Welcome to the BarkPost guide to dog breeds where we belly flop straight into the depths of dog breed origin, evolution, and purpose. Follow along each week as we publish new guides that highlight the strangest, most interesting, and most surprising stuff about these creatures who have been our best buds the last 30,000 years.
(All dogs are individuals, which means any single dog from any breed can be any number of ways, both good and not so good. Keep that in mind as we discuss breed generalities!)
With a name like “Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog,” you might guess that this breed has somewhat of a unique appearance. And you’d be right! Instantly recognizable by their docked tail (better known as their “stump”), this cattle dog from down under is an alert, focused, and energetic working dog—but unlike their long-tailed counterpart, the Australian Cattle Dog, this breed isn’t as well-known in the United States.
But we’re here to change that. Let’s take a deep dive into everything you need to know about the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog, from its origins to its training needs, its temperament to its life expectancy, and just about everything in between:
Also Known As…
Because this breed’s dock tail is their most recognizable feature, some people shorten their breed name and just call them “stumpy,” “stumpy tail dog” or “dog with the stumpy tail.” (Not the nicest nickname, in our opinion, but who are we to judge?) This breed is also commonly referred to as the Heeler.
The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog was originates from—you guessed it—Australia. In fact, it’s’ widely believed that the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog was the first breed developed in Australia when, in the mid-1800s, stockmen began breeding local working dogs with imported drover dogs (which are believed to have carried the tailless trait).
Following World War I, there was a sharp decline in Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog breeding—and by the 1960s, there was only one remaining Australiian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog breeder in Australia. However, a renewed interest in the breed was sparked in the 1980s and a redevelopment initiative was launched by the Australian National Kennel Council, which was successful in preserving the breed in its native land.
The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog falls on the smaller side medium-sized dog range, with males growing to an average height of 18 and 20 inches (females have a slightly smaller average height of between 17 and 19 inches).
The weight for a male Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog typically falls between 38 and 45 pounds—while, again, females are slightly smaller, typically weighing in between 32 and 35 pounds.
Because they’re working dogs, Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs are extremely alert, focused, and watchful. But these dogs aren’t all work and no play! The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs also have a silly, comical side—and, when paired with their loyal nature, they make for great companion dogs.
Intelligence / Trainability
The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is extremely responsive to their humans. They’re also bred to work and extremely eager to please—all of which add up to a highly trainable dog.
Want to get the most out of training your Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog? Here are a few training tips to keep in mind:
- Use positive reinforcement. The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog loves their humans and just want to make them happy—so positively reinforcing good behavior is always going to be a better training method than punishing them for bad behavior. When they follow a command, make sure to layer on the praise, belly rubs, and treats!
- Have fun with it. As mentioned, the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog has a fun, goofy side. So have fun with your training! The more fun your dog has during training, the more engaged they’ll be with the process—and the more successful training will be as a result.
- Work off their energy. This working dog has a ton of energy—and if you don’t work off some of that energy before training, you’re going to have a tough time. Before you dive into a training session, take your Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog on a long walk or for an extended play session. Let them work off some energy—that way, they can focus on training.
Because the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is such a high-energy breed, they need room to run around and exercise. Ideally, a fenced-in backyard would be a great fit. They also need plenty of additional outdoor exercise (like hiking), so this breed probably isn’t the best fit for large cities or urban areas.
Good For Families And Kids?
The Australiian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is extremely loyal to its family—and that includes children. Just make sure to keep an eye on your Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog and small children; they’re high energy dogs and you don’t want them to knock over or accidentally roughhouse your kids!
The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog has a fairly high life expectancy. On average, the lifespan for this breed is between 12 and 15 years.
Overall, the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is a healthy breed with a long lifespan. But, just like all dogs, there are some health problems associated with the breed that you’ll want to be on the lookout for.
