History of the Breed
The AKC's web page for the breed states that Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs are believed to be the first dog breed developed in Australia. Both Stumpies and Australian Cattle Dogs are thought to be descended from two types of workng dogs developed in different parts of the country around the 1840s.
Wikipedia's article includes English herding dogs (such as the Smithfield Collie, a shaggy dog that had a natural bobtail in some lines), Smooth Collies, and the native Australian dingoes. Some sources report that the Timmons Biters, bred by a drover named Timmons, were crosses between Smithfield Collies (or Halls Heelers) and Dingoes. They were said to bite the livestock less hard than did the Smithfields. At about the same time, Thomas Simpson Hall, a cattle rancher from New South Wales, developed working dogs called Halls Heelers by breeding Smooth and Border Collies (some sources say the herding dogs were Snithfields or blue merle droving dogs related to Old English Sheepdogs) to Dingoes. After Thomas Hall's death, his Heelers became the foundation for both the Australian Cattle Dog breed and the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle dog.
By the 1890s, both Long-tailed snd Stumpy varieties of Cattle Dogs were exhibited in the Australian show ring. After WWI, however, the numbers of Stumpies in Australia declined. By 1960, only one registered breeder of Stumpies remained, and by the 1980s, the breed was all but extinct.
The breed was introduced to the USA after WWII, along with the Australian Cattle Dog. However, ANKC registered dogs did not begin to appear in the States until the year 2000.
The Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog breed was re-organized by the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) in 1988. At that 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 was enforced by a panel of three judges who inspected each dog wishing to be registered. There were three types of classifications:
- "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 who might not fully conform to the Breed Standard, but have other attributes that clearly define them as an Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs, and as being a distinctly different breed from the Australian Cattle Dog.
The classification system expired in 2007. No "unknown" breeding animals have been accepted for registration since then.