Breed History

Thomas Simpson Hall
Thomas Simpson Hall, from a
painting owned by Mrs E. Ross.
Photo courtesy A.J.Howard.
The history of Australia’s Cattle Dogs, the Australian Cattle Dog and the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog begins with the pioneer, George Hall (1764-1840). George, with his wife and four young children, arrived in the New South Wales Colony in 1802. George’s first land grant, Toongabbie (now a Sydney suburb) had been farmed to exhaustion. In 1803 he was granted 100 acres on the Hawkesbury River, on the north-western fringe of the Colony. George prospered. By 1820 he owned or rented some 850 acres (344 ha). George's family also grew.

Thomas Simpson Hall (1808-1870) was one of six sons and three daughters. By the time the Hall properties were sold up, in the 1870s, the George Hall Estate exceeded 3,844 km2.

To his lasting credit, Robert Kaleski not only framed the first Cattle Dog breed standard but discovered that George Hall’s son, Thomas, had developed a working dog of legendary excellence that were the progenitors of the Cattle Dogs that Kaleski admired. Kaleski called them Halls Heelers.

Posterity has, however, preferred Folklore to fact and has cherished some very unlikely "facts", even in the face of reason. The most robust of these – and the least supported by reason or research – is the Dalmatian infusion. This "fact" was introduced only in Kaleski’s unreliable later writings.