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I have just finished reading the newsletter and was interested in ED'S Story "MY OPINION ONLY" I can assure Ed that its the same opinion of many a Station owner in far Western NSW ,South Western Queensland ,and Northern SA.and true to some extent. However, we need to put things into prospective.

I have worked as a Ringer/Drover and a Contract Musterer in the late 60s through to the late 70s and still do a bit today. I have been breeding working dogs for 38 years by out crossing registered ACD's with my own working dogs which are not registered. These dogs still look all cattle dog but would have no chance in the show ring.

I love the ACD and know that most of the conformation show dogs I still have myself, would not cut the mustard out here with the type of cattle and distance the dog needs to travel in a days work. But that's out here.

I'm not even going into the type of dogs you need to pull down Scrub Bulls as they are completely different dogs again and would be listed on the dangerous dog list but can still be called a Cattle Dog.

I feel we still need to keep the standard of the ACD as it is and let changes slowly take place as they have been doing for decades . Lets face it, if we all put our two bobs worth in and changed the type of dog we are now running around the ring we would end up with a strange looking dog as everyone likes a certain type no matter what the standard states.

If have found if you want a working Cattle Dog for big properties, you need to breed them to suit your needs as there is a considerable variation in cattle these days. The majority of cattle breeders are on the smaller allotments and these cattle are so quite that our Standard ACD can work them with ease.

For those breeders that have never had the chance to work their dogs and think that their dogs could not work the average mob of cattle, let me tell you that you have been listening to the knockers who have never worked a dog. Working cattle has been breed into your dogs and all they need is the cattle and the time to let you know that. That's never going to be possible for most breeders. I'm still grateful that there were registered breeders going back years ago and still doing the same today.

So when you see your Old Show Mate laying around in the back yard pat him on the head and let him know that you know he has what it takes, and that he's done his bit for the breed.


Stewy Oates
Drovingmate Kennels

My Opinion Only

Collecting copies of pedigrees of ACD's is a hobby of mine. I have perused thousands and it is my opinion there is an obvious, ongoing problem within the breed.

Inbreeding is being heavily used as a breeding technique. This is particularly noticeable in pedigrees registered in the last 50 years. As a man made breed, it is easy to understand why inbreeding happened. This does not excuse it, just explains it. In the very early stage of the breed's beginnings, the use of the Dingo and many other breeds would have helped retain some genetic diversity. However, today sees an entirely different situation.

Since our breed is a relatively small one, both in numbers and age in comparison to most, I am concerned that the breed will experience a genetic stalling in the not too far distant future, causing a void where breeders won't be able to breed away from genetic problems.To a degree, this is already happening here in North Queensland, where local breeders are complaining of the lack of suitable stud dogs that would offer a more "open" pedigree and thereby help in avoiding inbreeding.

It is now quite the norm to see one or two dogs / bitches appear twice and sometimes even more on both sides of a four-generation pedigree. This is the receipe for disaster within our breed. Genetic diversity is paramount in any breed and at the rate at which inbreeding is being used, we will see genetic disorders appear that will not be able to be bred out. The old excuse that using half brother/sister breeding is not inbreeding no longer holds water. One archaic excuse that it (inbreeding) sets the line and is the only way to produce good stock is also a myth. We are all aware that inbreeding is far more likely to set all faults in a line that will remain ongoing for decades.I can hear the shouts of "What about the testing that is being carried out today". I have yet to read of testing for short upper arms,straight stiffles,bad bites, snipy forefaces, bad toplines and short muzzels with prominent stops and 'bug' eyes. just to mention a few.

We (and I include myself here, since I was once as bad as the rest) are breeding a generation of over weight, over sized, lazy, pampered pets that do not represent what the working Australian Cattle Dog was bred to look like, let alone appear to be able to carry out the breed's working abilities.

What to do? Well,dare I say anything without having the "super breeders",the Canine Controlling Bodies and self-acclaimed specialists point the finger and scream heresy? Well,I have survived previous attacks so I suppose I better dust off the fire suit and fill all water containers.

