Breed History

Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog

Ambajaye High Tail It.
Ch Ambajaye High Tail It
Photo courtesy Bernadette Merchant.
The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog and the Australian Cattle Dog both originated in the Halls Heeler.

Halls Heelers became generally available only after the George Hall Estate properties were sold up in the 1870s. Stockmen, such as John Timmins, bred on with Halls Heelers but their name was forgotten when the Halls faded from the rural scene. Cattle Dogs, as they became known, appeared in the show ring in late nineteenth century.

The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog has developed independently of Wooleston and Tallawong influences.

The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog and the Australian Cattle Dog started on their separate ways only after c.1903 – the year in which Robert Kaleski first published his breed standard for Cattle Dogs. The emergence of long-tailed and short-tailed Cattle Dogs as separate breeds came of their appearance at dog shows. Kaleski was either unaware of the two types or intentionally excluded short-tailed types from his standard. Outside the immediate influence of Kaleski’s standard, Queensland breeders took the presence or absence of tail for granted. Both short-tailed and long-tailed cattle dogs were exhibited in Queensland, from the 1890s.

Following its discovery, in the 1950s, of anomalies in Cattle Dog registrations, the Canine Control Council (Qld) de-registered all breeders of short-tailed Cattle Dogs. This would have extinguished the short-tailed type as a bench bred. Iris Heale successfully fought de-registration and her prefix, Glen Iris, became the only prefix registered to both long-tailed and short-tailed Cattle Dogs. Mrs Heale was determined that the short-tailed Cattle Dog, as a bench breed, should die with her and refused to sell registered short-tailed Cattle Dogs.

In 1988, the Australian National Kennel Council implemented the Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog Redevelopment Scheme to perpetuate the short-tailed type.

Almost as an accident of history – Iris Heale’s thirty-year monopoly of the breed – the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog developed independently of the Wooleston and Tallawong influences, that shaped Australian Cattle Dog type after the 1960s and resulted in the differences of type that distinguish the two breeds.