Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog Breed

  • Other names:
  • Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog
  • Smithfield Heeler

Pronunciation: [ Aus·tra·lian stum•pee tale ca•tell dog ]

The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog, known affectionately as a Stumpy, is a medium-sized dog native to Australia. The dog was developed in the early 19th century by cross-breeding the Australian Dingo with imported British herding dogs. How they were developed and by whom, however, remains a hotly contested argument among Australian breeders and dog lovers. These dogs nearly went extinct during the mid-20th century when a similar breed, the Australian Cattle Dog, was widely favored over the Stumpy.

Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog Breed Details

Breed Specs
Purebred14-15 yrs.17-20 in.35-50 lbs
  • Friendliness
  • Overall
  • Family Friendly
  • Kid Friendly
  • Pet Friendly
  • Stranger Friendly
  • Maintenance
  • Easy to Groom
  • Energy Level
  • Exercise Needs
  • General Health
  • Shedding Amount
  • Behavior
  • Barks / Howls
  • Easy to Train
  • Guard Dog
  • Playfulness
  • Watch Dog
  • Ownership
  • Apartment Friendly
  • Can Be Alone
  • Good for Busy Owners
  • Good for Novice Owners
  • Intelligence
* The more green the stronger the trait.

The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is a working dog that is specifically bred for herding. They have a high intelligence and can be trained for a wide variety of other work. Herding, however, is in their genes — so much so that they have been known to herd children playing and other people's pets! These dogs are definitely not for first-time dog owners, and they are not recommended for people who are inexperienced with Stumpies in particular. With the right person or family, they make excellent companion dogs who are eager to fulfill a job and be with you during your very active days.

There are many things you should know about this breed, so here are some Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog facts:


  • Great watchdog
  • Works well alone
  • Superb herding dog
  • Low grooming needs
  • Excellent guard dog
  • Few health concerns
  • Loves a highly active lifestyle
  • Easy to train for the right person


  • Barks a lot
  • Fiercely territorial
  • Very independent
  • Not hypoallergenic
  • Extremely aloof to strangers
  • Must be socialised with kids
  • Not good with non-canine pets
  • Needs a great amount of exercise
  • Not at all good for apartment living
  • Not good with dogs of the same sex
  • Must have large yard for daily activity
  • Prone to congenital blindness and deafness
  • Can develop separation anxiety if left alone at home

Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog Breed Description

The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is not like its long-winded name: this dog is economically built with nothing more than exactly what she needs to do the job for which she was bred. These medium-sized dogs are slender with somewhat long legs, a well-proportioned torso and, of course, a stumpy tail. They have a double-coat that protects them from the extreme heat of the Australian outback where they typically work all day herding.

These extremely intelligent dogs tend to work alone, and they can think on the fly as well as deal with multiple issues at once. They seem to appreciate challenges and this has made the breed independent.

Although they are independent, they are also prone to separation anxiety when at home. They prefer the company of their master and when left alone at home frequently and for long periods, they quickly become destructive. Barking, chewing on things, and general mayhem is how they express their loneliness and boredom. Otherwise, they are loyal, loving dogs that, with the right person, are wonderfully obedient.

These dogs need a great amount of exercise. They were bred and remain expressly maintained working long, hard days in hot climates. They need a lot of room to run, and they will not adapt to apartment living or being indoors all the time. The Stumpy needs an extraordinary amount of daily exercise.

Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog Coloring

Once seen, the coat color of the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is not forgotten. Technically, there are two types: red Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs and Blue Stumpy tailed cattle dogs (with blue being more popular). The speckled or mottled pattern makes this dog's coat somewhat unique. if they have the desired tan markings in either the red or blue coat, it creates a striking pattern. Sometimes the blue coat has red, or vice versa. Some dogs have black instead of tan (or red or blue) markings in the basic coat color.

Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog Temperament

The hard-working, tireless and potentially overbearing Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog temperament has a lot of qualities that work well when they have a job. They are particularly good when herding animals and as watch- or guard dogs. They respect strong, firm alphas, and they tend to not get along well with strangers, dogs of the same sex and children playing and yelling. They can be easy to train for the right person.

They are also very independent-minded, and if you are not experienced with these dogs, you may find them challenging you constantly. Their love for agility sports is a great one for athletic lifestyles, and they tend to not hesitate when it comes to adventure. They are also remarkably fearless, and this should always be kept in mind.

Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog Health

The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is certainly a very healthy breed, but they do have some minor genetic issues as well as are susceptible to the typical problems that nearly all dogs may encounter. Due to the disinterest during the 20th century that nearly allowed the Stumpy to disappear and the recent resurgence of the breed, there tends to be little known about the bigger health picture of these dogs.

Among the health issues you should be aware of if you plan to adopt a Stumpy are:

  • Cleft palate
  • Missing teeth
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Dental ailments
  • Demodectic Mange
  • Other eye problems
  • Congenital Deafness
  • Congenital Blindness
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy/PRA

These dogs have an average lifespan of 14 to 15 years, but they are known to live as long as 18 years too.

  • Blindness
  • Cataracts
  • Collie Eye Anomaly
  • Deafness
  • Demodectic Mange
  • Dental Problems
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Retinal Dysplasia
  • View all 10...