The Australian Cattle Dog is, first and foremost a working dog. There are still working ACD's in Australia that are carrying out the duties the breed was bred to do. There is no "racist" attitude from the breeders of working stock. They produce workers that perform, not show ponies. It is the quality of the dogs and bitches that impress these breeders, not a pedigree with so many "Aus Ch's."

Wait for it…….

I would suggest that the working dogs of today be used to introduce that desirable, uncluttered genetic structure back into our dogs. I can hear the screams of heresy from those "super breeders". After all, the only difference between those working dogs and the pedigreed dogs we show could only be a piece of paper.

By now the Canine Control generals have almost choked on their tea and muffins.

How dare I !!!

Since they no longer can threaten all sorts of reprisals, I couldn't care less. I have said it and I stick by it. Offer me a better solution and I will run with it.

The Canine Controling bodies,whether they like to accept it or not,register cross bred dogs due to the unethical breeders of today.They have never asked for DNA proof and I think I can confidently say that until the betterment of the breeds comes before the almighty dollar, those registrations will continue.Is your fat,lazy,over-sized ill-conformed and pedigreed pure bred any better genetically than the cross bred dog ? You think so? Give me a reason to believe you.

OK. The fire suit is on again although I must admit it fits a little tighter around the midriff and all water containers are full. Let's go. Bring 'em on...........Ed.

Dear Sir,

I am sure there are literally thousands of Local Governments that have in place an Animal Management section which incorporates local laws pertinent to dogs.

I accept that local authorities need to be able to control animals that threaten or actually assault people.

The costs involved in enforcing these local government laws is covered, in most cases, by registration fees, fines etc.

The question that I can't get answered from my local authority is, "What is a Cat?" Is it not an animal? Evidently cats are not classed as an animal within my local authority's laws on animal management. There is no law restricting the number of cats people can keep. No restriction as to where cats are allowed to roam unleashed. Registration fees do not apply to cats.
Cats can urinate on and in your vehicle, defecate in your children's sand pit and kill as much wildlife as they wish.

Let a dog run the streets and you will be fined and have to pay, in my local area, $175.00/day to have your dog released from the local impounding body.

I do not hate cats. My dogs do, especially when the cat knows it cant be touched because the local law insists you keep your dogs adequately fenced or restrained .

What sticks in my craw is that of the obvious discrimination against dogs, horses, caged birds, poultry, pigs, and camels, along with many other "animals" that are covered by local laws on animal management. To keep any of these 'animals' requires a permit and of course, the payment of an annual registration fee. These fees vary, depending on each local authority.
The number of animals allowed to be kept on the one property differs from local authority to local authority.

You can keep as many cats as you like, providing someone doesn't complain. Then, if a complaint is lodged, because cats are evidently not classed as animals, there is no disciplinary action in the form of fines and immediate registration does not apply.

When asked why cats are not included in the local animal management laws and restrictions, the answer is always, "because it is too hard ". Why is it so easy to impose registration , permit fees and fines on dogs, yet is too hard to impose the same registration and fines on cats? Local authority animal management officers carry out door to door checks on dogs. Why can't a check on cats be done at the same time?

If anyone knows of any local authority that has an animal management law in place regarding the registration and restriction of the number of cats allowed to kept at one address, would you kindly advise me.

Thanks in advance,

Wooraman Jack.

Dear Sir,

I am aware that some of the comments I am about to make may antagonize some breeders. However, we still enjoy the right of free speech in this country, providing of course one does not infringe the laws regarding defamation or libel.

So here we go...boots and all.

Some time back, a well known and very respected breeder here in North Queensland stated she had to breed two distinct types of ACD's in order to be able to produce workers and show dogs.

Well, without going into the where as and why fores and genetic principals, suffice to say that the original standard drawn up by Robert Kaleski, was based on the working dogs of those days.Except for a few minor alterations that standard is the same one that is used today for show dogs.

