Honouring Our Home Grown Australian Dog Breeds
This year as we celebrate Australia Day we take a look at some of the popular dog breeds that have been bred to withstand the Australia conditions. Loyal companions and hard working dogs, there is no doubt why these dog breeds have become our best mates.
Let’s take a look at some of our top Aussie dog breeds…
Australian Cattle Dog
Also often referred to as Blue Heelers, these dogs are famous for their working drive. The first cattle dogs to be introduced to Australia came from England. These dogs weren’t suited to the extreme temperatures and vast, arid terrain they had to cover. They were crossed with other breeds, including dingoes, to develop the hardy, tenacious and seriously smart Australian Cattle Dogs.
Their incredible intelligence, loyalty and eagerness to please means they’re very responsive to positive training methods. Because of their background, however, you may need to work on curbing inappropriate chasing and herding behaviors.
- Average Lifespan – This Aussie battler will often live up to 15 years of age but with the right care and diet can live to 20 years of age.
- Ideal Human Companion – The ideal owner for the Australian Cattle Dog should be someone who likes to have an active dog. While the Australian Cattle Dog absolutely adores children, similar to all breeds of dog it should never be left alone with them unsupervised. Elderly people might find that the Australian Cattle Dog is a bit of a handful.
Kelpies, like the Australian Cattle Dog, were first developed after collie dogs were brought over from Scotland and they were crossbred to produce a hardier working dog that could work sheep on the vast outback properties, and under harsh conditions.
This was a result of the various breeds of sheep dogs from Europe and the UK having proven too heavily coated to cope with the severe Australian climate.
They share a lot of similar traits to the Australian Cattle Dog but, the smaller Kelpie perhaps doesn’t have quite such extreme levels of intelligence. They’re also often more mild-mannered and less intense.These dogs have been successfully used to manage a variety of stock, including reindeer, goats, and cattle and have been exported across the world.
- Average Lifespan – Australian Kelpies can live up to 16 years of age.
- Ideal Human Companion – This breed adapts well to being a family pet, a jogging companion, children’s mate and guardian. If you are thinking of buying a Kelpie pup make sure that you are prepared to commit to the amount of time it deserves, as this breed will want to be your constant companion.
Australian Silky Terrier
The Australian Silky Terrier is friendly to all the family, but will usually attach itself to one member and be friendly with the rest. It will tolerate strangers, but no more than that. It will love children if raised with them, but it doesn’t enjoy being fussed over or being treated like an animated toy and prefers to be treated as an equal.
The Australian Silky Terrier is often said to be the result of a planned mating between an Australian Terrier and a Yorkshire Terrier, but because stud records were not kept in the early days this cannot be proved.
- Average Lifespan – Silky Terriers have a feisty appetite for life and usually live up to 13 years of age, but some extra care and sound diet can easily live up to 15 years of age.
- Ideal Human Companion – Those who want a family companion, and are willing to have a dog living indoors.
Proudly Australian, the breed evolved from a variety of British terriers that had been brought out to this country by settlers. Specifically bred for Australian conditions, this hard-bitten and tough little terrier was used for everything from guarding the farms and mines to hunting, and from tending the sheep to killing rats and snakes.
The Australian Terrier were the first native breed to be officially recognised in Australia, and their people-orientated nature and spunky personality mean they remain popular to this day.
The Australian Terrier is an even-tempered dog, versatile in movement, good company for young and old as it delights in human companionship. Small and tough, it is equally at home on a farm or in a suburban backyard.
- Average Lifespan – The Australian Terrier usually lives up to 13 years of age but with plenty of love and attention to its diet can live up to 15 years.
- Ideal Human Companion – For those people who want a warm-hearted “character”, this cheerful little dog would be the ideal pet.
Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog
The Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog breed began evolving in the early 1830s because of the need for a dog that could work cattle in Australia’s very harsh environment. The breed that we see today is the result of many years of careful thought and selective breeding by dedicated people.
Three breeds of dog went into the making of the ‘Stumpy’. First there was the crossing of the Dingo with an English breed of dog called the Smithfield (these dogs were naturally bob-tailed) which is where the gene comes from that is still present in the Stumpy today. Then the progeny from these matings were crossed with the smooth coated blue merle Collie (commonly referred to today as the German Coolie) and so a breed of dog was born that cattlemen, then and today, swear is the best working dog in the world.
The Stumpy is a loyal, courageous and devoted animal that possesses natural aptitude in the working and control of cattle. It is suspicious of strangers and will protect its family and possessions with its life. It is not an aggressive dog but if pushed will not back down without a fight.
- Average Lifespan – Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs can live up to 15 years of age.
- Ideal Human Companion – The ideal companion for the Stumpy should be someone who appreciates an active dog. While these dogs adore children, they should not be left together unsupervised. Elderly people may find the Stumpy a bit of a handful. Even though the Stumpy is a working dog, it does well in a suburban household as long as its exercise requirements (and need for mental stimulation) are met.
The Australian Shepherd
The Australian Shepherd (Aussie) gets an honorary mention because of its namesake but this breed was actually developed in America. There are many debates over the origins of the foundation stock. It is believed dogs travelled over with flocks of Merino sheep and the Basque shepherds who tended them. Some contend they came to Australia from Spain when the first Merino sheep arrived, and then travelled on to America. Others believe they were Australian Sheepdogs derived from the Smithfield and some type of Collie – possibly the German Coolie or its ancestor.
The name came about because of the perceived link with this country and the herding of Australian Merino sheep. In Australia the breed is in its infancy, only having been introduced in 1990.
The Australian Shepherd is good-natured with an even disposition. It may be somewhat reserved when meeting people for the first time, but there should never be any display of shyness or aggression. This breed is primarily a working dog with strong herding and guarding instincts. It is very agile and works with style and enthusiasm. Although not couch potatoes, some are quite content to be lap dogs. Extremely intelligent and devoted to their families, they are quick to learn and very easy to train.
- Average Lifespan – The Australian Shepherd generally lives up to 13 years of age and with the proper care and fed the correct amounts of nutrition can often live up to 15 years of age.
- Ideal Human Companion – The Australian Shepherd is a perfect companion for those wanting a highly trainable dog. If you have the time and commitment to take on an Aussie Shepherd, you won’t be disappointed.
Of course we can’t leave the dingo off the top Australia Day Honour Board. The dingo may be the most famous dogs in Australia, but their feral nature means there’s still a lot of controversy surrounding their taming and domestication. There are concerns about the impact it could have on the wild population and their suitability as pet dogs.
Dingoes are often regarded as one of the oldest pure forms of dog in the world, with their fossils being found over 3,000 years ago in Australia. Modern-day dingoes remain close to their ancestors in terms of shape and temperament as they haven’t undergone any selective breeding.
Have a great Australia Day. Visit us online to find out more about Australia’s Best RAW Pet Meat For Your Dog or Cat.