Part dingo, part dog, the Australian Cattle Dog is tough, clever and the best partner anyone could ask for.
The only breed with dingo ancestry, the Australian Cattle Dog also claims smooth merle Highland Collies, Dalmatians, Bull Terriers and Black and Tan Kelpies in its ancestry. The breed was created because Australian ranchers needed a dog that could control unruly cattle without barking (which only made the cattle wilder) and that could withstand the harsh Australian conditions. The breed was initially called the Queensland Blue Heeler. The breed came to America in the mid 1900s, and became an AKC breed in 1980---fairly recently in the terms of AKC dogdom.
The coloration is unique in the dog world. They are born mostly white, and get their coloration by a few weeks of age.
This is an uncommonly smart breed, but also independent and tough. It must have adequate physical and mental stimulation or it can be destructive. This means you must supply lots of activities, games and toys.
Hip and elbow dysplasia are concerns. So it's important to prevent your Cattle Dog from getting overweight, which can add stress to the joints. When dieting a dog, you must make sure he gets enough vitamins. We suggest supplementing with a good multi-vitamin, probiotics and, if the coat is dry, a fatty-acid supplement.
Coat care is easy. Brush weekly to remove dead hair, and wash as needed. A good all-purpose shampoo is fine for most Cattle Dogs. If your dog is itchy, an avocado oil or oatmeal based shampoo can help alleviate the itchiness.
Check your dog's ears weekly. Apply an ear cleanser any time the ears start to accumulate dark secretions. Some ear wax is healthy; a lot is not. If you must apply ear medication, use the ear cleanser first to remove thick secretions that would block the medication from reaching the surface of the canal.
Brush the teeth daily.
Clip the nails every two weeks or so using a heavy-duty dog nail clipper.
Australian Cattle Dogs are very active, and remain so well into old age. But sometimes age-related arthritic changes make it tough. Besides any intervention recommended by your veterinarian, a soft cushion to lie on and glucosamine chondroitin supplements added to the diet can help soothe aching joints, and keep him as young in body as he is in mind.