Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog: Characteristics and Breed Information

The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle dog is a naturally bobtailed or tailless dog which is similar and related to the Australian Cattle dog. It is also known by some other names such as Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog, Stumpy, Stumpy Tail and Heeler.

The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle dog breed was developed in Australia to herd cattle. It was descends from crosses between European herding dogs and the Australian dingo.

The breed was descended from Smithfield herding dogs of England, which were brought to Australia in the early 19th Century, and cross-bred with the dingo. Records of working dogs were scare from this time period, and there are differing accounts of the breed’s development.

One is that a drover named Timmins from Bathurst, New South Wales, crossed the Smithfield dogs with dingoes, producing a type of working dog called Timmins’ Biters. Further crosses were made with Scottish Smooth Collies, in order to mute their dingo characteristics and make the dogs easier to handle, producing speckled red and blue dogs that were often born tailless.[1]

In the book A Dog Called Blue, author Noreen Clark makes the case that both the tailless Heeler and the Australian Cattle dog descended at one point from the same stock, called Halls Heelers, kept in the 1830s by a very large cattle operation run by Thomas Hall.

The dogs were also crosses of Smithfield dogs and dingoes, but the breeds diverged at some point in the late 20th century. Selective breeding of the tailless or short-tailed dogs has fixed the characteristic of today’s breed.

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Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog Characteristics

The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle dog is a medium-sized animal. It is a normally proportioned, rugged dog with pricked ears and long legs. The most distinctive feature of this breed is ‘the frequent lack of a tail’, for which the breed is named.

When there is a tail, it is quite short, no longer than 4 inches, and undocked. The coat of these animals is medium length to short, straight, dense and harsh. The coat color is a speckled red or speckled blue. They do not show brown points or markings as seen on the Australian Cattle dogs.

Average hieight of the mature dogs is between 18 and 20 inches at the withers. And average live body weight of the mature males is between 17 and 20.5 kg, and between 14.5 and 16 kg for females.

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Temperament

The ideal temperament of the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle dog is described in the breed standard as alert and watchful, as well as responsive to it’s owner and reserved around strangers. But also notes that “it must be amenable to handling” at shows. All working dogs need early socialization with people, and consistent training and activity throughout their lives.

Lifespan

Average lifespan of the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle dog is between 13 and 15 years.

Feeding

Feeding How much a mature dog eats depends on it’s size, age, build, metabolism and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don’t all need the same amount of food. The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle dogs are a medium sized dog.

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So, their diet should be formulated for a medium sized breed with average energy and exercise needs. You can also contact with your vet for better recommendations.

Caring

Taking good care of the animals is very important for raising Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle dogs. This breed has a very high energy level and therefore needs daily exercise, a secure place to run, and also mind stimulating work.

With a high level of stamina, this breed can work stock all day in adverse condition for which it was developed. Hiking, backpacking, and obedience training is essential for healthy body and mind for the lifetime of the dog.

These dogs are easily trained using reward based methods. Problem solving and comical in nature. Temperament ranges from people friendly to a bit wary of strangers. Great with known persons. Can be a bit of a watch dog and alert owners to strangers nearing their property.

Health

The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle dogs are generally healthy. But like all other dog breeds, they are also prone to certain health conditions. All pups should be BEAR hearing tested as this breed carries the gene for deafness.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Primary Lens luxation are inherited eye problems and all breeding pairs should be DNA screened to make good breeding decisions. Always keep good contact with a vet in your area.

Breed NameAustralian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog
Other NamesStumpy Tail Cattle Dog, Stumpy, Stumpy Tail and Heeler
Breed SizeMedium
HeightBetween 18 and 20 inches at the withers
WeightMature males is between 17 and 20.5 kg, and between 14.5 and 16 kg for females
Good as petsYes
Climate ToleranceAll climates
ColorRed speckled or blue speckled
LifespanBetween 13 and 15 years
Good for childrenYes
RarityCommon
Country of OriginAustralia