Robert Kaleski and the Australian Cattle Dog


Born at Burwood in Sydney, Kaleski, a dog owner at six and a breeder and worker of cattle dogs at nine, was often in strife for coaxing dogs into school. "I'm sure there's a dog somewhere Kaleski, do you know anything of this?" was his exasperated teacher's frequent question as the class erupted with glee.

As a boy he lived for long periods at Holdsworthy, south-west of Sydney, where he dodged school but learned much about bush craft and nature. His long absences from school meant he was largely self-educated, though he later came under the influences of Henry Lord, a lecturer in Agriculture at the Sydney Technical College.

Droving and station work at Grenfell were followed by a variety of occupations before he took up a selection at Holdsworthy, and later, in 1918, a 300 acre farm at Moorebank, near Liverpool, where he lived as a bachelor for the rest of his life.

From his mid-twenties, often under pen names, including 'Falder', Kaleski wrote on a wide variety of practical subjects for the Agricultural Gazette of New South Wales, the Bulletin, Sydney Mail, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Worker.

By 1909, when he wrote "The Australian Settler's Complete Guide fot Anthony Horden & Sons Ltd., he was aptly described by the "WOrkers" as "one of the practical men...dog expert, writer, inventor, all round man and a good many other things">

His abiding and life long interest however, was the dog, especially the Dingo (Canins familiaris dingo) and the blue cattle dog.

According to Kaleski, the first dog used for working cattle in Australia was the black bob-tail (sometimes called the Smithfield or stump tail cattle dog ), a large, square bodied, long legged black dog, usually with a white frill around the neck and saddle flap ears. While this breed was good with quiet stock, its long coat and heavy frame meant it could not stand the heat or long droving trips

The need for a more lightly built and shorter haired dog became especially apparent as the squatters began to follow the explorers paths in the 1830's, and cattle raising spread over a wider area.

Among those who turned their attention to this problem, was a drover, Michael Timmins


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