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How to Groom an Australian Cattle Dog: 7 Tips & Tricks

Genevieve Dugal

By Genevieve Dugal

australian cattle dog training

australian cattle dog training

There’s something special about Australian Cattle Dogs (also called ACDs or Queensland Heelers). Whether they’re of the blue or red variety, these stunning pups and their fearless gait and attentive eyes are hard to miss. Perhaps it’s being an unusual cross between a blue merle Highland Collie and a Dingo, Australia’s most famous wild dog, that makes them so special. Either way, you may be wondering if their gorgeous coat is high maintenance or if they are blessed with a special fur that only needs a few brushings every now and then.

While it is true that the Australian Cattle Dog is not considered a high-maintenance pup, they still need regular brushing sessions to get rid of debris, dead hair, and tangles. So, grab your best grooming tools, and read on for seven expert tips and tricks on how to groom your precious four-legged friend!


Before You Start: Gather the Best Grooming Tools

Grooming tools. Showing of various tools which are used for fine dog grooming at the salon
Image Credit: Dmytro Zinkevych, Shutterstock

You don’t need to be a professional dog groomer to maintain your Australian Cattle Dog’s good looks, but you should still invest in a few simple tools. Don’t worry, you won’t have to break the bank to keep your Aussie pup looking their best.

Here’s what you’ll need in your grooming toolkit:

  • Brushes and Steel Combs: A slicker brush, steel comb, and some type of de-shedding tool are perfect for removing loose hair and dirt from your dog’s coat.
  • Shampoo and Conditioner: Opt for a mild dog-safe shampoo and conditioner to maintain your dog’s skin and coat health.
  • Nail Clippers or Grinder: Keep those claws in check to prevent discomfort and injury.
  • Ear Cleaner (Optional): Choose a veterinarian-recommended ear cleaner if needed.
  • Dog-Friendly Dental Products: Check the Veterinary Oral Health Council list for vet-approved dental products for dogs.

What Type of Coat Do Australian Cattle Dogs Have?

Whether they are the blue or red heeler variety, all Australian Cattle Dogs have a short, smooth, dense double coat. Fortunately, this type of coat does not require excessive maintenance to keep it healthy and vibrant.

Here are seven tips and tricks for grooming your gorgeous pup.


The 7 Tips on How to Groom an Australian Cattle Dog

1. Schedule Weekly Brushing Sessions

You won’t need to brush your puppy’s coat every day, but you should commit to doing so at least once or twice a week. This will keep their coat looking sleek and remove dead hair, dirt, and debris. It’s also a great bonding activity!

brushing the malinois belgian shepherd dog
Image Credit: Jessi et Nono, Shutterstock

2. Don’t Skip Bath Time

Bathing your Cattle Dog should be done only as needed. These dogs don’t get particularly smelly, so there’s no need to overdo it. Use a gentle dog shampoo, ensure thorough rinsing, and dry them off well.

3. Keep Those Claws in Check

Even if your Australian Cattle Dog gets regular daily walks and exercise (which is great for naturally “wearing down” their nails and keeping them at a respectable size), you should still inspect their nails regularly to prevent overgrowth. Trim them if necessary, taking care not to cut too close to the quick, as this can be painful and cause bleeding. If you’re intimidated by clipping your pup’s nails, ask your vet to show you how to do it properly.

Dog nail trim
Image Credit: GaiBru Photo, Shutterstock

4. Inspect Your Cattle Dog’s Eyes and Ears Carefully

A good grooming session wouldn’t be complete without a careful inspection of your dog’s eyes and ears. You should know that Australian Cattle Dogs are predisposed to a degenerative form of eye disease called progressive retinal atrophy. This hereditary condition eventually leads to complete blindness, and the early signs include dilated pupils, cataract formation, night blindness, and eyes that are abnormally reflective when a light shines on them.

5. Make Sure Their Breath Smells (Almost) Divine

Whether your Australian Cattle pup likes it or not, regular toothbrushing is an essential step in grooming sessions. Fortunately, there are plenty of delicious vet-approved dental products that will make your pup happy. If your dog can’t tolerate a toothbrush, you can use dog dental wipes to remove plaque and tartar more easily.

brushing dog teeth
Image Credit: DWhiteeye, Shutterstock

6. Don’t Forget About their Diet

Grooming isn’t just about the exterior; it’s also about maintaining your pup’s overall health. A balanced, high-quality diet plays a key role in keeping your Cattle Dog’s coat healthy and shiny. Consult your vet for dietary recommendations specific to your dog’s needs.

7. Consider Skin and Coat Supplements

For an extra boost in coat health, consider adding omega-3 fatty acid supplements, such as fish oil, to your dog’s diet. These can help reduce shedding and promote a glossy, well-conditioned coat. Always consult your vet before giving any kind of dietary supplement to your pet.

training Australian Cattle Dog
Image Credit: Lara Sh, Shutterstock

8. Bonus: Add a Special Touch

You probably already consider your Australian Cattle Dog to be a true work of fuzzy art, so why not add a few finishing touches to showcase their unique beauty and personality? Think about something like a cute and colorful bandana or a stylish necklace to enhance their beautiful selves!

Note on professional grooming: If you’re not comfortable with certain grooming tasks or your dog has specific needs, consider taking them to a certified professional groomer in your area.


Final Thoughts

Grooming your Australian Cattle Dog is not limited to maintaining their silky, tangle-free coat; it’s also a wonderful way to maintain your bond with your furry best friend! With the right tools, knowledge, and a pinch of love, you can keep your Queensland Heeler looking and feeling their best, while making the process agreeable for both of you.

Happy pup grooming!

Featured Image Credit: Irina Nedikova, Shutterstock

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