Australian Cattle Dog history was developed carefully over several decades in the 19th century and proved to be as harsh as the outback for which the dogs were conceived. Sheepdogs called Smithfields, exported from Britain, didn't work out. They were crossed with Dingoes, but the hybrids proved to be unreliable. Then a rancher named George Hall saw to crossing Dingoes with Blue Heelers.
For about 30 years, Hall worked to perfect a quiet, nonbiting, energetic, resilient and tireless dog. By 1840, his dogs became known locally as Halls Heelers. They worked very well, but as they were a proprietary thing that helped his business, only he had them. It was not until after he died in 1870 that they became widely available.
In the 1890s, the Cattle Dog Club of Sydney took an interest in the breed and re-named them the Australian Cattle Dog. Around 1897, a man named Robert Kaleski drafted a standard that was accepted in 1903 by the Kennel Club of New South Wales. The breed's name had been shortened to Australian Heeler, but the Club later went back to Australian Cattle Dog. Still, most people called them Queensland Heelers or Blue Heelers, which is why you might hear about Blue Heeler origins being the same as Aussie Cattle Dogs.
During WW2, an American soldier and California cattle rancher named Greg Lougher met a Sydney veterinarian named Alan McNiven who had further crossed a number of other breeds into Cattle Dog blood. The Royal Agricultural Society Kennel Club (RASKC) had refused to recognize those hybrids, and some controversy ensued when McNiven tried to "paper-walk" his way around the Club's refusal. Lougher exported several of the dogs to the United States where efforts continued to formally recognize the dog.
A few decades later, after the establishment of the Australian Cattle Dog Club of America and further possible controversy, the AKC took over the club and formally recognized the breed in 1980.