Australian Cattle Dog

Blue heelers are officially known as Australian cattle dogs, heelers, cattle dogs and Queensland heelers. Red Australian cattle dogs are called red heelers. In the early 19th century, Thomas Hall began to cross dingoes with traditional droving dogs. The result was an excellent cattle dog with the ability to drive herds over long distances. He called these dogs Halls heelers because they drove cattle by nipping at the animals' heels. In the ensuing years, people began to refer to these dogs as red or blue heelers based on the dogs' coat colors. In the 1940s and 1950s, blue heelers were imported to the United States and gained popularity. Today, these dogs are recognized by the American Kennel Club, and they are used as cattle dogs, general working dogs, agility dogs, guard dogs, service dogs, therapy dogs and family pets.

The Australian Cattle Dog is a medium-sized, compact dog breed with a powerful build and a long tail. It is strong and muscular and able to run at great speeds and is very agile. They have wide set, triangular ears and oval dark brown eyes. It has a double coat consisting of a short dense undercoat and a short outer coat.

The Australian cattle dog has a broad head with a strong muzzle, wide-set, pricked ears and dark, oval-shaped eyes. The average height of a blue heeler is between 17 and 20 inches, and the average weight is between 33 and 50 pounds. Males are larger than females. Blue heelers have double coats made up of smooth, water-resistant outer coats and dense undercoats. These dogs appear blue because they have black and white hairs distributed throughout their coats. Similarly, red heelers appear red because their coats are comprised of a mix of brown and white hairs. Cattle dogs can be mottled or speckled, and some have tan, black or blue markings. Personality: Like most herding dogs, the Australian Cattle Dog is very active, independent and energetic. It needs ample daily exercise and intellectual stimulation. This is definitely not an apartment dog. It is happiest when it has a task and is very obedient, responsive and affectionate dog when it gets the exercise it needs. If their exercise needs are not met, Australian Cattle Dogs can be stubborn, aggressive and destructive. They are friendly towards children within their own family but may be suspicious towards strange children.

They have strong herding instincts and often nip running pets and children. Heelers are also affectionate pets because they bond strongly with their owners. They make excellent guard dogs because they tend to be highly protective of their families and suspicious of strangers. Since they were bred to be working dogs and have high energy levels, blue heelers require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation.

Australian Cattle Dog image
Breed Type
Pure
Origin
Australia
Family
Function
Life Span
10-14 Years
Hypoallergenic
No
Other Names
Blue Heeler, Heelers, Cattle dogs, Queensland Heelers, Red Heelers (Red Australian cattle dogs), Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog Build Information

Size
Medium
Length (Male)
13-20 in.
Length (Female)
18-20 in.
Weight
41 - 65 lbs
Litter Size
4 - 5 Puppies
Tail Dock or Crop
No
Preferred Climate
Any Climate

The Australian Cattle Dog is a medium-sized, compact dog breed with a powerful build and a long tail. It is strong and muscular and able to run at great speeds and is very agile. They have wide set, triangular ears and oval dark brown eyes. It has a double coat consisting of a short dense undercoat and a short outer coat.

The Australian cattle dog has a broad head with a strong muzzle, wide-set, pricked ears and dark, oval-shaped eyes. The average height of a blue heeler is between 17 and 20 inches, and the average weight is between 33 and 50 pounds.

Males are larger than females.

Blue heelers have double coats made up of smooth, water-resistant outer coats and dense undercoats. These dogs appear blue because they have black and white hairs distributed throughout their coats. Similarly, red heelers appear red because their coats are comprised of a mix of brown and white hairs. Cattle dogs can be mottled or speckled, and some have tan, black or blue markings.

Behaviour and Personality

Kid Friendliness
Affection Level
Activity Level
Energy Level
Independant
Good to Other Pets
Dominating or Submissive?
Guardian Skills
Barking
Aggressiveness Level

Like most herding dogs, the Australian Cattle Dog is very active, independent and energetic. It needs ample daily exercise and intellectual stimulation. This is definitely not an apartment dog. It is happiest when it has a task and is very obedient, responsive and affectionate dog when it gets the exercise it needs. If their exercise needs are not met, Australian Cattle Dogs can be stubborn, aggressive and destructive.

They are friendly towards children within their own family but may be suspicious towards strange children.

They have strong herding instincts and often nip running pets and children.

Heelers are also affectionate pets because they bond strongly with their owners. They make excellent guard dogs because they tend to be highly protective of their families and suspicious of strangers. Since they were bred to be working dogs and have high energy levels, blue heelers require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation.

Appearance

Shedding
Moderate
Grooming
Low Maintenance
Coat Type
Dense

Blue heelers require little grooming other than weekly brushing, nail trims and the occasional bath. These dogs do not shed much throughout the year. Instead, males and spayed females blow their coats once per year, and intact females blow their coats twice per year. During this time, the dogs require daily brushing and periodic bathing.

Breed's Talents and Facts

Training
Hard
Hunting Companion
No
Jolly for Jogging
Yes
Sighting Capabilities
No
Ideal for Tracking
No
Retrieving Skills
Yes
Pointing Breed
No
Herding Skills
Yes
Dutiful Watchdog
Yes
Security Guard Capable
Yes
Police Performer
No
Wet Water rescues
No
Assist Disable Owners
No
Dog Sledding
No
Able to Perform Dog Carting
No
Agile/Zippy
Yes
Fun with Lure Coursing
No
Obedient
Yes
Possible Schutzhund Work
No
Trainable for Tricks
Yes
  • The blue heeler is a robust dog, and its average life expectancy is between 11 and 14 years
  • Bred as a cattle dog
  • Strong herding instinct
  • Requires considerable exercise and mental stimulation
  • The heeler is an agile, athletic, protective and a loyal dog breed
  • These dogs are highly intelligent, independent, energetic and stubborn
  • Australian Cattle Dogs are low maintenance when it comes to grooming, but need regular brushing

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Common Health Conditions in Australian Cattle Dogs

The most common health problems in Australian cattle dogs are Deafness, Progressive retinal atrophy, Hip dysplasia, and Elbow dysplasia.

Australian Cattle Dog Pet Insurance

When adding a dog or cat to your family you want to make sure your pet is happy, healthy and protected. During its lifetime your pet is exposed to many illnesses and diseases and some breeds are affected by a congenital disease which is a condition existing at birth. At these moments when your pet is ill or maybe needs surgery, you want to be protected for the unexpected and high veterinarian costs.

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