Hanging Tree Dog | Dog Breed Information, Pictures & Facts

Hanging Tree Dogs or Hangin Tree Cowdogs at work
Height:17 – 22 inches
Weight:40 – 60 pounds
Lifespan:20 – 30 years
Coat Colors:Solid, bi-colored, tri-colored, patterned
Temperament:Tough, intelligent, gentle, tenacious, fearless, active
Suitable for:Homes with large yards; experienced owners; families with older children

At any given time, owners would choose non-aggressive breeds, but not when it comes to Hanging Tree Dogs (HTCs).

Known for their toughness and tenacity, this unique mix of four different breeds is sought after by many livestock owners.

Strong, intelligent, highly active, and built to handle all types of cattle — these traits stand out in most HTCs. 

But other than being excellent cattle dogs, can they also be family companions? Are they aggressive towards their owners? 

Read on as this article discusses all you need to know about the Hangin’ Tree Cowdog’s history, appearance, temperament, health, and some frequently asked questions.

What Is a Hanging Tree Dog?

Black adult Hanging Tree Cowdog sitting on car
Image credit: rosiethehangingtreecowdog / Instagram

The Hanging Tree Dog, also called the ultimate cowboy’s dog, is a precise mix of ⅜ Border Collie, ⅛ Catahoula, ¼ Kelpie, and ¼ Australian Shepherd. Aggressive and fearless, this dog can handle all types of livestock. Interestingly, it differs from other stock dogs in terms of looks and work style. 

Also called Hangin’ Tree Cowdogs or Hanging Tree Cattle Dogs, these pups are a mix of four breeds specifically bred for gathering, herding, and retrieving cows. However, not all mixes of these breeds qualify as HTCs. 

Real Hanging Tree Cowdogs trace back to Gary Ericsson’s dogs, the creator behind the breed.

An owner can only claim they have a true HTC pup if they can prove through DNA testing that it is a descendant of Gary’s dogs.

Registered vs. Unregistered Hanging Tree Cowdogs

Cute Hanging Tree Cowdog at beautiful park
Image credit: sunny_oliver_rescues / Instagram

As said in the previous section, not all dogs with the same mix of breeds can be considered true Hanging Tree Dogs.

A pup cannot be registered if it does not trace back to Gary Ericsson’s original Hanging Tree Cowdogs.

The main requirement to confirm the pup is a descendant of Gary’s HTCs is a DNA test. If the test turns out negative, unfortunately, the dog cannot be registered with the Hangin’ Tree Cowdog Association (HTCA)

Besides DNA testing, registration is important to determine a dog’s cattle-herding capabilities. It needs to have the ability to control livestock easily, listen to its owners, and not bite cattle excessively. 

Using your commands, a Hanging Tree Dog must pass a judged course. Its task is to complete a series of obstacles where it will guide a trail of cattle and bring them to you.

Special registration certificates are given to HTCs that qualify as Supreme Hanging Tree Cowdogs. 

These dogs are highly recommended for breeding by the Hangin’ Tree Cowdog Association as they possess cattle herding instincts required by the breed.

In other words, there are two factors that may hinder the registration eligibility of a Hanging Tree Cowdog. 

First, it is not proven to be a descendant of Gary Ericsson’s Hanging Tree Dogs. Second, it is not able to pass the herding course.

Ultimately, registration is not necessary if you want to keep this dog as a family pet. However, if you intend to have a Hanging Tree Cowdog as a working cattle dog, then having it registered is a must.

Hanging Tree Dog Origin and History

Gary Ericsson and his son Choc worked together in developing the ultimate cowboy’s dog in the 1980s. With the perfect cattle dog in mind, they gathered four breeds they used to create the Hanging Tree Dog.

These breeds were carefully chosen for each one’s most desirable traits. The ⅜ part of the Border Collie in this mix is picked for its intelligence and herding instincts, while the ⅛ Catahoula is chosen for its slick coat and ability to find and trail cattle.

The other two breeds include ¼ Kelpie, which was chosen due to its short hair and endurance, whereas the ¼ part of the Australian Shepherd is responsible for the Hangin’ Tree Cowdog’s courage and ability to handle all kinds of cattle.

Gary’s Hanging Tree Black Bear is the only Australian Shepherd used for this mix. 

