Q: "What's the difference between a heeler and an ACD?"
A: Heelers, Red Heelers, Blue Heelers (often spelt "Healers"),Queensland Heelers, Queenslands, Merlins and Australian Cattle Dogs are all the same breed of dog. "The Australian Cattle Dog" is the official, country of origin breed name.
Q: "Is the ACD the same as an Australian Shepherd?"
A: NO. Although the name suggests The Australian Shepherd is from Australia, it developed in the Western United States by immigrant Basque shepherds. They are similar to the Border Collie without a tail. They look nothing like the Australian Cattle Dog.
Q: "Why do some ACD's have their tails docked?"
A: This practice is not acceptable in Australia. Dogs working livestock have naturally long tails because the tail is used as a "rudder" and helps a working dog make tight turns at speed. The ANKC breed standard calls for an intact tail, held low, reaching to the hocks.
Q:  "Why are ACDs called heelers?"
A:  Their natural instinct is to nip at the heels of cattle and then drop out of the way of the kick that follows in order to move cattle in the direction wanted. They have no "healing" powers as suggested by the title, "Healers".
Q:"Do ACDs work sheep?"
You will not find many ACDs working sheep in Australia, although they can. Heelers have a more forceful or "physical" style of herding than the typical sheep-herding breeds like Border Collies, Kelpies and Australian Shepherds.
Q:  "Why do they look so aggressive?"
A:  They are descended from Dingos, the "Wild Dog" of Australia, that lives by his hunting ability and cunning. The "aggressive" look is probably better described more as a wary look.
Q:  "Do they need lots of exercise?"
A:   THEY NEED LOTS OF EXERCISE! Both mentally and physically to take the place of natural energy expenditure when working. Basic obedience is essential, and most ACDs enjoy jumpers, agility, advanced obedience, tracking and other physically and mentally challenging activities. A tired dog is a good dog.
Q:  "Are they good with kids?"
A: Australian Cattle Dogs are bred to work very rough cattle and therefore are likely to be more "hard" with children. They can also be very good with children because they are naturally protective. Because they are herding dogs and herd by nipping and biting, they can be frightening to children unused to active, assertive dogs. Heelers can become very excited by running children and may try to "herd" them by nipping at hands and heels. Like all dogs, Heelers need to be supervised with children and the children need to be taught that the dog is to be treated correctly and not abused.
Q:  "My pup ears don't stand up"
A: Time is the governing equation here. Some pups will take longer than others. Some are born with erect ears. Don't panic. Very rarely is veterinary assistance required.
Q:  "Should my bitch have pups?"
A: A bitch does not need to have a litter to become physically mature or physchologically fulfilled. You should consider the time, effort and expense in breeding your bitch. Irresponsible breeding leads to many unwanted pups and overworked rescue services.
Q: When to mate?
A: This is covered in an article at Breeding Your Bitch
Q: Why does my dog eat grass?
A: This may occur due to a couple of things. It may indicate an imbalance in diet, or it may be inherited from the dogs wild ancestors that would gorge on whatever prey they killed then vomit in order to regurgitate the food for its pups. Eating grass will induce vomiting.
Q: If I feed my dog raw meat will it make him savage?
A: There is no evidence to support this. Remember that meat alone does not constitute a balanced diet. Stress is more likely to make dogs savage.
Q: What weight should my Australian Cattle Dog be?
A: A good healthy weight should range from 23 to 27 kg's. It is better to have your dog closer to the lower weight range. An overweight dog will have health problems.