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The Australian Cattle Dog is the ultimate cattle herding breed, and the original breeders devoted a great deal of time and effort coming up with the perfect mix of dogs to create this tireless breed. Looking for a quiet dog who had natural herding instincts and worked quietly, Australian breeders in the 1800s combined Collie-type dogs of the Scottish Highlands with the native Dingo dogs common in Australia. These dogs were called Hall’s Heelers after their creator, Thomas Hall. The addition of Dalmatian and Kelpie down the line transformed Hall’s Heelers into the Australian Cattle Dog (or Blue or Red Heeler).
Australian Cattle Dogs, which are medium-sized dogs that weight 35-45 lbs., will work without reprieve and need a job to do lest they spend their energy destroying your house. If you don’t have a field of cattle to herd, they might nip at your heels to practice the herding instinct, but they also excel at flyball and agility. This breed is very wary of strangers, but affectionate towards family members. In fact, there are many tales of the extraordinary loyalty and bravery this breed has displayed regarding its human family members.
Although highly loyal and hardworking, Australian Cattle Dogs are still prone to hereditary and congenital conditions that may adversely affect their health – as well as your family budget. Some of the conditions and illnesses Australian Cattle Dogs are prone to include eye conditions such as progressive retinal atrophy and glaucoma; joint problems such as elbow and hip dysplasia; hearing problems such as deafness; thyroid diseases such as hypothyroid; and liver problems such as portosystemic shunts.
Thankfully, Petplan pet insurance covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your Australian Cattle Dog inherits his dad’s bad hips or his mom’s poor hearing, you’re protected.