Australian Cattle dogs are definately not the breed for everyone ask yourself the following questions before you commit:
Am I a first time dog owner? This is not the breed for you, they require an owner with previous dog experience who has a take charge attitude-however cattle dogs do have a sensitive side and get their feelings hurt easily-you have to be the best of both worlds!
Do I have small children? (under the age of 10) Cattle dogs love kids but are rough and will try to move them where they want them, they will also get excited when kids run and play, any movement triggers them to go into "work mode", remember this is a breed who works large cattle.
Am I nervous person? Cattle dogs are on the move most of the time always looking for something to do, this includes chasing the broom while you sweep, some may even pace back and forth, some may dig holes if they are bored.
Do I have a 'short fuse'? cattle dogs can get on your nerves! a mellow temperment is a must in their human
Do I have a fenced in or large yard to provide exercise for a working dog? This is a WORKING dog it was meant to spend it's life working cattle and horses, it needs lots of exercise and it needs a job to do to make it happy, not a breed that does well in an apartment for instance. Our male keeps himself busy by keeping all of my free range chickens on one side of the driveway, not that I feel they need to be on that side but it is where he thinks they need to be!
Will I work with my dog and teach it the basics of obedience training? A very intelligent breed it excels in obedience and is a quick learner, the need to work things that move can cause your ACD to chase cars so the need to be able to stop your dog on a dime is an absolute must! They make great agility dogs too!
Will it bother me that my dog tries to herd everything in sight including me, children and other animals? They are a "herding" breed always remember that! Not always but a lot of the time they will bump you in the back of the leg trying to get you to where they want you, some may even nip at your leg or other animals (other dogs for example)-not in a mean way-just the way they would nip at the heels of cattle, imagine being a toddler with delicate skin and having a dog nipping at the back of your legs-it will bruise and can hurt, this is why we say be wary with young children, they run and play and they will get herded by a cattle dog and not necessarily in a good way.
Do I work long hours? Cattle dogs do not do well locked up for long periods of time and they don't like to be alone - they were bred to work alongside ranchers as part of a team-there's no "I" in team!! Think you will tie up your cattle dog to a dog house and forget him all day? Get a different breed.
Cattle dogs make great watch dogs as they are not always welcoming to strangers, females especially are quite aloof until they are properly introduced to the newcomer and realize they are "ok". If you have a lot of parties or are the home where the neighborhood kids hang out then a cattle dog may not be for you.
These questions are all things you need to ask yourself because they will affect you when you own a heeler.
Cattle dogs are :
The perfect home would be with a person who spends alot of time with their dog, maybe someone who can be home with it or who can take their dog to work with them. This is not a dog who should be chained or kenneled-he would be totally miserable. This is why you see them on farms following the farmer while he does his chores, he is definately mans best friend and is always there to lend a hand!
They are extremely loyal, they want to be with their person, sometimes you don't know where you end and they begin! Words that come to mind is 'total devotion' to their family and sometimes just one special person in that family.
They are intelligent and do extremely well in obedience and agility.
Hardworking and willing to give you their all.
Are you looking for a dog that will go with you everywhere and stick to you like glue? Thats a cattle dog!
Check out this video on cattle dogs:
Male or female?
So you've done your research and decided on a Cattle Dog. You've asked many questions and seen how the puppies are raised, you've met the breeder and the parents of the puppies and you're ready to make your choice. Your pick should be based on a matching personality with the puppy in question. How does the puppy react to you and your family, kids? The sex of the puppy should be your last consideration. Why? Because most people have a huge misconception on sexes and personalities. Most feel a female is a sweet, loving dog who is a caretaker of puppies and children. Well, that's not always so--they aren't called bit** for nothing! Female dogs are nice; I like my girls and I'm pretty sure they like me. They come to me and get attention, and then they move away and are content to lie on the other side of the room. Perhaps this matches your personality perfectly--maybe you want a dog that isn't overly affectionate. Girls take training seriously, and most are very good at obedience. Females can be alpha dogs just as easily as a male can. Spayed females, of course, make a much better family pet than unspayed females do. Boys tend to get a bad rap because, in your mind, you remember the neighbor's disgusting unaltered male dog hiking his leg on every bush in the neighborhood and doing nasty "boy" things. Male dogs that are intended to be family pets NEED to be neutered at an early age (5 months old). When you do YOUR part, you have an absolutely wonderful family member. They usually squat to piddle, never develop any type of nasty habit and are extremely loving dogs. Where your girls will get their attention and go lie down, a boy will stay near you. He likes to be with his person, he likes to be loved on; he is "devoted" to you. Yes, he takes his training seriously. But then he likes to have FUN, he likes to play in the yard--he doesn't like to take life too seriously all the time! Doubt me? Meet Gus-he passes his personality onto his sons. So before you choose a dog based on its sex only, consider the other elements. Are you the type of person who likes an independent dog, or one who prefers a dog that worships the ground you walk on? Ofcourse there is the exception to every rule and the amount of time you spend with your puppy will make a huge difference in his or her personality. My suggestion is to spend time with your potential choice at the breeder's, but don't ignore a potential 'perfect match' for you because it may not be the sex you originally sought!
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Our Sire, O'Kaylyn Farms Goin' for the Gusto is an AKC registered blue and has a very loving nature, his herding style is accurate and precise but not very aggressive, he gets the job done and puts each of our 14 horses in their appropriate stall, he also 'holds' a horse in it's stall while we clean with the door open. Gus is friendly to everyone he meets but if he is in the barn alone without a human member of his family he is very protective of his livestock.
Gus has his hips OFA certified "good" and has eyes DNA tested "clear" of any abnormalities. He is standing at stud to prospective 'ladies' with a clear brucellosis test.
Our dam, O'Kaylyn Farms Katie Did It is a non registered red. Kate has a very aggressive herding style and would do a great job on cattle. She has a great nature and is superb in the house, is a wonderful watchdog and she is a fantastic mother too. Being a female she is very loving to our two children but is reserved with strangers until she accepts you.
Katie has her eyes DNA tested clear.
Satisfy the need to herd and wear him out! The jolly ball originally used for horses to play with, is made of a durable hard plastic, it's the absolute best thing we have found to keep our cattle dogs happy! Available thru amazon.com we use the large 14 inch size-hours of enjoyment for you and your cattle dog!
check out the growing up page for some action shots with the Jolly ball!