How Do you tell If a Dog Is an Australian Cattle Dog?

by Lisa

The Australian Cattle Dog, as the name suggests, originated in Australia and is primarily used for herding cattle. It is a strong, versatile, and well-proportioned working dog known for its alertness, intelligence, guarding ability, bravery, honesty, and absolute loyalty to duty.

Size and Appearance

The Australian Cattle Dog is a strong, muscular, and compact dog that gives the impression of agility and power. It has a broad skull that flattens to a fixed section between the eyes, muscular cheeks, and oval-shaped eyes of medium length, usually in a dark color, with an alert and keen expression. The neck and shoulders are strong and powerful, the forelegs are straight and parallel, and the feet are arched and compact with small, sturdy toes and nails.


Size and Weight

The shoulder height of a female Australian Cattle Dog is about 43-48 cm (17-19 inches), while that of a male is about 46-51 cm (18-20 inches). The length of the dog’s body should be greater than its height, with the body length from the chest to the buttocks being greater than the shoulder height, in a proportion of 10:9. The weight of a healthy Australian Cattle Dog is approximately 18-25 kg (40-55 pounds).


Tail Characteristics

The Australian Cattle Dog should have a natural, long tail without docking. There is usually a solid-colored spot at the base of the tail and a white tip. The tail should be set on low and follow the slope of the back. It should be slightly curved at rest, although an excited dog may hold its tail higher.


Color Changes

Australian Cattle Dogs are born white, and their undercoat gradually changes to blue or yellow, until the color replacement is completed at around forty-five days, resulting in a blue or yellow coat. This color change is an important characteristic of the breed. If the dog’s color does not change or other colors appear, the dog may be a hybrid or the result of inbreeding.



When identifying an Australian Cattle Dog, it is important to note that although Australian Cattle Dogs and Australian Shepherds are similar in some ways, their muzzles are different. The muzzle of an Australian Cattle Dog gradually becomes thinner, medium in length, thick and sturdy, while the muzzle of an Australian Shepherd is short and triangular.

By observing the above characteristics, you can determine whether a dog is an Australian Cattle Dog with reasonable accuracy. However, if you want to determine the purity of a dog, the best way is to check its pedigree certificate or conduct a DNA test.


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