The most common health issues associated with the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog have to do with the eyes: progressive retinal atrophy and primary lens luxation. The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog breed also carries the gene for deafness, so make sure your vet tests your dog for any hearing issues.
The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is, by nature, a working dog—which means they have a whole lot of energy. If you’re the kind of person who embraces an active lifestyle and want a dog to take hiking, running, or to explore the great outdoors, the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog could be a great fit.
Friendly With…(Dogs? Strangers? Cats/Other Pets?)
The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog can be wary of strangers, so early socialization is important. Some Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs may also chase smaller animals like cats (or even smaller dogs), so if you have other pets, it’s definitely something to keep in mind.
Coat & Grooming
The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog may have a lot of energy needs, but when it comes to grooming, this breed is extremely low maintenance. A weekly brushing to remove excess hair and dirt, the occasional bath, and regular nail clipping is really all this dog needs to look and feel its best.
Toys Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs Would Like Best
The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is an intelligent, focused, and highly energetic breed—all of which make for a dog who loves playtime!
If you want to keep your Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog happy, healthy, and engaged, you need to plan for regular playtime—and you need the right toys to make that playtime both fun and beneficial for your pup. Some toys you’ll definitely want to consider for your Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog include:
- Fetch Toys. One of the best ways for your Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog to work off energy is running. And one of the best ways to get them running (and having fun at the same time)? A good, old-fashioned game of fetch, of course!
- Tug Toys. Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs love to play with their humans—so tug toys are a great option to both help them work off energy and get the one-on-one attention and engagement they craved.
- Thinker Toys. As mentioned, the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is a smart dog—so mental stimulation is a must. Thinker toys are a great way to engage your dog’s brain (and reward their smarts with a delicious treat!).
Recommended Diet or Supplements
Like all dogs, the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog will do their best (and feel their healthiest) on a diet of high-quality dog food free from any unnatural ingredients (like fillers and preservatives). It’s also important to keep your dog’s activity level in mind; because the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is such an active breed, they may need larger portion sizes than more sedentary dogs.
As your Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog ages, you may also want to consider supplementing their diet with dietary supplements to support their overall health and well-being.
These veterinarian-formulated supplements are made with all natural glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid, all packed into a delicious soft chew. ($32.99.)
These delicious, vet-formulated chews are made with all-natural ingredients including Omega 3, 6, 9, and Vitamin E. They are designed to support immune health, provide relief from itchy allergic skin, and promote a healthy coat. ($19.99)
BARK’s Full Spectrum Hemp Oil is made of organically grown whole plants, grown in Colorado, and is non-psychoactive. It comes in 100mg, 250mg, and 500mg varieties, and can help with pet anxiety and pain relief. ($17.99-22.99.)
Stumpy Dogs, just like any dog, love to take a load off after a long day of…running around for hours on end or whatever they’re doing. That’s why they deserve their own bed, especially if they have joint issues.
This ultra plush orthopedic dog bed provides support for even the most active of dogs! The combination ergonomic memory foam and gel foam relieves pressure points, and helps ease body aches caused by hip dysplasia, arthritis and other orthopedic issues. ($27.99-64.99.)
Notable Rescues To Find The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog Of Your Dreams
If you’re thinking about adding an Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog to your family, why not adopt a dog in need? Or, in other words—adopt, don’t shop!
There are a number of rescues in the US that specialize in cattle dogs—including the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog. If you’re looking for an Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog to call your own, here are some notable rescues where you can find the perfect pet for you and your family:
- Australian Cattle Dog Rescue Association, serving Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, parts of Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia
- Texas Cattle Dog Rescue, serving Texas
- Pacific Northwest Cattle Dog Rescue, serving the PNW
Notable Instagram Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs
Can’t get enough of those stumpy little tails? Then why not transform your Instagram feed into an homage to the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog?
If you want more of these stumpy-tailed pups in your life (and on your Instagram feed), here are a few Instagram accounts you’ll want to follow ASAP:
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