Cattle Dogs (Queensland) Changing?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by punk-a-doodle, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, it is a matter of personal taste, and only my opinion, so I hope I don't offend anyone. But, I really like the typical working cattle dogs I see that are leaner and agile:

    [​IMG]
    (Above dogs are from CO ranch. I'm interested in a litter from the male on the right. Looks very much like my current cattle dog.)


    And older images of them:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I mean, they are a working breed, so they have always been very varied. I've seen short and stocky round dogs
    [​IMG]
    to tall and lean, and I like them all.

    But, lately it seems like I've seen more and more people breeding them "for stocky bodies, blocky heads, bigger, brawnier". I've heard some say this trend is from working stock, and some say it is from show. All the breeders I've seen it in though have either strictly show dogs, or are working the dogs on a ranch, but are heavily involved in showing. I do have a hard time seeing really squat dogs being agile.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I *personally* find the really wombat-like dogs to be unappealing, and I can't personally recognize them as ACDs. So I'm wondering, is this a new trend? If so, where did it originate? I've been having a heck of a time finding leaner cattle dog breeders, as the body types I prefer tend to be bred by working ranches that don't have websites. Can anyone recommend some good breeders that have dogs with a leaner build that are Queenslands and not stumpy tails?

    The breeder websites I keep running into all mention "we are breeding for stockier bodies and blocky heads", and have really thickset dogs.
     
  2. WalkerH

    WalkerH Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have no idea as I don't really look into cattle dogs. I love their coloring and their lean bodies. The last two pictures don't even look like pure cattle dogs to me. The first looks like an obese mix of a cattle dog and the second kind of looks like a cattle dog coat, and that is the only feature that stands out to me as a cattle dog. I'm with you, the leaner agile dogs look like they'd be useful. The last two look like they would eat a lot of food and not much also.

    The second picture, I don't know, the dog isn't attractive to me. Coming from a person that is in love with bulldog breeds that is saying something. I love those short snouts, but that one just isn't cute...
     
  3. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's really weird. I just never saw these hulking, square ACDs growing up, and now they are all over our local classifieds, with 'very blocky head' being the selling point listed for them. I never went to breeder websites for them growing up, so I'm not sure if it is new or not. Like you said, short snouts can be very appealing, but that last one...definitely not attractive to me either. Kind of reminds me of this guy to be honest:
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Skyesrocket

    Skyesrocket Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 20, 2008
    The red one is overweight and out of shape. The head is almost identical to my dogs...minus the rolls of fat on the neck. The bottom dog almost appears to be a mix because the head looks so different.
    Do the people breeding for the shorter block headed dogs have a physical working dog reason for it or is it just for the sake of appearance? I can see the advantage of having the eyes set back farther into the head. For running through brush maybe?
    I am new to cattle dogs and won't be breeding or showing. I got my first one about 4 months ago when he was 7 months old. I was looking to replace my aussie shepherd and Phoenix's owner was just diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and needed a home for his dog.
    Phoenix slept in his owner's bed. Had never seen a farm animal and was afraid of cats. Four months later he is herding 15 goats like an old pro. He makes it look so easy. I wish I could take the credit for it but I sat back and watched him learn on his own. Then I watched him train the goats. He knows what those goats are doing even when he is running around playing with my boxer. He can gather the goats and send them back to where they belong without missing a beat of wrestling with the boxer.
    They are amazing dogs....to say the least! Sorry I can't help with your original question.
     
  5. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

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    honestly, most dogs you see for sale in the paper are going to be from people who happen to have a female and their brother knows this guy who has a male and "Hey, let's make some cash" Go to a farmer who works his dogs (not just a guy who lives on a farm and happens to own a cattle dog) and see if he breeds. If not, find out where he got his dogs.

    It's the American way, punk-a-doodle - bigger is better. That is why you will see so many ads for "bigger, old-fashioned" German shepherds. People believe that if a GSD is intimidating, they will be even more so at 130 lbs. *eye roll* In reality, they're just sad and have a host of problems. 9 times out of 10, it's not that the dog is actually bigger or "brawnier". The dog is fat. The red dog above? He isn't "brawny" he is OBESE! Or as my daughter would say, "fluffy" With all that extra weight, the dog couldn't run for 10 minutes, let alone work cattle all day.

