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australian stumpy tail cattle dog 3 scaled - Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog

Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog

The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog, named for their characteristic short or sometimes non-existent tail, is a descendant of wild dingoes and domesticated herding dogs from the late 19th century. Although similar to the popular Australian Cattle Dog, the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is leaner, tailless, and more alert when it comes to strangers and new situations.

This bob-tailed breed goes by several nicknames, including Stumpy, Stumpy Tails, and Heelers. Although these are purebred dogs, you may still find them in shelters and rescues. Remember to adopt! Don’t shop if this is the breed for you.

This active and intelligent breed has a lot of energy and requires a lot of space to burn it off. The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is best suited for adult households or homes with older children, ideally with some fenced yard space to run around. If you want an active companion and have patience for consistent training, then this might be the breed for you!

Breed Characteristics:


Contrary to popular belief, small size doesn’t necessarily an apartment dog make. Plenty of small dogs are too high-energy and yappy for life in a high-rise. Being quiet, low energy, fairly calm indoors, and polite with the other residents are all good qualities in an apartment dog

Some dogs are simply easier than others; they take to training better and are fairly easygoing. They’re also resilient enough to bounce back from your mistakes or inconsistencies.

Dogs who are highly sensitive, independent thinking, or assertive may be harder for a first-time dog parent to manage. You’ll get your best match if you take your dog-owning experience into account as you choose your new pooch.

If you’re new to dog parenting, take a look at 101 Dog Tricks and read up on how to train your dog!

Some dogs will let a stern reprimand roll off their backs, while others take even a dirty look to heart. Low-sensitivity dogs, also called “easygoing,” “tolerant,” “resilient,” and even “thick-skinned,” can better handle a noisy, chaotic household, a louder or more assertive owner, and an inconsistent or variable routine. Do you have young kids, throw lots of dinner parties, play in a garage band, or lead a hectic life? Go with a low-sensitivity dog.

Some breeds bond very closely with their family and are more prone to worry or even panic when left alone by their owner. An anxious dog can be very destructive–barking, whining, chewing, and otherwise causing mayhem. These breeds do best when a family member is home during the day or if you can take the dog to work.

Dogs with thick, double coats are more vulnerable to overheating. So are breeds with short noses, like Bulldogs or Pugs, since they can’t pant as well to cool themselves off. If you want a heat-sensitive breed, your dog will need to stay indoors with you on warm or humid days, and you’ll need to be extra cautious about exercising your dog in the heat.

All Around Friendliness

Some breeds are independent and aloof, even if they’ve been raised by the same person since puppyhood; others bond closely to one person and are indifferent to everyone else; and some shower the whole family with affection. Breed isn’t the only factor that goes into affection levels; dogs who were raised inside a home with people around feel more comfortable with humans and bond more easily.

See Dogs Less Affectionate with Family

Being gentle with children, sturdy enough to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs they can dish out, and having a blasé attitude toward running, screaming children are all traits that make a kid-friendly dog. You may be surprised by who’s on that list: Fierce-looking Boxers are considered good with children, as are American Staffordshire Terriers (which are considered Pit Bulls). Small, delicate, and potentially snappy dogs such as Chihuahuas aren’t always so family-friendly.

**All dogs are individuals. Our ratings are generalizations, and they’re not a guarantee of how any breed or individual dog will behave. Dogs from any breed can be good with children based on their past experiences, training on how to get along with kids, and personality. No matter what the breed or breed type, all dogs have strong jaws, sharp pointy teeth, and may bite in stressful circumstances. Young children and dogs of any breed should always be supervised by an adult and never left alone together, period.

Friendliness toward dogs and friendliness toward humans are two completely different things. Some dogs may attack or try to dominate other dogs, even if they’re love-bugs with people; others would rather play than fight; and some will turn tail and run. Breed isn’t the only factor. Dogs who lived with their littermates and mother until at least six to eight weeks of age and who spent lots of time playing with other dogs during puppyhood, are more likely to have good canine social skills.

