Better known as a blue or red heeler, the Australian cattle dog originated in the Land Down Under and was used to drive cattle over the continent’s rough terrain. Interestingly, it was developed by crossing cattle-driving dogs of the day with tame dingoes.
According to the AKC, “Australians began crossing Dingo-blue merle Collies to Dalmatians and Black and Tan Kelpies. The result was a dog identical in type and build to the Dingo, only with a thicker set and peculiar markings - and also an excellent worker.”
The mix of dogs is also responsible for the color variation seen in today’s breed, which can either be shades and patterns of merle blue or tawny-red.
The ACD is an active medium-sized, short-coated dog that possesses a high intelligence and which forms strong bonds with its owners. As cattle-driving dogs, ACD’s would nip the heels (hence the moniker) of stubborn cows to keep them moving. Because of their strong herding instincts and close relationship formed with cattlemen moving throughout the countryside, the breed retains a few of those necessary attributes. Namely, they’re prone to nipping, especially at the heels of running children (which should not be taken as biting or aggression), and ...