    Of course, the obese bigger dogs have an added selling point to the backyard breeder - more fat = less energy = more buyers. I mean, we all know that most suburban families don't have the time or ability to handle a working dog like the cattle dog. But a dog so over-weight that he can't get off the couch but LOOKS like a cattle dog? Especially if they can tell their friends how the breeder is producing "better dogs because they are stronger" (after all, look how much bigger that dog is, he has to be stronger, right??) They don't have to wait for the right family to come along; they can sell them to anyone with a couch and some Alpo.

    Some GSD examples. First is my Singe, a solid working line dog. He is probably going to be a tad taller than I'd like, but he's well-proportioned so it doesn't effect his abilities

    [​IMG] see? thin, lean, nice tuck-up in the rear. Believe me, this dog can go all day and still be ready for more.

    Let me find some better images of over-sized dogs. brb!

    forget it. it's ticking me off looking at those dogs.

    Anyway, their selling point is "big dogs like you remember from your childhood" Actually, in the past the dogs were SMALLER than most of the dogs bred today anyway. Of course, when you are 5 years old, the dogs seemed huge. You were 5!! The dogs keep getting larger and larger on every website. You even see pictures of the dog beside a yardstick or on a scale to prove how huge they are.
    One image that I removed was a 10 month old female that weighed 94 lbs. Shepherds don't stop growing until they are 2, sometimes a little later. My 8 year old male inches to 94 lbs at his heaviest. He also has bad hips and needs help getting out of the house to potty. What do you think the future holds for that little girl?
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
  6. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, I am going to reply to this in chunks now, because I've lost my reply midway through twice. X) Ugh.


    Skye: I used to be a mutt only girl. Heck, I didn't even like (and very much disliked) ACDs for much of my life. I grew up around farm ACDs who weren't exactly friendly to strangers, and one of my high school friends was mauled by the family ACD (the dog had only been bonded to the dad and was kept cooped up, when daughter and dad were playfighting, and the dog saw that as a threat to his chosen person). Now they are my favorite anything dog ever, and I never want to be without at least one at all times! What an awesome life you have provided for Phoenix, and such a gift of peace of mind you have given to the owner. [​IMG]

    Dain: No worries about puppies from the classifieds for me! The paper one only seen to publish designer dog litters anymore (not even lost/founds like they used to), and the large online, local classified website just isn't a source I'd use for a puppy. I have gotten some great adult animals that needed rehoming off it though. The trends in dogs and rabbits especially really jump out when browsing it. And I hear you on statements like, "big dogs like you remember from your childhood". :/

    I'm ideally looking for a working ranch or farm where a family has proven stock dogs that they breed on a small scale with care given to temperament, health, and the physical traits that say "ACD" to me personally, and that seemed to be historically chosen for. I don't need papers or titles, and I'm not sure I even want them since the blocky lines seem to be coming from AKC registered dogs and show lines. Just a dog that exemplifies the smart, active, intelligent, hardy, and loyal breed I fell in love with. There is a saying that a cattle dog gets injured before it gets sick, and that's what I've always found with the leaner dogs at least. Not sure if it holds true for the blocky ones.

    ***************************

    The crazy thing is...I'm not sure if that red heeler is obese. It is a purebred (the clean, tight mouth corners typically go first when mixing in other breeds, and the dog has clean ACD markings and a bentley mark), and the extensive pedigree is available for viewing online. The dog comes from a breeder who has dogs that are involved in conformation showing. They also export to other countries. I do not believe this particular dog is titled, but take a look at these shots from other angles, and tell me what you think:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Their other dogs are not quite so tank like, but they have the blockier heads. Here is one from the same breeder:
    [​IMG]

    I am used to ACDs who look quick, lively, alert, and intelligent/crafty, such as these:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/socotokio/4743614120/in/photostream
    and
    [​IMG] (fromt he website of a herding dog trainer)
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
  7. belle99

    belle99 New Egg

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    We have an eight year old ACD who is the absolute best animal I have ever owned!!! She is protective of the family (kids, adults and other animals including our chickens). She is incredibly obedient, smart, and cuddly. We also will never be without an ACD ever again. Our girl is overweight, but not as blocky as those others you have posted. Her breeder has retired and just has pet ACDs now. There is however a rescue in East Tn, that could probably put you in touch with a reputable breeder. I don't know what area you are in but I know a great dog can definately be worth the trip.
     