Stranger-friendly dogs will greet guests with wagging tails and nuzzles; others are shy, indifferent, or even aggressive. However, no matter what the breed, a dog who was socialized and exposed to lots of different types, ages, sizes, and shapes of people as a puppy will respond better to strangers as an adult. Remember that even friendly dogs should stay on a good, strong leash like this one in public!

Health And Grooming Needs

Drool-prone dogs may drape ropes of slobber on your arm and leave big, wet spots on your clothes when they come over to say hello. If you’ve got a laid-back attitude toward slobber, fine; but if you’re a neatnik, you may want to choose a dog who rates low in the drool department.

Some breeds are brush-and-go dogs; others require regular bathing, clipping, and other grooming just to stay clean and healthy. Consider whether you have the time and patience for a dog who needs a lot of grooming, or the money to pay someone else to do it.

Due to poor breeding practices, some breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, such as hip dysplasia. This doesn’t mean that every dog of that breed will develop those diseases; it just means that they’re at an increased risk.

If you’re adopting a puppy, it’s a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you’re interested in. You may also want to ask if your shelter or rescue has information about the physical health of your potential pup’s parents and other relatives.

Some breeds have hearty appetites and tend to put on weight easily. As in humans, being overweight can cause health problems in dogs. If you pick a breed that’s prone to packing on pounds, you’ll need to limit treats, make sure they get enough exercise, and measure out their daily food servings into regular meals rather than leaving food out all the time.

Ask your vet about your dog’s diet and what they recommend for feeding your pooch to keep them at a healthy weight. Weight gain can lead to other health issues or worsen problems like arthritis.

Dogs come in all sizes, from the world’s smallest pooch, the Chihuahua, to the towering Great Dane, how much space a dog takes up is a key factor in deciding if they’re compatible with you and your living space. Large dog breeds might seem overpowering and intimidating, but some of them are incredibly sweet! Take a look and find the right sized dog for you!


Easy-to-train dogs are more adept at forming an association between a prompt (such as the word “sit”), an action (sitting), and a consequence (getting a treat) very quickly. Other dogs need more time, patience, and repetition during training.

Many breeds are intelligent but approach training with a “What’s in it for me?” attitude, in which case you’ll need to use rewards and games to teach them to want to comply with your requests.

Dogs who were bred for jobs that require decision making, intelligence, and concentration, such as herding livestock, need to exercise their brains, just as dogs who were bred to run all day need to exercise their bodies. If they don’t get the mental stimulation they need, they’ll make their own work–usually with projects you won’t like, such as digging and chewing. Obedience training and interactive dog toys are good ways to give a dog a brain workout, as are dog sports and careers, such as agility and search and rescue.

Common in most breeds during puppyhood and in Retriever breeds at all ages, mouthiness means a tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite (a soft, fairly painless bite that doesn’t puncture the skin). Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or “herd” their human family members, and they need training to learn that it’s fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy a game of fetch, as well as a good chew on a toy that’s been stuffed with kibble and treats.

Dogs who were bred to hunt, such as Terriers, have an inborn desire to chase–and sometimes kill–other animals. Anything whizzing by, such as cats, squirrels, and perhaps even cars, can trigger that instinct. Dogs who like to chase need to be leashed or kept in a fenced area when outdoors, and you’ll need a high, secure fence in your yard. These breeds generally aren’t a good fit for homes with smaller pets that can look like prey, such as cats, hamsters, or small dogs. Breeds that were originally used for bird hunting, on the other hand, generally won’t chase, but you’ll probably have a hard time getting their attention when there are birds flying by.

Some breeds sound off more often than others. When choosing a breed, think about how often the dog vocalizes with barks or howls. If you’re considering a hound, would you find their trademark howls musical or maddening? If you’re considering a watchdog, will a city full of suspicious “strangers” put your pup on permanent alert? Will the local wildlife literally drive your dog wild? Do you live in housing with noise restrictions? Do you have neighbors nearby? Then you may wish to choose a quieter dog.

