The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is an older breed than the Australian Cattle Dog. They are actually the early ancestor or predecessor to the Australian Cattle Dog and are recognized as a true and separate breed.....Not a variety. This breed IS recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club and is a part of the Herding Group. All our show or breeding prospects are registered with CKC. While not recognized by AKC, they are listed with FCI in the European countries.
The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog (the Stumpy) descended from the original cross of the Smithfield Collie, being a black and white bob tailed dog with a long dense coat, and the Dingo, by a drover named Timmins. The progeny were red bob tailed dogs which were known as Timmins Biters. History records say these red bob tails were later mated with a blue merle smooth coated collie, but merle is a completely different genetic path and it is now doubted that this was the actual case. It is said that this produced both red bob tail and blue or blue mottled bob tail dogs. The latter having black patches on the head and some black patches on the body.
Although the Stumpy tail is relatively uncommon around the show ring (even in Australia) it is held in high esteem in the country as a wiry, tireless and intelligent worker.
The Stumpy possesses the same natural aptitude in working and control of cattle as it's cousin the Australian Cattle Dog, and is also a loyal and courageous companion. For the most part they tend to be wary of strangers. Proper and frequent socialization can remedy that.
The Stumpy, while at first glance appears to resemble the Australian Cattle Dog. Closer examination reveals that apart from the absence of tail there are several major differences.
The body is square and thus appears leggier. It has length of leg like the Dingo, so as to allow the distance from the elbow to ground to be more than half that from the withers to ground.
The ears are moderately small, pricked and almost pointed and set higher on the head than the Australian Cattle Dog.
The head tends to be more 'sculpted' and less 'heavy' than that of the ACD.
The Stumpy Tail has a high set undocked tail. It is not to be longer than four inches, and not to be carried much above the level of the back.
The Stumpy has no tan on the legs or face. Due to the absence of the black and tan Kelpie in the makeup of the Stumpy, it does not possess to Black and Tan gene thus the color is blue, blue speckled or blue mottled. Both the head and body may have black markings, but tan markings are not allowed. Up until the '70's tan was accepted. It is said that the presence of tan indicates "back crosses" to the Australian Cattle Dog. It was known that some breeders did cross their ACD's with the Stumpy in the early days. It was not acceptable then nor is it acceptable now. The red speckle must be a good red speckle all over, and darker red markings are allowed on head and body.
The gait of the two breeds is influenced by the variation in the height to length ratios, square (as 10 is to 10) as opposed to longer (as 10 is to 9). The Australian Cattle Dog has more angulation, therefore has greater length of stride. The Stumpy has a tendency toward an ambling movement at slow speed.
The breed was re-organized by the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) in 1988. At this time there were not huge numbers of registered Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs but the numbers are growing as more people become aware of the versatility of the breed.
The ANKC set up a grading system which is enforced by a panel of 3 judges who inspect each dog wishing to be registered. There are three types of classification:
"Fully Registered" being from two registered parents.
"A" Grade being from a registered dog or bitch and a non registered dog or bitch with the necessity to conform to type as per the Breed Standard as judged by the panel.
"B" Grade' is a scondary classification for dogs which may not fully conform to the Breed Standard but have other attributes which clearly define them as an Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog and as being a distinctly different breed from the Australian Cattle Dog.
It should be noted that the classification system expired in 2007 and no "unknown" breeding animals are excepted any longer.
In conclusion, it is important to keep in mind that the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is a breed in its own right, not a variety.
Shortly after World War II, a few American GI's that had been stationed in the Pacific and had spent R&R in the land down-under had the opportunity to observe "blue and red heelers" working stock in the outback. They were highly impressed.
When these fellows got back home and realized how wild their own livestock had become, it was determined to import some of the dogs they had seen working. Those first groups of imports included the "Stumpy Tail" cattle dog and the "Australian Cattle Dog". Both breeds were often simply referred to as 'blue heelers'.
Unknown by the Americans, the Australians had sent BOTH breeds over. It was not a malicious thing, after all, there was no registry in the U.S. for either breed at the time and the Americans just wanted tough tireless dogs to control livestock with.
As time progressed and more dogs were needed, the Americans were breeding the two breeds together. After all no one had ever said "Dont cross breed them, they are two different breeds". This practice had a downside. Litters had pups born with tails, without tails, and some with badly kinked and crooked tails. Apparently someone started docking tails most likely in an effort to give the litter a more uniform appearance. Even today you will see cattle dogs that have been docked. Its one of those things that has been going on for decades and almost no one remembered how it had begun. So if you had a "heeler" that had a docked tail, just remember that doesnt make him a Stumpy Tail, just your best buddy on 4 legs without a tail.
Todays world of technology has now produced a DNA test whereby the gene that produces the NBT (natural bob tail) has been identified as a simple dominant factor. More information on the NBT can be found at http://jhered.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/esn085 or cut and paste the following.
Another article written by an Aust Shepherd breeder is at http://www.imgnr.com/final_nbt_art_.html