Description: The Australian Cattle Dog is a medium sized dog in the herding group. The dog will be 17 to 20 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 33 and 35 pounds. The bitch weighs 30 to 35 pounds and is 17 to 19 inches at the withers. The coat of this dog is short, but still consists of two layers: a outer guard coat and a dense undercoat. The color of the coat can be blue, speckled red, or mottled blue. The puppies are born white. The Australian Cattle Dog has upright ears and the tail is left undocked. It has a life span of about 12 to 15 years. This dog is also known as the Blue Heeler, the Queensland Heeler, or the Australian Heeler. History: When settlers came to Australia, they naturally brought their dogs with them, often Smooth Collies. Unfortunately, it was found that the hot climate of Australia and the great distances that were needed for a herding dog to travel were detrimental to these dogs. Recognizing the need to produce a tougher dog for their new home, the settlers bred Dalmatians and Kelpies into the line. This new breed proved to be just the thing needed for herding cattle on the extensive Australian ranches. Temperament: The Australian Cattle Dog is loyal and protective, but can not be considered to be a companion dog. This dog was developed to herd cattle independently of human direction and never was meant to interact closely with a human family. It has a tendency to nip, a tactic that it would employ when herding cattle, and it will do this to humans, too. If you get an Australian Cattle Dog while it is a puppy and it grows up around children, it will probably work out all right, but otherwise, this is not the best dog for children. This dog needs to work or it will become destructive. Health Issues: The Australian Cattle Dog can suffer from hip dysplasia and slipped kneecap. This dog can also get progressive retinal atrophy. The gene that causes the merle coloration can also be responsible for deafness in this dog. This is basically a healthy dog. Grooming: The short hair of the Australian Cattle Dog does not need to be excessively groomed, but a brushing once a week will keep it in top form. This dog can be bathed or not, depending on the owner's preferences. As this dog usually spends a lot of time outside, it should be checked for ticks and fleas frequently. The feet should also be examined to make sure there are no cuts or abrasions present. Living Conditions: This is definitely not a dog for an apartment. The Australian Cattle Dog is a working dog and needs an incredible amount of exercise. It does not need too much in the way of interaction with humans, although it will bond to one person. A long walk is not sufficient for this dog, it needs to run or jog with its owner or indulge in an active play session. Ideally, the owner of this dog would be someone on a farm or ranch with cattle to herd.