Hanging Tree Dog Breed Facts and Information

Have you ever heard of the Hanging Tree Dog? Are you looking to have one of your own? Find out more about this breed here!

The Hanging Tree Dog, also known as the Hanging Tree Cow Dog, is a cattle dog that was bred to gather, retrieve and herd cows and other livestock. The Hanging Tree Dog is a tough, aggressive and courageous pet that loves to take care of all types of cattle.

In this article, I’ll cover everything to know about Hanging Tree Dogs. If you’re looking for a cattle dog, then the Hanging Tree Dog is the perfect one for you. As you read on, you’ll learn about the history of this breed and how it came to be. Next, I’ll cover the Hanging Tree Dog’s personality and what it’s like to have it as a pet. Then I’ll discuss what you can expect your Hanging Tree Dog to look like. You’ll also learn about all you need to know about taking care of a Hanging Tree Dog. Finally, I’ll list some of the common health problems that Hanging Tree Dogs face.

The History of the Hanging Tree Dog

The Hanging Tree Dog was first bred by Gary Ericsson and his son Choc. They developed the breed in the 1980s to create the perfect cattle dog. It was named after Ericsson’s ranch, the Hanging Tree Ranch. The dog was bred for endurance and the ability to withstand harsh weather conditions. The Ericsson’s needed dogs that could easily challenge their livestock and work during the winter.

The Hanging Tree Dog is a mix of approximately four breeds:

  1. 3/8 Border Collie (for their herding instincts and intelligence)
  2. 1/8 Catahoula (for its ability to find cattle and slick coat)
  3. 1/4 Kelpie for endurance and short hair
  4. 1/4 Australian Shepherd (for its courage and ability to handle any kind of cattle)

Over the years, the Hanging Tree Dog has become one of the most popular cattle dogs in the world. Although it isn’t certified as its own breed by the American Kennel Club (AKC), it is widely supported by the Hanging Tree Cowdog Association (HTC).

Registered vs Unregistered Hanging Tree Dogs

Not all dogs that have the same mix of breeds are Hanging Tree Dogs. All Hanging Tree Dogs are and should be traced back to Gary Ericsson’s original Hanging Tree Dogs. The Hanging Tree Cowdog Association requires that a Hanging Tree Dog be tested for their DNA to confirm that they are descended from Ericsson’s Hanging Tree Dogs. If the test finds that they aren’t related, then that dog can’t be registered.

Registration is important for Hanging Tree Dogs because this is how you confirm whether or not it can herd cattle. Hanging Tree Dogs need to be able to overpower livestock with ease. They also need to be able to listen to their owners and avoid biting cattle too much.

Aside from having its DNA tested, a Hanging Tree Dog will have to successfully complete a judged course using your commands. Your dog will be tasked to fetch cattle and guide it through a guided obstacle course.

Once a Hanging Tree Dog is certified, it becomes a Supreme Qualified Hanging Tree Dog. The HTC recommends that only Supreme Qualified dogs be bred to produce the expected cattle herding instincts that Hanging Tree Dogs have.

The difference between unregistered and registered Hanging Tree Dogs is that registered Hanging Tree dogs are descended from Gary Ericsson’s original dogs and have completed an official herding obstacle course. While unregistered Hanging Tree Dogs are not related to Ericsson’s original dogs and have not completed an official herding obstacle course.

If you intend to have your own Hanging Tree Dog, you should have it registered if you want it to be a working cattle dog. However, if you just want to keep it as a family pet, registration isn’t necessary. It may be beneficial because training your dog is always great for its intelligence and personality.

The Hanging Tree Dog’s Personality

Hanging Tree Dogs are known for their courage and tenacity. These fearless dogs can handle any kind of cattle, including cows that are more than twice their size! They are highly intelligent and easy to train, making them impressive pets.

These dogs are also high-energy pets because they were bred to have high stamina. They can easily run for hours every day which is perfect for the job that they were bred for. You can expect your Hanging Tree Dog to have natural herding and hunting instincts.

