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australian cattle dog

The precise origins of the "Blue Heeler" are not known, but they appear to have been a distinct breed as early as 1897. It began when Smithfields were originally used in Australia for herding cattle. They were noisy and bit too hard, so they were bred with the Dingo, a wild dog prevalent in Australia. The resulting crosses were known as “Timmins Biters,” which were quieter, but still bit hard. Border Collies and Smooth-coated Collies, used for herding sheep, were then bred to the Dingo. In 1840, Thomas Hall bred a couple of Blue Smooth Highland Collies with dingoes and got the “Hall’s Heeler.” Then, in the 1870’s Fred Davis bred some Bull Terrier into them to make the dogs more aggressive. These were relatively common as sporting and guard dogs in the late 19th and early 20th century. The resulting Cattle Dog was of a slightly heavier and more muscular build than the Border Collie and of less temperamental nature, with good herding ability, the stamina to withstand extremes of temperature and the resourcefulness to forage and to feed itself on an omnivorous diet like a wild dog. Physically the "Heeler" has inherited a big broad head and strong jaws from the Bull Terrier. From the Dingo comes the distinctive sandy colour of the legs and rather large pricked ears. Like the Welsh Corgies, the "Heeler" is fearless with cattle and has a tendency to nip their heels to keep them moving when herding. This trait is undesirable when the dog applies it to humans and horses. In order to create a breed that had a strong natural affiliation with horses, the Cattle Dog was crossed with the Dalmatian, which although not a working dog, was popular during the 19th and early 20th century as a carriage dog, running beside the horses. The resultant dog was one which was friendly to horses and would work cooperatively with a horse in a herding situation. This breeding with the Dalmatian led to the spotted colouration in some "Blue Heelers", though this is considered undesirable and is most commonly seen in mixed breed dogs that have ACD in their ancestry. For many years "Blue Heelers" commonly had large black patches on the body, as well as the Collie's mask. It was also common for them to have ears that lay back against the head like some Collies. The flat ears are now considered undesirable for showing.

The Australian Cattle Dog (ACD), also known as the Queensland Heeler, Blue Heeler, and Red Heeler, is a breed of herding dog developed in Australia for controlling cattle. It is a medium-sized dog with a lot of energy, intelligence and an independent streak.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Australian Cattle Dog".