The three popular herding breeds where I live are the Border Collie, Australian Shepherd and the Australian Cattle Dog (or blue or red heeler as they are called by some people).
Down in Australia, the early pioneers of the 1880s developed a breed that could endure the harsh environment of Queensland, Australia. A dog was needed that was smart and could instinctively herd with little training. Several breeds were used to develop this dog. So the settlers used the blue merle Collie, Dingo, Dalmation, black and tan Kelpie and some people believe that a little bit of Bull Terrier was also added. The Dalmation gene is also present. pies, from what I have read and observed, are born white.
These dogs are compact, robust, muscled, agile, extremely intelligent, and easy to train. With an owner that understands this dog’s needs, he can be a master of just about any job. This breed is suited for herding, agility, frisbee, retrieving, and performing tricks. He is a rapid learner and it is believed that this dog can think for himself. Initially many people docked the tail- now most people leave the tail long. Now and then a puppy will be born with a stumpy tail. This breed has a smooth, short double coat with an undercoat that is very dense. The cattle dog is known as a heavy shedder and needs a good combing and brushing at least weekly.
It is a dog that MUST HAVE A JOB OR LOTS AND LOTS OF EXERCISE. It is not a dog for an apartment unless you can provide ample exercise. The dog should receive early socialization with other dogs, animals, and people. He can easily become dominant if the owner is not strong and able to be the pack leader. It is a dog that will bond with its owner and will make an excellent watch dog. I can not stress enough that early socialization is a must, for this breed can become dog and people aggressive.
If you want a dog to just be a pet and one to accompany you for jogging , hiking, etc, then do not obtain a dog from a working line of Australian Cattle Dogs. This is a fun breed to own but you must do your part to keep him happy, non destructive, and well balanced.
Some last words of advise. Be wise. Do your home work. Beware and check out the breeder’s property to make sure it is not a puppy mill. Never buy a puppy unless you can see the breeder’s property and breeding facilities. Last but not least- look for a puppy or adult dog at your city animal shelter and save a life. You’ll be glad you did. </span
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