The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is more than an Australian Cattle Dog with a docked tail. These bundles of energy have loyal, courageous, and devoted dispositions and want nothing more than good work and loving homes.
It's a mistake to assume the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs is just an Australian Cattle Dog with a docked tail. This naturally bob-tailed breed has its own story and characteristics.
The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog was the first breed developed in Australia. The first dogs were a mix of Smithfield, an English herding dog, and an indigenous Australian Dingo. The breed—either referred to as Hall's Heelers or Timmins Biters, depending on who is given credit for developing it—was hailed as a valuable working dog with incredible stamina. Ranchers felt the dogs were too severe with the stock, so another breed was added to soften their temperaments. Crossing the dogs with a smooth-haired blue merle Collie led to the creation of the current Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog.
In the 1890s, both long-and stumpy-tailed varieties appeared in local shows in equal numbers. But over time, the number of Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs declined. A single breeder remained in the 1960s, and two decades later, the breed was near extinction. The Australian National Kennel Council launched a redevelopment effort to restore their numbers and successfully reinvigorated the breed.
The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is a well-proportioned working dog with a square profile, rugged appearance, and muscular build.
Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs are double-coated with short, dense, soft undercoats and short, straight, dense outer coats with a harsh texture. The coat is longer and thicker around their necks, forming a mild ruff, and shorter on their head, legs, and feet.
The breed comes in two colors: blue and red speckle. Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs with blue coloring should be blue or blue mottled. There may be black markings on their heads or bodies.
Red speckled dogs should have an even red speckle all over their bodies, including the undercoat (which should not be white or cream), with or without dark red markings on their heads. Some have red patches on the body.
Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs have broad chests with well-sprung ribs, deep, muscular loins, and muscular hindquarters. The breed also has oval-shaped, medium-sized eyes with an intelligent but suspicious expression. Their moderately small ears are pricked and almost pointed. And per the breed standard, their undocked tails should not exceed four inches in length.
Like Australian Cattle Dogs, Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs are known for their loyalty and protective instincts. These dogs are always looking out for their people and property. Ever alert and watchful, they can be suspicious of strangers or territorial. Due to their high-energy natures, these dogs do best in a house with a fenced yard or owner committed to regular trips to the dog park.
Feed Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs a high-quality dog food that is appropriate for their life stage (e.g., puppy, adult, senior) and consider a diet formulated for active breeds. Though these highly active dogs are not known for being overweight, it's still a good idea to portion out their food with a measuring cup and limit treats to no more than 10% of their daily calories to avoid overfeeding.
Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs have minimal grooming requirements. Regular brushing and an occasional bath are all it takes to keep them looking good. During semi-annual shedding seasons, daily brushing will help remove cast-off undercoat and minimize shedding. The breed has fast-growing nails that may need almost-weekly trimming to keep them from becoming overgrown and sharp.
Like all breeds, Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs benefit from regular dental care. Start a routine that includes at-home teeth-brushing and professional cleanings to ensure good oral hygiene throughout their lives.
Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs are an active breed that loves being on the go. In the absence of a job (such as herding stock) these dogs require regular, high-intensity exercise. Long walks (or runs), trips to the dog park, swimming, hiking, or other activities that let them show off their stamina and endurance are ideal.
These are intelligent dogs that excel in herding, agility, rally, competitive obedience, and other dog sports. Mental stimulation such as puzzle toys and new tricks can help Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs satisfy their need for near-constant physical and mental stimulation.
Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs love learning new things. Keep training activities short and fun (but not repetitive) and use positive reinforcement and reward-based training. Socialization is essential to temper their territorial instincts.
Dogs with Cystinuria are not able to reabsorb the amino acid cystine in their kidneys and therefore high concentrations can accumulate in the urinary tract resulting in formation of cystine crystals and stones that can cause obstruction.
Myotonia Congenita is a muscle disorder affecting dogs from birth. The condition causes affected dogs to have muscles that contract and cramp easily.
PRCD is a particularly common form of progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and is found in many breeds and mixed breed dogs. PRA is caused by the degeneration of photoreceptor cells of the retina resulting in progressive vision loss and eventual blindness.
Knowing if your Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is a carrier or at-risk for these conditions can help you and your veterinarian plan for your pup’s lifelong care. With Wisdom Panel™ Premium, you can get results for over 200 genetic health tests.
Reviewed July 26, 2020 by Laura Inman, DVM