Some breeds are more free-spirited than others. Nordic dogs such as Siberian Huskies were bred to range long distances, and given the chance, they’ll take off after anything that catches their interest. And many hounds simply must follow their noses–or that bunny that just ran across the path–even if it means leaving you behind.

Physical Needs

High-energy dogs are always ready and waiting for action. Originally bred to perform a canine job of some sort, such as retrieving game for hunters or herding livestock, they have the stamina to put in a full workday. They need a significant amount of exercise and mental stimulation, and they’re more likely to spend time jumping, playing, and investigating any new sights and smells.

Low-energy dogs are the canine equivalent of a couch potato, content to doze the day away. When picking a breed, consider your own activity level and lifestyle, and think about whether you’ll find a frisky, energetic dog invigorating or annoying.

A vigorous dog may or may not have high energy, but everything they do, they do with vigor: they strain on the leash (until you train them not to), try to plow through obstacles, and even eats and drinks with great big gulps. These dynamos need lots of training to learn good manners, and may not be the best fit for a home with young kids or someone who’s elderly or frail. A low-vigor dog, on the other hand, has a more subdued approach to life.

Some breeds do fine with a slow evening stroll around the block. Others need daily, vigorous exercise, especially those that were originally bred for physically demanding jobs, like herding or hunting.

Without enough exercise, these breeds may put on weight and vent their pent-up energy in ways you don’t like, such as barking, chewing, and digging. Breeds that need a lot of exercise are good for outdoorsy, active people, or those interested in training their dog to compete in a high-energy dog sport, such as agility.

Some dogs are perpetual puppies — always begging for a game — while others are more serious and sedate. Although a playful pup sounds endearing, consider how many games of fetch or tag you want to play each day, and whether you have kids or other dogs who can stand in as playmates for the dog.

Vital Stats:

Dog Breed Group:Herding DogsHeight:17 to 20 inchesWeight:35 to 51 poundsLife Span:13 to 15 years

More About This Breed


  • Typically, the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog’s coat is blue, red, and tan, often with speckles or merle patterns.
  • The average Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog has a lot of energy and mental stamina, and they need a rigorous amount of physical and mental activity to keep them fit and from dipping into boredom-induced destructive habits. They are not a good choice for small homes without yards.
  • The Stumpy is a shedder, which doesn’t make them a great choice for allergy sufferers.
  • The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog can be a good companion to children; although, they’re better suited for older kids and teens.
  • The Stumpy’s herding instincts might kick in, and they could attempt to herd any other animal in the house. Consistent training and plenty of exercise can help curb these behaviors.
  • While the Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is a loyal breed, they are not typically overly affectionate dogs. They may not want to cuddle, but they show their love by being very protective of their humans.


The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is believed to be the oldest domesticated breed native to Australia, although the breed’s origins aren’t exactly confirmed. Researchers believe that British colonists crossbred their herding dogs with wild dingoes sometime during the 18th century. The sheepdog that the British had brought along could not tolerate the extreme heat, so breeders worked to create a breed that had the dingo’s protective coat with their sheepdogs’ herding skills.

These ancestors led to both the Australian Cattle Dog and the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog. Selective breeding led to separate breeds, and the Stumpy almost became extinct in the 20th century.

In 1988, the Australian National Kennel Council formed to preserve the breed. In 2005, the Stumpy was recognized by Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) and in 2010, the United Kennel Club (UKC) recognized the breed simply as the Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog. The American Kennel Club (AKC) currently includes the breed in their Foundation Stock Service, which is a step along the way to full breed recognition.


Male Stumpies typically stand 18 to 20 inches from the shoulder, while female Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs hover around 17 to 19 inches. Both sexes typically weigh in between 35 and 51 pounds. That said, some Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs may be larger or smaller.