Black Bear was a super dog with the courage and capability to herd cattle like no other. The breed was named after Ericsson’s Hanging Tree Ranch.

With research and hard work, the Hangin’ Tree Cowdog was produced. It was a breed strong enough to work cattle even in extreme temperatures. 

To this day, it is known to be an efficient working breed, hence the ultimate cowboy’s dog.

Hanging Tree Dog Appearance

Happy Hanging Tree Dog walking outdoors in a park
Image credit: rosiethehangingtreecowdog / Instagram

Physically different from other stock dogs as well, Hanging Tree Dogs are muscular with a heavy bone structure that can endure being kicked or run over. They are wide and deep-chested. 

Their bodies are proportionately built and taller than they are long. They sport a slightly-domed head that helps them track far away scents easier. Their neck is sturdy and thick, making them look strong. 

Hangin’ Tree Dogs typically have pointed ears and docked tails. Their large paws help them run and travel fast. They have a short and slick coat that easily adapts to extreme weather conditions. 

These dogs are fairly easy to maintain as they typically shed out mud and even clingy burs. Their coats can come in various colors and patterns

Although blue eyes are more common, they can also have hazel, brown, or gold eyes. 

They may also have two different-colored eyes, a condition which is otherwise known as heterochromia.

See what this dog would look like as you watch the training progress of Kalil, a 15-month-old Hangin’ Tree Cowdog, in this video:

Clementine's Kalil - Hangin Tree Cowdog

Hanging Tree Dog Size and Weight

Fully-grown Hanging Tree Cowdogs are medium-sized. They are 17 to 22 inches tall and weigh around 40 to 60 pounds.

Their solid bone structure has balanced proportions with their slightly taller rather than long build.

Male Hanging Tree Cowdogs are usually larger than females. They can weigh as much as 80 pounds. On the other hand, the common maximum weight of female Hanging Tree Dogs does not exceed 60 pounds.

As there is little known information on their growth curve, we can use its size as a basis. Medium-sized dogs like these pups may stop growing around 15 months. But keep in mind that this may still vary per breed.

Hanging Tree Dog Temperament and Personality

Hanging Tree Dog smiling and lying on grass
Image credit: sunny_oliver_rescues / Instagram

Known to be loyal, fearless, and tough, the Hanging Tree Dog excellently possesses the qualities its role requires.

Inheriting the best traits from its parent breeds, it has the stamina of a working dog and for herding cattle. 

These dogs can work tirelessly for hours in any environment and weather condition. 

They are not only physically fast, but they are quick learners as well. Loyal and good listeners, they constantly follow and stay by their owner’s side.

Designed to herd cattle as well as cows that are significantly larger than their size, HTCs also have a dominating nature and are aggressive towards livestock. Due to their high energy, destructive behaviors are present, too.

As family pets, Hanging Tree Dogs make great companions. While they can be assertive when it comes to livestock, they can also be gentle and loving family dogs. They can also be good with other dogs in the household.

They are accepting of affection; however, they will not ask for it. That said, families with active lifestyles go well with Hanging Tree Dogs. 

They are ready to play anytime. It is important, though, that you keep up with their high activity requirements.

On that note, the ideal environment for them as house dogs includes a huge yard and spacious home where they can freely run around.

Hanging Tree Dog Lifespan and Health Issues

As extremely healthy pups, Hanging Tree Dogs have a lifespan of 20 to 30 years. Since they were bred from healthy parent breeds, they are much less likely to have congenital or genetic health issues.

In fact, even owners can attest that health problems do not cause trouble when it comes to these dogs. If there is one thing to watch out for, it is probably the injuries that may occur while working with livestock.

After all, although they are strong pups, cows and other bigger animals can cause harm to their smaller build.

The same goes for keeping them as house dogs. Given their energy, rough play still makes them prone to injuries. 

How to Take Care of Your Hangin Tree Cowdog

Hanging Tree Dog puppy sitting inside the house
Image credit: rosiethehangingtreecowdog / Instagram

Taking good care of a Hangin’ Tree Dog is another way to keep it in tip-top condition.

While there is relative ease in keeping it clean, this pooch has a high energy level and demands an equal amount of activity and nutrition. 

This section will shed light on the Hanging Tree Dog’s dietary, activity, and cleaning requirements. 

