Why Adopt an Australian Cattle Dog

Stray Reddish Brown Cattle Dog needing adoption

Australian cattle dogs are highly energic and loyal dogs first bred in Australia during the 1800s. As a result, they make great family dogs and ranchers love them due to their herding abilities. Cattle Dogs usually become very attached to their owners and prefer to stay by their side as much as possible. Therefore, this is a great reason to adopt a Cattle Dog.

Unfortunately, many of these beautiful and loyal dogs, end up in shelters due to owners who did not realize the nature and traits of Australian Cattle Dogs. If they do not get enough exercise they have the potential to bark a lot and can be prone to destructive behavior.

However, If you want an energetic, loyal companion and have a yard, this may be just the dog for you. You can adopt one of these brilliant dogs and save him from life in a shelter, or worse yet, euthanasia.

Why Australian Cattle Dogs are Great Pets

Cattle Dogs originated from the wild Australian Dingo after it had been domesticated to develop hardy dogs who could manage and herd cattle in the harsh Australian brush country. The Dingo was cross-bred with drover herding dogs to become what we now call Blue and Red Heelers or Australian Cattle Dogs. As a result, ACDS are hardy, medium-sized dogs weighing 35–50 pounds. You read more about this fascinating history of the creation of this breed at my post, Are Australian Cattle Dogs Related to the Wild Australian Dingo.

Although they are easy to groom ACDs have two heavy shedding seasons due to their second undercoat.

In general, these dogs are extremely sturdy, healthy, and energetic dogs that can be a farmer or rancher’s best friend when it comes to herding cows. Cattle Dogs also live a long time up to 16 or 20 years. One of these dogs was recently documented to have lived to be 29 years old! Here are some of their best characteristics:

  • Healthy and strong
  • High energy
  • Athletic and agile
  • Hard-working
  • Fiercely Loyal
  • Intelligent
  • Respond well to training
  • Good family dogs
  • Great for ranchers and farmers
  • Easy to groom


Many people who adopt an Australian Cattle Dog have no idea what they are in for. If this lively dog does not get enough exercise or freedom to run, he may become destructive or lapse into excessive barking. Australian Cattle Dogs can often have a very irritating, high-pitched bark that is hard on the ears! Additionally, due to their strong sense of loyalty, ACDs can be standoffish and even hostile toward strangers and other dogs if not trained and managed well.

In a nutshell, Australian Cattle Dogs can be a handful! Unfortunately, owners who are not prepared for this type of dog, often surrender them to shelters. Be sure to see my post about Raising A Cattle Dog in a Townhouse for more information about managing this energetic dog.

Where to Adopt Australian Cattle Dogs

Rescue Groups, Shelters, Online

I have listed some reputable rescue groups that I have researched or become familiar with. But I also urge you to check with your local shelter, as they may have the type of dog you are looking for. And, you may save a dog’s life. Some shelters have a “kill” policy after long stays or when their facility reaches capacity.

You may also be surprised who you fall in love with or feel drawn toward the most when you visit a shelter. Be sure to see my post Everything You Need to Know About Adopting a Rescue Dog for a comprehensive guide.

My links below to organizations are just a sampling. There are many additional organizations that you may also want to work with. Make sure they are a reputable organization registered as a 501(c)3 nonprofit. You can check their status on Guidestar.org which often includes 3 years of tax returns.

One additional note, you should steer away from private groups, especially those online, since they may be puppy mills in disguise. Also, buying a dog from a pet store probably saves that dog’s life. But just know that pet stores usually get their dogs from puppy mills. So, in the long run, don’t support retailers who sell dogs by buying their products.

Two very reputable online services include Petfinders.com and AKC Rescue Network. They can help you find breed-specific dogs of various ages, including puppies and seniors.

Australian Cattle Dog Rescue Association

This nonprofit has an extensive reach and is listed on Guidestar, although it is not rated. They rescue and place ACDs throughout the United States and place them in foster and forever homes. The nonprofit organization was formed as a merger of two Australian Cattle Dog Activity Clubs several years ago. “We were created to save our beloved cattle dogs from abuse, neglect, and abandonment.

Mission Statement

Australian Cattle Dog Rescue Association (ACDRA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organized to facilitate the rescue and adoption of Australian Cattle Dogs in need. Our goal is to eliminate stray, abandoned, and unwanted ACDs through spaying/neutering, adoptions, and education. Through our network of members and foster homes, we rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome Australian Cattle Dogs and ACD mixes from animal control groups, shelters, and owner surrenders.

Website: https://www.acdra.org/about-acdra

Contact Info:

Mailing Address: ACDRA, PO Box 7204, Garden City, NY 11530-5729

Fax: 724-768-7354

ACDRA is a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit dog rescue dedicated to helping Australian Cattle Dogs in need.

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