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Australian Cattle Dog Breed History

    Australian Cattle Dogs. Queensland heeler, blue or red heeler, ACD, even just heeler,  many nick names for one amazing breed of dog. This breed has a rich history all over Australian cattle farms. They were bred for workability and loyalty. In 1840, a man by the name of George Elliott had been experimenting with dingo crosses and blue merle collies. crossing these two breeds had a huge impact on the cattle farming industry, farmers were buying these dogs as fast as they could. 

   Harry and Jack Bagust from Sydney, Australia got some of these dingo collies with the hopes of improving the breed. They bred one of their dogs with an imported dalmatian dog. This was to make the dogs more horse friendly and handler loyal. The mix ended up being successful and the dogs ended up more loyal and friendly with the horses along with turning the merle coat color into a speckled coat in either red or blue. This breed mix was given a new name: the Bagust Dogs. 

   Unfortunately, the Bagust dogs had lost some of there working ability making them less used for the purpose they were originally obtained for. The brothers admired the working abilities of the black and tan kelpie, these were Australian sheep dogs. The Bagust brothersstarted to mix them with their speckled dogs and ended up with an active, compact dog, identical in type with the dingos. the

Blue Heeler, Blue heeler with tan points

difference between the new bagust dogs and dingos was that the  Dogs were thicker set than that of their lean dingo counter parts and had these markings that had not ever been seen on another breed in the world. Adding another name: Queensland Heeler

  These dogs were blue and red.  Blue dogs had big black patches around their ears. Their ears were black, their eyes were brown and they had a small white patch right in the middle of their foreheads. Their bodies were a dark deep blue with a lighter blue and silver speckling all over their bodies. These dogs had almost identical tan leg, chest facial markings as the black and tan kelpies. Red dogs had dark red patches instead of black with red ticking evenly on their bodies. Only the best of the best of these dogs were kept to breed, these were the founders of the now known Australian cattle dogs.

   After the kelpies, no other breed has been crossed with any success. in 1893, a man named Robert Kaleski started breeding these dogs and by 1897 he was showing them. The breed standard, written by Mr. Kaleski, was accepted by the cattle and sheep dog club of Australia and the kennel club of New South Wales in 1903.  Australian Cattle Dogs were accepted into The AKC  first as a miscellaneous in may 1980 and became eligible to show in the working group September 1980, finally transferring it to its current place in the herding group in January 1983. This was 140 years after the start of the breeds creation.

Characteristics and personality traits 

   Australian cattle dog are high drive dogs. This means they have a lot of energy all the time. They area fiercely loyal to their handler, their stock and their property. ACDs are considered aloof towards strangers but not aggressive or confrontational. They were originally bred to move wild cattle sometimes in the several hundreds through rough terrain in the wilderness of Australia. These cattle drives could last weeks and cross some very difficult lands, most traditional  herding dogs couldn't compare to these collie dingo crosses. 

   Australian cattle dogs are very independent thinkers. Most of the time being able to complete task unsupervised once they are trained for it. They are said to be stern when need for stubborn cattle but gentle with calves and lambs. This is a nod to the breeds versatility. They can be trained for multiple different tasks for farm and ranch work. These dogs are easy to train and eager to please. A well trained dog can easily replace a man on horse back, taking the job for themselves. 

   As said in their name sake, these are a herding breed. Taking on cattle and other livestock head on, and driving them through flanking and nipping. This has been bred into the breed since the very beginning and training the nipping takes time. Puppies play with their mouths and chase and nip at heels, ankles pant legs and shoes. It's not aggression but an instinctive trait passed through generations. They are brave, stubborn and independent thinkers

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