Food and Diet

Depending on their stage of life, Hanging Tree Cowdogs require a diet that is proportional to their age.

As puppies, they will need around 10 to 15 ounces of puppy food daily. Adults require 20 to 22 ounces of dog food per day.

Puppy food should be divided into 3 to 4 meals, whereas adult dog food needs to be split into two meals every day.

Knowing the daily nutritional requirements of HTCs is essential, given that they are highly active pups. 

Their food intake has to be adjusted to match their daily activity level to ensure they are not overfed or underfed. Moreover, maintaining a healthy weight is important to avoid weight-related health issues.

Cleaning and Grooming

Given its short and slick coat, grooming a Hanging Tree Dog is an easy task. Brushing their hair once per 7 to 10 days will do. 

Avoid using steel brushes as they may cause skin irritations. Instead, use a glove brush and a slicker brush. 

Meanwhile, bathing needs to be more frequent. Unlike most breeds, this pup spends most of its time outdoors and gets dirty easily. As a result, it might require a bath once every week.

The Hanging Tree Dog has a recommended bath frequency of twice to four times monthly. Maintaining its skin and hair moisturized is also a must. 

Use skin-friendly dog shampoos to keep its coat and skin away from skin and coat irritations. 

Apart from bathing and coat maintenance, oral care is also important. Brushing a Hanging Tree Dog’s teeth daily is ideal, but brushing 3 to 4 times a week will suffice. 

Training and Exercise

Intelligent, good listeners, and quick learners, Hanging Tree Dogs are relatively easy to train. They are also highly adaptable in any situation you put them in. However, they also have instinctive biting tendencies

Training will help stop biting as well as any undesirable behavior Hanging Tree Dogs may display. 

You need to be an active and involved owner and a firm leader to train your Hanging Tree Dog. Squeeze in some play time, and they won’t disappoint.

Considering they are high-energy pups, it is advised that HTCs get at least one to two hours of daily exercise, especially if they are going to be house pets. Failure to do so may result in destructive behaviors surfacing.

Due to this, they are more suitable for active owners that can keep up with their stamina. But for HTCs in the field, not much extra exercise is required as they get more than enough as working dogs. 

How Much Does a Hanging Tree Dog Cost? Puppy Prices & Expenses

Hanging Tree Dog puppy sitting on a wooden bridge
Image credit: rosiethehangingtreecowdog / Instagram

A Hanging Tree Dog puppy costs around $425 to $825. Prices may vary depending on certain factors, including the breeder, the registration status of the HTC puppy, and if it was crossbred with a different dog breed.

Registered Hanging Tree Dog puppies may be priced up to $2,000. On the other hand, crosses are in the lower price range, where you can find puppies that are at least $280. Adoption costs could even be much cheaper.

Besides the cost of the puppy itself, below are some initial expenses you should expect in getting a Hanging Tree Cowdog:

Type of ExpenseCost
Food and Treats$80 – $100
Food and Water Bowls$10 – $30
Bed$40 – $180
Crate$50 – $370
Leashes and Collars$15 – $50
Toys$30 – $40
Grooming Essentials$40 – $160
Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications$50 – $200
Initial Vet Visits$100 – $300
Initial Vaccine Shots$75 – $200
Neutering or Spaying$50 – $500
Dog License$10 – $20
Microchip$40 – $60
Miscellaneous Supplies$15 – $30
Total Initial Cost$605 – $2,240

The table above shows that you are likely to spend $605 to $2,240 on initial costs on top of the upfront cost.

You may also expect registration costs, including a DNA testing kit if you happen to get an unregistered HTC puppy. 

