The History of the Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle Dog has a history in Australia. George Hall came to New South Wales at the turn of the 19th century. The family had set up a couple of cattle stations, and they were expanding northward. It was hard getting the cattle into the markets in Sydney, and it was a problem because there were thousands of heads of cattle that had to go thousands of miles over areas that were unfenced, rugged, and mountainous. There was a note written by him that let out his rage at losing so many heads of cattle.

He needed a kind of droving dog, but the working dogs in the colony were like the English Sheepdog. There are some descendants of these breeds that are still around, but they were only functional over small spans and for basic work in the yard with cattle that were domesticated. He solved the quandary by bring in several dogs that were used by the drovers in his parents’ native county. During that period, dogs were usually described by the kind of job they had, whether or not they were understood as a breed. Over time, a family history gave these dogs a moniker.

He bred the drovers with tamed dingoes, and he was happy with the breed. Over the ensuing three decades, they were just used by the family, and they were called Halls Heelers. They completely relied on them, and the dogs got them an edge over other breeders of cattle around them. It makes sense that they weren’t sent out beyond Hall’s properties. It wasn’t until after he died, when his farms sold with the contents of them on them, that the dogs became publicly available.

In the late 1800s, the breed had attracted some serious attention by a club in Sydney, and they had a personal interest of competitive show dog breeding. None of these people were stock men that worked with dogs on a regular basis, and they were at first curious about a number of working dogs, and not just the Australian Cattle Dog. They were the ones that came up with the moniker, Australian Cattle Dog, to describe the dogs that were bred from Halls’ Heelers.

The biggest club members focused on breeding different bloodlines. The Bagusts did the most work. The initial breed standard was published in 1903.  Breed clubs started to adopt the standard, and they re-made it as if it was theirs, with some small changes. He wrote a lot in the 1910s, and they give serious windows into the breed’s early history. There was one dog breeder that contested Kaleski’s writings, and she observed that his thoughts are often only that, and he brought in several contradictory assertions in latter days, and some opinions that were irrational in the background of contemporary science. Some of those thoughts have carried on. For instance, he thought the red color was more prominent when there was excess dingo in the breed, and there was a persistent thought that reds were more dangerous than blues.

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One of the myths of Kaleski related to the infusions of the Kelpie and Dalmation into the first Cattle Dog breed. The infusions were not written about until later years, in the ‘20s, and it seemed that Kaleski wanted to give an explanation of the tan legs and mottled coloration by their connection to the Kelpie and Dalmation. The coat color genetics and hereditary features would make the idea of the infusion of the Dalmation to enhance the cattle dog’s tolerance to horses very unlikely. There were very few cars in Australia in the early 1900s, so most of the dogs were around horses naturally. The Kelpie breed came out once the Cattle Dog was already introduced, so it’s highly unlikely that it was infused. There might have been some Bull Terrier infusion, but there’s no confirmed account of this, and breed does not have the instinct to hold and bite like the Bull Terrier, and that would’ve been an uncool trait.

In the early 1990s, there was a lot of fighting with the members of the club, and there were a lot of debates about the breed’s origin that were in the journals and newspapers at the time. While a lot of these points were misguided, some illogical, and the vast majority not bolstered by the facts of history, they are still circulating around, and there have been a lot of stories about the breed’s origins. In current years, information technology has given the ability for people to use big databases and canine genetics knowledge to get a better knowledge of the breed’s development.

Near the end of the 19th century, the Australian Cattle Dogs that were derivations of Halls’ Heelers were witnessed in Queensland dog breeders’ kennels, and they were different from the dogs that were seen in other countries. When the Royal Shows started again after the Second World War, exhibitors in Sydney observed Little Logic for the very time. In the ‘50s, there were not many Australian Cattle Dogs that weren’t from the Little Logic descendants though. The popularity and successes of these dogs caused the increase of the Queensland Heeler nickname.

