Some would say that having a dog in your family is an honor and a privilege. If you're a dog lover, then you undoubtedly agree with this statement. A canine companion fills an extraordinary place in the human heart, and if you have a family, your furry friend is definitely a big part of it. But, if you're thinking about getting a new pooch, what pup pal makes the best family pet?
If you have kids, then a dog that gets along well with children is undoubtedly at the top of your list of absolute musts. While certain dog breeds are known for being a good match for homes with kids, others are best suited for older owners. The Australian Cattle Dog (ACD) can be great with kids; however, it’s typically suggested that the pup is socialized with children from the very beginning. Still, whether you’re buying a new pet or plan to adopt a dog, you always should meet the actual dog you plan to get before bringing Fido home.
Of course, knowing the ins and outs of which breeds are kid-friendly is an excellent and essential starting point.
The Australian Cattle Dog: Family Dog and Intelligent Companion
Australian Cattle Dogs, also called Blue Heelers, are extremely alert, pleasant pups with keen intelligence and a fierce sense of loyalty. These faithful friends are not considered aggressive and can be an excellent fit for families with kids.
However, if you have very young children, ideally, you should find a young pup that can grow up alongside your children and that you can properly train and socialize with your kids. Otherwise, this breed might be a better fit for older children, around 9 or 10 years of age. This is information worth keeping in mind when you’re trying to decide if you should buy or adopt an older or younger dog. ACDs can be a bit nippy, which can be alarming for smaller children; another reason early training is so necessary.
Although you should always withhold your final judgment until you meet your potential new housemate, an Australian Cattle Dog is a great choice when considering a new family pet.
Here are four reasons why an Australian Cattle Dog is the best family dog:
An Australian Cattle Dog is very active and has high-energy levels, making him excellent at keeping up with active kids.
An Australian Cattle Dog is exceptionally loyal, and if he grows up with your kids, he will no doubt watch over them and keep them safe.
An Australian Cattle Dog isn’t known for barking a lot, which is always a plus if you have young kids or children sensitive to loud noises.
An Australian Cattle Dog is very intelligent, so as long as you put in the time and effort, this pup will quickly catch on to how he should behave.
Getting To Know the Australian Cattle Dog
Of course, your dog’s personality is a significant factor in deciding if he’s the right choice for you and your family, but there are other things to consider too. It’s also crucial to understand the basics of any dog breed you think about bringing into your home. Different things like size, training needs, health issues, and other specifics can make a big difference in how well your pet adjusts to your home.
For example, a Boxer is an incredible choice for a family with kids, but if you don’t have the time to provide him with ample opportunities for much-needed exercise, things won’t work out too well. Therefore, always look at the big picture when you plan to get a new dog, no matter what the breed.
When you know the basics about your future pup, it can save you a lot of uncertainty and difficulties down the road. (For example, learning that the cute little puppy you just brought home to your small apartment will eventually grow into a 100-pound mammoth).
Here are some good-to-know facts about the smart and alert Australian Cattle Dog:
An Australian Cattle Dog’s average height is between 17 and 20 inches, and the average weight is roughly 35 to 50 pounds. The males, as is typical with most dog breeds, are usually slightly larger than the females.
This breed lives an average of 12 to 16 years, although some have lived for 20 years. In fact, the official holder of the world's oldest dog is an Australian Cattle Dog named Bluey, who died at 29 years and 5 months of age.
The Australian Cattle Dog has a smooth, double-layer coat that typically only needs quick weekly brushing and an occasional bath. However, this pup does shed his undercoat twice a year during the shedding season. Therefore, when it’s shedding season, you’ll need to brush him every few days to get rid of the dead hair that accumulates in his coat. Of course, as with all breeds, regular nail trims and proper dental care is important. Also, you should check your Australian Cattle Dog’s ears regularly to avoid the build-up of wax.
A good breeder will screen her dogs for an assortment of health conditions, including deafness, progressive retinal atrophy, and hip dysplasia. There are several evaluations the National Breed Club recommends, including those for hips, eyes, elbows, and several other tests. You can check out the Official Breed Club Health Statement for more information.
ACDs need a lot more than a quick walk around the block. Therefore, when it comes to proper exercise, while snapping on a leash and going for a run is a good start, this high-energy dog needs a lot more opportunities for work and play. Australian Cattle Dogs were bred to work and herd cattle, so this pup does great when he has a job to do. Of course, unless you live on a farm, you’ll have to find some alternative means to make your canine companion happy. Taking your pup on long, daily runs is great, as is enrolling him in canine sports like obedience and agility training.
Early socialization and basic obedience training are vital for the Australian Cattle Dog, especially with his highly keen sense of intelligence. Once you’ve mastered basic obedience with your pet, continued and consistent training and activities, like agility or herding, is recommended to keep this pooch properly stimulated and engaged. If you have to leave home for a bit, make sure your pup has had adequate opportunities to exercise and has something to do, like chewing on a Rolly Cannoli or other type of interactive toy. If you leave your dog alone with nothing to do, he will get into mischief.
Dogs and Kids
No matter what type of dog you decide to bring home, proper education for your children and your new pet is crucial. Ensure your children know how to handle and treat an animal, and introduce your pup to your kids as early as possible. If your kids are able, involving them in the training process can help develop the bond between them and your new family pet.
Once you’ve decided to add a dog to the mix, petfinder.com is a great starting point. You can also check out The Australian Cattle Dog Rescue Association if you choose to help an animal in need. If you need more resources and tips to help you learn more about your super pets, NeaterPets has you covered! Check out the rest of our blog; you’ll find tons of valuable information you can use to be a fantastic pet parent.