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Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog

An Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog looks toward the sunlight

Origin: Australia

Group: Herding

As a highly independent and intelligent Australian “silent heeler” dog breed, the Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is rare in the U.S. In 1988, the Australian National Kennel Council opened up a 'development' register for this great breed, fearing that the purebred form of the 'Stumpy' could become extinct. By 1917, Stumpy-Tailed Cattle Dogs made up 50 % of Cattle Dog entrants in dog shows. This breed was looked upon as a working dog breed, and is recognized by the FCI.

This superb dog breed belongs to the AKC Foundation Stock Service, and was registered in 2018. Perfect for equestrian and cattle farms, the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog offers outstanding working ability and stamina, making this breed the perfect choice for large cattle farms. This breed can be difficult to train because it’s a strong-willed and independent breed that needs lots of exercise and space.

What makes this breed unique is that it has a natural bob-tail, although some pups are born with a naturally long tail. When that happens, they get bred back to quality natural bob tails. Not only is this breed dynamic, friendly, and energetic, but if you know anything about cattle or horse farms, you know how much work there always is. You simply cannot live without the sweet and hardworking Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog on a farm or ranch! Today, this dog breed is super popular as sporting and working dogs, and make for a good show dog and companion.


Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is closely related to the Australian Cattle Dog, but there are many distinct differences. Often confused with the Australian Cattle Dog, the Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is a cross between a dingo and the Smithfield, which was the first cattle dog used by the Australian cattle ranchers.

No one knows how much dingo is in this cattle dog, but there are not many provable facts. That said, the wonderful dingo is anAustralian wild dog that needs to be protected, since it’s a threatened species today. To find out more, visit and support the Australian Dingo Foundation to help ensure the wellbeing and future of the wonderful dingo.

The first cross between the two resulted in the Timmins Biter, which in turn was bred with the blue-merle, smooth-coated Collie. It does not have any Australian Kelpie cross, which is found in the Australian Cattle Dog. This breed first arrived in the U.S after WW2 together with the adorable Australian Cattle Dog.  

They were then recognized by the UKC and CKC. Dogs that were registered with the ANKC came to the U.S in the year 2000. Sometimes this breed was called Smithfield Dogs, Smithfield Heelers, or Blue Heelers. The population of this dog breed remains small as of today, but still remains very popular. There are also numerous Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog Clubs throughout the world that aim to protect and preserve this very special dog breed.

Physical Description

The Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is taller than the Australian Cattle Dog with a square profile, and does not have a tail. The 'Stumpie' has a rugged, almost handsome appearance. This breed is muscular, carrying a broad head with a blunt muzzle. The eyes are oval, dark, and of a medium-size. They are set higher than the Australian Cattle Dog’s. The breed is lean, leggy, and “squarish” in shape.

The Stumpy Tail Cattle dog has small prick ears and a deep chest. The tail is no longer than a 4-inch bob. The tails are never docked. They have a soft double undercoat with a short, straight, rough outer coat that carries a neck ruff. This breed may have a blue coat, or a blue mottled coat with or without black markings. They can also have red markings with a red coat. Stumpies don’t fall under a merle breed. They’re either ticked or roan, similar to the Australian Cattle Dog.


  • 17-20 inches


  • Males: 38-45 pounds
  • Females: 32 – 35 pounds

Life Expectancy

  • 12-15 years


The Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog enjoys hard work, and having a job to do. In fact, this breed has to have a job, and plenty of daily structure. The Stumpie has endurance and lots of energy. They are a one-person dog and are by nature a bit shy, yet not unfriendly or aggressive. Stumpies are loyal, and enjoy being around family. That said, they should be raised around children so that they are tolerant of them.

Because they’re heelers, they may have a tendency to chase or nip, and if there’s a lot going on around them, they may become annoyed. Good as watchdogs, and protective as well, the Stumpie has a strong prey drive, and will almost always chase small pets and children.

Activity: High

The 'Stumpie' needs to spend plenty of time outdoors, especially on a farm or ranch, and thrives with an active lifestyle. They need to have large home environments like farms so that they can run.

This breed, if not exercised vigorously can become problematic in a short period of time. They then may be prone to excessive barking, excessive destructiveness, boredom, depression, hyperactivity, and more!

Encourage early socialization and positive dog training throughout puppyhood to avoid behavioral issues. This breed does well in agility, flyball, tracking, frisbee, obedience, herding, obedience classes, and are amazing in herding trials.

