with all other working dogs, there are certain basic features about the
that judges must keep in mind at all times. In particular, they must be
very clear in
distinguishing the Cattle Dog from the Kelpie.
This is a sturdy tough working dog with strength and endurance possibly
any other dog of similar size. Although its height, length and proportion
are similar to
the Kelpie, it has much heavier bone and, over all, far greater substance.
In looking for the correct type with strength and substance, the judge
must be careful
not to be misled by dogs which have been fattened up to give the impression
substance. The Standard calls for “Hard muscular condition”
and a dog capable of
quick and sudden movement.. Fat dogs with clumsy, sluggish movement must
Although this dog is renowned for his strength and aggression (at the
judges should not tolerate unreliable behaviour in the show-ring. If the
dog has the
intelligence and temperament required, he should respond to the control
of his handler and be tractable at all times whilst the judge is examining
The head is a feature of the breed and must clearly reflect the dog’s
his ability to move cattle with the power of his jaws. It is this ability
to bite, which
enables him to shift a stubborn beast, and great strength of jaw is required.
The expression can only be described as hard and strong with a look that
tells strangers clearly to be beware. It is probably in expression rather
than any other feature that his Dingo ancestry is demonstrated.
A judge wishing to perfect his knowledge of the breed should make a detailed
comparison of the ears with other dogs in the Working Group, particularly
Shepherds, Corgis and Kelpies. There are many points of similarity, but
it is the vital
differences which a judge must know. Soft ears have been a problem at
are generally associated with oversize. Remember the Standard specifies
size but rather small than large.
Extended Breed Standard of the Australian Cattle Dog – Page 16
The chest is moderately broad and, with ribs well sprung, gives the Cattle
Dog a much
more rounded chest and body than we find in the Kelpie. With his strong
and loins and ribs carried well back, he should present a picture of compact,
Although a slight spring of pastern is required, we find generally the
down into the feet, which are compact, strong.
Colour is important and spelled out in great detail in the Standard. There
is a trite old
saying that “a good dog cannot be a bad colour” but this becomes
our age of carefully laid down Standards that clearly make certain colours
Note that the colours are blue, blue speckled or blue-mottled and red
dogs are not permissible and black marks on the body are undesirable.
Finally, where you are in doubt as to a decision between two dogs, move
around the ring once more and decide which is better fitted for the task
cattle. This is why the dog developed to work cattle under Australian
the dog best equipped to do this should be your winner.
Puppies are born white but very soon develop their blue mottle or red
usually the colour of their pads indicates their future colouring. They
have drop ears
as babies; these become erect at any age up to 6 or 7 months.
They inherit the instinct to bite and work, so care must be taken not
to expose the
puppy to danger and it should not be allowed near cattle or horses until
it can look
after itself. The puppies when penned together spend much of their day
Most are easy to train and the first lesson should always be to obey commands.
When heeling cattle, they bite low on the back leg, selecting the hoof
on the ground
and immediately crouch to allow the resulting kick to pass over their
heads. If they
were to bite the leg which is off the ground, they would almost certainly
dangerous kick on the head which could prove fatal.