Dog Breed Group: Pastoral Dog (Herding Dog)
Life Span: 12-15 years
Weight: 15–22 kg (33–49 lb)
Height: Male: 46–51 cm, Female: 43–48 cm
Origin of Name: The Australian Cattle Dog (ACD), or simply Cattle Dog, is a breed of herding dog originally developed in Australia.
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The Australian Cattle Dog contributed significantly to the development of the continent's beef industry and an important component of the Australian economy. The long, complex and sometimes disturbing history of Britain's settling of the Australian continent is beyond the scope of our story. We can pick it up in the early 1800s, when Anglo-Australians began their migration from the original coastal settlements to the vast grasslands of the western inland.
This was the principal area for rearing beef cattle. In rebuilding these wooded areas as cattle ranches, good shepherd dogs were essential. Australia's first cattle dogs were British imports of a breed called Smithfield, which was unsuitable for high temperatures, bumpy areas and the distance to its new home market. Thus, the stockmen began a long process of testing and created a herring dog breed that could meet the challenges of the Australian interior. The Smithfields were crossed with dingos (an early breed brought to the continent by its earliest human inhabitants) and other such breeds as the Scottish Highland Collie, as breeders worked toward the desired hardworking and sustainable shepherds. A major contributor to the effort was George Elliott from Queensland, who cut dingos with collies and sold puppies to farmers. The result was a dog that was close to being Quintus Hasir. True perfection came later when two brothers, Jack and Harry Bagast, breed Dalmatians with some of Elliot's ACDs. Dalmatian's faith, safety, and spontaneity with horses, mixed with the workability of the original breed (which was reinforced by the addition of a lamb known as black and tan kelpies) to the ACD we produce Today is just the right combination.
The Australian Cattle Dog was admitted to the AKC in 1980 and became a charter member of the AKC Herring Group when the group was founded in 1983.