Places to Find Hanging Tree Dog Puppies for Sale and Adoption

Upon learning the costs, the next step to getting a Hangin’ Tree Dog is finding breeders or rescues where you can buy one. Thorough research is necessary to avoid backyard breeders and puppy mills

Here are places where you can find Hanging Tree Cowdog puppies for sale:

  • Dagley Ranch – Based in South Dakota, Dagley Ranch is a cattle ranch managed by David Dagley. Along with his wife, Susanna, they offer and train Hangin’ Tree Cowdogs. You may contact them through their website to get notified when a Hangin’ Tree Cowdog puppy is available for sale.
  • Red Stick Cowdogs – This breeder from Louisiana strives to breed the finest HTCs in the south. Red Stick Cowdogs’ owner and trainer, Gary Sullivan, uses HTCs in all aspects of cattle operations. They currently have 8 Supreme Hanging Tree Dogs under their belt. Go to their website to see if they have Hangin’ Tree Cowdog puppies for sale.
  • Diamond J Stockdogs – They breed, raise and train Hanging Tree Dogs and Cow-bred Border Collies for excellent cattle-handling experience. Located in Granbury, Texas, it was founded by Jason Terrell in 2014. Their goal is to produce hard-working dogs that can be family pets as well. Visit their website for available Hanging Tree Dogs.

But before you purchase a pup, read our helpful tips on how to safely buy a puppy online.

Adopting a Hangin’ Tree Cowdog is another option you may take. However, this dog breed is rare in rescues.

It might take time to find HTCs to adopt, but with a little more patience, you may see some available for adoption. 

The following are animal adoption websites that offer Hanging Tree Dogs occasionally:

  • Adopt a Pet – Helping over 21,000 animal shelters, Adopt a Pet is all about getting homeless pets into loving homes. As pet lovers themselves, they provide useful information on the human and animal relationship. This site may have Hangin’ Tree Dogs available every once in a while.
  • PuppyFinder – An online source of puppies for sale and adoption, PuppyFinder has over 1,000 pure and mixed breeds. It has a goal of giving breeders worldwide exposure to reach more dog lovers around the globe. Check their website to see if they offer Hanging Tree Dogs for adoption.
  • Petfinder – A directory of almost 11,000 organizations and shelters, Petfinder is an online database that helps animals find forever homes. One of its missions is to ban euthanasia among adoptable pets. From the comfort of your computer, you can search for a Hangin’ Tree Dog that could be available in your area.

To increase your chances of getting your adoption approved, read our ultimate guide to dog adoption article. You can also check out our tips on how you can get a puppy in your area for free

Frequently Asked Questions

Close up of a happy Hanging Tree Dog
Image credit: sunny_oliver_rescues / Instagram

Do Hanging Tree Dogs Make Good Pets?

Yes, Hanging Tree Dogs make good pets. They are loyal pups and are well-suited as house dogs. Although they are assertive when working with cattle, they are gentle and appreciative of affection from their owners.

Much like other dogs, early socialization and training for this breed are important for an owner to handle them well. Other than that, Hanging Tree Dogs get along well with people and other dogs alike.

Do Hanging Tree Dogs Shed?

Yes, Hanging Tree Dogs shed minimally. The Kelpie breed was introduced to their lineage for them to have short and slick coats that can adapt to any kind of environment and extreme temperatures. 

For this reason, Hangin Tree Cowdogs are fairly easy to maintain. Brushing their coat once every 7 to 10 days to remove dander and dead hair will suffice. 

It is noteworthy that using a steel brush may damage their skin. Using a slicker brush and glove brush is the best option for their coat type.

Are Hanging Tree Dogs Aggressive?

Hanging Tree Dogs are aggressive, but only during work. They are trained to be tough towards cattle in order to establish respect. 

Their fearless and tenacious nature also allows them to handle livestock effectively and efficiently. 

However, when it comes to their owners, they are the most loving, loyal, and gentlest souls. This is why Hanging Tree Dogs can be kept as house dogs, provided that owners take the time to train and care for their HTCs.

Final Thoughts

Hanging Tree Dogs are truly a unique mixed breed. Not only are they created to achieve the ultimate cowboy’s dog, but they can also be great family dogs.

With their loyalty, energy, and hard-working nature, it’s impossible not to love them. 

It may take a lot of work to own a Hanging Tree Dog, but the advantages weigh more than the downsides. 

It is equally the best house dog and working dog. Moreover, not all breeds have a lifespan and health like the Hanging Tree Dog. 

Would you like to keep this breed as a family pet or a working dog? Let us know your thoughts about the Hangin’ Tree Dog in the comments below.

1 comment

Peggy October 25, 2022 - 9:25 pm

Our pup is 10 months old and wondering about neutering. We believe that being unneutered will make a better dog. What are your thoughts? He has very good natural instincts. Learning to obey is a challenge.


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