Australian Cattle Dogs (ACD) are known for their physical agility. As part of the herding group, ACDs have developed strong hind legs and hips to allow for quick pounces to clear incoming cattle kicks. Cattle Dogs’ well-developed hindquarters allow for quick acceleration to clear impressive jumps, either straight up or over a high jump.
At the K9 Classic High Jump in 2012, Rocky, the Australian Cattle Dog, shattered the previous world record by two inches clearing a 60-inch high jump. From a standing position, Cattle Dogs can leap and scale obstacles over 6 feet tall.
The natural ability to leap is not just reserved for professionally trained Cattle Dogs. Our male Cattle Dog, Banjo, can leap straight up to hit objects held at 5 feet. From a standing position, he can leap up onto the 48-inch high hot tub platform. Do all heelers jump and how high? Can they jump fences? Here’s what I discovered.
Do All Cattle Dogs Jump?
Australian Cattle Dogs are well known for their running stamina, up to 20 miles a day herding sheep or cattle. ACDs are also known for their intelligence, ranking in the top ten most intelligent dog breeds. A lesser-known skill we quickly discovered was how springy heelers can be. In fact, ACDs are almost as well known for jumping as they are for cattle running.
Whether all Cattle Dogs have the same ability to jump is up to genetics, but in general, ACDs have the physical characteristics needed to leap higher than most dog breeds. ACDs have strong lower set hindquarters, like our female Bindi. While some Cattle Dogs, like our male Banjo, is long and lean, possibly due to inheriting more Dalmatian or Australian Shepherd traits.
Both Bindi and Banjo can jump, and high, just with different dynamics. Bindi’s muscular, lower set hindquarters give her enough spring to leap into the air to catch a ball or frisbee. But her extra weight and shorter legs seem to limit her to a lower jump height bar than Banjo. He’s also very muscular, but the muscle is equally distributed across all four legs. He can leap straight up with the tip of his nose reaching about 6 feet. And as mentioned earlier, he’s recently surprised us with four-foot jumps onto a platform from a standing position.
Do Cattle Dogs Jump Fences?
Typically, Australian Cattle Dogs would prefer to stay with their pack than jump fences. But, there are many stories of heelers that leap out of a fenced-in yard. If Cattle Dogs are left alone in a yard and become bored or are interested in finding a mate, or if another reason draws them away, then they will find a way over a fence. As mentioned above, Cattle Dogs can jump quite high, over four feet, from a standing position and higher, about six feet, with a running start.
If you have concerns about keeping your Cattle Dog safe, it is recommended to raise any low fences or use a pen to keep them enclosed in your yard. Of course, installing or extending fences isn’t always feasible or cost-effective, so there are other options such as tie-down leashes, trolley or swiveling leash tie-outs, or invisible fence options.
What’s the Best Yard Containment for Cattle Dogs?
Tie-down leashes are among the most affordable option, highly rated, and keep your dog tethered safely in your yard. If you expect to have them tied for extended periods, then a trolley or swivel leash would be a better choice. Cattle Dogs are high-energy and require more physical activity, so longer, flexible leashes give them the room they need to run.
Another more high-tech option is a perimeter wireless fence like this one on Amazon. Wireless containment fences, also known as invisible fences, use static shocks, vibrations, or sounds to discourage your Cattle dog from crossing the yard boundary. These invisible fences work best on properties fifty feet or more away from roads, slopes, or other potential hazards. If properly installed, these wireless fences can keep your Cattle Dog from jumping a physical fence, to remain safe and sound in your yard.
Whether your Cattle Dog is a record-setting jumper or just likes to leap-for-joy at feeding time, it’s good to know ways to focus their need for air time.