Known as the “Ultimate Cowboy’s Dog,” the Hanging Tree Dog is incredibly loyal. They listen well to their owners and always stay by your side. They make for the perfect pet for people with an active lifestyle.

Hanging Tree Dogs have a personality that can be overwhelming for people that are used to calmer dogs. Their high-paced lifestyle makes them a tad overbearing because they always want to play. They’re prone to destructive behaviors because of the sheer amount of energy that these dogs have. On the spectrum of laidback and active dogs, Hanging Tree Dogs go way past the active end of the spectrum.

Do Hanging Tree Dogs Make Good Family Pets?

Despite their toughness, Hanging Tree Dogs are great family pets. They may be courageous and assertive towards livestock, but they are gentle and loving with people. Hanging Tree Dogs also get along great with other dogs. Even if you decide to have one as a family pet instead of a cattle dog, your Hanging Tree Dog will make for a lovely companion.

Hanging Tree Dogs happily accept pets and affection but will hardly ask for it on their own. You might be worried that your Hanging Tree Dog might not be content with being a house dog but that is a common misconception. Even though Hanging Tree Dogs were bred to be working dogs, they still make great family companions. They get along with all people, adults, and children alike.

The only thing you must consider is whether you can provide your Hanging Tree Dog with enough time for exercise. If you intend of having your own Hanging Tree Dog as a companion, you will need to make sure that your pet gets enough exercise. Since it won’t be working as a cattle dog, it will have to find other ways to expend its energy.

Hanging Tree Dogs should live with families that have plenty of space and ideally, their own backyard. These dogs need room to roam because of their natural herding tendencies. You might even find that your Hanging Tree Dog will attempt to herd other animals or people in your home.

Appearance and Size

The Hanging Tree Dog has a medium-sized build with strong muscles and a heavy bone structure. They have domed heads that make them able to easily track scents and find any livestock that stray away from the herd. Their necks are thick and sturdy, giving them a strong and distinguished look.

Hanging Tree Dogs have balanced proportions and they’re a bit taller than they are long. Hanging Tree Dogs usually weigh about 40 to 60 lbs when fully grown. Male Hanging Tree Dogs are normally larger than female ones.

These hearty dogs have large paws that help them run fast and easily travel on any type of terrain. Their coats are short and slick which lets them withstand hot summers. They have large, sharp ears that are normally pointed or docked. All Hanging Tree Dogs also have docked tails.


The most interesting thing about Hanging Tree Dogs is their coat. Hanging Tree Dogs have short and smooth coats that feather around the chest and hind legs. Their coats can have a wide array of colors and patterns. Hanging Tree Dogs can pretty much have any coat and eye color that a dog can have.

The coat colors and patterns that Hanging Tree Dogs can have include:

  • Black
  • Black and Tan
  • Black and White
  • Black Tricolor
  • Blue Merle
  • Blue Merle and Tan
  • Blue Merle and White
  • Blue Merle, Tan, and White
  • Brindle
  • Brown/Chocolate
  • Brown/Chocolate and White
  • Lilac
  • Lilac Merle
  • Red and Tan
  • Red and White
  • Red Tricolor
  • Red Merle
  • Red Merle and Tan
  • Red Merle and White
  • Red Merle, Tan, and White
  • Tan Merle
  • Seal
  • Slate
  • Slate Merle

As you can see, the Hanging Tree Dog has a very diverse set of colors. This is thanks to its Border Collie and Australian Shepherd origins. Along with these diverse colors, Hanging Tree Dogs can also have eyes that are either blue, brown, gold, or hazel. Some Hanging Tree Dogs can even have heterochromia, which is a condition wherein they have two different colored eyes.

Take Care of a Hanging Tree Dog

Now it’s time to talk about how to take care of your Hanging Tree Dog. The most important thing to note is that these dogs are high-energy and need a lot of exercise. They are easy to groom thanks to their short and slick coats. In the following sections, I’ll cover the Hanging Tree Dog’s feeding, grooming, dental care, and exercise needs.


