We have been rescuing Australian Cattle Dogs for the past 14 years. Read our mission and learn about what we do.
It all started with a rescued heeler named Sunshine.
Learn about the history and traits of this loyal and hard-working the breed.
Texas Cattle Dog Rescue (TCDR) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) animal welfare organization dedicated to rescuing Australian Cattle Dogs from city and county shelters throughout Texas. We ensure each dog is spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped. We do not have a central facility nor do we have dogs in kennels or boarding facilities. All of our dogs live in foster homes. We thoroughly screen potential adopters and work hard to place each dog in a loving, caring forever home.
Our small, but dedicated group focuses on saving as many dogs as possible as well as educating the public about Australian Cattle Dogs. Everyone involved in the group is an unpaid volunteer.
Our mission is to reduce the shocking number of heelers euthanized in Texas shelters. We match each rescued dog with a forever home where he/she will be loved, cared for, and fully enjoyed and appreciated. Educating current and future owners is a key focus and helps us match dogs with homes. We believe pets should be spayed and neutered to reduce pet over population. We also ensure our rescued dogs are healthy and vaccinated when they are placed.
Since 2009, Texas Cattle Dog Rescue has helped 1500+ homeless Australian Cattle Dogs. We've accomplished this thanks to all of our adopters, fosters, volunteers, donors, veterinarians, and shelter partners who have worked tirelessly to help rescue this wonderful breed.
In 2019, we celebrated 10 years. Join us as we look back at our first 10 years.
"Sunshine was at a shelter in the Houston area. She was around eight years old, heartworm positive, unspayed and in heat, and was incredibly thin and almost hairless on her back legs and behind. She came to me as a foster, and with a bath, flea medication, good food, and vet care, Sunshine started to look better.
I had no experience with Australian Cattle Dogs and tried to find help from area rescues. To my surprise, there were no ACD rescues in Texas or surrounding states. I started looking at shelter websites and saw so many ACDs in need. My experience with Sunshine showed me how smart, loyal and brave the breed is and I knew that I needed to try to start a rescue for these wonderful dogs. Sunshine was the catalyst. Without her, TCDR may never have come to be.
Sunshine found her forever home with me. She left this life on June 5, 2016, just a few weeks shy of 18 years old. She changed my life - and continues to change the lives of other heelers in need to this day. She was a spoiled, happy girl who I loved dearly. She was a breast cancer survivor, a friend to everyone who met her, and a true ambassador of the breed. I miss her terribly, but am so grateful for the time I shared with her and for the over 1000 heelers she had a paw in saving through Texas Cattle Dog Rescue."
- Jenn, Founder of Texas Cattle Dog Rescue, Inc.
We have a soft spot for seniors and we know a lot of you do, too. Please consider a donation in Sunshine’s memory to help other dogs like her.
The Australian Cattle Dog (ACD) was developed in the 1800s by early Australian settlers needing a dog with the stamina to survive the extreme conditions of the harsh Outback. They wanted a dog that would work silently, without stressing the livestock or biting too severely. They needed a dog that was highly trainable, and able to withstand long hours in harsh climates.
Many ranchers experimented with variety of breeds in pursuit of a “perfect combination,” attempting “to create the ultimate heeler.” Some later attempts incorporated the Bull Terrier and Dalmatian, for example, but those combinations were abandoned as they produced dogs with too strong of a bite, or were so light in color that cattle spooked and bolted when approached in the dark.
In 1840, Thomas Hall, of New South Wales, crossed the progeny of two Blue Smooth Highland Collies (similar to today’s Border Collies or Bearded Collies) with Australia’s native dingo. The coloring of the resulting dogs is known as blue, blue speckled, blue mottled, red, red speckled or red mottled. This particular combination became known as “Hall’s Heelers.” Today there are many other breeds of cattle dogs, but the Hall’s Heeler is what we now know as the blue heeler, red heeler, Queensland heeler or Australian Cattle Dog.
Another Aussie gentleman, Thomas Bentley is said to have had one of these Hall’s Heelers. That dog sported a white blaze down his forehead. Known only as Bentley’s Dog, this dog, “beautifully built and an incredible worker,” was widely used at stud in order to retain the dog’s outstanding characteristics. Today’s ACD retains this white mark, the Bentley mark, on its forehead. The black tail-root spot seen occasionally in blue dogs can also be directly attributed to Tom Bentley's dog.
ACDs are born white. As the pups age, the body color darkens, resulting in either the blue, or red coloring. The gene responsible for their coloring also affects the pups’ eye and ear development, hence the potential for deafness. Adult ACDs are a medium-sized, muscular dog that stands 17 to 20 inches at the shoulders and weighs between 30 and 50 pounds.
The ACD is a relatively hearty, healthy breed. Potential genetic disorders include deafness and progressive retinal atrophy, a degenerative eye condition. The average lifespan is 12 to 15 years. One dog, Bluey, is said to have lived 29 years, 5 months. Bluey is recognized as the oldest dog by Guinness World Records until 2013.
The ACD excels at canine sports like herding trials, agility, flyball and flying disc. They enjoy regular walks, and can be ideal biking, hiking and running companions. Though a very active and energetic dog, the ACD can thrive in an apartment, as long as the human they share their home with is attentive to the needs for appropriate mental and physical outlets.
A social breed that enjoys being with the family, ACDs do not do well when isolated or left alone for long periods. An ACD can behave in a destructive manner when left to its own devices. They are often reserved with strangers and can be protective when threatened, but are a great companion when raised with patience and appropriate training.
Donations of any amount are gladly accepted and help defray the cost of veterinary care and supplies.