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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all,
I'm looking for my first own dog since having several as a child (Thai Ridgebacks when growing up in Thailand. In the UK, we mainly had rescued eldery dogs. We had a Golden Retriever, Jack Russel and a mixed puppy between a golden retriever and I think a Newfoundland or a chocolate labrador.

I'm a very active person. My main physical activity is running, from 20 second sprints to half-marathons. I also swim and go on hikes and sometimes camping. So I'm looking for a companion to take with me on these (my friends are into running, but not as actively as me; they're even less keen on the other physical activities). I'm 22 and have just finished my Masters, so at the moment I am looking for a job. Also, I'm single.

The dog I would ideally like to have is an Australian Cattle Dog (ACD). The qualities they have, such as their loyalty, attachment to their owner, toughness and obedience, among others really attract me to it. However, my main concern, as with getting any dog, is leaving them alone when off to work. This could be 8-10 hours a day. My main concern with them though is that because they're a pastoral dog, I see potential problems with two things. (1) Leaving them at home for anything up to half a day while at work. I've read across the internet that they can be trained to be fine with this, as with all dogs, but a breeder I spoke to said they would never sell a dog to someone who can't spend every waking second with the dog. (2) Mental activity. Besides teaching them new commands and tricks, what else can you do? I'd rather not join things such as Agility competitions.

My second choice would be a Golden Retriever, because I grew up with them and they're generally so friendly and lovable.

My family have said they will support me having a dog, so it probably won't ever be alone for long periods. My elder sister has 3 dogs - a pug, English bulldog and a Borbull (spelling?). I looked after her English bulldog for a year if that helps me with my preferred dogs?


Could someone help me out?

Thanks!
 

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I have a 3 yr old female ACD and I wouldn't trade her for any dog. She seems to be fine home alone while I'm gone at work. My breeder almost didn't sell to me just because I live in town. They ARE velcro dogs but they don't break down into a puddle by themselves. Get plenty of safe durable toys and remember, a tired cattle dog is a happy cattle dog.
 

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How strong is your desire for an ACD? There are plenty of other dog breeds that are athletic and owner-oriented, without being quite so...extreme. Most ACD's NEED something to do, and I'd be very wary of leaving one alone for eight hours. I'm even more wary of recommending one as a first dog.
 

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I have an ACD and would never recommend one to a first time dog owner (or one with only childhood pets). Yes, I love my ACD and wouldn't trade her for the world, but she can be a challenge at times. 1. She chases... cats, rabbits, other dogs, and the usual cattle and horses. She is fearless. If you don't have something for them to herd, they will find something. For a city person, this means probably cars or squirrels or small children running around, or even you.
2. She isn't dog friendly, and I know many other ACD's that are like this. They just don't like other dogs typically, they tolorate them, but don't expect to take one to the dog park and watch them have a blast.
3. She isn't a many people dog. She is very loyal to her owner, but really doesn't care for other people.

4. They shed. ALOT. They blow their coat twice a year (or at least mine does) and shed all year round. Its a horrible, hairy mess.
There are others but I cant think of them right now.

I agree with Gofygure, extreme is the perfect word to use of ACD's.

They do best with a job, and go crazy without one. A physically and mentally tired ACD is a happy ACD. A non stimulated ACD will drive you nuts.

If anything I have said hasn't turned you off from the breed, then you might be able to handle one, but if any of those scare you just a little bit, consider an Aussie or a golden.
 

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I agree that a Golden might be a safer choice.

Another thing to keep in mind that ACDs and Goldens have strongly different temperaments. Generally, Goldens are going to be more forgiving of handler error than cattle dogs are. With a lot of sporting dogs, you can dance around and apologize and get forgiven and move on when you make a mistake. Herding dogs will make you pay for the mistake, and will watch you more closely to make sure you don't make it again.

You mention obedience as a desirable trait. Broadly speaking, the Golden is more likely to be obedient just because you ask him to do something (and because it's YOU asking him to do something) than an ACD. Intelligence and obedience are not the same, and the smarter the dog the more likely he's to ask "Why?" instead of just saying "Okay Boss!"

