Pet Insurance for Australian Cattle Dogs

Find out all about Australian Cattle Dogs and their common health conditions, and then compare pet insurance options from some of Australia’s leading insurers.

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, updated on September 15th, 2023       

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Price range





15kg - 22kg


Energetic, loyal, obedient

Coat length

Short dense double coat

Exercise needs

Very high



Life expectancy

13 - 16 years

Australian Cattle Dog


The Australian Cattle Dog is also known as the Blue Heeler or Queensland Heeler. They were bred in the late 1800’s to be working dogs, and are distantly related to the dingo, although they also have Dalmatian, Collie and Kelpie DNA in their genetic makeup. These dogs are highly energetic and were originally used for herding sheep and cattle, which they continue to do to this day. Although they are gentle dogs, as they have a tendency to nip and chase anything that moves they should never be left unsupervised with young children or small pets. They have a short, dense coat that requires minimal grooming.  

Australian Cattle Dogs are highly intelligent, alert, and excel in obedience and agility activities. Dogs with an award-winning pedigree can sell for tens of thousands of dollars, as they are highly valued as working dogs. They are known for their loyalty and protective nature. Early socialisation and consistent training are crucial, and they are best suited for rural families with a great deal of space who can provide ample exercise and mental stimulation. They are not suitable for suburban backyard living due to their high energy level and exercise requirements. 

Common diseases and conditions of Australian Cattle Dogs

Hip dysplasia: A genetic condition where the hip joint doesn't develop correctly, leading to pain and mobility issues. 

Elbow dysplasia: Similar to hip dysplasia, this condition affects the elbow joint, causing discomfort and lameness. 

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): An inherited eye disorder causing gradual vision loss and eventual blindness. 

Deafness: Some Australian Cattle Dogs may inherit congenital deafness, severely affecting their hearing, although this trait has largely been bred out now. 

Patellar Luxation: The kneecap can occasionally dislocate, resulting in temporary lameness. 

Breed-specific issues:

Their strong herding instincts may lead them to chase and nip at moving objects, including people's heels. Owners should provide outlets for their energy and mental stimulation to prevent boredom-related behaviour which can include destructive chewing and digging. 

How much does pet insurance cost for an Australian Cattle Dog?

Most Australians can expect to pay between $20 and $60 a month for pet insurance. There are many factors that can influence the cost of pet insurance for your Australian Cattle Dog, including the following:

  • Age: The older your dog is, the more pet insurance is likely to cost. This is because senior dogs tend to have more physical health conditions and illnesses due to age, and so present a higher insurance risk.    
  • Type of insurance you choose:  There are three basic types of pet insurance available in Australia; accident-only, accident and illness, and comprehensive insurance. An accident-only policy is the cheapest type of insurance available, with comprehensive coverage costing the most.  
  • The policy annual limit: Each pet insurance policy has an annual limit, which is the maximum amount that will be paid out on the policy in one financial year. Annual limits range from around $10,000 up to $25,000 or more.   
  • Sub-limits: In addition to an annual limit, there may also be sub-limits that apply to the policy, for example, a $300 sub limit for consultation fees, or a $5,000 limit for cruciate ligament conditions.   
  • Benefit percentage: Pet insurance does not cover 100% of the cost of your vet bill. Instead, it may pay a percentage of the total bill. This can range from 50% for cheaper policies, up to 90% for the best policies available.   
  • Excess amount: This is the amount you’ll need to pay out-of-pocket each time you make a claim on your policy. Some pet insurance policies do not come with an excess amount, whilst others do.  
  • Any add-ons you choose: It’s possible to add on more cover options to a basic policy, such as emergency boarding fees, routine care and dental care. These add-ons extend the scope of your pet insurance, but do increase the overall cost of the policy.  
  • Discounts: some insurers offer discounts of between 5% and 15% if you have multiple pets insured together, if you pay your premium annually, or if you bundle your pet insurance with other forms of insurance with the same company. 

Types of pet insurance you can choose from

Why compare pet insurance with Savvy?

Common questions about Australian Cattle Dogs

Are Australian Cattle Dogs aggressive? 

Australian Cattle Dogs are known for their strong herding instincts, which can sometimes be mistaken for aggression. They were bred to nip the back of the heels of cattle to make them move, which is where their alternative name Blue Heelers comes from. However, with proper socialisation and training, they are typically not aggressive but rather cautious and reserved around strangers, but devoted to their owners. 

How intelligent are Australian Cattle Dogs?

They are among the most intelligent dogs in the world. They excel in problem-solving, learn commands quickly, and are used extensively in various working roles because of their ability to learn quickly, and their high overall intelligence. 

Do Australian Cattle Dogs like water, and can they swim?

Many Australian Cattle Dogs really enjoy water activities, and they are generally strong swimmers. Their thick double coat is waterproof, so they don’t mind working in the rain, either. However, individual preferences may vary, so introduce a new pup to water gradually to ensure their comfort. 

What colour are Blue Heelers when they are born?

Blue Heelers are born with a pure white coat, and their distinctive blue or red coats develop as they mature. This is thought to be a result of their Dalmatian heritage, as Dalmatian pups are also born pure white. By six weeks of age, their final adult colouring becomes clearer.  

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Australian Cattle Dog

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