Thomas Hall crossed his Drovers Dogs with dingoes he had tamed, and by 1840 was satisfied with his resulting progeny. During the next thirty years, the Halls Heelers, as they became known, were used only by the Halls. Given that they were dependent on the dogs, which gave them an advantage over other cattle breeders, it is understandable that the dogs were not distributed beyond the Hall's properties. It was not until after Thomas Hall's death in 1870, when the properties went to auction with the stock on them, that Halls Heelers became freely available.
Kaleski's standard was adopted by breed clubs in Queensland and New South Wales and re-issued as their own, with local changes. His writings from the 1910s give an important insight into the early history of the breed. However, dog breeder and author Noreen Clark has noted that his opinions are sometimes just that, and he introduces some contradictory assertions in his later writings, as well as some assumptions that are illogical in the light of modern science. Some of these have persisted; for example he saw the red colour form as having more dingo in it than the blue form, and there is a persistent belief that reds are more vicious than blues. The most enduring of Kaleski's myths relate to Dalmatian and Kelpie infusions into the early Cattle Dog breed. These infusions are not referred to in Kaleski's writings until the 1920s and it seems likely that Kaleski sought to explain the Cattle Dog's mottled colouration and tan on legs by similarity to the Dalmatian and Kelpie, respectively. The genetics of coat colour, and the current understanding of hereditary characteristics, make the infusion of Dalmatian to increase the cattle dog's tolerance of horses an extremely unlikely event. There were relatively few motor vehicles in Australia at the beginning of the 20th century, so most dogs of any breed would have been accustomed to horses. The Kelpie breed was developed after the Cattle Dog type was described, so its infusion is unlikely. It is possible that there was some infusion of Bull Terrier but there is no verifiable record of this, and the Cattle Dog has not had the Bull Terrier's instinct to bite and hold, which would have been an undesirable trait. Early in the 1900s there was considerable in-fighting amongst members of the Cattle Dog Club, and a series of arguments about the origin of the breed appeared in newspapers and journals of the time. While many of these arguments were misleading, some irrational, and the majority not supported by historical facts, they continue to be circulated, resulting in a number of theories on the origins of the breed. In recent years, information technology enabling the manipulation of large databases combined with advances in the understanding of canine genetics has allowed a clearer understanding of the development of the breed.
Australian Cattle Dogs had been classified in the "miscellaneous" category at the American Kennel Club (AKC) since the 1930s; to get the breed full recognition, the AKC required that a National Breed Parent Club be organised for promotion and protection of the breed. In 1967 Esther Ekman met Chris Smith-Risk at an AKC show, and the two fell into conversation about their Australian Cattle Dogs and the process of establishing a parent club for the breed. By 1969 the fledgling club had 12 members and formally applied to the AKC for instructions. One of the requirements was that the Club had to start keeping its own registry for the breed and that all dogs on the registry would have to be an extension of the Australian registry, tracing back to registered dogs in Australia. The AKC Parent Club members began researching their dogs, including exchanging correspondence with McNiven, and discovered that few of them had dogs that could be traced back to dogs registered in Australia. The AKC took over the club registry in 1979 and the breed was fully recognised in September 1980. The Australian Cattle Dog Club of America is still active in the promotion of the breed and the maintenance of breed standards. The National Stock Dog Registry continued to recognise Cattle Dogs without prerequisite links to Australian registered dogs, on the condition that any dog of unknown parentage that was presented for registry would be registered as an "American Cattle Dog", and all others would still be registered as "Australian Cattle Dogs".
The breed gained official recognition from the Canadian Kennel Club in January 1980 after five years of collecting pedigrees, gathering support, and lobbying officials by two breeders and enthusiasts. The small number of Australian Cattle Dogs in Canada at the time were primarily working dogs on farms and ranches scattered across large distances. However, the fledgling breed club held conformation shows, obedience and agility competitions, and entered their dogs in sports including flyball and lure coursing. At the end of 1980, Landmaster Carina was named the first Australian Cattle Dog in Canada to gain both her conformation and obedience titles.
The first registered Australian Cattle Dogs to arrive in the United Kingdom were two blue puppies, Lenthal Flinton and Lenthal Darlot, followed in 1980 by Landmaster Darling Red in whelp. Landmaster Darling Red was imported by John and Mary Holmes, and proved to be an outstanding brood bitch. Over the next few years additional Cattle Dogs arrived in the UK from the Netherlands, Kenya, Germany and Australia, although prior to relaxation of rules regarding artificial insemination, the UK gene pool was limited. In 1985 an Australian Cattle Dog Society was formed and officially recognised by the Kennel Club; before this they had to compete in the category "Any Variety Not Separately Classified". Australian Cattle Dogs were competing successfully in obedience and working trials in the UK during the 1980s.