I have to agree that we do see wooly-coated, short-legged and relatively short ACD's being shown. We also see small,snipey heads, short muzzles, blues with no tan whatsoever, and reds of every shade from cream to blood red,etc.,etc.,These examples are fortunately in the minority. The reason they are being shown is, I suggest, because some unscrupulous breeders sell these as show quality to unsuspecting buyers just for the quick buck!

If a judge was silly enough to put up a wooly coated, snipey-headed dog with a bad mouth, a whip tail and weighing 50 kg, I think we can rest assured he/she wouldn't get many entries at the next show he/she judged within the district. A very good way to get the point across that he/she should check the standard. I feel most judges would soon get the drift that they were doing something wrong.

As for "working types" distinct from "show types": After listening to many property owners argue as to what constitutes the better worker, one would have to be able to produce at least four distinct "working types"".This automatically suggest there should be five different standards! The point I am trying to make is that there is only one standard which applies ( or should apply) to all ACD's.

We all agree that there is just the one standard. Then what is the answer to the charge of different types? Judges can't agree on type. Property owners can't agree on what they want in a working dog, possibly due to the different cattle they run and of course the different type of country.The big, "leggy" dog (the standard has not altered height requirements since it was drawn up in 1903) that "will out-travel a specially bred stock horse", has trouble in the yards, especially if the cattle aren't as docile as some that are used to dogs. Maybe the cattle of yester-year were easier to handle. I will argue that in those days they had a hell of a lot more country to travel and move stock. Some of the original properties have been cut up and what was once the horse paddock is now a property in its own right.

Getting back to the show side and "type". A good "type" should comply as close as possible to the standard. We all agree that we will never see the "perfect dog". That is why we still try to improve on what we have through selective breedings. I agree there are times that you see dogs that are obviously not true to type, according to my interpretation of type, being put up, and it is wrong. Or is it? What I interpret as true type may not be what you interpret as true type and the judge may have a different interpretation as well.

Possibly a specialist judge would know the standard backwards, with all the finer points soundly implanted in his mind and has probably bred and shown the breed himself. An all breeds judge will, or should, know the basic points of the standard and has his own interpretation of what constitutes the breed "type".

Head shape, coat colour, feet shape etc are all covered in the standard and can be debated as to need and use which I wont discuss here. I have to say that fads have crept into the breed over the years which is very unfortunate. Colour is one of these fads. I can't for the life of me see where a black body patch can be detrimental to a dog's working ability, which, after all, is what the breed is all about. Not that many years ago they were shown with body patches.

Maybe the answer is that to achieve championship status in the show ring, a dog must have passed a working ability test. Great. Now, who examines the working ability and issues the certificate of competency? Never mind, it was just a suggestion. I don't want any ramifications from governing bodies thank you very much. I need that like I need another hole in my head!

Quite a few years ago this club tried to organize some form of working trials. We were promptly told that if we proceeded with the trials we would draw the wrath of the local Prevention of Cruelty people and would leave ourselves open to prosecution. What chance do we have of trying to improve the working capabilities of our ACD's if one is not lucky enough to live on property?

There is another point I wish to comment on. After asking quite a few property owners that use dogs, about their preference re the use of pure-bred dogs against cross-bred dogs, the majority said their preference was governed by cost. "It is cheaper to buy six $80.00 pure-bred dogs with no papers, or cross-breds, than it is to purchase one pure-bred, papered dog. If a snake gets a couple of the $80.00 dogs and a couple get kicked or gored, so what?". You don't have to be a whiz kid to work out what the $80.00 dogs were like. These dogs were from registered breeders. So much for ethics!

As in all breeds there are some "breeders" that are in the "business" of breeding dogs, or, as they are often described as ""puppy factories". Quality is not a concern as long as the quantity is there to meet the Saturday morning demand. Unfortunately, most of these people have the "gist of the gab" and a lot of times these dogs end up in the show ring. Another problem that exists is that new-comers are sold a dog from a "top Queensland breeder", they breed from this dog and so passes on the fairytale.

