Blue Heelers are an Australian breed that contributed significantly to the beef industry back in the 1800s. That was in the newly discovered grasslands, also known as the “Terra Australis Incognita”. These dogs were crossbred to become herders, and they excelled at that job.
There are many interesting Blue Heeler facts that would definitely surprise you. Among them, is the fact that these dogs have Dalmatians and Dingos as ancestors.
Also, they come in a Red Heeler variety as well, and apart from the color, they’re identical in every way. These dogs are intelligent, energetic, and loyal. They make perfect companions, in the right homes!
Read on to know more amazing facts about Blue Heelers!
The 7 Things You Must Know About Blue Heelers!
From the history of this dog breed to the unique traits that Blue Heelers have, here’s everything you should know about these pet dogs.
1. Blue Heelers Are Designer Dogs
Until the early 1800s, Anglo-Australians settled in coastal towns in the new continent. However, they eventually decided to expand into the mainland, which came with a set of challenges. For starters, they couldn’t get the European dogs to work under the scorching heat of the Australian lands.
The settlers noticed that Dingoes, which were the native dogs of the Australian grasslands, had a remarkable tolerance for the harsh climate. It was George Elliot who first crossbred Collies and Smithfields with Dingoes. The result was already amazing, and he developed the Australian Cattle Dogs.
The Blue Heelers came about when the brothers, Harry and Jack Bagust, started breeding Dalmatians with the new crossbreed Australian Cattle Dogs.
2. Blue Heelers Also Go By the Name “Australian Cattle Dogs”
When the Blue Heelers were registered in the AKC, they were allowed both names: Blue Heelers and Australian Cattle Dogs.
Most people know that both names refer to the same dog, so it’s not really a confusing matter at all.
3. Blue Heelers Aren’t Too Friendly Around Kids or Pets!
Blue Heelers are herders through and through. Thus, they view any moving creatures around them as some sort of cattle to be pushed around and kept in line!
This attitude is by no means a form of aggression. However, their handling of little children or smaller pets could be pretty rough. It’s best then, to keep them around adults and especially alphas that can control their impulses.
4. Despite Being Herding Dogs, Blue Heelers Aren’t Too Big
Herding dogs are known to be large and commanding. This doesn’t apply too much in the case of the Blue Heelers, as they’re mostly medium-sized dogs. They weigh around 30-50 pounds and stand 17-20 inches high.
5. Blue Healers Have Double Coats
Double coats usually come as a feature to protect dogs from extremely cold weather. It seems that the crossbreeding of the Blue Heelers left them with that trait, even though it’s more of a burden in the hot Australian lands.
That’s probably why they shed their coats twice each year. During these times, it’s best to groom Blue Heelers with a bristle brush, or wide comb, to rid them of the discarded hair. Bathing them regularly with a shampoo that untangles their hair would be good too.
6. You Can Train Your Blue Heeler Easily
Blue Heelers inherited the sharp wit and intelligence from both their Collie and Dingo ancestors. They’re also highly energetic, muscular, and constantly on the move. Add to that their loyalty, affection, and willingness to learn, and you get the ideal dog in a training camp.
These dogs have the perfect combination of character traits and physical attributes that make training them a breeze.
7. Blue Heelers Need Exercise and Mental Stimulation
Blue Heelers are the polar opposites of couch dogs that sleep around all day and only wake up when the kibble arrives. This breed is outdoorsy, adventurous, and really thrives when it’s constantly on the move.
If you have a Blue Heeler, then you need to exercise it for at least half an hour every day. That’s also why they can’t be kept in an apartment where their activity would be rather limited.
Blue Heelers also need mental stimulation, and when they don’t get it, they can suffer from serious dog anxiety. The best way to do that is by playing catch or hunt with it. A great alternative is by giving it puzzle-like toys.
Every dog breed, and every dog, has special traits. And it’s only when you get to know them up close and personal that you can really appreciate their uniqueness.
Blue Heelers are an amazing dog breed that spent a long time in the Australian lands before becoming known to the rest of the world in 1980. They are natural herding dogs, that are happiest when they work hard and protect their domain.
Here are some of the questions we often receive about Blue Heelers, and our best answers to them.
Q1: What are Blue Heelers good for?
Blue Heelers are excellent herding dogs, so they’re protective and intelligent by nature. They’re loyal to their friends and respond well to training. You can use them in farming chores, or keep them as guard dogs.
These dogs are also quite active, so if you’re a serious athlete, a Blue Heeler can be your running mate or swimming buddy.
Q2: How smart are Blue Heelers?
Blue Heelers are extremely smart, to the point that they need to be mentally stimulated on a regular basis. Otherwise, they get bored and restless.
This is a significant advantage while training them, as this breed is always keen to learn new things. Additionally, they’re not stubborn, so they don’t give their friends a hard time during training sessions.
Q3: Is a Blue Heeler a good pet?
Blue Heelers are wonderful pets, provided they get the right home environment and lifestyle. They need a large area to run freely all day, mental stimulation, and plenty of physical activity. They also like to be around their friends at all times.
When they get all that, you’ll enjoy their companionship and unconditional love.
Q4: How long do Blue Heelers live?
Blue Heelers can live for up to 17 years, which is considered a long time in dog years. However, they might also suffer from some congenital health issues that can reduce their longevity to around 12 years.
It’s highly recommended to give Blue Healers a high-protein diet, rich in nutrients and anti-oxidants. Also, to visit the vet regularly, to make sure that any problems are addressed effectively early on.