Red Heeler Dogs
Not content with sitting around the house for hours, Red Heelers will encourage you to take them outside for exercise, play and work. They are high-energy, intelligent and active dogs with a steady attitude.
Red Heeler Pictures
- 35 - 45 pounds
- 17 - 20 inches
Ideal Human Companions
- Active, sporty types
Red Heelers on Dogster
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- Easily bored
What They Are Like to Live With
Red Heelers have a sense of independence, not requiring much in the way of cuddling or affection. Though tough and steady, they definitely appreciate praise and good treatment. Sometimes their herding instincts come into play at home. They may “herd” family members or nip lightly at heels if they want something. Red Heelers can be cautious and wary, making them excellent watchdogs.
Things You Should Know
Red Heelers need activities, tasks and lots of room to run; therefore, they are probably not suited for apartment living. Without open spaces and jobs to do, they can get into mischief and destructiveness.
A healthy Red Heeler can live as long as 15 years. Common health issues may include eye problems, hip dysplasia and deafness. Unless you live on a ranch, plan on keeping your Red Heeler on a leash. They are very curious and love to run and roam.
Red Heeler History
By crossing native Dingoes with Collies and other herding dogs, Australian George Elliott developed the Red Heeler, a.k.a. Australian Cattle Dog, in 1840. Ranchers were impressed with the breed’s toughness and work ethic, and they quickly became popular as cattle herders. Red Heelers continue to be popular with ranchers and cattlemen, not to mention regular pet owners.
The Look of a Red Heeler
Red Heelers are solid, sturdy and compact dogs with an alert, ready-to-work stance. Slightly longer than tall with curved, hanging tails, Red Heelers have muscular legs and strong necks. They have broad, somewhat rounded heads with pointy ears. Their dense, weather-resistant coats are usually red speckled with possible dark or tan markings.
Talk About Red Heelers
A real charmer
Emma is our lovable Red Heeler. She loves to get attention and can be very needy. She is a charmer but be warned, as is typical of the breed, she sheds constantly - that is her only bad quality. I love living with her because she is a guard dog to people who don't know her but really she wouldn't hurt a fly. She loves to exercise but does like to lounge on the couch and sleep with you.
~Casiano N., owner of A Red Heeler
Loyal AND a charmer
I totally agree with Casiano N. Jack (my Red Heeler boy) sheds constantly and craves attention non stop. He is extremely loyal. Although he seems to love everyone who enters my home - it is me who he stays with and chooses it that way. I love my dog!
~Janice T., owner of a Red Heeler
My first Red Heeler
This is my first time having a Red Heeler in my life. So far, Max is a wonderful little puppy - we have had her for about four months and she is just great with my 3-year-old dog. They have so much fun playing catch and chasing each other all over my yard. I have not had a problem with her biting, she just seems to fit it great with us. I am excited for summer to get here so we can take her hiking and camping. I think she would really love it!
~Krystal , owner of a Red Heeler
A great family dog
Our Red Heeler, Mesa, is a loving dog and she loves to snuggle and cuddle. She plays really well with our two small children. They like to play chase. She does sometimes nip at their heels, but with a gentle reminder to "leave it," she heeds our warning. She does like to wander and bark. She is easy to train and wants to please. We are very happy with her and would recommend this breed.
~T. S., owner of a Red Heeler
My best friend
Cricket is my 5-year-old Red Heeler. She is the best dog I could have ever hoped for. She loves to go on adventures, hikes, four wheeling, rivers, playing ball, biking and more!
We live in 100-117 degree weather in the summer and she is sturdy and takes the heat very well. She does get bored easily and will take to pacing and being very demanding if she is not getting the attention she thinks she deserves. Another thing about her is that she has a very high-pitched squeal when she is overly excited or anxious and is very verbal about everything, but oddly hardly ever growls. She LOVES to chew, and when she was younger she tried to eat our couch... but a raw hide chewie took care of that.
Also, to keep her entertained we bungie-corded a dog tire with a rope on it to a tree and she attacks it and plays tug of war with herself. She is very sturdy and quite rough, so it does get kind of hard for our 13-year-old rat terrier, but she does not mean to hurt her, it is just that she is big. She does shed...a LOT. I have to vacuum at least 2 times a week to keep up with her shedding. I would, despite the work, recommend this breed of dog to people. They are great companions and are always wanting to help and please you and are very intelligent. My girl is the best thing ever!
~Sasha D., owner of A Red Heeler
My Red Heeler mix
I have a Red Heeler/Jack Russell mix but he definitely took after the Red Heeler in markings and personality. Scrappy Doo is a two year old, energetic, fun loving, protective part of our family. Thankfully we have a huge back yard and he uses all of it! He has been easy to train and is very smart. He chose my 15 year old as his human and will protect all of my children if he feels they are being threatened. He sheds constantly and does great with my 9- and 11-year-old Shih Tzus. Wouldn't trade him for the world! He keeps our family entertained with his tricks and his idea that he might actually "get the squirrel."
~Sheila S., owner of a Red Heeler mix
A challenge, but a delight
So far, Molly is a challenge but a joy. She's just shy of 4 months old and supercute. We got her at 8 weeks and have socialized her a lot, so the guard dog is just starting to show --- she'll bark once if she hears a door open and she's not in the room. We have taught her how to sit and "pound it," and she caught on to both of those in a matter of minutes!
I have a 7-year-old son and she plays well with him, but her nipping can get rough. She is catching on to "no bite."
On walks, she will usually stay on my left side and I tell her "easy" instead of "heel." If she gets ahead of me, I give a slight tug on the leash and say "easy." She slows up and looks at me for approval. At the corners of the streets, she sits if I stop.
She also knows "Get your bone!" and finds her rawhide. She's very curious and has to be with us all the time. If we get in the fridge, she's right there helping us pick out food.
Lately, she's taken to bringing an empty flower pot from the backyard inside if we leave the door open. We put it back out there, but she keeps bringing it in. I have heard that the wild dog in their bloodlines can show some peculiar behavior.
She can be hyper if we don't keep her entertained, and will sneak upstairs to poop, so we're trying to break that. She's very sensitive to harsh scolding, but very receptive to praise. So far, we've found a wonderful breed for our home.
~Jill C., owner of a Red Heeler
Deaf, but loving
We have two Red Heelers, both born deaf. Micki is 7 and loves her Kong Frisbees, at least one per month. She blew out her ACL running, but seems not to worry much about it.
Blossom is 4 and we adopted her from the local shelter. She was in three homes in the last two years. She is deaf and colorblind, but loves everyone and gives wet kisses.
Both are useless as watchdogs, as they are far too loving and friendly -- so they just eat and sleep!
~Michael J, owner of two Red Heelers
A great snuggling companion
We rescued our red heeler/lab mix, Roxy, from the pound a little over a year ago. She was 10 months old. She was a bit skittish at the pound and was nipping at people, but when she met my husband it was love at first sight. She is very easy to train, a great watchdog, and a wonderful addition to our family. This is such a great breed, and the only negative (which I am sure most owners would agree with) is the shedding issue. Other than that, this is a near-perfect dog: obedient, loving, and just all-around fun. You do need to keep them busy, but once they settle down they are great snuggling companions. I would highly recommend this breed to singles and/or people with children.
~Lisa T, owner of a Red Heeler/lab mix
Trustworthy with kids
Our girl's name is Sadie and she is the most intelligent dog we have ever had -- and we have had many different breeds.
Sadie absolutely loves our four granddaughters, and we can trust her with all the kids in our neighborhood. She makes sure I walk her every day, and talks to me until we go. Sometimes she lets me know which way she wants to go, and sometimes I get to pick the way. Sadie is our best friend.
~Kathy R, owner of a Red Heeler
Smart and persistent
This dog is incredibly loving, warm, and playful. The most disarming thing is their attentiveness. This breed is very inquisitive and intelligent, yet not overbearing or aggressive. Ours is still a puppy and has been told not to chase the wild ducks, so she simply doesn't. We also took only a week to train her to leave our loose chickens and rabbits alone, which really surprised us. She is playful with our small group of goats/sheep, completely awesome with our two young girls, and was incredibly easy to potty train.
This breed is very persistent. As in, if they are hungry they will carry their food bowl in and drop it in your underwear if you're in the bathroom; drop a tennis ball into your bathwater if you're taking a break from it all; and even bring their leash up on the bed to wake you in the morning. At least you always know what is on their mind because their communication skills aren't lacking!
This is an incredible breed, for an active family, even one with young kids. Playing and loving is a must, and they will be 110 percent devoted to their family.
~Jessica M., owner of a Red Heeler mix
We miss our "roof dog"
We adopted Jax off the street as a 6-month-old stray. Five months later my daughter was born, and before she could walk, it was clear Jax was her dog.
Having never owned a herding breed before, we didn't know what we were in for. Jax got into a lot of trouble the first year or so (destructive chewing, fence jumping, trying to herd the cats), but was always a gentle and constant companion. The behavioral problems worked themselves out when we moved to a bigger house with a privacy fence and a bigger yard. Still, Jax figured out how to get on the roof by walking up a crooked old tree in the backyard!
As my daughter grew, Jax shared in many of our family outdoor activities. She loved playing in the water whenever we would visit the lake or a nearby creek. She enjoyed long walks in a nearby park, always at my daughter's side. She has always been very good with our other pets, and would even play chase with our smaller dogs.
We recently lost our beloved Jax to cancer. Although our family is deeply saddened by our loss, Jax has left us with many happy memories and great stories to tell of her antics. Neigbors who encounter me watering my front lawn still stop by and ask about "the roof dog."
~Perry M, owner of a Red Heeler