Look for breed specific rescues. You can't run with a puppy until he's a year or two, and young active Goldens are pretty common since they tend towards active and mouthy.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Nothing I have read has put me off the prospect of having an ACD. Fortunately, I am in no rush to get a dog. I'd rather wait ten years and get a good dog and in the right conditions, than rush into something I may regret. Until then, I'll continue researching.

Thanks for the responses.
 

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Nothing I have read has put me off the prospect of having an ACD. Fortunately, I am in no rush to get a dog. I'd rather wait ten years and get a good dog and in the right conditions, than rush into something I may regret. Until then, I'll continue researching.

Thanks for the responses.
See, that kind of response tells me you REALLY need to do more research. I am fairly sure, objectively, that I could handle an ACD and meet its needs. But, after reading about them and what their owner's have to say, I always feel put off, or at least cautious. Anyone should.

It's sort of telling that you're considering a Golden Retriever and an ACD- two extremely different breeds. People get ACD's for a purpose- and you specifically state that you don't want to get into agility or (I'm assuming) herding. And without a high octane outlet like that, 8-10 hours a day alone will lead to a bored and destructive dog. So really, why get an ACD? There are plenty of other dogs out there with a remarkably lower capacity to make your life hell.

Thank you for not rushing into dog ownership. That instantly makes you better than most people. But I do hope you consider your lifestyle and needs when you do get a dog.
 

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I have no experience with ACDS, but I do know that before you get one, you need to have a dedicated plan about how you're going to give your dog an outlet. I would look for a breeder near you (probably the one you'll end up getting your dog from) and enlist their knowledge and expertise in creating this plan. For instance, I'm already in contact with a couple breeders in my area who breed the kind of dog I think I might want a few years from now, and about once every couple months or so, I'll shoot them an email with another question I've been thinking about or something. I'm also a member of a yahoo email list for that breed, and I routinely show up at dog shows that the breed will be at in order to meet even more of those dogs.

If I were you, I'd go to the ACD Club of America's website ( http://www.acdca.org ), click on breeders, find the contact info for the three breeders closest to you, open up your email, and copy and paste your first post and send it to them. Ask them what kinds of things they do with their dogs, and start the extremely valuable relationship with a good breeder as soon as possible.

Also, I'm in Arizona, and we very commonly get purebred ACDs in our shelters here. We get even more mixes that have the trademark coloration, too. Your area might be the same. I would encourage you to check it out.
 

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Hi all,
I'm looking for my first own dog since having several as a child (Thai Ridgebacks when growing up in Thailand. In the UK, we mainly had rescued eldery dogs. We had a Golden Retriever, Jack Russel and a mixed puppy between a golden retriever and I think a Newfoundland or a chocolate labrador.

I'm a very active person. My main physical activity is running, from 20 second sprints to half-marathons. I also swim and go on hikes and sometimes camping. So I'm looking for a companion to take with me on these (my friends are into running, but not as actively as me; they're even less keen on the other physical activities). I'm 22 and have just finished my Masters, so at the moment I am looking for a job. Also, I'm single.

The dog I would ideally like to have is an Australian Cattle Dog (ACD). The qualities they have, such as their loyalty, attachment to their owner, toughness and obedience, among others really attract me to it. However, my main concern, as with getting any dog, is leaving them alone when off to work. This could be 8-10 hours a day. My main concern with them though is that because they're a pastoral dog, I see potential problems with two things. (1) Leaving them at home for anything up to half a day while at work. I've read across the internet that they can be trained to be fine with this, as with all dogs, but a breeder I spoke to said they would never sell a dog to someone who can't spend every waking second with the dog. (2) Mental activity. Besides teaching them new commands and tricks, what else can you do? I'd rather not join things such as Agility competitions.

My second choice would be a Golden Retriever, because I grew up with them and they're generally so friendly and lovable.

My family have said they will support me having a dog, so it probably won't ever be alone for long periods. My elder sister has 3 dogs - a pug, English bulldog and a Borbull (spelling?). I looked after her English bulldog for a year if that helps me with my preferred dogs?


Could someone help me out?

Thanks!
Longtime ACD owner, President of Regional Breed Club, First point of contact for Regional ACD breed Rescue, Member of National Club, active in competitive venues, Owner of the Current Number 17 ranked ACD in the US based on breed points, lifelong owner of drivey dogs, trainer and problem issue resolution for over 20 years,,,,


Before we even worry about the dog being alone for 8-10 hours a day - which usually turns in to 10*12 hours a day/ (and is QUITE DO ABLE with some easy dog management)



How many ACD's have you been around? Some of the things you mention throw up some real red flags for me. The Obedience thing really jumps out. As a general rule ACDs are not what I would call an obedient dog. They are Extremely Loyal, but when it comes to obedience they are very very "whats in it for me" dogs. They seldom obey more than one person, and only obey that one person after that person has worked their arse off to earn respect, build trust. THEN they can be obedient to a fault.

The second thing is that you are considering two VERY different dog breeds. ACD people as a rule will not like, enjoy, do well with a Golden Retriever. And vise versa. No offense to Golden Fans, but if you told me the only kind of dog I could have was a Golden, I would say no thanks and go buy a gold fish. Most ACD fans are going to be similar. The breeds are virtual polar opposites. A golden is life a mini van, safe roomy, and family friendly. An ACD is a Pontiac GTO with a fully blown, hand built 750 hp blue printed engine.......


Who it going to mentor you with this dog? Where are you going for training? How much do you REALLY know about living with this breed day to day?

Most experienced dog owners struggle with their first ACD. They ain't for the soft or meek at heart. First time owners are a REAL concern...... Not saying it can't be done. But you NEED some involved help and mentoring and you need to be highly committed and not easily frustrated.
 

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Nothing I have read has put me off the prospect of having an ACD. Fortunately, I am in no rush to get a dog. I'd rather wait ten years and get a good dog and in the right conditions, than rush into something I may regret. Until then, I'll continue researching.

Thanks for the responses.
Research will only get you so far (and not very, if you've already made up your mind that this is the breed for you). You need time with the dogs.

Before I got Marsh, I went to the Toller National Specialty. I got to see hundreds of dogs in action over the course of four days in obedience, agility, conformation, and field. I got to talk to owners and breeders and find out what daily life was like with these dogs, and they got to know me.

Tollers are known for screaming when excited, and the sound has been described as the sound of an infant being fed to a woodchipper. Tollers waiting for their turn to go pick up ducks are REALLY excited. There was a lot of screaming. That was when I knew that Tollers were my breed.

When you find the breed's worst traits not only tolerable, but endearing, THAT is when you're ready to put money down on a dog.
 

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Nothing I have read has put me off the prospect of having an ACD. Fortunately, I am in no rush to get a dog. I'd rather wait ten years and get a good dog and in the right conditions, than rush into something I may regret. Until then, I'll continue researching.

Thanks for the responses.
I really with you wouldn't, I have 2 but I live where I work (with race horses on a huge ranch) so they csn be with me at all times unless I have to go off to the store or something, which isn't that often. I have had GSDs, dobes, various mixes, even a mastiff/dane cross & NOTHING could compare me for this breed, as pups they can be very tough, stubborn, destructive. This is a breed created to drive headstrong cattle using force, so if you aren't a fwd, type A personality type person then I dont recommend one for you, but if you do decide to get one I would suggest an older dog, prefibly from rescue or shelter. I have listed some sites below that have lotsa info on ACDs. Breeder references as well (tho I hope you choose rescue first)

www.petfinder.com -just scroll down the breed list
www.cattledog.com

I have a lot of experience with the breed, so please take my word for it whwn I have to say "no" as a first time dog. I also suggest you attend breed shows or visit a few breeders (even if they dont have puppies ) BC if they are with their salt, they will take the time to educate you on "their" breed.
 

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I have been thinking more about this. If my first post sounded harsh and as if I was trying to talk you out of the breed, I was.