In my opinion, a lot of the problem of type lies within the standards and this applies to all breeds. Too much is left to interpretation. e.g., If you were to line up ten people, be they breeders or judges, or a mixture of both, and you asked them to define "moderate", I would wager you would get ten different answers or definitions. What is a moderate turn of stifle? Before you correct me, I know the standard now calls for a good turn of stifle in ACD's. However, I believe it is these loose terminology's within the standards that will always require a personal interpretation, which, in turn will always cause problems.

How can this be solved?.......I wish I knew!........Truck

Improvement in The Australian Cattle Dog as a breed?

In thirty five years I have seen a great deal of improvement in the Australian Cattle Dog (ACD) as a breed. When we started we had dogs that had some very serious faults. We occasionally had a deaf pup, a bad bite or a spotted-bodied pup, and although we had many pups that were at the top of the standard, we did not really know what the standard was.

The standard then for an ACD was a good dog for working cattle or hogs, and they were always used for guard and companions. On rare occasions they were used on horses, but to be used on sheep, not on your life !!

Also, at this time, you never had to retrieve a pedigree chart to see what your dog was. All you had to say was that he/she was a red or blue heeler/ACD. As our dogs became more popular they began to be exposed to sheep. remember that these dogs were bred to work cattle. he breeders then realised it was easier to train new dogs on sheep only, skipping the traits that the dogs had inherited to work cattle. They wanted a softer temperament in their dogs and they did not want their dogs to 'grip', because it would hurt the sheep's' tender , delicate legs. They would bleed and limp for days after being worked. Now of course, this is a tragedy, but a lot was asked of the breed. As the dogs got softer, more became expected of them. The un-heard of happened ! We could use the ACD to work, of all things, the duck !!! Of course, they no longer hurt sheep, so why not? I just hoped that none of the dogs accidentally fell on the ducks.

Now that we were to use them on duck, we needed to breed them to become small enough not to hurt the duck, should an "accident" happen. We needed to shorten their legs, drop their topline a bit, straighten their shoulders and take away their stifles. We were not to worry about their feet, or the amount of bone, and least of all, about their heads. After all, everything they had been bred for is being erased and everything that was instinct is now extinct ! They no longer know what to do with cattle in an open pasture.

It started like this: First we had dogs that worked cattle and hogs, - the 'sic 'em and bite 'em kind, the ACD (Australian Cattle Dog). Then we had the ASD's(Australian Sheep Dogs) - the softer ACD. Next we had the American Duck Dog (AMD), won't bite the flea biting him, only to be followed by the ACD (Amazing Computer Dog), that looks his very best when being described by his owner on the computer screen. These are truly amazing dogs that can retrieve hundreds of cattle more than 1/2 a mile away. Finally we have arrived !!! Now we have the Amazing Herpes Dog (AHD); the dog that just wont heel. !!!

Many people will say the AKC is to blame because the dog worked before the ACD was accepted into their breed registry. I'm sorry folks, but the AKC does not breed dogs. It is the breeders that select the breeding stock and do the matings. If we continue to breed dogs without working ability, then we are wrong. On the other hand, if we breed dogs that are not of the breed standard, we are again wrong. Why can't show dog breeders be concerned about the working ability of the dogs and set that as the standard for conformation.

My question is: How many more people can the dogs survive - from one breeder to another!

You see things and say, "Why?" But I see things that never were - and say,"Why not?"

Jim Buzzard.


Firstly, let me say that John and I really enjoyed meeting you both and many of the other club members when we were in Queensland late last year and early this year. People were extremely generous with their time and advice which we really appreciated. It was a real learning curve for us – being new kids on the block as far as showing and hopefully, down the track, breeding the ACD. It was nice to see some quality dogs living in Queensland too. Now when we read the quarterly newsletters and look at the show results, it actually means something to us, as we’ve been lucky enough to see a lot of the dogs that get mentioned in despatches.

As with you guys, I sent copies of photos of everyone’s dogs back to them – a small thankyou gesture, but also a good reference for us too. I’m not much of a photographer (as some people will have realised as soon as they opened their envelopes) – but I’m hoping there’s the odd useful one people may want to keep.

