The Australian Cattle Dog FAQ

One of our favorite FAQ sites about ACDs that has been lovingly compiled over the years by Mark Abbott from posts on ACD-L called simply:

Click on banner above to visit this great resource!

And now, for some of the questions most frequently asked from the Feedback Form
here at the Australian Cattle Dog Web:

What is a Blue/Red Heeler?

A Blue Heeler or a Red Heeler is the exact same thing as an Australian Cattle Dog. The term "heeler" is merely a slang-type term for the breed.

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What is a Queensland Heeler?

The Queensland Heeler is the same thing as the Australian Cattle Dog.

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Should this breed have a tail?

YES, YES, YES !! The Australian Cattle Dog SHOULD have an intact tail. There are a LOT of misinformed ranchers who still insist on docking the tail of these dogs and it is a GREAT disservice to the dog. This breed uses its tail as a rudder when making the sharp turns necessary during herding or during daily activities such as frisbee and tennis ball chasing.

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Where can I find out more about mini-heelers?

Don't, please just don't. "Mini Heelers" are bred by unscrpulous folks who are altering this breed (and often mixing them with other breeds to make the offspring smaller) SOLELY for profit. If you specifically want or need an Australian Cattle Dog that is smaller than the breed standard (17"-20" see below) find a reputable breeder who does health testing and who MAY have a smaller dog available.

Anomalies happen even with reputable breeders using registered and health tested dogs. Breeders that are specifically pairing dogs for size are most certainly ignoring other VERY important temperament and health issues and should be avoided at all costs!

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How big to they get?

The Australian Cattle Dog varies in size. The AVERAGE ACD will be 35 to 50 pounds (14 to 23 kg) and stand 17 to 20 inches (43 to 51 cm.) at the withers.

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Do Cattle Dogs shed much?

The typical Australian Cattle Dog does not shed year round but instead "blows it's coat" once or twice per year. During this one or two (or three) week period The ACD sheds out his or her undercoat (and then guard hair) in MASSIVE clumps.

The number of times that an ACD blows its coat per year depends on their sex and their reproductive status (ie, intact females blow after each heat cycle, altered animals generally blow their coat once a year...depending on climate). The misery of ACD hair EVERYWHERE xcan be lessened by frequent brushings while your dog is blowing coat and several WARM baths.

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How can I tell if my ACD is full-blooded?

The short answer to this question is "You can't".

If you have and AKC registered dog, you can be fairly sure that the lineage of your dog is pure (and that depends on the integrity of the breeders in your dogs pedigree). The other "registry bodies" in the United States have never insisted proof of pedigree of this breed and thus cannot be considered PURE (please see the history section for further explanation).

There are a lot of *KNOWN* Australian Cattle Dog mixes that look very much like the breed. This breed seems to strongly pass along its "type" when crossed with other breeds. If you know your dog is not purebred or do not have an exact pedigree and papers that trace back to the AKC studbooks, please consider having your ACD spayed or neutered soas not to pass along undesireable traits or genes.

Regardless of the lineage (or lack thereof) of your Australian Cattle Dog, you should love him and care for him with the companionship that he deserves and always keep in mind that this is a WORKING breed that needs to expend a lot of physical and mental exercise each day to remain happy.

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How do I get my Australian Cattle Dog/Heeler registered?

It is the responsibility of the breeder to register the litter when the puppies are born. This can only be done if the parents of the litter are registered themselves. Ask your breeder about your pups registration status first.

If your breeder did not register the litter, you can apply for an ILP from the American Kennel Club if you wish to participate in some of the dog sports and activities that are popular today.

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I want to find a mate for my ACD, how do I go about it?

The first thing you should do is research the history of your dog. Find out about the dogs and bitches in his/her past and find out everything you can about them.

Next, you should have a CERF exam done, hip x-rays taken and evaluated by the OFA and a BAER test done to insure your dog has bilateral hearing.

If you own a male, sit back and wait...the bitch comes to the dog, not vice-versa. You may want to enter your boy in some AKC conformation competitions to prove that he conforms to the breed standard and to get your boy seen. If you own a bitch, start inquiring at dog shows or with respected breeders in your area and try to find a dog whose genotype and phenotype compliment your girl.

If you are not willing to do the tests above, reconsider whether or not you TRUELY care about this breed. Failure to do simple genetic tests before bringing new life into the world is a sure sign that your motivation to breed is quite selfish.

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Where do I get even more information about this breed?

The Australian Cattle Dog Club of America publishes an information packet that is available by sending $5.00 (for printing and postage) to:


MOST of the information in this packet is available here at, but it also includes a lovely color rescue brochure, a Membership Application and a complete ACDCA Breeder's Directory.

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Is there a magazine/newsletter devoted to this breed?

The Australian Cattle Dog Club of America publishes a quarterly newsletter. See the ACDCA web site for information about joining the club and/or subscribing to the ACD Quarterly.

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What the HECK is a "Bentley"?

The "Bentley Mark" is a white blaze found on the forehead of many Australian Cattle Dogs.

See the History section of for and explanation of how this marking got its name!

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Where do I find a reputable breeder?

The Australian Cattle Dog Web is pleased to be supported by a number of breeders in the U.S. and abroad that are deeply devoted to ethical and responsible breeding. Please visit the Breeder's page at before looking any further.

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More pictures, I wanna see more pictures!

There are plenty of ACD photos to be seen here.....but as the web expands and people have their own pages, more and more are via links to other sites. Don't forget to visit:

The ACD Photo Page
ACD Friends
ACD Links of Interest

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How can I find out about Dog Shows/Trials in my area?

There are a number of places on line to find out where you can attend Dog Shows in your area.

For American Kennel Club Events Schedules (conformation, obedience, herding, agility, etc), see:

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