Australian Cattle Dog – Blue Heeler

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An Australian Cattle dog smiles for the camera.

If you look in the dictionary under “hardest working dog,” you might see a picture of an Australian Cattle Dog (ACD), also called a Blue Heeler. Many dog lovers and pet insurance enthusiasts alike have a fondness for this particular breed.

This breed is a member of the herding group and his skills in this area are quite impressive. One of the most intelligent breeds, this loyal, protective dog does best when he has a job to do.

Breed Description
The ACD is muscular with a compact body. He has straight front legs with round feet and short toes. His head is broad and curved between the ears, which are wide-set. He has dark brown, oval eyes. The ACD has a smooth double coat with a dense undercoat. The coat colors range from red speckled, blue, blue-mottled and can either have markings or not. The puppies are born white due to a gene passed down from past crosses with Dalmatians.

Because this breed is a herding dog, he needs an active life, preferably with a job to do. Without sufficient exercise and activity, he is easily prone to boredom, which can lead to destructive behaviors. A short daily walk is not enough for this dog to be healthy and happy. Because they are so intelligent, they respond to a high level of obedience training. But if you don’t have the time to invest in both good training and a high level of exercise, the Australian Cattle Dog is not likely for you. You may want to factor hiring a trainer and looking into dog insurance, when considering the cost of dog ownership for this specific breed.

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It is imperative that owners establish dominance at an early age or this breed can become aggressive to other dogs and can be difficult to control. The owner needs to be alpha in the ACD’s “pack” and to enforce that fighting will not be tolerated. But with adequate training, this dog can be a very grounded, trustworthy and happy pet. Nipping at people’s heels is sometimes seen as the dog trying to herd them. This behavior needs to be addressed as unacceptable.

Because the ACDs are such strong, muscular dogs, they would appear to be heavier, but males weigh between 32 and 35 pounds; females are 30 to 35 pounds. They are 17 to 20 inches in height; females are 17 to 19 inches.

Health Issues
This breed is prone to hip dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), which can lead to blindness. A dog insurance policy is always a good idea to help with the cost of veterinary care.

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