While it’s a puppy, your Hanging Tree Dog will need to eat about 10oz to 15oz of puppy food a day. Once it reaches adulthood, a Hanging Tree Dog will need about 20oz to 22oz of dog food a day. Hanging Tree Dog puppies should have their food divided into 3 to 4 meals a day. Adult Hanging Tree Dogs, on the other hand, should have their food divided into 2 meals a day.

Below is a table comparing different brands of dry food to feed your Hanging Tree Dog puppy:

Puppy Food BrandQuantity per bagBags per yearUnit pricePrice per year
Royal Canin30 lbs12$109.99$1,320
Purina37.5 lbs9$51.98$470
Hill’s Science12.5 lbs28$39.99$1,120
Nutro30 lbs12$59.49$714
Blue Buffalo24 lbs14$56.98$800

Below is a table comparing different brands of dry food to feed your adult Hanging Tree Dog:

Dog Food BrandQuantity per bagBags per yearUnit pricePrice per year
Royal Canin30 lbs15$93.36$1,400
Purina33 lbs13$52.48$682
Hill’s Science40 lbs12$60.99$732
Nutro30 lbs15$59.49$742
Blue Buffalo24 lbs19$56.98$1,140

It’s important to note that this table is based on having a Hanging Tree Dog or puppy that is highly active. You will need to adjust your pet’s food intake based on how much energy it spends every day. What’s important is that you maintain a healthy weight for your dog to prevent any health issues that excess weight can cause.


Grooming Hanging Tree Dogs is a piece of cake. Thanks to their smooth and short coats, they don’t need much attention for grooming. Hanging Tree Dogs only need to be brushed once every one or two weeks to remove dander and dead fur. The best brushes to use are the glove brush and slicker brush.

These brushes are the best for Hanging Tree Dogs because they are gentle and will easily get rid of any dead fur, skin, and dander. Avoid using steel brushes because they can irritate or scratch your Hanging Tree Dog’s skin.

Although you don’t need to brush your Hanging Tree Dog often, you might have to bathe it more often than you do most dogs. Hanging Tree Dogs love the outdoors and will gladly roll around the dirt with no problem.

You will need to keep your Hanging Tree Dog clean by giving it a bath once a week. It’s best to give them a bath whenever they get too messy too. Since Hanging Tree Dogs spend most of their time outside, you should focus on keeping their fur and skin moisturized. You can use a dog-friendly itch relief shampoo to keep your Hanging Tree Dog’s skin healthy.

Dental Care

Dental Care is very important for Hanging Tree Dogs because they use their teeth to work. Hanging Tree Dogs herd cattle and calm livestock down using control bites. These dogs need strong and clean teeth to do their jobs right.

Even if your Hanging Tree Dog is a family pet, you will need to take care of its teeth. It’s best to use a pet-friendly toothbrush kit to clean your pet’s teeth. Ideally, you should brush your Hanging Tree Dog’s teeth once a day but two to three times a week should suffice. You can also give your dog water additives in case your dog isn’t a fan of having its teeth brushed.


Since Hanging Tree Dogs are high-energy pets, they need plenty of exercise every day. Hanging Tree Dogs need at least 1 hour of exercise a day. Working Hanging Tree Dogs get more than enough exercise from herding cattle, but house pet Hanging Tree Dogs will need alternative activities to meet their exercise needs.

If you want to have your Hanging Tree Dog, you should be prepared to be an active owner. Hanging Tree Dogs are great for hiking and jogging. You can make sure your Hanging Tree Dog has enough exercise by taking it on long walks every day or by taking it to a dog park.

This dog is easy to train so you can also try teaching it how to fetch. Playing a few rounds of fetch every day is sure to keep your Hanging Tree Dog healthy. You will need to cater to your dog’s urges to work by giving it lots of time to play.