The dominance of these two lines of the current Australian Cattle Dogs were spread out by Wooleston Kennels. For about two decades, Wooleston offered the additional breeding stock and found to breeders in the country, the United States, and Europe. Because of this, the Wooleston Blue Jack is part of the ancestry of most Australian Cattle Dogs that were bred since 1990.

ACD In the United States

In the ‘40s, a veterinarian from Sydney, put the Kangaroo Hound, German Shepherd, Kelpie, and Dingo into the breeding program. The RASKC wouldn’t have an official breed as the Australian Cattle Dogs, even though they were consistent with temperament, color, and conformation, according to Alan McNiven. Mr. McNiven gave a response by giving dogs some registration papers that came from dogs who had already died, and he was kicked out from the RASKC, and his dogs were taken out of the registry. Another cattle rancher who saw Mr. McNiven while he was fighting in World War II in Australia, had brought in lots of adults and different McNiven litters. After they were de-registered, McNiven continued in exporting his dogs that were ‘improved’ in the U.S. Lots of U.S. solders who were put in Australian during World War II found the Australian Cattle Dog, and they took the breed home when they came back from the war.In the ‘50s, a Santa Rosa, California veterinarian saw all Lougher’s dogs. He took some partners, and he purchased lots of dogs and began breeding them. The breeders made advertisements, and they said that the dogs would definitely work, and he called them Queensland Heelers. Mr. Woolsey brought in lots of purebred Australian Cattle Dogs to put into the breeding program.

blue_cattle_dog1Australian Cattle Dogs were classified in a category called “miscellaneous” by the AKC in the 1930s. The get the complete breed recognition, the American Kennel Club made it necessary that a breed club would be set up for the protection and advertising of the breed. There was a parent club set up in 1969, and it had just a dozen members. One of the rules for the club was that they had to go with their registry for the dog breed, and the registry would need to function as a kind of extension for the Australian registry, going all the way back to the Australian registered dogs. The American Kennel Club parent club members had to start learning about their dogs, and this meant exchanging letters with McNiven, and they found that not many of them had animals that were traced all the way back to Australia. The American Kennel Club officially got control of the registry in the late 1970s, and the breed got completely recognized in 1980. The original Australian Cattle Dog Club of America is still an active participation in the advertising and protection of the breed, and in the upkeep of breed standards, however. The National Stock Dog Registry kept on recognizing Cattle Dogs that didn’t have any initial connections to Australian registered dogs, on the chance that a dog without known parentage that showed up for registry would need to get registration as the American Cattle Dog, and all the other ones would be continue to be registered as Australian Cattle Dogs.

ACD In Canada

The Australian Cattle Dog was officially recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club in 1980 after more than five years of earning pedigrees, building support, and breeders and enthusiasts working with officials. The minority of Australian Cattle Dogs in Canada then were mostly just working on ranches and farms, and they were spread out over long distances. The little breed club did agility and obedience competitions, held conformation shows, and set up their dogs in sports. In 1980, Landmaster Carina was the first Australian Cattle Dog that received both her obedience and conformation titles.

ACD In the United Kingdom

The first registered Australian Cattle Dog in the country was in 1980. The first Australian Cattle Dog in the United Kingdom was Landmaster Darling Red. Over the ensuing couple of years, there were more Australian Cattle Dogs brought into their country. The UK gene pool was reduced, however, because there were tough rules about artificial insemination. An Australian Cattle Dog club was formed in the country in 1986, and they then got official recognition by the Kennel Club. They had to do competition in an unclassified category before that. They were competing in working and obedience trails in throughout all the 1980s.

Cross breeds

There is a Texas Heeler, and it is a mix between the Australian Shepherd and the Australian Cattle Dog, and it was initially had registration with the Animal Research Foundation in 1970. The ARF had registered the dogs without any papers since 1965 as Australian Cattledog Queenslad Heelers, and it was first organization to officially recognize the Australian Shepherd. This dog was initially bred for working cattle, and the Texas Heeler is more and more used as a pet and companion in dog sports. As with all cross breeds, the Texas Heeler’s appearance and size is a changing combo of the parent breeds.