The Australian Cattle Dog is a sturdy, compact working dog that is well-muscled, powerful, yet very agile. The body is a bit longer than high with a slightly curved tail reaching approximately to the hock. The front legs should be perfectly straight when viewed from the front. The head is broad and slightly rounded, with a slight, but definite stop. The prick ears are widely set, and moderately pointed. The oval eyes are dark brown. The teeth should meet in a scissors bite. The weather-resistant, smooth double coat consists of a short, dense undercoat and a short, straight outer coat. Comes in blue or in red speckle. Blue color is either blue, blue-mottled, or blue-speckled with or without black, blue, or tan markings on the head, with tan points. Black markings on the body are not desirable. The red speckle variety should be evenly speckled all over, even the undercoat.
The Australian Cattle Dog was developed by pioneer settlers in nineteenth-century Australia to herd cattle on large ranches. Dogs the settlers brought with them from Europe were not able to handle the long distances and inhospitable climate of the new continent, so ranchers began experimenting with new crosses. The Australian Cattle Dog was primarily derived from a mix of blue merle Collie imports from Scotland and wild Australian Dingoes. Australian Kelpie, Dalmatian, and Bull Terrier were also added. The result was an excellent herding dog who worked the stock quietly yet forcefully, and had superior stamina well suited to Australia's harsh conditions. The breed became known as the Queensland Blue Heeler because it was used so extensively in Queensland. Robert Kaleski drew up a standard for the breed in 1893, which was finally approved in Australia in 1903. The Australian Cattle Dog was fully recognized by the AKC in 1980.