Common Health Issues in Hanging Tree Dogs

You’ll be happy to know that Hanging Tree Dogs are incredibly healthy dogs. Since they’re a mix of various breeds, they don’t have any genetic or congenital health conditions. Hanging Tree dogs are even known to have a long lifespan of 20 to 30 years.

Hanging Tree Dog owners love that they don’t have to worry about any health problems with their dogs. The only thing you might have to worry about is potential injuries from their work or rough play.

If your dog is hurt while they are herding cattle, it’s important that you take it to the vet right away. Although they are hearty and sturdy dogs, they aren’t invincible. Cows, sheep, goats, and pigs can definitely hurt your dog.

On the other hand, if you’re keeping your own Hanging Tree Dog as a family pet, they can get hurt because of their high energy and liveliness. They can get hurt from jumping from high surfaces or stumbling while running.

Treatment of injuries will depend on their severity. Your doctor might need to conduct surgery or give your dog stitches for more serious injuries. Just remember that your dog is still just a dog that needs care when it gets hurt.

Challenges of Owning a Hanging Tree Dog

To help you decide if you should have a Hanging Tree Dog, I will go over some of the challenges of owning one. These dogs are fantastic pets but like all dogs, they come with their own unique challenges.


Since Hanging Tree Dogs are bred to be heelers or cattle herders, they have a tendency to bite often. Their biting habits can be difficult to correct because it’s instinctive. Hanging Tree Dog puppies are known to bite their owners unprovoked, often on the legs or heels.

Hanging Tree Dogs don’t “mouth” and will instead bite as hard as it can. You can expect your puppy to give you some wounds while it’s a puppy or even when it’s already an adult. The problem comes from your Hanging Tree Dog not understanding just how painful its bite really is.

The best solution is to train your dog to stop biting. According to veterinarians, the best way to do this is by reprimanding your dog every time it bites you. Use a stern and assertive voice to tell your dog no and reinforce this by giving it treats when it avoids biting you.


Hanging Tree Dogs are known to whine a lot for attention. They have loud voices and so their whining can become irritating over time. It might even disturb your neighbors. Hanging Tree Dogs love to whine because it’s an easy way to get attention from their owners and to get what they want.

Under no circumstance should you go to your dog when it whines. Do your best to ignore your Hanging Tree Dog when it whines for no reason so that it understands that whining doesn’t work in its favor. Never reward your dog for whining with attention or treats because it will think that whining is a positive behavior.

You can also prevent your Hanging Tree Dog from whining by reprimanding it whenever it whines. Again, you should use a firm and assertive voice to tell your dog no. You can also add positive reinforcement by giving your Hanging Tree Dog a treat whenever it stops whining when told.


You can expect your Hanging Tree Dog to chew on your things. They especially love to chew on cables, pillows, socks, and upholstery. Some Hanging Tree Dog owners have shared that their dogs have destroyed countless things around the house.

A great way to do this is by keeping all your valuables out of reach from your dog. You can also install baby gates to keep your dog from entering rooms that you want it to avoid. As much as possible, keep your chargers when they’re not in use and keep your wires neatly using wire protectors.

Final Thoughts

I think that the Hanging Tree Dog is the most interesting breed I’ve ever heard of. I think it’s impressive that Gary Ericsson was able to develop a breed that is the ultimate cattle dog. These dogs are intelligent and talented with traits that most other dogs don’t have.

My favorite thing about the Hanging Tree Dog is how healthy it is. Its long lifespan is definitely a huge positive because I’m sure that you want your dog to live as long as possible. If you want a dog that can grow old with you, then the Hanging Tree Dog is perfect for you.

Personally, I wouldn’t recommend having a Hanging Tree Dog as a family pet even if it can be a great companion. These dogs are clearly bred to be workers and it would be a shame to have one that can’t put its instincts to good use. Hanging Tree Dogs are the perfect dogs for families with ranches and livestock.