Can You See This On Your Australian Cattle Dog?

In the history of the Australian Cattle Dog, one of the “cast of characters” was Tom Bentley, alternately described as a butcher from Glebe Island or a cattle farmer from New South Wales.  He owned a dog from the pure strain developed by Thomas Hall (blue or red speckled pups known as “Hall’s Heelers”) that dazzled all who saw the dog, then watched him work. Bentley’s Dog, as the dog came to be known, was a highly popular stud stud, and whether it’s just a few hairs that need close inspection to be seen, or an obvious blaze, all Australian Cattle Dogs are said to have what has come to be known as the “Bentley Mark” or “Bentley Star” because of this dog. A black tail-root spot seen occasionally in blue dogs is also said to be attributed to Tom Bentley’s dog.

Image of ACD Silverbarn’s Naava, Swiss and International Champion by Eva Holderegger Walser – Own work, CC BY 3.0,

22 thoughts on “Can You See This On Your Australian Cattle Dog?”

  1. He’s a rascal. Bo is apparently an example of the pure breed but no one wanted to buy him. I’m not one to buy dogs usually, but he’s so adorable and spry. He’s kind of a pain in the butt too, but we love him. We, our cats, and our other little dog are all trying to understand him.

    • LOL, we suspect he’s a typical ACD. As long as your Bo has a job to do, he’ll be fine. As long as you understand the work ethic hard-wired into this breed, you’ll be fine (chuckle). Have you considered reaching out to the Australian Cattle Dog Club of America and seeing if there’s a breeder near you? A good one would be thrilled to talk to you about the breed. Failing that, finding a dog show near you will enable you to attend and talk to other owners who (after they show their dog) would also be happy to talk to you. If you need help with either, holler at us

    • I saw this poem about the origin of the Bentley Mark that I think is cute:

      A little dingo stayed up late one night to watch his friend, the Moon, pass by
      Please don’t leave me, he cried as She lit up the sky I can’t stay with you, was her sad reply.
      But I’ll miss you, he said as the sky turned black and She stopped and smiled and then She came back
      Little dingo, She said, as She paused overhead, I will always be here, in this mark on your head.
      She gently bent over and kissed ‘tween his ears and a small piece of moonlight started to appear

      *To this day, this glow of moonlight can still be seen on Cattle Dogs (“the Bentley star”) *

  2. You have probably the best kind of dog to have. His intelligence and love of learning will amaze you. He will learn over 100 words and be a help mate on whatever you are doing. Drop a tool and ask him “gimme that” and he will. Get ready for the experience of a lifetime.

  3. This is our third ACD they are amazing, smart,loyal companion. They are full of energy and usually are super ball players. Give them a job and watch them work, they love to please! Hope you are someone who will give your heart to the breed, I promise they will return the favor.

    • A lovely endorsement of a fine breed, Kenny, thank you for sharing it!

  4. We adopted Molly from a family that did not have the patience to keep her. And thankfully too because I believe they only bought her to be a breeder. She has been a treasure: smart, funny, very loving, cautious of strangers, and certainly my shadow. I love having her with me. She is a tri-color and almost too smart for her own good. If she had longer legs and oposible thumbs, I know she would try to drive my car; as it is she settles for being my navigator on all car trips.

    • A fun comment, Marilyn, and accurate, no doubt. These smart dogs are a challenge to owners who can’t stay a step ahead of their dog’s busy mind. Thanks for sharing your insights (and be sure to lock the liquor cabinet)

  5. My Abby was the best dog I ever had! I’ve had a few heelers and they were all great dogs… but Abby was one of a kind! She was so smart, funny, loving, sweet, learned new things like nothing , I swear she understood English!! I got her from a local heeler rescue. We bonded the minute we met! She was 2 when I got her. She loved my husband too but she was my girl through and through! She would “protect” me if my husband was playing around with me and would fake attack me.. lol.. she would jump up in him and push him away…lol…
    Sadly she developed cancer in 2020 and we had to let her go in July.. saddest day of my life.. she will have my heart forever ♥️♥️

    • Nancy, Abby was what we call your “heart dog.” We think it’s lucky to have had one in a lifetime, and she was yours. We understand your grief, we lost a dog a couple of months after Abby passed, and the only thing worse than losing them is to have never have known them at all. We’re sorry for your loss, she sounded very special.

      • Yes! I have had many dogs and loved them.all.but Maisie, my Great Pyrenees, was my heart dog. I dream of.her.still… we.are lucky to.have one in a lifetime. I get

  6. We crazily have three ACD’s, a blue, a red and a black and white spotted, all of which have a Bentley. My blue heeler, Calamity Jane is my heart dog, she was found in a ditch at about 8 weeks of age and that was seven years ago. We rock the agility course and she schools the puppy, Skyler. I’m the adoption coordinator for a Cattle Dog rescue so these dogs are near and dear to my heart. Miss Jane is a handful, a bit snarky and very vocal but she will forever be in my heart, oh and on my leg. I have a tattoo of her – that’s love!

    • It sounds like you have a lively crew, and each of them is lucky to have you as you seem to “get” them and their unique personalities. And yes, a tattoo IS love!!

  7. My Blue Heeler, Oliver, is the smartest, most wonderful dog I’ve ever had. He would fight a Grizzly Bear to protect me, and I would fight a Grizzly Bear to protect him. I found him in a litter living in a cave with their mother in a mountainside in Northern California in November 2014-he was about 6 weeks old. He is by my side where ever I go. I guess all I can say is that he is wonderful.

  8. Australia. Up to heelers 8 & 9. Blue female & red male. 1 yo. My heart dog 1 Oliver lived to 20! 2nd heart dog Achmed (Canadian ventriloquist puppet) 16. These two have beautiful natures. Keen to learn and now holding back from chasing native roos we feed and my horses. Cat 12 plays with both and washes ears!

  9. Feel guilty. 2 reds early. Mandy and Bindi. Both heart dogs. I have been blessed. Even the cat Georgeous. Long story walked 90km over 3 months to get back to me.

  10. Here is my Ammo, it’s been 15 years since I left my home in Hackberry louisiana where we use to breed and raise heelers. When the time was right I bought this baby. He is what was missing from my life🥰

    • Ammo is wonderful (and what a terrific name for an ACD!). Thanks for sharing his photo!!

      • I just recently had an ACD volunteer.
        At first I thought he was a Coyote. He was all skinny and skittish like Coyote. He may have spent time with Coyotes since they are in the area. I imagine someone dropped him off out here Ii n country. Very smart! About eight months -1 yr old male tri color I think Wylie the faux Coyote is going to be a big star.🐺

  11. Bentley Star
    A black and tan dingo stayed up late one night
    to watch his friend, the moon, pass by
    Please don’t leave me he cried as she lit up the sky
    I can’t stay with you was her sad reply.
    But I’ll miss you, he said as the sky turned black
    and she stopped and smiled and then she came back
    Little dingo, she said as she paused overhead,
    I will always be here in this mark on your head.
    She gently bent over and kissed ‘tween his ears
    and a small piece of moonlight started to appear
    and Cattle Dog owners to this day can see
    that bright glow of moonlight that we call “Bentley”

    • How wonderful. Who is the author so they might get proper credit?

  12. Teka 5 year old girl. With her baby frodo. She also has the black tail root! She is a stubborn handfull like me haha. She loves to play catch with the frisbe forever never 😴.

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