Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog Facts

The Australian Stumpy-Tail Cattle Dog originated in Australia and has three typical nicknames: Heeler, Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog, Stumpy-Tail, Stumpy Tail Heeler, Blue Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog and just plain Stumpy. However, he commonly also gets called the Stump Tail Cattle Dog.

The average height for a stumpy is 18-20 inches (46-51 cm).
His coat is short and is either blue or red speckled in color.

How Long Do Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs Live?

His lifespan is 10 – 13 years.

Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog vs Australian Cattle Dog

Is there a difference between the Australian Cattle Dog and the Stumpy Tailed Cattle Dog?

A blue Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is not just an Australian cattle dog no tail,  there are many differences between these two dog breeds.

The Australian Stumpy-Tail Cattle Dog doesn’t have the markings or brown points that you can see on the Australian Cattle Dog. The cattle dog ( also called Blue Heeler) is heavier (proportionally) with shorter legs than the Stumpy Cattle Dog.

He’s a medium size breed and you shouldn’t confuse him with the Australian Cattle Dog (also known as the “Queensland Heeler Australian cattle dog “).

Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog Breed History

The Australian Stumpy Tailed Cattle Dog was developed to herd cattle in Australia and has ancestors that have been a mix of the Australian dingo and European herding dogs.

The Australian Stumpy Cattle Dog’s ancestors were English Smithfield herding dogs. Early in the 19th century breeders traveled to Australia with these dogs which were cross-bred with the dingoes. There aren’t many reliable records from that era and a variety of stories regarding this breed’s actual development.

One story was told about Timmins, a drover living in Bathurst, New South Wales, did cross-breed his dingoes with the Smithfield dogs, creating a working dog, aptly called Timmins’ Biters. To reduce the dingo characteristics and to make handling the dogs much simpler, another cross breed occurred, this time using the Scottish Smooth Collies and producing dogs with blue and red speckled dogs, frequently missing their tails when born.

Noreen Clark wrote a book titled, “A Dog Called Blue,” that supported a particular premise about the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog and the Australian Cattle Dog (aka “Queensland Heeler“).

Her premise was that both dogs had the same ancestors at one point. These new dogs were Halls Heelers, named after Thomas Hall. He owned a huge cattle business back in the 1830s. The divergence happened in the late 20th century. Today’s selective breeding for the short tail or tailless dogs has permanently corrected that aspect.

Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog Appearance

Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog
Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog

The Australian Bobtail Cattle Dog’s body is typically proportioned and has a rugged look. His pricked ears stand and his legs are long. The tail’s uniqueness is what makes him stand out from many other breed choices. The Australian Stumpy-Tail Cattle Dog either has no tail or it’s a bobtail.

Can Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs have tails? If he does have a tail, it’s undocked and only about four inches long.

At birth the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle dog puppy is usually nearly all white.

Australian Bobtail Cattle Dog Temperament

stumpytailed cattle dog
Australian Stumpy Tailed Cattle Dog

The Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog temperament is watchful and alert, is wary when strangers are around, but responds well to his owner. The Stumpy Tail Heeler dog is naturally a very aloof dog and this characteristic is often attributed to the Dingo.

If you plan to show him, his temperament needs to be amenable or it won’t work. All breeds of working dogs must start socialization early in his life and he requires consistent training right through his life.

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References and Further Reading:
[1] ANKC Australian Stumpy Tailed Cattle Dog Breed Standard
[2] Noreen L Clarke ‘A Dog Called Blue’


Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog
Blue Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog