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The Stumpy possesses a natural aptitude in the working and control of cattle, with a loyal, courageous and devoted disposition. 

The Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is a normally proportioned, rugged dog with prick (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 10 cm (4 ins), and never docked. The coat is medium length to short, straight, dense and harsh. The coat colour is a speckled red or speckled blue. Size is 46-51 cms (18-20 ins) at the withers for dogs, with females slightly smaller. The Australian Cattle Dog is a related breed (with a long tail) that is similar in appearance to the Stumpy, but the Australian Cattle Dog is proportionally heavier and less leggy. The Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog also does not have the tan colour seen in the Australian Cattle Dog.

The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog descended from Smithfield Cattle Dogs in England, which were brought to Australia in the early 1800s and crossed with the dingo. Records of working dogs are scarce from this time period, and there are several different 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 Timmin's 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 descended from the same stock, called Hall's Heelers, kept in the 1830s by a very large cattle operation run by Thomas Hall. The dogs which were also crosses of Smithfield Cattle Dogs and dingo, but the breeds diverged at some point in the late 1800s. Selective breeding of the tailless or short tailed dogs has fixed the characteristic of today's breed. A summary of both versions of the breed's history is found in the Fédération Cynologique Internationale breed standard.

The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is recognised in its native country by the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog Club of New South Wales and by the Australian National Kennel Council in the Working Dogs Group. It is also recognised by the New Zealand Kennel Club in its Working Group, and in the United States by the United Kennel Club in its Herding Group. The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog was provisionally accepted by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale in 2005, in Group 1, Section 2 : Cattle Dogs (except Swiss Cattle Dogs) as breed number 351. 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.


Among the anomalies within this tailless breed are MLD or 'Mid Line Defects'. These include spina bifida (the spine is open or exposed at birth), anal atresia (pups can be born without an anus) and cleft palate (there is a hole in the roof of the mouth). These defects are not that common, but do occur occasionally. These pups are culled. Other defects include deafness (in one or both ears), PRA (an inherited form of blindness that comes on gradually) and hip dysplasia.

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, which implies that it is extremely independent, and that handling may be difficult. All working dogs need early socialization with people, and consistent training and activity throughout their lives. 

Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs can compete in dog agility trials, obedience, showmanship, flyball, tracking, and herding events. Herding instincts and trainability can be measured at noncompetitive herding tests. Stumpys exhibiting basic herding instincts can be trained to compete in herding trials.

Last Update: 27/05/10 17:22 Views: 13144

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