How Long Do Blue Heelers Live?

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Written by: Celestine Gomez
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I can’t tell you what a blessing it is to be a proud parent of a Blue Heeler, one of the most energetic and hardworking dog breeds. Not to mention their fierce loyalty and intelligence, as well as their fun and loving nature.

Sadly, while no dog parent ever wants to ask this question, whenever my pup shows any signs of illness, I’m instantly reminded of the fact that dogs don’t live forever.

So, how long do Blue Heelers live?

Fortunately, Blue Heelers have one of the longest life spans of any dog breed of its size, ranging from 12 to 16 years. They even have a higher survival rate than larger breeds.

What Factors Could Affect a Blue Heeler’s Lifespan?

Thankfully, due to their high-energy and active lifestyle, Blue Heelers are a robust breed with few medical concerns.

They’re also descended from Dingoes, which are native Australian wild dogs. Dingoes are known for their toughness and stamina, which Blue Heelers have been able to retain to this day.

In fact, the oldest dog in the world was a Blue Heeler. The dog, Bluey, entered the Guinness World Records as the oldest dog after living for 29 years and five months.

Unfortunately, even if Blue Heelers aren’t ones to be constantly sick, like any living organism, they’re susceptible to illness, especially as they age. That’s why you should take your Blue Heeler to the vet at least once a year for a general checkup.

Close up of Blue heeler's face

Your Blue Heeler is indeed unlikely to contract or develop any of the following illnesses. Still, it’s beneficial to have some basic knowledge about the factors that may affect his lifespan.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a hereditary growth disorder that causes abnormalities in a dog’s hind legs. Basically, the femoral head and the pelvic socket don’t develop at the same rate and become uneven.

As a result, a dog suffering from hip dysplasia will find it painful to step on his hind legs and won’t be able to properly use his limbs.

While it’s not a life-threatening condition, hip dysplasia can significantly worsen a Heeler’s quality of life.


Cataracts form when proteins in the eye’s lens begin to clump together. Dogs who have this condition tend to have foggy areas on the eye’s lens that prevent light from passing through.

Like people, Blue Heelers usually develop cataracts with old age, impairing their ability to see clearly. Worse, if left untreated, cataracts can result in total blindness.

Heart Disease

Dogs, like humans, can develop heart disease due to a variety of reasons. Breed, diet, weight, and age are all potential risk factors.

One common heart disease that dogs may develop is Cardiomyopathy, where the cardiac muscle enlarges and weakens. As a result, the heart finds it more difficult to beat normally.

What’s worth noting about Cardiomyopathy is that its symptoms aren’t always specific. That’s why it’s always a good idea to consult your veterinarian if you notice any behavioral changes in your dog.


Bloat is a medical emergency and a life-threatening condition. It’s also more common in Blue Heelers than in other breeds.

This medical condition occurs when a dog’s stomach twists as it fills with gas, food, or fluid, potentially sending the dog into shock.

Unfortunately, bloat can occur suddenly and advance rapidly. What’s more, if not treated right away, the problem can become severe.

Knowing what to look for can help you ensure that your pup receives immediate medical attention if he develops bloat. Its symptoms include:

  • Retching
  • Abdomen enlargement
  • Salivation
  • Whining from the pain
  • Restlessness

How to Care for a Blue Heeler

Veterinary in latex gloves, holding dog's paw

Any dog breed, not just Blue Heelers, can live a long, healthy, and happy life if given the proper care. So, here are some tips on how to care for a Blue Heeler:


A Blue Heeler’s diet should be high in calcium, vitamin A and D, fiber, and fatty acids. Adult Blue Heelers also need a lot of protein to keep their muscles healthy.

To provide your pup with a nourishing home-cooked meal, combine:

  • 50 percent human-grade animal protein, such as organ meat, poultry, and fatty fish
  • 25 percent slow-release carbs, such as quinoa, brown rice, and oats
  • 25 percent vegetables and fruit

You can also feed your dog high-quality commercial foods. These foods are packed with the necessary nutrients to match the Blue Heeler’s active lifestyle, replenishing his energy and protecting him from disease.


Regular grooming improves a dog’s appearance and helps prevent health problems. Fortunately, Blue Heelers don’t require much upkeep.

You’d only need to brush your pup once a week, as you’ll come to find that Blue Heelers can heavily shed.

What’s more, don’t forget to trim his nails constantly and wash him at least once a month. You should also clean his ears frequently to avoid any infections.

When you regularly groom your dog, you can eliminate shedding, fleas, ticks, and several medical concerns.


Given their active and energetic nature, Blue Heelers need to exercise frequently. At the very least, they need half an hour of daily physical activity. It’s also essential to give them plenty of room to run around.

Aside from exercise, Blue Heelers need at least half an hour of fun activities. Giving them a challenge followed by positive reinforcement can keep them happy and engaged. So, play with them using balls, frisbees, and chew toys.

Frequently Asked Questions

You may still have some questions, so we’ve answered the most frequently asked questions about Blue Heelers.

What Is the Difference Between a Blue Heeler and an Australian Cattle Dog?

The Blue Heeler and the Australian Cattle Dog belong to the same breed. Only the color of their coats sets the two apart.

Australian Cattle Dogs typically have red coats, but Blue Heelers are the ones with blue coats.

Are Blue Heelers Good Family Pets?

Due to their size and personality, Blue Heelers are wonderful family dogs.

However, many find that they work best in households without young children. Because Blue Heelers are energetic, raising one with children can be challenging.

Final Thoughts

How long do Blue Heelers live?

Blue Heelers have a life expectancy of 12 to 16 years, making them one of the medium-sized breeds with the longest life expectancy. However, depending on a dog’s health, the exact lifespan may vary.

Several conditions, such as heart disease and stomach bloating, can reduce a dog’s lifespan. That’s why it’s best to take excellent care of your pups.

Luckily, Blue Heelers only need a healthy diet, consistent grooming, and regular exercise.

As long as you look out after your dog, he’ll be content, healthy, and loving every moment spent with you.

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Celestine Gomez

I'm Celestine Gomez, worked for 5 years in an animal shelter in Los Angeles, California. Having noticed the inherent passion and zeal in me to care for pets, I took a step further to create a team of I and like-minded individuals to provide an informative resource in order to broaden the knowledge base of a regular pet owners.