Our first (and only) vehicle break down was relatively early on the trip while we were travelling north into Mt Garnet. The fuel filter decided to crack about 20 k’s out of Mt Garnet, forcing us to stop – but not before we’d left a dirty great trail of diesel at the BP servo and outside of the Mt Garnet Hotel where we stayed for a couple of nights. The stay in Mt Garnet wasn’t part of our original plan, but I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason. As it turned out we got to see some Geraldmine dogs and we were lucky enough to meet Ralph and Margaret Tate (the local publican gave us their number). The timing of our meeting was a little unfortunate, as it was the day after the club’s wind up Christmas function. A day earlier and who knows – we might have crashed your party!!

As you and some of the other members are aware, John and I are hoping to sell a documentary to the TV networks about the ACD or at least the idea to start with. We have commenced work putting the presentation together in readiness for making our pitch to various networks. If we are successful, then the hard work will begin.

If we are successful in getting the docco up and running, we’ll certainly want to talk to some of the members again regarding the historical side of the breed and other items of interest. Hopefully they will be willing to be interviewed and allow us to photograph some of their kennels and dogs.

I have already written to Cheryl Edwards from the Turella Kennels south of Sydney to order a copy of her book, as I know she has done a lot of historical research on the breed as well. We met the Turella guys just over 3 years ago on our search for a show quality ACD in NSW. So as you can probably gather, we’ve been at it for a while.

Just to let you know, we spoke to Cheryl early in the New Year. We had been trying to ring Cheryl and Arthur since before Christmas when the fires in NSW first broke out. Took ages to get hold of them because all the phone lines were out of order. However, they are fine, but were evacuated at the time. Apparently there were 5 fire crews surrounding their property in the effort to save it – successfully thank goodness.

Since we have been back in Darwin, we have received news that we are to be the proud owners of a show quality bitch from the Landmaster Kennels in South Australia. John and I are pretty excited, and are hoping this will be the start of our breeding program in a couple of years down the track. I guess we’ll just have to sit back and wait and see how she (“Dusty”) develops. In the mean time – straight into the show ring with her! We’ve both got a lot to learn when it comes to showing. We’re very much novice handlers at this stage and are looking forward to learning some techniques to help show off “Dusty” in the best possible way.

It’s great to hear that at least one kennel from Nth Qld is considering coming over to exhibit at the Royal Darwin Show. It’ll be great for the local Kennel (Tagetarl) to have some healthy competition for a change, as normally they are the only ACD exhibitors at our shows. For any others of you who may be considering a holiday in the top end, the show dates are (roughly) as follows:

Royal Darwin Show
Dates:    25, 26 + 27 July

Alice Springs Show
Dates:    first weekend in July

Tennant Creek Show
Dates:    second weekend in July

Katherine Show
Dates:    third weekend in July

In closing, we would like to thank once again all of the club members we visited who so kindly allowed us to visit, talk about the breed and raid their bikkie barrels. We picked up lots of useful hints that we are looking forward to putting into operation along the way.


John and Jan Bradley


There is, at present, information being colated as to the creeping incidence of "chocolate" into the coat colour of the ACD. This problem is widespread and indeed, is, and continues to be, of concern here in our own back yard. Some of our local breeders ...no names no packdrill..have indeed produced these anomalies in coat colour.

There have been suggestions that a Kelpie influence is/was responsible. Being of a cautious nature and with no credentials except experience to back me up, I will make no comment that may come back to haunt me. Suffice to say that there is a detailed investigation into the problem being carried out by very accredited persons who will no doubt, ascertain the cause in due course.

Tail Docking: I have voiced my opinion of people who do this to ACD's just for "the aesthetic value". This is a criminal act and perpertraters should be banned from ever owning a dog.. The ACD uses its tail as a rudder when working and to put forward excuses like "the cow stands on its tail" is just plain bovine excretea. I have to accept there are cases where the tail has been docked, acting on veterinarian advice .