Possible Health Concerns

The Stumpie is a healthy dog breed that may be susceptible to the following health conditions:

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is the name for a group of diseases that cause degeneration of the retina. This will include inherited abnormalities of the light- sensitive cells.
  • Primary Lens Luxation (PLL)This is an inherited disease that affects the eye. It is associated with the disintegration of the zonule fibers that hold the lens in place. It is painful, and may result in blindness. Dogs that are paired for breeding need to be DNA screened to avoid PLL.

Recommended Health Tests for the Stumpie

  • PRA-RCD 4
  • BAER Hearing Testing
  • Hip Evaluation
  • Elbow Evaluation
  • Hyperuricosuria DNA


 TheStumpy Tail Cattle Dog was bred to exercise. This dog breed has plenty of endurance, and is tireless. The Stumpie is not suited for apartment living, or being alone in a small home all day. The breed does best with an active pet parent that will encourage what he was born to do-herding. You’ll need to challenge this breed intellectually, and provide plenty of environmental stimuli, dog training, and socialization to get the best performance from this amazing dog breed.


A high-quality diet helps your dog fight disease, grow correctly and age well. That said, with so many dog foods available, there are so many options. A high-quality dog food has the power to heal; yet that healing is totally dependent on the quality of the ingredients in each dog food recipe.

Dog food recipes are also constantly changing, and it’s up to very dog parent to read the ingredient label carefully. Consult with your veterinarian for special diet formulas if your dog has a health issue.

Keep in mind that dogs need a diet that is specific for their life stage. All pups need a puppy formula specifically formulated for their type of breed. Adult, lactating, and senior dogs also do well on different dog food formulas that will be most beneficial during that specific life stage.

Here’s what to look for when choosing a high-quality dog food:

  • Look for dog foods that are tested using the AAFCO feeding trials instead of by formulation.
  • Look for the nutritional adequacy statement that is required on all pet food labels.
  • This label provides answers to three most important questions about your pet food.
  • If it’s complete and balanced
  • What life stage is it intended for? (Puppy, senior, etc.)
  • How the claims on the label are substantiated?

If you’re wanting a natural, organic and holistic dog food, dry dog food brands offer many varieties, such as grain free, gluten free, vegetarian and traditional. Dry dog food is available through most pet food brands.

General ingredients that include whole meats, fruits or vegetables in their top 5 ingredients are considered good foods. Those that also incorporate antioxidants like blueberries, cranberries, pomegranates and pumpkin are also becoming popular.

Additionally, organic, natural and preservative-free with no artificial ingredients, are also key to a well- balanced, and high quality dog food. Use plain organic yogurt toppers, and ingredients that are beneficial for brain health as well. This helps with focus, training, and behavioral issues just as it does with people.

Dog parents, regardless of the breed, need to understand that the life stage that a dog food is marketed for, may not be the same life stage for which the food actually meets the minimum requirements. Consult with your veterinarian if you need advice about which dog food to feed your dog.


The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog needs minimal grooming. The Stumpie needs to be brushed gently every day to remove loose hair and dirt. Daily grooming maintains your dog’s wellbeing, and keeps him clean and feeling good.

Tail hairs should not be removed because the Stumpie is a “natural” dog breed. The coat hairs on this dog breed run at about 1-1.5 inches with a slight feathering on the outer thighs. Grooming is super easy. This breed sheds infrequently.

Teeth need to be brushed daily with a doggie toothbrush and canine toothpaste. Ears cleaned regularly, and checked for sensitivity. Nails trimmed as needed. Your Stumpie will need to have a professional dental cleaning twice a year. Consult with your veterinarian for advice.

Adopting an Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog

The FCI adds that The "Stumpy" possesses a natural aptitude in the working and control of cattle, and a loyal, courageous and devoted disposition. It is ever alert, watchful and obedient, though suspicious of strangers.At all times it must be amenable to handling in the Show ring.

The Stumpy makes for a terrific companion, but only for those with expertise and the right home environment. As with all adoptions, make sure that you have the time and resources to take good care of your Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog.

Meet The Author 

Claudia Bensimoun

Canine Specialist & Writer

Claudia Bensimoun is a freelance journalist and author, and specializes in veterinary content, and eBooks. She's a long-time feature writer for Animal Wellness magazine, Fido Friendly magazine, and the United States Dog Agility Association. In addition, Bensimoun has written for numerous pet websites, magazines, newspapers and online publications. Her interests include wildlife conservation, animal welfare, disaster/ humanitarian relief, veterinary research, and veganism.

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