The Hangin’ Tree Cowdog
The Hangin’ Tree Cowdog is a purebred working dog bred specifically to work cattle.
Gary and Choc Ericsson, the breed's developers, selected the foundation stock exclusively for characteristics that supported this one objective. The Hangin' Tree Cowdog finds its genetic roots in the composite breeding of the Catahoula Leopard Dog, the Border Collie and the Australian Kelpie. These three breeds were specially chosen and combined to develop a breed of dog able to handle the unique needs of cattle ranchers and meet the physical and mental demands of working with cattle. The Ericssons also used one of their Australian Shepherd males (Black Bear) in their original crossbreeding to their cattle-bred border collies.
The Catahoula Leopard Dog, itself a composite breed of hound and herding dog, was chosen to lend the Hangin' Tree Cowdog an excellent "hunting" instinct and trailing ability as well as the tenacity required in working an animal with a strong fight reflex. The Border Collie lends the breed, extreme intelligence and trainability as well as impeccable gathering and herding skills. The Australian Kelpie was chosen to add agility and endurance. All three breeds give the Hangin' Tree Cowdog the desire and the instinct to herd livestock from birth.
As the Hangin' Tree Cowdog developed, breeding animals were chosen based on several qualities including coat type, disposition, trainability, gathering instinct, and ability to work cattle specifically. Only dogs with the most desirable of these qualities were kept as breeding stock and so the Hangin' Tree Cowdog developed from the best of its ancestors into a dog specially bred to work cattle and cattle only.
The Hangin' Tree Cowdog comes in a wide variety of colors ranging from solid black to red and blue merles. The dogs have a short coat to help withstand heat, shed burrs and keep coat maintenance at a minimum—an important characteristic for dogs working on the range and in the brush.
The Hangin' Tree Cowdog is bred to be of medium size to provide excellent agility. Dogs have a relatively heavy bone structure in comparison to size to meet the physical demands of working cattle. The Hangin' Tree Cowdog has an alert ear set and sharp eye. All dogs have docked tails.
The Hangin' Tree Cowdog is distinguished from other cattle herding breeds not only by their distinctive appearance but also by their unique working style. The dogs are expert gatherers of stock—a trait which is very important in keeping cattle tame and manageable. The dogs' working techniques are very adaptable and can be applied to cattle in close quarters or on the open range making them suitable for all types of ranching operations from feedlots to cow/calf programs.