I have had to place I don't know how many ACDs that came from first time owners over the years. And keep in mind this...... ACDs come out of the womb with a desire to bite things...... They are actually heeling things they are trying to herd, but society does not differentiate a heel from a bite. Once they heel/bite/ whatever and have a documented bite history, AND the owner can no longer keep the dog because of a landlord, insurance, threats of lawsuits, etc. there is only one thing to do.

I have no idea how many ACDs get euthanized over simple heeling incidents, but it is not an uncommon occurance.
 

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I second your first post JB, I struggled with Izze as a young dog, Josefina was easy as pie compared to Izze below is a list of her... Bad things she did & this was with the correct amount of stimulation mind you, now not everyACD is like her, but most are... Esp as pups.

Chewed/broken fence pickets... Like one every week
Torn gutters off house
Chewed supports on treehouse
Uprooted tree saplings
Numerous training probs too many to mention, i almost gave up :S

Not to be rude but a lab, golden or whatever else you owned does not prepare you but if you do get one i recommend rescuing an adult or something like that, an adult will all ready know who he is & his puppy adolescence will be behind him.
 

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I have a Golden Retriever, and she was my first dog. She has been a very good dog, but she was more than enough for the first couple of years- a very high level of energy. A Golden would be more than able to keep up with you.
I admire the heck out of ACDs, for their amazing abilities to work and do what they do... but that is very specific. There is no way I would consider getting an ACD for my next dog. They do not fit with my lifestyle or living conditions. We'd both be miserable.
 

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If you don't have cattle (or a reasonable equivalent), I'm not sure a cattle dog is what you want. Frustrated instincts can cause trouble.
 

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Research will only get you so far (and not very, if you've already made up your mind that this is the breed for you). You need time with the dogs.
The IDEA of a certain dog can be very attractive, the REALITY can be very different. I would look at any ACD groups, clubs, look at dogster profiles and talk to people in your area, shadow a breeder doing activities with adults, etc. I used to think I wanted a Queensland, then I went around a few and they're not a good fit into my life.

From your second post, you sound a bit upset in tone with all the responses that ask you stop and think. You have to understand that people here want to help with what's a best fit and not just encourage blindly. It's valuable information and very valid questions they're asking.
 

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We do this BC we love our breed & dont want to see more in the all ready crowded shelters for just being a cattle dog ("it chased my [insert animal species here]" " it bites my kids when they run" etc...). If you really want one, get a mix from shelter or rescue, often times mixes have the "look" (which I have a funny feeling is what attracts you to this breed) but not quite as extreme, Jo would be a great first time "ACD" for someone.
 

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Tollers are known for screaming when excited, and the sound has been described as the sound of an infant being fed to a woodchipper. Tollers waiting for their turn to go pick up ducks are REALLY excited. There was a lot of screaming. That was when I knew that Tollers were my breed.

When you find the breed's worst traits not only tolerable, but endearing, THAT is when you're ready to put money down on a dog.
LMAO!
I was trying to resist chiming in and then I saw this.
I worked with an ACD that screamed in my face all day. ALL DAY! I believe her screams translated to,"I'M BORED. I'M BORED. I'M STILL BORRREEEDDD!!!". That same dog was the one that convinced me that someday I will have an ACD. I even had warm fuzzy moments while she screamed and I would've traded one or two of my internal organs for her.
 

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The IDEA of a certain dog can be very attractive, the REALITY can be very different. I would look at any ACD groups, clubs, look at dogster profiles and talk to people in your area, shadow a breeder doing activities with adults, etc. I used to think I wanted a Queensland, then I went around a few and they're not a good fit into my life.

From your second post, you sound a bit upset in tone with all the responses that ask you stop and think. You have to understand that people here want to help with what's a best fit and not just encourage blindly. It's valuable information and very valid questions they're asking.
Even in reality, even if you find the breed is fantastic, it's not necessarily going to work. We get a lot of ACDs at our shelter. I love these dogs like nothing else. They are by far my favorites to train and work with in general. Brilliant, high-energy, rewarding dogs. But an ACD in my home - I know I can't give it what it needs right now. They are a lot of dog.
 
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