Australian Cattle Dog
The alert, intelligent and faithful friend of the drovers of the great Aussie outback is a breed that has been around for over a 100 years, easing the burden of working the cattle with his quiet and determined attitude. Whilst he is seen as one of the great workers of the dog world, do not discount his ability for beauty and pride in the razzamatazz of a Best In Show lineup.
The no nonsense persona of these types of breeds lends credence to the myths that they don’t need any grooming or attention to coat and that a quick hose bath is all that is needed. Frankly, I could spend inordinate amounts of time on this breed precisely because he is not a hairdo dog but the time would be spent in between the shows.
What you see is what you get with the Australian Cattle Dog. If you have not done your homework along the way then you will reap what you have sown which you will be hard pressed to correct on show day. This dog has a quiet, soul of the earth majesty and you have a responsibility to present him in his Sunday best.
To maintain and enhance his required rain resistant, double coat, it is advisable to oil this coat. Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil diluted at a ratio of 1 bucket water (approx 4lt/1 gal water) to 1 tbspn of the oil. Now this lovely oil is very special consisting of natural oils such as Evening Primrose and Calendula oils plus others to be worked not just into the coat but also into the skin and left in and not rinsed out. It will maintain the texture and moisture in the coat and help protect from the harsh outdoors especially in some of the tougher climates where this dog is required to work.
I tend to use this in place of a conditioner as conditioners will flatten and soften and this is not an ideal outcome for this type of coat. I suggest you also use the oil at this dilution rate after shampooing for a show. Again leave in and do not rinse. You will get a nice healthy sheen on the coat with this routine.
The silhouette you achieve with this coat also comes from a good even texture on the coat and I find the best way to keep a good texture without the moth eaten appearances some of the coats can get when they shed or even with a rolling of the coat, is to blow dry. I know this goes against the belief of a lot of people who purchase a dog such as this so as not to have to blow dry but it does do wonders for the coat. Using a cool, strong, turbo style dryer, after bathing, dry the coat against the coat growth till ½ dry and then with the growth of the coat to settle it back down. This lifts all the dead hair out and allows you to check the skin for any “free riders” such as ticks etc and any skin disturbances such as eczema, rashes, scurf etc. I like this quiet time with the dog to run my hands over his body and check him all over for anything unforseen and knowing I am doing his coat a great turn at the same time.
Your regular shampoo should be one such as the Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo for both the red speckle and the blues which will give a good healthy sheen or use the Plush Puppy WhiteningShampoo to impart a good toning effect especially if the red speckled coats tend to burn in harsh sun or just fade out as the coat ages. Use all the above at a dilution rate of 5 parts water to one part shampoo for a show bath and 10:1 for home maintenance. Switch to the Plush Puppy Body Building Shampoo when the dog is not in full coat and dilute at 5:1. Don’t use conditioner, follow again with Seabreeze Oil.
Maintain the coat during brushing with Plush Puppy Revivacoat - spray approx 1 ping pong ball amount into a water spray and top up to 1 cup water. This is a great spray for keeping up the moisture in the coat. Brush with an oval cushioned brush such as the Plush Puppy Porcupine Brush which is ½ bristle and ½ nylon. You need a brush that gets down into the coat and doesn’t just skate over the top.
If the coat texture tends to be too harsh due to sun damage, mix up a spray bottle of 1 tbspn to cup water of the Plush Puppy Blow Dry Cream. This will help flatten and relax the coat if it has a tendency to stick up a bit. You can also use the Plush Puppy Quick Fix as a grooming spray if you need to maintain texture and the coat is too soft. It has a nice light hold factor.
Your other avenues for show glamour are of course road working the dog and he ought to be getting good muscle tone if he is working cattle. However there are a lot of couch potato Cattle Dogs living in suburbia who need a good workout and if you cannot road work, then a walking machine is the other option. Muscle tone is paramount in a working dog as is good weight. I hate to see an overweight/underweight dog. You cannot hide his silhouette with a hairdo so striking the right balance of his height and proportions is an intuitive thing. I am amazed at how differently people can see a dog. Rule of thumb is that if you cannot feel the structure under the skin then he is too fat and if he rolls on his topline he is also overweight. Yet, do not make him too lean so that he looks anorexic and in need of a good feed. He has to have endurance and that needs an amount of body cover.
So, you have the muscle, you have the hydrated healthy looking coat with good gleam and sheen, the body weight is perfect and it’s show day and time to do the fluff around stuff to help get that extra look in the ring. All senses come into play when judging and a good smelling dog is nice to touch. Plush Puppy Odour Muncher is sensational in that it kills the odour and leaves a pleasant scent behind without being to flowery or girly. You have your Plush Puppy Wonder Wash which is your self rinse (instant clean) to remedy any last minute messes and who would not be tempted to add some glints of glamour - let’s not leave it all to the Poodles and Afghans - with Plush Puppy Pixie Dust. Trust me, this does work and used judiciously, looks brilliant. Just don’t over do it - simply add a light dusting onto your brush, give it a light tap to tip of the excess and apply with light edgy strokes to the topline, pants and front of the dog. Keep brushing against the coat to work the powder down into the coat leaving the shimmer behind on the top. This looks brilliant when showing outdoors or under spotlights. It just grabs the pin prick of light down onto your dog.
I do like Plush Puppy Coat Rescue on a dead and “Gone to God” coat, used after bathing to remedy the situation quickly - left in for 5 - 10 minutes and rinsed off. I do like Plush Puppy Sensitive Skin Shampoo for those dodgy skin problems and used at 5:1. I do like lots of things - the list is endless as to what you can do to maximise this type of dog and coat. The point is, you can do something to make this dog even better than before and to help him stand out from the crowd.
I love the balance of power and endurance this breed exudes. I love the honesty and integrity he displays and the courage and devotion to which he applies to his work and family. I love seeing him out in the ring also beautifully groomed and presented and handled with skill that shows what he is capable of. This is a truly admirable breed.
- Cheryl Le Court