Part of a larger piece (18×24) done in watercolor enhanced colored pencil. Original unavailable.
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The Australian Cattle Dog (ACD or Cattle Dog) is a breed of herding dog originally developed in Australia for droving cattle over long distances across rough terrain. In the 19th century, New South Wales cattle farmer Thomas Hall crossed the dogs used by drovers in his parents’ home county, Northumberland, with dingoes he had tamed. The resulting dogs were known as Halls Heelers. After Hall’s death in 1870, the dogs became available beyond the Hall family and their associates, and were subsequently developed into two modern breeds, the Australian Cattle Dog and the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog. Influential in the Cattle Dog’s early development was Robert Kaleski who wrote the first standard for the breed.
The Australian Cattle Dog is a medium-sized, short-coated dog that occurs in two main colour forms. It has either brown or black hair distributed fairly evenly through a white coat, which gives the appearance of a “red” or “blue” dog. It has been nicknamed a “Red Heeler” or “Blue Heeler” on the basis of this colouring and its practice of moving reluctant cattle by nipping at their heels. Dogs from a line bred in Queensland, Australia, which were successful at shows and at stud in the 1940s were called “Queensland Heelers” to differentiate them from lines bred in New South Wales, and this nickname is now occasionally applied to any Australian Cattle Dog.
As with dogs from other working breeds, the Australian Cattle Dog has a high level of energy, a quick intelligence, and an independent streak. It responds well to structured training, particularly when the training is interesting and challenging. It is not aggressive, but forms a strong attachment with its owners and can be protective of them and their possessions, and it was bred to bite. It is easy to groom and maintain, requiring little more than a brushing during the shedding period. The most common health problems are deafness and progressive blindness (both hereditary conditions) and accidental injury; otherwise, it is a robust breed with a lifespan of 12 to 14 years. Australian Cattle Dogs now participate in a range of activities beyond the herding they were bred to do, including competing with their owners in sporting events and working as assistance dogs (info from Wikipedia).