Australian Cattle Dog Puppies

(Their History)


Australian Cattle Dog Puppies have a spirit like no other. Australian Cattle Dogs, the Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog and the Blue Heeler Dog are all of the same family. When you look into those precious eyes of your new Australian Cattle Dog Puppy, give it's ancestors a respectful thought!


If we look back to the early settlements around Sydney Town and west to Parramatta & Windsor, which was known as Green Hills, at that time. The Cattle and sheep were kept close to the dwellings in fenced paddocks; consequently the stock could be managed by hand and there was no need for a cattle dog.

Around the mid-1820’s, our pioneers moved out from the settled areas towards Bathurst and the Upper Hunter Valley regions, in search of more grazing areas. The benefit of more feed for the stock also had it’s downside. The, somewhat, domesticated stock suddenly had access to large acres of un-fenced areas and they soon lost their 'human contact'.

George Hall, his wife and, four children were pioneers who had arrived in the New South Wales Colony in 1802 and were given a grant of 100 acres in 1803. He acquired a further 850 acres by 1820, and moved his now growing family further out, by the 1830’s the family had moved over the Liverpool Ranges.

Driving cattle long distances to Sydney was difficult and dangerous. While they were on the open country the cattle were manageable, but problems became apparent when they were faced with the mountainous, timbered country.

Australian Cattle Dog Puppies are born with the strong instincts of their forefathers! So what is the history of Australian Cattle Dogs, the beautiful Blue Heeler Dog or the Stumpy tail Cattle Dog, and how did they get here?

The first droving dog to be imported was the “Smithfield” so named because it worked in and came from, the Smithfield Meat Markets in London. The Smithfield was a large, long-haired dog, believed to be bred from the Old Bobtail (Old English Sheepdog), crossed with unknown other breeds.

The English Sheepdogs were suitable for working the sheep, but working wild cattle in the harsh Australian environment was another matter. These cattle needed a dog that would work silently from the rear and be forceful enough to move the most stubborn beast. Such a dog must be able to sustain hard work for prolonged periods, in all types of weather conditions and over all types of terrain - they had to be 'tough'.

Around 1830, a drover by the name of Timmins, who worked between Bathurst and Sydney, developed a cross breed between the Dingo and the Smithfield. They were known as “Red Bobtails or Timmin’s Biters". They were big, hairy dogs with an awkward gait, unlike the Blue heeler Dog or the Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog that we know today. These dogs worked from the rear but, they were noisy and had a most severe bite. As one historian wrote: “they barked like a consumptive and bit like an alligator!!”

Thomas Simpson Hall, one of George Hall’s sons, became the stud-master in the Hall cattle empire, the responsibility of breeding a good working dog fell on his shoulders.

He had long studied the Dingo (the Australian Wild Dog) and he had kept selected specimens.

He decided the Dingo would form a major part of his cross-breeding but, in none of the other dogs, existing in the colony at that time, could he find the attributes he wanted for the other part of his cross.

So, he chose the Northumberland Blue Merle Drover’s Dog to form the other part of his cross and imported a pair of them.

The Drovers Dog had evolved from the Shepherd’s Dog of Scotland, (Border Collie type) crossed with the Old Beardie (Highland Collie) which, had a splash of terrier thrown in.

We can definitely thank Hall for the Australian cattle dog puppies that we know and love today.

Thomas selectively crossed the progeny of the Drover’s Dogs with the progeny of the Dingoes. How many back- crosses he made, is not known. What is known; is that by 1840 he achieved what he, as, an experienced stud-master, considered to be a suitable cross. The resulting dogs were called "Hall’s Heelers". Much later they became universally known as "Blue Heelers".

Halls Heelers were the foundation breed of the present day Australian Cattle Dog Puppies.

It is recorded how Hall’s Heelers were a marvel at working wild cattle. From the dingo they inherited their stocky powerful body, their quick brown eyes, their double coat of hair, the wedge shaped head with powerful napping jaws, the heavy foot pads, the stamina to work long hours in extreme conditions, with the instinct to dart in suddenly from behind and sharply nip the heels of stubborn beasts.

From the Drovers Dog came the intelligence and obedience plus, the ability of that dog to faithfully guard his masters and their possessions. All Australian cattle dog puppies born today, bear the traits of this early breeding. From 1840 until his death in 1870, Thomas did not find the necessity to infuse any other look into his dogs. There is no record of any other person experimenting with the breed during Thomas’s lifetime either.

After his death, there were numerous people in Sydney that set about introducing other strains into his breed, including Bull Terriers etc. The results of these experiments, was a dog, which, by their own admission, had lost most of its working ability.

Another Queensland grazier, George Elliott, also continued selective breeding from Hall stock. These dogs, in isolation, became famous as the "Queensland Blue Heelers". There are records of the original Hall breed still being bred pure on some properties as late as 1927. The Australian cattle dog puppies born today still have all the attributes of the dogs from years gone by.

People have often referred to crosses between the Heeler and the Kelpie: It must be remembered that; the Kelpie was not introduced into Australia until 1869, and because Thomas Hall died the following year, the Kelpie certainly formed no part of his original breed.

Excerpts are from “The Hall’s Heeler”, by Albert James Howard.

australian blue puppyAustralian Cattle Dog Puppies don’t sneak into your heart!

That adorable little Australian Cattle Dog Puppy comes crashing in with all the energy and tenacity that we have learned from the history of Australian Cattle Dogs.

Once you have had a Blue Heeler Dog or Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog, you are hooked for life.

And when they are, sadly, taken from us, it's just a matter of time, before you are welcoming the next one into your heart and your home again.

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