Chapiz, the Australian Cattle Dog at our Woodland Clinic.

Here’s a young Queensland Heeler or Australian Cattle Dog named Chapiz at our Woodland vaccination clinic. ‘Queensland Heeler’ is a nick name dating to the early days of the Australian Cattle dog. The English settlers in Australia brought the dog we now know as the Old English Sheepdog with them from England with the intention of herding sheep but the terrain, the environment and the distances covered by the drovers was altogether too much for the English Sheepdog. In their home territory in England, the Old English was used as a general purpose dog and it’s relaxed personality and relatively low energy was not suitable for the rough and shrubby terrain of Australia. In the early 1800s a cattleman named George Hall, having suffered serious losses to his herd on the long cattle drive to Sydney, set about the task of developing a new cattle dog which would have the energy, motivation, toughness and speed to keep the herd together and therefore mitigate the great losses suffered on the long drive to market. Hall started with the type of blue mottled herding dog used in the Northumberland region and they became known as the Northumberland Blue Merle Drover’s Dog. He then crossed these herders with the native Dingo dogs, some of which he had already domesticated and by 1840 he had produced superior herding dogs which became known as ‘Hall’s Herders’. Hall kept these dogs to himself as they gave him great advantage over his competitors but after his death in 1870 they became common among all the drovers of Australia. Our Australian Cattle Dog, pictured here, clearly reflects the Dingo breeding and so we have included a picture of a wild Australian Dingo for comparison.

– Geoffrey Antipa

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