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Australian Cattle Dog basic information

The Australian Cattle Dog (ACD), also known as the Queensland Heeler, Blue Heeler, and Red Heeler, is a herding dog developed in Australia for controlling cattle. It is a medium-sized dog with a lot of energy, intelligence and an independent streak.

The Cattle Dog's coat comes in a variety of markings, sometimes quite striking. The basic coat colors are blue and red speckle. For dog owners whose interest is primarily in their qualification for conformation shows, even markings are preferred over uneven markings, and large solid-color marks on the body are undesirable. For owners who are more interested in their dogs' performance in activities such as herding or dog sports, the breed's strong work ethic and intelligence are of more importance than the exact coat markings.

The mask is one of the most distinctive features of an ACD. This mask consists of a darker red patch over one or both eyes (for the red speckle coat color) or a black patch over one or both eyes (for the blue coat color). These are called, respectively, single mask and double mask. ACDs without a mask are called plain-faced. Any of these is correct according to the breed standard, and the only limitation is the owner's preference.

Many Australian Cattle Dogs have a stripe of white hair in the center of the forehead, usually 1/2 inch to 1 inch by 2 inches to 3 inches (about 2 cm by 7 cm) called the Bentley Mark. This is similar in appearance to the blaze markings sometimes found on horses. According to legend, a popular dog owned by Tom Bentley passed on this distinctive mark to all Australian Cattle Dogs.

A female Australian Cattle Dog should measure about 17 to 19 inches (43 to 48 cm) at the withers. A male Australian Cattle Dog should measure about 18 to 20 inches (46 to 51 cm) at the withers. An ACD is a well-muscled, compact dog with a short, dense coat and a naturally long tail. An ACD in good condition should weigh roughly 40 to 50 pounds (18 to 23 kg).

Some breeders dock ACD's tails. This is a controversial practice and, in some countries, is illegal or is prohibited for show dogs. Docking Australian Cattle Dogs' tails is a practice peculiar to the United States - ACD tails are not docked in their country of origin, Australia. However, the ACD absolutely needs its attractive tail for balance and steering while working or in agility. It is widely believed the tails are docked because of the mistaken notion that the dog will get its tail caught in doors or mouths of irate livestock. This is not to be confused with the Stumpy-tailed Cattle Dog, which is born with a naturally docked, or 'bobbed' tail; this animal strongly resembles the ACD in colouring, but has a slightly taller, leaner conformation.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Australian_Cattle_Dog".
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