Living with and Australian Cattle Dog is a serious commitment. Whether you wish to have your dog as a working partner, companion, or performance partner; you will need to consider several things. The breed is intelligent, active, and versatile. With proper breeding and care, the dog will probably live 10 to 15 years and be an active participant in your life for most of that time.
The breed does shed continually and requires regular brushing. It is not a quiet dog and will alert bark to any changes in the environment. They require regular exercise and training, of course. However, they usually accompany you wherever you go throughout your day including the restroom, bedroom, and kitchen. Few ACD owners complain of loneliness, lack of companionship, or a deficit of attention. The dogs are always aware of their environment.
In competition, this attention may look to the outside observer as if the dog is not being attentive to its owner. However, the dogs are usually acutely aware of their owner's comfort level with competition as well as anything going on in the entire area.
The breed is by nature geared to meet force with force. While they also have the inbred intelligence to learn when this force is necessary, they often need proper handling, training, and time. They can learn not to herd human feet or nip at things going through portals such as doors and gates though most of them will need to be taught proper behavior early on. Taking on an Australian Cattle Dog puppy is not for wimps. It will be a life-altering experience each and every time a new ACD puppy enters your life.
Sharing your life with more than one ACD is also quite a change. It is recommended you talk with owners of multiple ACDs to determine whether or not you should add another dog to your family and what age and sex would be best for your lifestyle.
ACD puppies will amaze you with their tenacity, speed, and ingenuity.
While the breed is very sturdy and low-maintenance. The do have some genetic health problems that you should research BEFORE you consider where to get your dog. These include deafness, progressive retinal atrophy (causes blindness), hip dysplasia, temperament abnormalities, dentition problems, and improper coat. While no one can guarantee the complete health of your dog, proper breeding and testing will be able to indicate the incidence and possibility or your dog having any of these problems. There are many fine ACDs in rescues that need good homes. If you think a rescue dog will fit into your life, please consider a rescue. Every year at the the annual gathering of ACD owners called the ACDCA national specialty, there is a parade of rescued dogs. Some of them have working titles; others are employed on ranches and carry out important jobs; some are working in therapy or search/rescue.
The links below will help you find an ACD. The Learn About section also has some excellent links for finding things to do with your dog. Learn as much as you can before you get your dog.