Everything you need to know to buy or adopt an Australian Cattle Dog puppy or adult dog.


BE PREPARED

For Your New

Australian Cattle Dog!

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Raise and train your dog the RIGHT way and he will live a long, healthy, well-behaved life – and both of you will be happy!

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Australian Cattle Dog dog breed

Buying or Adopting an Australian Cattle Dog

Also known as Queensland Heelers. By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2017


Is a DOG really the right pet for you?

I've been helping people choose and find dogs for over 35 years now, and I have to say that for many people, dogs are not ideal pets.

Pros AND Cons of Owning a Dog


Should you get a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog?

Don't set your sights on any purebred dog until you read these three eye-opening articles:

The Truth About Purebred Dogs

The Truth About Crossbred Dogs

The Truth About Mixed Breed Dogs


Is an Australian Cattle Dog the right breed for you?

Australian Cattle Dogs: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em

Australian Cattle Dog Health Problems


Are YOU right for an Australian Cattle Dog?

Can you provide what this breed needs?

  • Someone home most of the day
  • Fenced yard (6-8 feet high, not an electronic/underground fence)
  • No young children in the household
  • No dogs of the same sex in the household
  • No cats in the household
  • Restricted exercise when young – until maturity (at least 18 months old), exercise restricted to multiple short (20 minute) walks, fetch games, and playing with other dogs – no forced running (beside a jogger or bicyclist), no long-distance treks, minimal jumping
  • Ample exercise after maturity – enough ongoing exercise that your Australian Cattle Dog stays slim and is tired enough to sleep contentedly and not get into mischief
  • "Mental exercise" – interesting activities that keep the mind stimulated, such as a challenging dog sport (agility, rally obedience, herding, flyball, frisbee, musical freestyle, dock diving, tracking); challenging dog toys; a homemade obstacle course; tricks and games such as Musical Toys and Hide 'n Seek; instructions in my training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words
  • An indoor lifestyle, except for exercise and bathroom breaks
  • A meat-heavy diet, either homemade or commercial – meat is expensive, so people with less money should opt for a smaller dog
  • An owner with enough money to treat the health problems Australian Cattle Dogs are prone to (pet health insurance can really help here!)
  • An owner who is okay with heavy shedding
  • Commitment to provide thorough socialization – introducing your Australian Cattle Dog to lots of people and other animals, diligently correcting any signs of misbehavior or aggression
  • Commitment to establish the right Leader-Follower relationship with your Australian Cattle Dog, teaching him to listen to you and do what you say

Should you get a male or female Australian Cattle Dog?

Symbols for male and female Male Dogs vs. Female Dogs
Which one makes a better pet?


Should you get a young puppy, an older puppy, or an adult dog?

Girl hugging a dog Puppies vs. Adult Dogs
What age should your new Australian Cattle Dog be?


Where can you buy or adopt an Australian Cattle Dog?

Australian Cattle Dogs, also known as Queensland Heelers, are pretty common in the United States. Out of 189 breeds in the American Kennel Club, where 1 is most popular and 189 is least popular, Australian Cattle Dogs rank 54th.

Unfortunately, their popularity is largely based on their handsome appearance – medium size, short coat, striking colors, alert expression. Many people who acquire an Australian Cattle Dog based on that lovely appearance end up regretting it, because these dogs can be very challenging to live with.

Adopting From Dog Rescue Organizations
Australian Cattle Dogs are often available from Dog Rescue groups. Australian Cattle Dogs may be turned over to Rescue because they need much more exercise and interesting things to do than the owner expected. There may be barking issues, or dominance issues, or aggression toward other animals. You would need to provide these dogs with the exercise, training, and socialization that they are lacking.

Adopting From Public Animal Shelters and Humane Societies
Australian Cattle Dogs are occasionally found here, but Rescue groups who specialize in the breed keep their eyes peeled on shelters and humane societies across the country. When an Australian Cattle Dog turns up at a shelter, the rescue group typically moves in quickly to take the dog.

Buying From a Dog Breeder
You can buy an Australian Cattle Dog from a show breeder, who breeds Australian Cattle Dogs to match a detailed standard of appearance for the dog show ring.

Or you can buy an Australian Cattle Dog from a performance breeder, who emphasizes an energetic temperament and strong "prey (chasing) drives" for working with livestock, or for participating in dog sports like agility, flyball, frisbee, and weight pulling. Some breeders are a combination of show/performance, though how they prioritize those two goals can vary greatly.

You can also buy an Australian Cattle Dog from people who "just breed pets" or "just had one litter." But should you? Be sure to read the article to learn more about these people.

Here's one difference between a responsible breeder and an irresponsible breeder – BOTH PARENTS of an Australian Cattle Dog puppy should have:

  • a certificate from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) – dated within the past year – certifying the dog to be free of eye diseases
  • a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) or PennHip certifying the dog to have normal hips
  • a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) certifying the dog to have normal elbows
  • a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) certifying the dog to have normal hearing

Also, at least ONE PARENT of an Australian Cattle Dog puppy should have:

  • a DNA test proving they are Normal/Clear of a severe hereditary eye disease called progressive retinal atrophy.
  • a DNA test proving they are Normal/Clear of a severe hereditary eye disease called primary lens luxation.

If a seller can't show you those certificates, the puppies are higher risk for health problems. You might choose to accept that risk. But then you need to be willing (and able) to pay a couple thousand bucks for future surgeries and lifelong meds if your Australian Cattle Dog ends up blind or deaf or with hip dysplasia.

Puppy in a pet shop window Pet Shop Puppies: Buying a Puppy From a Pet Store
Australian Cattle Dogs are occasionally seen in pet shops. I have plenty to say about buying a puppy from a pet shop!


Related Articles

Girl holding up a puppy and looking at him How To Choose a Good Australian Cattle Dog Puppy
How to test the temperament and personality of Australian Cattle Dog puppies and pick the best puppy in a litter.


Pedigree parchment AKC Registered Puppies: Are AKC Papers Important?
Should you consider buying only AKC registered Australian Cattle Dog puppies? Do AKC papers and pedigrees really matter?


To help you train and care for your dog

book cover To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.

book cover My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.