Breed Study

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.

As 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 dog.