stumpytailed cattle dog

Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog

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Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs are a wonderful dog breed that often gets mistaken for other breeds. They have a friendly and sweet temperament, but they may not be the best family pet if you want a dog to cuddle. Find out more about this dog’s personality and what it needs to thrive!

Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog Facts

The Australian Stumpy-Tail Cattle Dog originated in Australia and has many typical nicknames: Heeler, Stumpy Tail Blue 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.

Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog vs Australian Cattle Dog

Is there a difference between the Australian Cattle Dog and the Stumpy Tailed Cattle Dog? The Stumpy is the dog with no tail, so it’s easy to tell them apart from their blue Australian Cattle Dog counterparts.

A blue Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is not just an Australian cattle dog with no tail,  there are many differences between these two dog breeds. The blue Stumpy has no tan markings, but the Australian Cattle Dog does. So other than tails (or lack thereof), the apparent difference between these two dogs is color. 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. The Australian Cattle Dog is longer than he is tall. This makes it easy to distinguish between him and his square dog brother, the Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog. An Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog has more leg length than body depth, unlike the ACD, which is roughly 50-50.

The Stumpy appears to resemble an Aussie Cattle Dog at first glance; however, on closer examination, many major differences can be found between these two dog breeds.

The ears of the Stumpy are moderate in size, pointy, and set higher on its head than those of The ears of the Australian Cattle Dog. The Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog has a more ‘sculpted’ and less ‘heavy’ head than the Australian Cattle Dog.

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

The two breeds have different gaits due to the variation in height-to-length ratios. The Australian Cattle Dog has more angulation and, therefore, a longer stride, while the Stumpy tends toward an ambling movement at slow speed.

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 crossbreed 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,” which 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

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. The high-set undocked tail of the Stumpy should not be longer than four inches in length.

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

The Stumpy Tail Blue Heeler has no tan on the legs or face. Due to the absence of black and tan in its makeup ( this breed does not possess a Black and Tan gene)thus, its color is blue, blue speckled, or mottled.

Both the body and head may have black markings, but there must be no brown/tan ones present at all.

In the 1970s, tan markings were accepted for a short while. It is said that the presence of this indicates backcrosses to the Australian Cattle Dog. It is believed some breeders did cross their ACDs with Stumpys in the early days; however, it wasn’t acceptable then and isn’t now either.

The red speckle must be a good, darker-red all over. This breed is allowed to have darker markings on the head.

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.

Australian Bobtail Cattle Dog Temperament

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.

How Long Do Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs Live?

His lifespan is 10 – 13 years.

Final Thoughts on the Stumpy Tail Blue Heeler

Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs are a unique breed that’s full of personality. If you’re considering adopting one, it’s essential to understand what owning this dog entails.
Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs are an intelligent and very energetic canine companion who loves spending time with his humans (and other dogs!).

This social animal thrives on attention, so make sure your pup has plenty of opportunities to get out and play every day. While they might not be well suited for tiny homes or apartments, these active animals will love running around in a large yard or on a rural property all day long – especially if there’s another playful friend.

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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
Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog
Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog
stumpytailed cattle dog
Australian Stumpy Tailed Cattle Dog