Tests and costs:I have donned my asbestos fire suit so I am ready for all the flames I fully expect. Fire away !!!!If this doesn't produce replies then I will desist in stirring the pot anymore. I promise.
If a breeder of ACD's with over 20 years of breeding experience, can not tell if any of his/her line has HD , PRA, or is deaf, either uni or bi-laterally deaf, should give it all away. If recessive genes have not surfaced in that time frame in his/her line, especially if there is a strong influence of "line breeding", then I would suggest that particular line could expect to be free of those problems.

To those breeders that are affluent enough to be able to pay the freight charges, foot the bill for accomodation and the vet charges, I say,"Great. You will be happy in the knowledge that your dogs are free of the problems that you have tested for." This fact does not mean that because the majority of breeders are not as rich and can not afford the costs involved, then by this assumption the inference is that the poorer breeders' dogs must be affected in some way. Sorry, but I have heard it all so many times. I have also seen many "fully tested" dogs that I personally would not feed.

Where is the line going to be drawn? After all, ours is a man-made breed and man has a lot to answer.

The cry is that we have to remove "affected dogs " from the gene pool. OK, lets go along that road a bit. Are we going to discard a dog with sound conformation and temperament because he may be uni-laterally deaf? are we going to discard a dog/bitch that has a hip score, but does not show symptoms, in favour of dippy backs,bad mouths, protruding and light eyes,straight shoulders and short upper arms? What about the dog/bitch that tested free of PRA at 6 years of age, after she had produced 4 litters, only to be found with PRA at 9 years of age? What are we going to do with that dog/bitch's progeny? The mind boggles as to the number of progeny there would be in that time frame.

In for a penny...in for a pound. One point that sticks in my craw is the person who "finds" the culprit responsible for some problem in a "line". The culprit responsible is five generations back. They don't stop to think that their "find" had to have it passed down from one of its pregenitors and so it goes back and back. Where does it stop? Then arises the question, why did it start and where and when? But of course these fortnight experts, and we all know the definition of an expert, can't supply an answer, but are quick to criticise and scream heresy.

Somehow I just know someone will give me an answer......or two or more?

I am off to ensure all fire hoses are in good working order and to remove the batteries from all smoke detectors. 'Till next time....................ED.


Hi John,

This is a story of my Beloved “ROUGE” a Female Blue cattle dog, that I have had since she was 4 weeks old, one of 3 litters that the owner was giving away. She would be 16 in November, 2006. She was given to my partner for his very 1st own dog, for Christmas, 1990.

Her name is quite interesting, she earned it by way of mischief, at 10 weeks old, she was inside, when I had just finished cooking a quite large piece of silverside, it was on top of the kitchen bench cooling, under a fly screen, when I guest Rouge required a early dinner, so she jumped up onto my bench, which by the way was very high for a 10 week old cattle dog, & helped her self to a early dinner, cleaning up all her mess as to not let anyone know who had eaten the meat, very smart, but unfortunately for Rouge she was busted.

That was her 1st encounter with the dreaded rolled up newspaper on her backside. And getting called you little ROUGE,

Her name sort of stuck, she also chewed 3 x 30 metre hoses in to 1 metre strips for me guess she thought that she was helping, a cane lounge into bits, but the most extraordinarily thing that happened, was I was ironing, I have just finished, so I turned off the iron at the iron, but it was still turned on at the wall, Rouge decided that she also wanted the cord into one metre strips, I still to this Day don’t know how 1) she didn’t get electrocuted & 2) burn the house down via the exposed wires.

Today at 15 years & 10 months old , Rouge died in her sleep. I should have called her Shadow, because every where I went she followed me when I was home. When I went to work Rouge always said goodbye at the Gate & was the first one to greet me when returning home.

She has been the most wonderful, loyal loving dog that I have ever had, my last dog was a Kelpie, Dingo cross & he was nearly 18 when I had to put him to sleep.

I will miss her dearly.

Kind regards Denni
Ipswich, Qld.