  8. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's not as though the breeders of blocky dogs are poor or irresponsible breeders either. It's different than, say, the 100 plus pound "american pitbull terriers" you see that look like boulders on steroids. That doesn't seem to be socially accepted breeding. In contrast, the blocky ACDs are often coming from high profile breeders who are active and successful in conformation showing (and sometimes herding trials), that breed and sell selectively with strict contracts, keep extensive records, and post and perform DNA testing. While I do tend to personally not be interested in these types of breeders, they are the kind that are generally regarded as being *the* responsible breeders.

    So, I'm not saying they shouldn't be bred...I'm just getting frustrated that they are all I seem to be able to find lately, when they are so definitely not what I am looking for.

    Here are some dogs from a quality breeder that I would be proud to call my own (based on looks and type):
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG] (good example of a stout ACD who isn't so blocky)

    However, this is the dog they, and the Westminster dog show among others, are proud of:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    When I observe people on the street walk past a cattle dog, their reaction is often, "WOW! That looks just like a dingo!! Is that a dingo?" (granted, they don't look 'just' like a dingo, but...). Dingos were bred into these dogs, and it seems as though the founders wanted that to show through. I know I like it to show through in the face. I can't see anyone mistaking that last dog for a dingo. Maybe he has all the same intelligence, loyalty, drive, and awareness of the ACDs I'm used to, but I can't personally see it behind the high domed head, and deep set eyes. It gives them a sort of placid and docile look to me. I can't see that he has cat-footed agility in the heavy set body and legs. I just like being able to see those traits in a glance. It is part of what is so appealing about ACDs to me. This dog seems to be the direction breeders are headed in though.
     
  9. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote: You aren't kidding Belle. They are amazing dogs, and yours sounds like just the kind I fell in love with! I am willing to drive a great distance for the right dog or breeder. Haha, we might actually be moving to TN when we move to some acerage and will be looking at buying a puppy. :D Do you mind sending me a link to the rescue so I have it for future use?
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
  10. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This German breeder led me to do some more looking at the history of the breed:
    http://www.wallaroo.de/dogs/cattledogs/dusty/description.php
    They mention that the slightly framed Dusty is a Kaleski-type. Kaleski was responsible for actually
    writing the standard for the breed.
    Dusty's description says:

    Quote: This is what endears me to the ACD breed. They can seem very 'human', to a degree that is just plain eerie. That isn't just coming from a lover of he breed, but people who only know ACDs through our dog make remarks along those lines often. I wonder if this is true of the blocky types, or if in breeding for a conformation that displays high degrees of neoteny, if that intelligence is dampened. I really have no clue, but am curious. You can see from the site banner, that they too are involved in breeding the very blocky ACDs, so it caught my attention that only Dusty's description noted that.

    This had some history and more black and white photos.
    http://www.kangablue.net/acd-breed-history.asp
    This was pretty interesting to me:
    "In the pages of the Sydney Mail, Kaleski begged the organisers of the Sydney Royal Show to increase the prize money offered to the agricultural breeds, as an incentive to working stockmen to exhibit their dogs. He pointed out that suburban breeders, being unaware of their importance, were likely to lose some of the important working characteristics in the dogs they bred. Some of his comments in the exhibited dogs of the 1920s and 1930s show that he saw evidence that some Sydney breeders were breeding Cattle Dogs of a type that were far removed from the Cattle Dogs of the early 1900s; photographs from the period support his observations."
    The stockier dogs shown are the roundish kind of stocky I'm used to seeing, rather than the blocky dogs being bred, except for the massive body on Logic Return. I don't see any blocky headed dogs in the old photos, which leads me to believe that they are a more modern trend. My next question is, is that trend purely show driven for looks, or are there other reasons? And my goal is to find dogs that look more like the old photos. Sure hope they don't completely go away in favor of the tank dogs.

    This book sure looks interesting:
    http://turrella.com/book.htm

    Also found this:
    http://www.chazhound.com/forums/showthread.php?t=144604
    So I guess I'm not the only one having a hard time finding the type I'd like
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012

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