A Dog Called Blue - The Book

A Dog Called Blue is the only researched and documented history of the Australian Cattle Dog and the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog yet published.

Set against a background of colonial and later history, the book traces the development of Australia's Cattle Dogs from the Halls Heeler, a working-dog breed developed during the 1830s by Thomas Hall, from a cross between the Dingo and a Drovers Dog strain from the north of England.

The book considers the probable origins of the Drovers Dog, imported by Hall, and the influence of Harry and Jack Bagust on the early Cattle Dog breed. The alleged early Dalmatian infusion is discussed in the context of Robert Kaleski's mind-set. Kaleski's comments (with photos) on Sydney Royal exhibits, during the 1920s and 1930s, record his concern about the quality of some of these exhibits and the changing breed type he observed.

Chapters by Dr Helen Hewson-Fruend deal with changing breed type since c.1900, the effect of variant Breed Standards, the inheritance of coat colour in both breeds and the inheritance of taillessness in the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog. Bernadette Merchant reviews the Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog Redevelopment Scheme and the progress of the redeveloped Stumpies.

Book Cover

hard cover;
216 pages;
148 figures and photos;

Order A Dog Called Blue


Bernadette Merchant, in National DOG - The RingLEADER Way

A DOG CALLED BLUE had me captured, from the first page.  The book takes you through time, with the Hall family, the cattle empire they built and the conditions in Australia at the time.  It walks you through the reasons why these two great Australian breeds were developed. It answers many of the myths that surround these two great Aussies ...
A 'must have' book ... accurate and well researched ...I am honoured and proud to have contributed a chapter.

Connie Redhead, in Oz Dog Newspaper

Noreen, typically, has not just accepted the word of others. Rather, she has conducted her own research into the development, establishment and expansion of our great Australian working dogs...In doing so, Noreen has been able to sift fact from fiction ...We now have a much truer picture of Australia's Cattle Dogs ...

Be you a dedicated breeder, an enthusiastic exhibitor, a faithful owner, a grateful stockman or simply a casual admirer, this book is one you must have on your shelves if you want to take your admiration further. It is a good read, an excellent resource, well illustrated and well authenticated.

Rosemary Hoffman, in ACDCA Newsletter

This is the best book on the history of the ACD that I've ever read. I must admit that I haven't read very many, because they often put me to sleep. This one certainly didn't. There's lots of really good stuff in it too ...

I found myself enjoying it immensely In addition to the history, there is also extensive analysis of breed type and standards (Hewson-Fruend), the redevelopment of the ASTCD (Merchant), and detailed maps, a glossary of terms and an extensive reference list ...

Perspective is given to the development of the breed as changes occurred through time -- change in those people most influential in steering the breed in different directions, changes in the type of land cattle were put upon and changes in the type of cattle used ...

The analysis of Kaleski's writings will be of particular interest to history buffs ... Clark makes sense out of confusion. I felt I had gained an appreciation for [Kaleski] that I had lacked previously ...

I found myself enjoying it immensely, often learning something new, occasionally laughing out aloud. It's a remarkable book, a good read, and it belongs in any serious ACD fancier's library.

Alison Skipper, in ACD Society of Great Britain Newsletter

Have you ever wondered whether Dalmatians were really used in the creation of the Australian Cattle Dog? What did those early ACDs look like and who bred them? How did ACDs first move from the stations into the show ring? This book gives an insight into the foundations of our breed, answering all these questions and many more.

A Dog Called Blue sheds new light on the Hall family, who were fundamental to founding the breed, and on Robert Kaleski, who wrote the first book on the breed. Later chapters cover the breed's emergence as a show breed and its spread across Australia.

I found this book fascinating. I think it will become a classic reference book for anyone with a serious interest in the breed and I would recommend anyone, who wants to study the history of the ACD, to buy a copy.

R M Williams Outback magazine (June/July 2004)

The origin of the Blue Heeler as an Australian dog breed is explored in Noreen Clark's A Dog Called Blue. Set against a background of Australia's pioneering history from colonial times, this A4 hard cover book traces the heritage of our cattle dogs.

a well-researched account of the working dogs that have been the backbone of our rural industry The story begins with the Halls Heeler, a working-dog breed developed by Thomas Hall in the 1830s from a cross between the dingo and the Drovers Dog, a breed from the north of England. Noreen Clark, a librarian and geologist, has combined her experience as a dog breeder of 20 years standing with her research and scientific training to produce a well-researched account of the working dogs that have been the backbone of our rural industry. The genetics of the Australian Cattle Dog and the Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog are discussed in scientific detail over several chapters.

With the input of editorial assistant Dr Helen Hewson-Fruend, the book examines these breeds' gene series, and the ancestral data of three generations of dogs.

A Dog Called Blue deals with changing breed type since 1900, the effect of variant breed standards, and the inheritance of characteristics such as coat colour and, in the case of the Australian Stumpy tail cattle dog, taillessness. Many of the myths associated with breed characteristics are debunked in the book, such as the alleged Dalmatian infusion into the breed. This comprehensive text also incorporates recent genetic breakthroughs in the breeding world, and includes maps, family trees, references, a glossary, endnotes, as well as anecdotes from people at the heart of the Australian working dogs' story.