Cattle Dog is known by many names. They are
called Blue Heeler, Red Heeler, Queensland
Heeler, Australian Heeler, or simply Heeler.
Whatever one prefers, they are still Australian
research, information and documentation
concerning the development of the breed, there
is still much controversy (even today) over
which breeds were used in the 'creatation' of
the ACD. The perfect combinations of dogs were
sought after to be able to withstand the harsh
environment of the Australian outback.
Thus, many different breeds were tried before
the "perfect" combinations were found.
In the 1830's
Thomas Hall developed a working dog breed known
as the Hall's Heeler. Hall imported "Drovers
Dogs" from Northumberland (the home of his
parents). These dogs were came to be known as,
"Northumberland Blue Merle Drovers Dogs". They
were not the "merle" coat pattern as we know
today, but were a ticked or mottled color coat
pattern. This distinctive mottled (or blue)
color is still seen in some modern British
By 1840 Hall,
after having crossed his Drovers Dogs with his
Dingo's, was satisfied with his breed. The
next thirty years, these "Hall's Heelers"
remained solely on the Hall properties and were
used on his large cattle operation.
In 1870, Thomas
Hall died. His cattle empire, as well as Hall's
Heelers were made available at auction. Some of
the dogs were kept by stockmen from Hall's
properties, others were bought by cattle
ranchers and other fanciers. It is thought that
"Timmins Biters", owned by Jack Timmins, were in
fact Thomas Hall's, Hall's Heelers. By the
1890's, Hall's Heelers, were known simply as
In 1897, Robert
Kaleski compiled the first breed standard for
the Cattle Dog. It was published by the New
South Wales Department of Agriculture in 1903
A few years
later, in the 1920's, Kaleski introduced an
assertion that the Dalmation and Kelpie were
used in the making of the Cattle Dog breed.
There is much controversy as to if this is
correct or even true. Over time, Kaleski's
theory has become accepted by some, even though
newer research has not been able to substantiate
his findings. It is said that Kaleski was fasinated
by similarities. For example, he thought a red
cattle dog looked more like a Dingo than a blue,
therefore; he had extreme predjudices for the
red cattle dogs and thought they were more
Dingo. Due to this information, it is thought
that Kaleski tried to explain that the
coloration of the Cattle Dog's tan point's came
from the Kelpie and the mottled color from that
of the Dalmation.
In the 1940's,
an Australian veterinarian, Dr. Allan McNiven,
infused the Dingo back into the Cattle Dog
breed. These became known as "McNiven's Dogs"
and were heavily imported by ranchers in the
United States as cattle working dogs. When the
Royal Agricultural Society Kennel Council (R.A.S.K.C.)
discovered that Dr. McNiven was crossing the
Dingo back into the Cattle Dog breed, he was
banned from showing and all his dogs were
removed from the registry.
attempt at breeding a dog suitable for the harsh
conditions of the Australian outback was Jack
Timmins. Timmins crossed the "Smithfield" with
the Dingo and were known as "Timmins Biters".
The name "Smithfields" was a name taken from the
central Smithfield meat markets of London.
These dogs were heavy built, black, flop-eared,
bob-tailed with white around the neck and
sometimes feet and end of the tail. "Timmins
Biters" were known to have a severe bite and
would kill calves when they could.
several ranchers into crossing the Dingo
with rough collies. Their progeny tended to
bark at the head of the cattle and work them
into a frenzy.
Thomas Hall, in
1840 imported some "Blue Smooth Highland
Collies" to cross with his Dingo's. These were
described as blue merle dogs more like the
Border Collie or bearded collie. He continued
to breed these dogs until his death in 1870.
In 1870, two
brothers, Jack and Harry Bagust, bred a Hall's
Heeler bitch to an imported Dalmation to instill
the love for horses and loyality to their
master. This cross was successful, but at the
expense of working ability. Since both brothers
admired the working ability of the Kelpie,
they bred a black and tan Kelpie into the
breed. This last and final cross proved to
add the working ability back into the breed and
added the tan points that is found on the
modern-day Australian Cattle Dog today.