|You either like or you don't like his rustic, almost wild appearance recalling his dingo origins, but whatever your opinion, the Australian Cattle Dog rarely provokes indifference. Indeed, it's practically impossible to remain insensitive to this admirable working dog, whose intelligence, courage and agility have turned him into one of today's most versatile breeds.
Many of you discovered him in "Mad Max 2" along side Mel Gibson. This gruff little dog and his protective nature won you over. Others first came across him in the United States where the breed is sometimes found on horse and cattle ranches, or better still in his country of origin, where he's still essentially found in rural areas. A look at his background helps to better understand this complex and wonderful animal, determining whether or not this is a breed for you?
The Australian Cattle Dog was originally produced for working purposes and at no time have breeders tried to transform him into a lap dog. As a result, he is still a hyperactive animal requiring at least an hour and a half physical activity each day. If you don't properly exercise your dog, you'll soon realise it, as he'll take his frustration out on your furniture and on your garden. It goes without saying that an ACD doesn't support being locked inside a kennel all day or tied up. Dogs handled in this way end up becoming quite aggressive, which is a shame as the ACD initially has only one thought in mind - that of spending each moment of the day with his family and of offering them happiness.
If on the contrary you take proper care of your dog, you'll rapidly discover that few breeds are as devoted and as intelligent as the ACD. If your dog won't be used to work on livestock, you should consider teaching him activities such as agility, frisbee, IPO or canicross. While playing with your dog, you'll notice that he never wants to leave your side, confirming the ACD's reputation for loyalty. This nature explains his protective attitude towards his family and territory. The ACD is in general wary of strangers, tending to check them out before deciding whether or not to offer his friendship. In light of this protective attitude, it's important to properly educate one's ACD to remind him that he's not the boss, especially as both males and females tend to be aggressive towards other dogs.
Last but not least, his heeling instinct doesn't disappear just because there are no cows to round up. If you don't teach him not to heel he'll find numerous substitutes (bicycle wheels, roller blades, other dogs...). If it's easy to discourage this natural reflex, it is highly recommended, as with most dogs, not to leave children alone with a young ACD which is likely to nip while playing.
This breed from down under only barks occasionally, generally while guarding his territory, car or family, or when he's bored or excited. In the latter instances the ACD's barking recalls the breed's dingo origins, translating to high pitched yapping. His origins have also resulted in another characteristic - he has less of a doggy smell than many other breeds. If most of the time his short coat is easy to groom, a lot of brushing is required when he sheds his hair in the springtime.
In addition, it would seem that his rustic side protects him against many illnesses, enabling a lot of dogs to live to the grand old age of 15. Indeed, the oldest living dog in the world, made it to 29 years and 5 months. His name was ?Bluey? and he was an Australian Cattle Dog. He mustered cattle and sheep up until the age of 20, before taking up retirement!
His medium size, his endurance, his love for playing in water, and of course for his owner, make the ACD, the ideal companion, requiring little care, but a lot of attention and affection. If you're willing each day to spend at least an hour and a half quality time with your dog, then perhaps the ACD is a dog for you!