Australian Cattle Dogs can be imposing figures. Muscular and serious-looking, this working breed takes protection to a new level. Excellent watch dogs, an Cattle Dog is quick sound an alert that a stranger is approaching. Despite their serious nature, this breed loves to run and play, and craves an active lifestyle and affection, letting him know he's done his job well.
This breed is very high energy and should not be confined to an apartment. Leisurely strolls around the neighborhood won't satisfy this dog's need for activity, either. Plenty of room to run is essential to an Australian Cattle Dog, and if he doesn't get it, will develop destructive behaviors.
They are ideal farm and ranch dogs as they love to herd and have a never ending energy level. Families who don't live on a farm can have a happy Cattle Dog if they spend plenty of time engaged in interactive games like fetching a tennis ball or catching a frisbee. This breed will want to be included in as many family activities as possible.
Cattle Dogs are not an ideal dog for families with small children. While they will bond well with the children in their own families, but they can be wary of strange children. They can be a little impatient with children, even their own human brothers and sisters, so families should take extra care to teach kids how to approach a Cattle Dog.
Australian Cattle Dogs are very strong willed and like to test boundaries. They can also become dominant, so a firm, consistent leader is necessary for training, otherwise this breed will rule the roost. Training and socialization should begin as early as possible to establish the leadership position. If left to his own devices, it can become nearly impossible to train a Cattle Dog later in life.
This breed is incredibly fun to watch when they are at work. Though some owners dock the tails of their Cattle Dogs, they have long tails that they use as a rudder to maneuver and change direction on a dime. Short and stocky, they don't appear to be graceful, until they run. They are incredibly fast and agile, and it's as entertaining for people to watch a Cattle Dog run as it is for the cattle dog to be running and herding.
Though their first love is working, the Australian Cattle Dog's second love is his family. This breed loves spending time with people, and should not be chained up outdoors or left alone for long periods of time. They can develop separation anxiety which will almost always be exhibited in destructive behavior. Cattle Dogs are strong, stocky animals and can tear apart a couch in record time.
Bred to herd and protect livestock, Australian Cattle Dogs can become fiercely protective of “their” property. They will sound the alert that a stranger is approaching, but if not properly socialized around people, this can lead to aggression. Not only will they alert you to an approaching stranger, but will often bark at the sight of any oncoming foreign object – a car, a bike, the dog across the street, etc. It is important to train a Cattle Dog to obey commands to stop barking.