Australian Cattle Dogs have a strong drive to work and please, but they are also incredibly loyal, affectionate family dogs. These quick, agile dogs should have a strong, sturdy appearance. They stand about 17 to 20 inches tall, but they should not weigh more than 50 pounds. They win many fans because of their beautiful coats and their almost effortless athleticism.
Australian Cattle Dogs are smart, active dogs who will want to stay busy and spend plenty of time around their favorite people. Their distinctive coats and strong athletic ability make them attractive pets for families looking for a unique dog to participate in their active lifestyle.
Cattle dogs need firm, interesting training, but if they are taught to learn and respond from the start, these intelligent dogs can be quick studies. They are loyal to their owners and tend to want to obey. They are also very trustworthy and want to win their owner's approval. With plenty of training and activity each day, these dogs can develop into excellent thoughtful, devoted family pets. Without enough stimulation, both mental and physical, these clever, quick-thinking dogs will easily become bored and create destructive, disruptive tasks for themselves.
These dogs are tough. They were bred to be tenacious in the field, and they won't always let you know if they're tired or hurt. Learn to stay in touch with your dog's expressions to make sure he is not pushing himself too hard. Australian Cattle Dogs have an amazing amount of stamina, so it should take them a while to exhaust themselves. Once they do, they will easily wind down enough to become quiet, affectionate indoor companions. These dogs like to stick close to their owners, and will not want to leave their side, indoors or out.
Cattle dogs have a hard, weather-resistant outer coat that dries itself. Rain and water beads off the straight, flat coat so these dogs can herd outdoors in all types of weather. The double coat is smooth and lies close to the body. Australian Cattle Dogs draw significant attention to themselves with their beautifully colored, uniquely patterned coats. They come in blue merle and red speckled varieties, which, combined with their habit of nipping at the heels of their flocks and their families, is how they came to be known as "Blue Heelers" and "Red Heelers." The blue coats are either mottled or speckled and the red coats are speckled throughout the entire body. Australian Cattle Dogs should not have black on their body, but they do often have black "masks" around their eyes or face. Their masks usually cover one of their eyes in a way that makes them look like a pirate. These dogs have very short coats. Their wildly-colored coats often camouflage any untidiness.
Brush your Australian Cattle Dog every other week to help distribute oils and remove any dead hair. That keeps the coat healthy and shiny. Once or twice a year, the Australian Cattle Dog will blow his coat. That's right, look out for lots of hair that will shed off in clumps.
Australian Cattle Dogs can also develop an odor, especially because they are so active outdoors. They will get dirty, so they may require frequent bathing with some nice-smelling dog shampoo to freshen up.
Clipping or trimming your dog’s coat is far easier than you would ever imagine. With the right clipper, trimmer and scissors, giving your dog a haircut is easy on your wallet and your schedule.
Most dogs with short coats generally require occasional trims and tidying up in areas of excessive hair growth with trimmers or blunt scissors. It's always wise to take a dog for a short walk or exercise to calm them down before trimming. Remember to brush the coat first to remove tangles and mats. Use a trimmer or a scissors to even out areas around the tail, paws, sanitary areas and chest, as needed. When finished, the coat should lay flat and smooth against the body of most short-haired dogs.
Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.
Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience. As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.
You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.
Eyes / Ears
Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.
It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Some short-coated dogs, like hounds and mastiffs, have large, sensitive ears that should be checked weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face. If you have a small dog, like an Pug, take special care to clean around their eyes with a cotton ball or soft cloth and use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around their eyes to make sure they are comfortable. Dogs with facial wrinkles, like Pugs and Dogues de Bordeaux, be wiped down at least weekly to prevent infection.
Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.
Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.