The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is a naturally bobtailed or tailless, medium-sized breed of Cattle Dog (not to be confused with the Australian Cattle Dog, aka "Queensland Heeler"). The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog was developed in Australia to herd cattle, and descends from crosses between European herding dogs and the Australian dingo. The name is spelled both with hyphenation, as Australian Stumpy-Tail Cattle Dog, and without, and the shorter name Stump Tail Cattle Dog is also sometimes applied.
The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog descended from Smithfield herding dogs of England, which were brought to Australia in the early 19th century and cross-bred with the Dingo. Records of working dogs are scarce from this time period, and there are differing accounts of the breed's development. One is that a drover named Timmins from Bathurst, New South Wales, crossed the Smithfield dogs with the Dingo, producing a type of working dog called Timmins' Biters. In order to mute their dingo characteristics and make the dogs easier to handle, further crosses were made with Scottish Smooth Collies, producing speckled red and blue dogs that were often born tailless.
In the book A Dog Called Blue, author Noreen Clark makes the case that both the tailless Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog and the Australian Cattle Dog (aka "Queensland Heeler") descended at one point from the same stock, called Halls Heelers, kept in the 1830s by a very large cattle operation run by Thomas Hall. The dogs which were also crosses of Smithfield and Dingo, but the breeds diverged at some point in the late 20th century. Selective breeding of the tailless or short-tailed dogs has fixed the characteristic of today's breed.
The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog has been recognised as a standardised breed since 1988 in its native country by the Australian National Kennel Council, in its "Group 5 (Working Dogs)". It is also recognised by the nearby New Zealand Kennel Club in its "Working" group.
More internationally, the breed was provisionally accepted by the FÃ©dÃ©ration Cynologique Internationale in 2005, as breed standard 351, in "Group 1, Section 2: Cattle Dogs (Except Swiss Cattle Dogs)". As of 2010, it is also recognised as simply the Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog by the US United Kennel Club (in its "Herding Dog Breeds" group) since 1996, and by the longer name in the Canadian Kennel Club (in its "Group VII: Herding Dogs"), but not by The Kennel Club (UK), nor by the American Kennel Club.
The breed may also be listed by minor kennel clubs, working or herding dog clubs, or Internet-based dog registry businesses, and promoted as a rare breed pet.
The Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is a normally proportioned, rugged dog with pricked (standing up) ears and long legs. The breed's most distinctive feature, for which the breed is named, is the frequent lack of a tail. When there is a tail, it is quite short, no longer than 10Â cm (4 ins), and undocked. The coat is medium length to short, straight, dense and harsh. The coat color is a speckled red or speckled blue..Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs do not show brown points or markings as seen on the ACD. Height is 46â"51 centimetres (18â"20Â in) at the withers for dogs, with females slightly smaller. The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog and the Australian Cattle Dog (aka "Queensland Heeler) (with a long tail) is similar in appearance to the Stumpy, but the Australian Cattle is proportionally heavier, less leggy and has brown points and markings. (See the article Dog terminology for an explanation of terms.)
The ideal temperament of the Stumpy is described in the breed standard as alert and watchful, as well as responsive to its owner and reserved around strangers, but also notes that "it must be amenable to handling" at shows. All working dogs need early socialisation with people, and consistent training and activity throughout their lives.
Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs can compete in dog agility trials, obedience, showmanship, flyball, tracking, frisbee and herding events. Herding instincts and trainability can be measured at noncompetitive herding tests. "Stumpies" exhibiting basic herding instincts can be trained to compete in herding trials.
- Anatomical terms of location
- Dog terminology
- Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog at DMOZ