dog, he will be much less likely to develop bad habits like biting, and you can help avoid the problems that often lead to the breed being surrendered.


Sometimes referred to as the “Velcro dog,” an Australian Cattle Dog will quickly become your faithful companion and best friend. Because they are such an intelligent breed, Australian Cattle Dogs are easy to train and willing to work. You also don’t have to worry about excessive barking: Australian Cattle Dogs are known for being relatively quiet.


If an exact opposite to a couch potato exists, it’s the Australian Cattle Dog. The breed needs a lot of attention and requires daily mental and physical stimulation. Failure to keep your Australian Cattle Dog stimulated and exercised can result in boredom, and she may destroy things around her simply to occupy herself.  

Australian Cattle Dogs may not do well with small animals, children, or anything that moves quickly, but training can help. Start training and continue to reinforce that training throughout his life to ensure he remains happy and safe.

Be prepared for plenty of vacuuming and brushing off your clothes as the Australian Cattle Dog sheds a lot.


Without the proper diet and exercise, Australian Cattle Dogs can quickly develop weight problems. Feed your dog a high quality dog food with meat as the main ingredient. Treats should be given sparingly. Most Australian Cattle Dogs love hot dogs, making them an ideal treat in moderation.


An Australian Cattle Dog willingly exercises from sun up until sundown. But, in reality, give him at least two solid hours a day for exercise, more if possible. You’ll know if your dog has had enough exercise if he’s calm and lying around. If he’s not, he needs more exercise.

Possible Health Issues

Overall a very healthy breed, Australian Cattle Dogs may be susceptible to Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), hip dysplasia, and deafness. A qualified vet can test for Progressive Retinal Atrophy.


One of the world’s easiest dogs to train is also one of the world’s worst shedders. Australian Cattle Dogs have earned a reputation as excessive shedders, and rightfully so. Expect your dog to blow his coat two times a year, and invest in a good vacuum because you will need it.

To keep your dog well groomed, brush him at least once a week, which will help control the shedding. Brush his teeth every other day and trim his nails as needed. Check your dog’s ears regularly. Look for redness or the smell of a bad odor to ensure he doesn’t have an infection.


Australian Cattle Dogs are incredibly easy to train because of their intelligence and willingness to work hard. To reward your Australian Cattle Dog for a job well done, offer a small piece of hot dog, a highly desirable treat. Or, if your dog needs to watch his weight, you can just give him a kibble from his dog food, and he’ll be just as happy.


You must stay on your toes to keep your Australian Cattle Dog mentally and physically stimulated. The process can prove just as fun for you as it does for your faithful friend. Australian Cattle Dogs enjoy obedience training and agility exercises and they love to play fetch. They’re also happy when they’re herding.

We want to thank The Australian Cattle Dog Rescue Association for help with this profile.

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