The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog (ASTCD) or ‘stumpy’ was developed in Australia during the 19th Century as a drover’s or working dog. In particular, breed traits were selected to produce a dog with immense stamina, resilience and tenacity in order to deal with wild cattle, rugged terrain and vast distances. These dogs had to be biddable, but also had to make quick decisions on their own, with very large and dangerous mobs of wild cattle. Their job would also have been to protect the drover’s horse and belongings, and the drover himself if he was confronted by a rogue animal or worse. While there is no longer a need for a dog to drive large mobs such vast distances, it is useful to remember why the breed was developed.
In the 21st century the ‘stumpy’ is unparalleled as a companion, show dog and sporting dog, but he retains those unique qualities of the early drover’s dog. He is a brave, loyal, physically strong and highly intelligent dog. He possesses a rugged nobility, but is equally the ‘Aussie larrikin’ with a terrific sense of humour. He asks for activity, affection and lifelong commitment and will will repay these tenfold throughout his life.
The ‘stumpy’ does not respond well to neglect or isolation, but, like most of us, thrives on inclusion and affection and lives for his pack or his person. In particular he loves a job to do, whether it’s canine sports or helping in the garden.
After some years of uncertainty in the 1980s when the breed was on the verge of extinction, a redevelopment scheme spanning two decades has ensured its survival. The redevelopment scheme closed in 2007 with the establishment of a viable gene pool over the preceding twenty years, making the infusion of graded (unregistered) dogs no longer necessary.
The breed now has a place in the pure bred dog world across all disciplines, including show, obedience, agility, herding and endurance. It is of course still a highly respected working dog and much loved by pet owners as an active, intelligent companion.