Are Australian Cattle Dogs Good Guard Dogs?

Although they love humans — both adults and older children — they are not afraid to bark when they are scared so they also make excellent guard dogs. They can display herding behavior around other animals and small children, but with the right training and socialization, the Australian Cattle Dog can be the perfect family pup.

Australian Cattle Dogs as Watch Dogs?

Australian Cattle Dogs were developed in the 1800’s to protect and herd cattle under severe environmental conditions. Cattle Dogs are intelligent, loyal, devoted, courageous, and hard-working. Because they have strong protective instincts, they may be aggressive with other dogs and dominant with children. They should be socialized with children and pets while young. Cattle Dogs are good watch dogs, and enjoy human companionship. They have high exercise needs, and are best suited for families with an active lifestyle and a large fenced yard. Australian Cattle Dogs have a life span of 12-13 years.

Are Australian Cattle Dogs Aggressive?

Always focused on the task at hand yet acutely aware of their surroundings, Australian cattle dogs possess a strong desire to protect their human and animal families. While the dogs are not considered aggressive, they may exhibit a determined and defensive nature in the face of danger. Even so, they are exceedingly affectionate. As Wes Jarrell of Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery in Champaign, Ill. , says of Blue, his Australian cattle dog mix, “When friends give us hugs, he will jump right up in the middle. He wants to be hugged, too.

Australian Cattle Dogs Background

Background:The Australian Cattle Dog was born from a need to herd cattle more effectively over the rough terrain of the New South Whales Colony. George Hall and his family settled that region in 1802 and had established cattle stations in 1825. It became clear to them (specifically George), that the current herding dogs in the region could only go for short distances and weren’t sufficient for his needs. He therefore built a new breed using tamed Dingoes and Highland Collies. For years the Hall family kept these dogs to themselves, as the dogs provided a distinct herding advantage. In 1870 Thomas Hall (George’s son) passed away and the dogs were made freely available at auction. After the dogs were made public they were quickly noticed by the Cattle Dog Club of Sydney and by its most notable members: the Bagust family. The first breed standard was written in the 1890’s by a friend of the Bagust family and accepted soon after. The Bagusts also took it upon themselves to crossbreed Hall’s existing dogs with the Dalmatian. The resulting dogs looked like Dingoes but had different markings. They were the forbearers of the modern day Australian Cattle Dogs. America was slow to catch onto the usefulness of the ACD. He wasn’t recognized by the American Kennel Club until 1980 when he joined the working group. Once Americans had a chance to see the ACD in action his numbers saw a dramatic increase.

Family and Bonding

Obesity can be a significant health problem in Australian Cattle Dogs. It is a serious disease that may cause or worsen joint problems, metabolic and digestive disorders, back pain and heart disease. Though it’s tempting to give your pal food when she looks at you with those soulful eyes, you can “love her to death” with leftover people food and doggie treats. Instead, give her a hug, brush her fur or teeth, play a game with her, or perhaps take her for a walk.


The Australian Cattle Dog is generally friendly, but he is protective of his family and home turf, and he tends to be wary of strangers.

Australian Cattle Dog Nature

The Australian Cattle Dog can be protective of their family and be wary of strangers. However, if they are socialized properly then this shouldn’t be an issue. While Red Heelers get on well with both adults and children, they can exhibit herding behavior around very small children because of their herding instincts. They are best kept with children over the age of 10, although if you have younger children, socializing with your Red Heeler may help.


What is the difference between the Australian Cattle Dog’s blue and red colors? Learn more. . . .


Australian Cattle Dogs as a Pack Animal

Around the home, the Australian Cattle Dog is relatively quiet to live with, though he will let you know when someone arrives. He’s naturally suspicious of strangers and has a strong protective instinct.

Physical Traits

Build her routine care into your schedule to help your Heeler live longer, stay healthier, and be happier during her lifetime. We cannot overemphasize the importance of a proper diet and exercise routine.

Excercising your Australian Cattle Dog

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