Australian Cattle Dog: Breed Information & Characteristics

Country of origin: Australia
Shoulder height: 43 – 51 cm
Weight: 16 – 25 kg
Age: 13 – 15 years
Colour: blue or red speckled with markings
Use: working dog, sporting dog, companion dog

The Australian Cattle Dog is a medium-sized, intelligent, and very athletic dog that needs a lot of work and exercise. It is only suitable for active people who can offer their dogs more than long walks. He also needs clear leadership from an early age.

Origin and history

The Australian Cattle Dog (ACD for short) is a cattle dog that was bred by European immigrants by crossing different breeds of herding dogs and the Dingo, which is native to Australia. The result was robust and very undemanding working dogs that could drive large herds of cattle over long distances and under harsh climatic conditions. In 1903 the first breed standard was established. In its homeland, the Australian Cattle Dog is still used for livestock work. It is still relatively rare in Europe.


The Australian Cattle Dog is a medium-sized, compact, and powerful working dog. Its body is rectangular – slightly longer than it is tall. The chest and neck are very muscular, and the muzzle is broad and strong. The Australian Cattle Dog’s eyes are medium-sized, oval, and dark brown, the ears are erect, and the tail is long and pendulous.

The Australian Cattle Dog has a dense, straight, and double coat. It consists of about 2.5 – 4 cm long, a hard top coat, and plenty of dense undercoats. The stick hair offers ideal protection against cold, wet and small injuries. The coat color is striking. It is either mottled blue or mottled red – each with no tan or darker markings. Puppies are born white and spotted, the characteristic mottling develops later.


The Australian Cattle Dog is a persistent, powerful, and agile dog that has a lot of assertiveness and energy. He is rather suspicious of all strangers, he only tolerates strange dogs reluctantly in his territory. Therefore he is also an excellent guardian and protector.

Working independently is in the Cattle Dog’s blood. He is very attentive, intelligent, and docile, but needs consistent training and clear leadership. Puppies should be socialized early and carefully to moderate their dominance and territorial behavior. Once the Cattle Dog has accepted its human as the pack leader, it is an extremely affectionate, amiable, and loyal companion.

Because the Australian Cattle Dog was bred to work, the active outdoorsman needs a tremendous amount of exercise and meaningful activity. Young dogs in particular are bursting with energy and can hardly exhaust themselves on a normal walk, jog, or bike tour. Good alternatives are all fast dog sports, such as agility.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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