Fans of the rare Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog describe the breed as hardworking and fiercely loyal. The Stumpy is a dog who thrives when pleasing their human.

For the most part, modern Australian Stumpy Cattle Dogs are not herding and working on farms. This means that the average Stumpy has a lot of energy and mental stamina, and they need a rigorous amount of physical and mental activity to keep them fit and from dipping into boredom-induced destructive habits.

They truly do best in environments where they have plenty of open space to run around, so even the most active of urban or apartment dwellers might find themselves with a disobedient Stumpy.

While the Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is a loyal breed, they are not typically overly affectionate dogs. The Stumpy may enjoy napping in the living room while you watch TV, but they are not the type to hop on your lap or jump up to give you kisses. Instead, the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog shows they care with their alertness and wariness towards strangers. The breed isn’t prone to aggression, but they will not hesitate to defend you if they sense a threat. Early and consistent socialization can help keep your Stumpy from becoming overly protective.


Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they can be subject to certain health conditions. Not all Heelers will get any or all of these diseases, but it’s important to be aware of them if you’re considering this breed.

Some of the more common health problems Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs suffer from include:

  • Eye issues (including Collie Eye Anomaly)
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Deafness


As with all dogs, you should keep up with your Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog’s regular veterinary checkups to detect any health concerns early. Your vet can help you develop a care routine that will keep your dog healthy.

Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs are prone to weight gain, and they have high energy levels. Make sure your dog gets at least two half-hour- to hour-long walks per day with a few good, active play sessions and shorter walks mixed in. Weather permitting, you can also let your Stumpy run around and burn off some energy in the backyard.

Check their ears for debris and pests daily and clean them as recommended by your vet. Trim your dog’s nails before they get too long–usually once or twice per month. They should not be clicking against the floor. Your groomer can help with this.

Maintain your Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog’s oral health. You should brush their teeth regularly. Your veterinarian can instruct you on how to brush your dog’s teeth properly.


An ideal Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog diet should be formulated for a medium breed with high energy levels. Without proper exercise, this Heeler has a high tendency to gain weight. Keep your Stumpy in good shape by measuring their food and feeding them twice a day rather than leaving food out all the time. Be sure to limit treats as well.

As with all dogs, the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog’s dietary needs will change from puppyhood to adulthood and will continue to change into their senior years. You should ask your veterinarian for recommendations about your Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog’s diet, as there is far too much variation among individual dogs–including weight, energy, and health–to make a specific recommendation.

Coat Color And Grooming

The Australian Stumpy Cattle Dog has a double coat. The herding breed’s outer, protective coat is short, dense, and course, and the undercoat is soft, dense, and short. This means that the Stumpy is a shedder, which doesn’t make them a great choice for allergy sufferers. A good brushing once a week usually does the trick, although you may have to up that to a few times a week when their coat blows.

Typically, the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog’s coat is blue, red, and tan, often with speckles or merle patterns. There are certain markings that disqualify Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs from shows, like if a blue or red Stumpy has any tan markings, but that doesn’t make them any less of a wonderful pup!

The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog’s coat protects them from harsh weather conditions. Still, you should not leave your Stumpy unattended in any extreme weather conditions, hot or cold.

Children And Other Pets

The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog can be a good companion to children; although, they’re better suited for older kids and teens. Be sure to teach your kids how to properly interact with your Stumpy, and don’t leave kids unattended with your dog. The Stumpy may try to herd up kids and give little nips at the heel if they feel the situation requires it!

As for other animals, the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog can coexist, as long as they are introduced slowly and calmly. Their herding instincts might kick in, and they could attempt to herd any other animal in the house, no matter their size. Consistent training and plenty of exercise can help curb these behaviors.

Rescue Groups

Rescues specifically for Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs might be hard to come by. However, you can always check with your local shelter, and you may want to try a rescue that caters to all kinds of dogs. You can take a look at the following:

  • Wright-Way Rescue
  • Angels Among Us Pet Rescue
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