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Thread: Australian Cattle Dog Information

  1. #1
    AuCaDo Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2018

    Default Australian Cattle Dog Information

    Hey Guys!!

    Australian Cattle Dog Enthusiast here, Live In Koondrook, Victoria. Fix farming equipment as a job (fitter and turner by trade). Absolutely adore my Red Heeler Buddy, he's coming up to 2.5 years old and Is my best mate. Lived on the side of the road out of a tent for a few months, homeless and that bonding time with him was well worth that particular adventure.

    Anyway, I am here to talk to like minded people, learn some more about Australian Cattle Dogs and just really dip my toe into this community.

    Also I am very proud and excited to present my Australian Cattle Dog Club website, I have researched and compiled as much information regarding the australian cattle dog as i possibly can, put it all together and tried to make it readable and entertaining for you guys.
    There is information regarding breed history (although there is still quite a bit missing to be honest, it will take a few more books and information from you guys to fill in the missing pieces of the story.) I've spoken to Veterinarians and put together the most diverse dietary information i could without being biased, Vaccination requirements and virus symptoms and guides.
    Pretty much everything i could think of that is relevant to Australian Cattle Dogs, My next step is to complete the Save A Heeler page, by building a community and advertising neglected/homeless heelers in an attempt to save as many as I can. I am very open to hearing your feedback and any information that could be updated etc..

    Without anymore hesitation, I'm proud to present.

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  3. #2
    AuCaDo Ambassador sharirus's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Penticton B.C. Canada

    Default Re: Australian Cattle Dog Information

    Hello Kyle and welcome to the AuCaDo forum. We are all so glad you are here !

    Thank you for compiling info on Cattle Dogs for everyone to use. That is wonderful and so beneficial.

    I myself came to this forum out of frustration with my 9 month old blue heeler. If I hadn't gotten the friendship and advice from other cattle dog owners I NEVER would have the most bestest dog in the world.

    We all hope to see pics of your red, Budddy. Pictures of other dogs is a favourite among us.

    Again welcome and I hope your site is a success !

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  5. #3
    AuCaDo Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2016


    Welcome! This board has historically had a lot of ties to ACD rescue, so your project fits right in.

    Good luck with your project and especially the rescuing! I'd love to hear more about the situation of ACDs in Australia--how widespread the problem of abandoned ones is, how often they're still used on working cattle stations, whether there exists any sort of perceived split between "show lines" and "working lines," etc. And I agree with Shari--please do share pictures of Buddy!

    Regarding ACD history sources --

    Other than Noreen Clark, whom you've clearly already read, I also find the work of Hall family historian A.J. Howard interesting. Howard was the one who coined the term "Northumberland Blue Merle Drovers Dogs" to describe whatever it was that Thomas Hall crossed with Dingoes to create his heelers; he believes the most likely candidate for that description, among dog landraces known to exist in England at the time, to be the Cur rather than some collie type. Unfortunately, since the Cur is now long-extinct, there's no way for modern genetic testing to investigate that possibility, and it seems that neither Hall nor any of his contemporaries kept written records of his breedings, nor has anyone ever found shipping manifests or the like for any dogs he might have imported. So it's all speculation, really. (As Howard touches on in that link, "merle" in those days was a general term for any dog with a mottled-looking coat--same root as "marled;" it didn't have the narrow reference it now does to this specific coat pattern, which obviously doesn't exist in ACDs.)

    You might also be interested in this 2017 study, which used genetic testing to create a cladogram reconstructing the relationships between 161 tested breeds. Like all studies of this type, it's limited by the selection of breeds tested--the Dingo wasn't included, for example, and neither were the Stumpy or the Koolie. But if you look to the lime green area at the bottom (the "UK Rural" clade), you can see who the ACD clustered closest with among the breeds tested. A supplemental table showing statistically significant haplotype sharing (Table S2, at the bottom of the study) further identifies the ACD's closest relatives among the 161 breeds tested as (from closest to most remote) the Kelpie, Border Collie, Bearded Collie, Collie, and Sheltie. (No Dalmatian haplotype sharing was noted.) A formula suggested in the study for roughly--emphasis ROUGHLY!--estimating the time since two breeds with significant haplotype sharing last shared an ancestor, suggests the last shared ancestor of the ACD and Kelpie lived sometime around 1867.

    Regarding the "American Cattle Dog"--that's a term the National Stock Dog Registry employs strictly for registering heelers with NO pedigree papers of ANY kind (whether of Australian-registered ancestry or otherwise). Almost nobody here uses that term to refer to their dogs, and I daresay most owners and breeders of non-AKC-registerable heelers would take great offense at being told their dogs can't properly be called Australian Cattle Dogs! You will sometimes see breeders of those McNiven-et-al-type dogs market their dogs as "old-style Queensland Heelers" or similar, but they certainly do also call them Australian Cattle Dogs. While there's a noticeable tendency for the dogs from such lines to be lankier, leggier, and narrower-headed than AKC-registered lines, as well as often showing other nonstandard features like natural stump tails and "blues" without tan points, that's a generalization, and in a great many cases you can't tell by looking which "type" an individual belongs to.

    Regarding "Texas Heelers"--notwithstanding what Wikipedia says, the reality is that Border Collie x ACD crosses are almost always called "Border Heelers" here, with "Texas Heeler" being reserved for ACD x Aussie crosses. BCs and Aussies have quite different herding styles and overall temperaments, so the distinction would definitely matter to any cattleman looking for a good working cross.

    Finally, since I noticed you mention the "Bentley" as something you're planning to work into your history, I just wanted to say I'd take whatever you might find about that with a generous pinch of salt, since the reality is that that marking is seen in heavily ticked dogs of many breeds, from Border Collies to Bluetick Coonhounds to Pointers to Cocker Spaniels. It's just an area in the center of the forehead that often fails to tick up when the ticking gene kicks in a young puppy, for unknown reasons. It probably is more common in ACDs than any other breed, but it's definitely not unique to them, and therefore highly questionable whether it really suddenly and spontaneously "just appeared" in the breed at some specific point in time.

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