By any other name.


It appears that most people ,even some here in Australia,the Country of Origin of the Australian Cattle Dog, who have what they call "Queensland Heelers", "Heelers", "Healers"(not sure whether these are just GP's or Specialists or maybe just quacks?), "Blue or Red Heelers", "Dingo Dogs" OR "Australian Cattle Dogs", don't seem to know that they are one and the same. Of course I hasten to add, tongue in cheek, that no *Australian Breeder* worth his salt would dare use any of the above aliases. “Blueys” which seems to apply to either colour, are often mistaken for “Stumpies”, and in the USA today, some breeders still dock the tails of ACD’s which adds to the confusion. The need to dock the tails of an ACD is beyond me. The Cattle Dog has worked here in Australia for well over a hundred years without the need to have his tail shortened.

A Sydney veterinarian, Allen McNiven, a breeder of blue show dogs bred a male Dingo to his blue bitches. He then added Kelpie, German Shepherd, Kangaroo Hound and lord knows what else. When these crosses bred true to color markings and to his thinking, temperament, he went to the RASKC (The Australian equivalent to the AKC), saying he had improved the breed and wanted the dogs registered. He probably meant well and was totally convinced he did the breed a favor, but fortunately no one in Australia seemed to see it that way. The RASKC denied him registration of “cross breeds”. He put "dead papers" on the pups he wanted to register and registered them in spite of the RASKC's instructions. He was caught, he was indefinitely suspended from the RASKC and the dogs stricken from the registry forever.

Meanwhile,back in Napa Valley, California , a cattle rancher that had been stationed in Australia during the War , one Greg Lougher, had become friendly with Allen McNiven. and imported several adults and several litters from McNiven. He bred litters from these dogs and gave most of the dogs to friends etc. They obviously did the job he wanted and that was all he knew or wanted to know.

Then in the late 1950's , Jack Woolsey, a veterinarian in Santa Rosa, California, in partnership with a Dr. Richardson and Ray DeForest bought several dogs (Lougher’s dogs)and started breeding them .They knew the dogs had Dingo blood reinfused and corresponded with McNiven as articles by McNiven were in some of the pamphlets they had for advertisement and there was some mention of trying to keep a 1/8th to 1/16th Dingo blood in the dogs. They advertised ,stating they were guaranteed to work etc. and calling them Queensland Heelers. It is my understanding that many of the dogs were too severe biters. Woolsey decided to import several pure-bred ACD's to correct this problem. Oaklea Blue Ace, Glen Iris Boomerang and several Glen Iris bitches were imported from Australia. Both Oaklea and Glen Iris are show kennels that go back to old working stock. As a fact Iris Heale is still showing her ACD's today. She also has Stumpy Tail ACD's (An entirely separate breed of dog.), but none of those were imported. The imports were all blues.
Woolsey liked the looks of lots of tan on the heads and bred to put more there. Unfortunately it also is genetically linked to the tan markings on the legs and a great many of his dogs had creeping tan up over the hips and shoulders, a color fault in the standard. This does shows up in pure-breds, but is bred away from because it is a fault.

In 1969 American breeders tried to get the AKC to recognize the breed under the name of Australian Heeler. They wanted this name because the AKC said that Queensland was a state and the country of origin had to be reflected in the name. Because so many people, then and now, use the name Australian Cattle Dog as a generic name for any dog that may be related to an ACD and works cattle and there was and is so much confusion with Australian Shepherds. They tried hard for a name change. This was not to be as the official name for the breed was Australian Cattle Dog worldwide.

As happened several times in the early years, dogs that were imported from Australia and had papers that were never signed over or left on the crate, provided the AKC with a loop hole, allowing registry with an affidavit stating why owner/breeders believed the dog was a pure-bred. With that loop hole all of the cross bred McNivens could have been registered but ethical thinking finally prevailed and McNivens were never registered.

The AKC took over the registry in 1979 and the breed was fully recognized in Sept. 1980.

Papers do not make the dog, but fact is that only the AKC registered ACD's are pure-breds, the rest are mostly not with a few exceptions, of course. One thing with Breed Clubs (and Social Clubs !) and the respective governing bodies, is that even newcomers have access to the written Standard and some printed information about the breed, so there is less of a chance that some of the really outrageous comments will be believed. Hopefully..

We have all heard that reds are the only true working ACD's, but nasty tempered. Or the remark that Kaleski made at one time that the only true ACD is a blue dog. Neither is correct and Kaleski knew that since he showed his home bred reds as well as his blues. A photo in the 1920's that pictured Kaleski showing his quote "Top home bred champion bitch" described as "a white dog with red spots on the ribs." (The spots were the size of a large dinner plate!) proves that remarks are usually made on the merits or demerits of one dog or a line-bred strain of certain dogs. The color itself does not make or break the dog. Common sense should tell anyone that. Same is true of names and tails. Over the years I've heard some really outrageous statements concerning the name of the breed. I can understand those who got stuck in that 60's time warp and call their dogs Queenslands. I can understand the use of Heelers, but to see advertised publically,"I have, raise or breed, Dingo Dogs or Queensland/Dingo crosses."????? A Dingo is the wild native dog of Australia The current percentages of Dingo blood incursion would be in the negative six or seven digit field or more Some people don’t know the difference between a Dingo and another canine.

I would presume people will use whatever nicknames they are used to using, but everyone should be aware that any such dog under any such name is ONLY one of two things, either it is a pure-bred Australian Cattle Dog or it is a non pure-bred dog that goes back to McNiven's line, or mixed with many different breeds. It may look like an ACD, but it isn't a pure-bred breed. Nor is it a different breed like the Australian Stumpy Tailed Cattle Dog. (That is a pure-bred breed registered in Australia and not crossed with anything else.) Nor is it a Dingo.

I would like to comment in this article about tails. An ACD should have the tail that nature gave them. Docking tails didn't start in the USA until the 1970's due to, I am led to believe, an arena cowboy who was sold an ACD instead of an Australian Shepherd, and he docked the tail. There is no really good reason to dock an ACD tail. If they have a correct coat, burrs don't stick, mud dries and comes right out, they don't get stepped on by stock and they use their tail as a rudder when working.. They Are Never Ever Born Without A Tail Or A Short Tail, unless there is a pituitary gland problem in the dog. (A pituitary problem can cause a corkscrew tail, but not to be confused with a kinked tail, which is also a no no.)

Bear with me once again. On Coat Color: ..An ACD coat color is roan, (defined Oxford English dictionary:– of animal – with coat of which the prevailing colour is thickly interspersed with another. speckled or mottled, red or blue. Blues have tan markings. It is Not merle, it is Not tri-colored, and there is no such thing as a "Rare White".

A mottled dog can have a lot of white in a reverse Dalmatian pattern, but a correct dog is never all white. They can have body patches, but it is not desirable in the show ring. They can have head patches and tail root patches; they can have ring tails and most do have a white patch called a Bentley Mark, on the head between the ears.

An over-tanned blue will( Not turn red with age, creeping tan just gets worse with age and the tan markings, no matter what shade of tan/red/or rust, are not considered a red coat. A blue with a tan undercoat is not a rare triple coated dog and if the tan shows through the outer coat, it is incorrect. A red dog that has a lot of black hair in their coat is( NOT a rare patriotic red, white and blue dog, it is incorrectly colored and sometimes called a purple. That's just a sample of some of the weird statements that some have made and I'm sure all of you have heard some other amazing tales, like the bacon rind to correct a bad mouth etc etc…...

Submitted by John Chandler
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