Australian Cattle Dogs and Children

Children and Australian Cattle Dogs can grow up as wonderful pals. The ACD is loyal and protective all-around family companion.

One must keep in mind, however, what this breed was developed for in deciding whether or not to bring an ACD into a home with children (or where children are in the future plans).

The rough-and-tumble, energetic nature of this breed makes them an excellent "kids dog" BUT both dog and child must be properly trained in order for the pairing to be safe. Again remember that this breed is hard-wired to nip at the heels of cattle...or ANY OTHER fast moving object that zooms past its field of vision. This instinct can (and will) be used on bicycles, tricycles, and yes even on running toddlers!

That said, the Cattle Dog "nip" should be described. When reacting instinctually, an ACD does not bite with a grip that is designed to take a chunk of flesh (either bovine or otherwise). A cattledog "nip" for definition in this discussion is a PINCH that rarely leaves teeth marks and doesn't even break the skin. It does, however, leave one HECK of a deep purple bruise (and hurts like the dickens)! Obviously this type of nipping is NOT an act of aggression but is instead an act of CONTROL.

An Australian Cattle Dog can be trained that human beings are not acceptable outlets for herding but diligence must be maintained at all times. Children must also be taught about the instincts of a Cattle Dog and trained to keep "zipping about at high rates of speed" to a minimum around ACDs with a high herding instinct.

There are, of course, other issues that need to be addressed when it comes to kids and cowdogs. Australian Cattle Dogs are generally protective by nature. They are protective of their property and of their pack. Children are often prone to pushing and shoving type activities with their neighborhood playmates. While most kids know where the line is between play and intent to harm, an Australian Catle Dog watching a member of his or her pack being "attacked" by another child may not be able to distinguish the difference. Again, the result of this would probably be one of those controlling ACD "nips" (but explaining the bruise to the visiting childs parents is another matter).

There is no cut-and-dried answer to the question: "Are these good dogs with kids?" I wish there were. Keeping the nature of the beast in mind in ALL situations involving the combination is advised. In this case, "the beast" refers to both the Australian Cattle Dog AND Children.