The Australian Cattle Dog has changed little since the late
1800's when the first standard was drawn up. In 1897 Robert
Kaleski drew up the first Standard of points for the Australian
Cattle Dog which was recognised by the original Kennel Club
of New South Wales in 1903. This standard was not changed until
1963 and then changes were made in the early 80's. The current
standard has been in place since 1994. AKC has adopted the country
of origin standard. CKC do have slight variations and some disqualifications.
The general appearance is that of a strong compact, symmetrically
built working dog with the ability and willingness to carry
out his allotted task however arduous. Its combination of substance,
power, balance and hard muscular condition must convey the impression
of great agility, strength and endurance.. Any tendency to grossness
or weediness is a serious fault.
The Australian Cattle Dog comes from a spitz type breed, the
Dingo, and should display all spitz characteristics except for
the tail curling over the back. The head is wedge shaped, the
eyes are oval, slightly obliquely set, the ears are small and
pricked, there is a slight ruff around the neck. These are all
spitz characteristics. Medium length neck blending into well
laid shoulders. The topline is level, the angles are moderate.
Balanced and symmetrical, sturdy and compact. The breed is generic
with the key word being everything in moderation. The dog must
fill the eye as a whole. No point should be so much in excess
of the others as to destroy the general symmetry. Coarse or
fine boned specimens should be penalised.
In 1893 Kaleski described the breed as a small thick
set Dingo, that has a head that is broad between the ears.
This ensures that the dog has a large brain-box, hence has plenty
of intelligence. If narrow here, the brain must be small and
the intelligence feeble, hence a poor worker.
the name implies, the dogs prime function, and one which
he has no peer, is the control and movement of cattle
in both wide open and confined areas. Always alert, extremely
intelligent, watchful, courageous and trustworthy, with
an implicit devotion to duty making it an ideal working
The Australian Cattle Dog should always portray a picture of
an intelligent, watchful, loyal dog ready at any time to defend
master and property. He must clearly convey the ability to work.
A soft dog that is out of condition should be penalized heavily.
They are athletes and must be kept in good hard working condition
even in the show ring.
As a conformation show dog the breed has in recent years become
particularly competitive with many excellent specimens gaining
the ultimate Best in Show award. The Australian Cattle Dog can
been seen in show rings all over the world. There are many specimens
being exhibited in the United States, Canada, Europe, South
America, Japan, Asia, United Kingdom, New Caledonia and more
recently their popularity as a show dog, working dog and companion
has reached South Africa, Kenya, India and some of the more
remote parts of the world.
The Obedience Dog is an area that the Australian Cattle Dog
excels. This breed has a natural affinity for obedience work.
Herding breeds in general with generations of experience in
following the masters hand signals when moving stock are
a far better bet at obedience work than perhaps a Terrier that
was bred to work on its own, killing rats in the farm
shed. The breed is very quick to learn and responds immediately
to the masters signals and voice commands. They particularly
enjoy Agility which is not only fun but often has breath holding
excitement for both the handler, dog and spectators alike. The
best part of all is the dogs love it.
The Working Dog. This breed was initially bred to work but
over the years with the introduction of motor bikes and helicopters
to herd the cattle long distances, the work of the Australian
Cattle Dog in most part is confined to the yards. Although in
some areas of Australia where the dense scrub is still impenetrable
to a man on horseback and the modern stockman with their helicopters
and motor bikes cannot get cattle out, the working cattle dog
is sent in to bring out the beasts to the drovers. There is
nothing more enjoyable than to watch this breed doing what they
were bred for.
The Cattle Dogs loyalty and protective instincts
make it a self appointed guardian to the stockman, his
herd, and his property. Whilst naturally suspicious of
strangers, must be amenable to handling, particularly
in the show ring. Any feature of temperament or structure
foreign to a working dog must be regarded as a serious
A nervous, shy or aggressive dog should be heavily penalized.
The Cattle Dog should present as a bright, intelligent
dog, loyal and ready to defend his master and property
but at all times amenable to discipline. The characteristic
suspicious glint http://www.judgesl.com/aucadog/heads.html
(Picture # 11)
should convey a strong alpha temperament and a dont
fuss with me or my master attitude. However, bad
show ring behaviour is inexcusable.