Cattle Dog Health

Breed Health Plan

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The Australian Cattle Dog Health & Welfare Sub-committee was formed in July 2013. The terms and reference and health plan for its first term can be downloaded here.

Download the 2014 Health Report here.

The Winter Update to the Health Report can be found here along with an article about heart testing here.

A paper copy was sent to all members with the minutes of the AGM.

Got a question?

  • Do you need advice on your Cattle Dog’s health?
  • Do you want to report a health concern with your Cattle Dog?

Contact a member of the ACD Society Health & Welfare Sub Committee:

Main Breed Health Issues

There are few genetic health problems in the Australian Cattle Dog. However, as with any pedigree dogs, small gene pools result in a list of known problems in the breed.

More information can also be found in the Kennel Club’s Breed Information Centre.

  • PRA – Progressive Retinal Atrophy

A gradual onset condition where an ACD, typically from four years of age upwards, can develop total blindness. This has a known inheritance and dogs can be DNA tested for this disease. There are currently two known forms of PRA in Australian Cattle Dogs – prcd-PRA and rcd4-PRA.

A simple screening test is available to enable breeders to avoid producing a dog that will go blind.

The Society was the first to launch a public database of a health condition in any breed worldwide. Therefore DNA test results are fully disclosed in the public domain.

A complete ACD website with worldwide pedigrees, health updates, rescues, and more, located in the USA at 

  • PLL – Primary Lens Luxation 

This is a well recognised, painful and blinding inherited eye condition which affects many breeds of dog including Australian Cattle Dogs. Although not widely found in the UK population it is recommend that dogs are DNA tested prior to breeding.

  • Deafness

Cattle Dogs can be born either deaf or deaf in only one ear.  A simple screening test is available to breeders prior to the puppies going to their new homes.

  • Hip & Elbow Dysplasia

Although not too common in the UK, other countries have experienced some problems and therefore hip and elbow testing has been encouraged via the Society Code of Ethics.

Health Screening

Details of screening schemes, including information on why they are so vital and the location of screening centres, can be found on the Kennel Club’s website.

Active members of the ACD community also frequently post details about screening events on the Australian Cattle Dog facebook page.

What is being done?

The Australian Cattle Dog Society of Great Britain have formed a Health and Welfare Sub-Committee to develop policy on the health and welfare of our breed, including the prevention of ill-health, the promotion of fit and healthy lifestyles and the reduction of health problems.

In order to protect our breed’s health in the future, we need information on which health conditions are a problem in ACDs in the UK. Therefore we conducted a Health Survey to get a realistic view of which conditions are most prolific within the gene pool. The deadline for completion of survey was the 31st December 2013.

The data gathered was used to create a comprehensive Health Report which was published in March 2014 (see link at top of page). The last such report was in 2008. The report advises the Society on the health priorities in the breed.


Thinking about breeding from your Australian Cattle Dog?

Become a member of the Society.

In doing so, you will be bound to the Society’s rules as well as the Kennel Club and Society’s Breed Code of Ethics.

There is further information about breeding the Australian Cattle Dog on the Kennel Club website.

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