Facts on the Blue Heeler Dog

Mixing native Dingoes with Collies and other herding dogs, Australian George Elliott developed the Blue Heeler in 1840. They are also called Australian Heelers, Queensland Heelers and Australian Cattle Dogs.

A blue heeler dog plays with a snowball.
A blue heeler dog. Photography by BGSmith / Shutterstock.

Proud parent of a Blue Heeler who’s looking to learn more or thinking about getting one? Learn the facts about this dog here:

Blue Heeler Quick Facts:

A blue heeler dog.
Look at that gorgeous coat on this Blue Heeler. Photography by Sandra Caldwell / Shutterstock.
  • Weight: 35 – 45 pounds
  • Height: 17 – 20 inches

Blue Heelers (whose breed name is the American Cattle Dog) are solid, sturdy and compact dogs with an alert, ready-to-work stance. Slightly longer than tall with curved, hanging tails, they have muscular legs and strong necks and broad, somewhat rounded heads with pointy ears. Their dense, weather-resistant coats come blue, blue mottled, blue speckled or red speckled — both with possible dark or tan markings. The name Blue Heeler refers to the Australian Cattle Dog with the blue coat, while the red-coated Australian Cattle Dog is sometimes referred to as the Red Heeler.

Blue Heeler Traits:

  • Intelligent
  • Resourceful
  • Active
  • Alert
  • Hard-working
  • Protective

Ideal human companions — who gets along with Blue Heelers?

A Blue Heeler dog.
Active, sporty types get along with Blue Heeler dogs. Photography by WOLF AVNI / Shutterstock.
  • Singles
  • Active, sporty types
  • Families
  • Hunters
  • Cattle breeders

What are Blue Heelers like to live with?

These are high-energy, clever and active dogs. Not content with sitting around the house for hours on end, These pets will encourage you to take them outside for exercise, play and work.

These pets, like most herders, can be one-person dogs. They also have a unique independence, not requiring much in the way of cuddling or affection. Though tough and resolute, they will definitely appreciate positive feedback and good treatment. Sometimes their herding instincts can suddenly come into play. They may “herd” family members or nip lightly at heels if they want something.

They don’t bark too much, but they are still very protective of the home. These dogs can be cautious and wary — qualities that make them excellent guard dogs. They are also friendly and loving companions.

What you should know about Blue Heelers

Blue 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. Easily trained, they need a firm hand controlling them so that they don’t bond with another dominant dog in the neighborhood.

Some may have the urge to nip. A toy can solve this problem. Just be sure it’s a tough one: These pets can tear a typical dog toy to shreds in one sitting. Also remember: Keep this pup on a leash. They are very curious and love to run and roam. Also, they can have issues with dogs they don’t know very well.

A healthy Blue Heeler can live as long as 15 years. Common health issues can include eye problems, hip dysplasia and deafness.

Blue Heeler history

Mixing native Dingoes with Collies and other herding dogs, Australian George Elliott developed the Australian Cattle Dog (the Blue Heeler) in 1840. Australian cattlemen and ranchers loved the breed’s toughness and work ethic, and the dogs quickly became popular as cattle herders. The American Kennel Club officially recognizes the breed name as the Australian Cattle Dog. The blue coat version is the one called Blue Heeler, which is more of a nickname than an official name. Australian Cattle Dogs are also called Australian Heelers or Queensland Heelers.

Tell us: Do you have a Blue Heeler? What attracted you to this type of dog?

Thumbnail: Photography by BGSmith / Shutterstock.

Read more about Blue Heelers on Dogster.com:

109 thoughts on “Facts on the Blue Heeler Dog”

  1. And 'Cattle Dog' is its Nickname – Blue Heeler the Official name – perhaps get your whole article re written as its not at all accurate.

  2. Your information regarding George Elliot being the one to develop the Blue Heelers in Australia is incorrect – It was the Hall Family from the Hunter Valley that created the dog – originally called the Halls Heeler.

  3. I was fostering dogs and a friend asked me to place a Senior Blue Heeler. I had all the intentions to do that with my group. But, Gunner decided he wanted me. So I gave up trying and kept him. I am his person for sure. He follows me everywhere, UGH. I don't get mad about it, I know it's because he loves me. I love the breed, but he really needs a job.

  4. Judy Kay Baker

    We've had our blue heeler, Cold Beer, since he was four weeks old. He's now 6 months. He will eat and swallow anything…rocks, wood, cloth, plastic. Then, later throw it up in a wad. Do any of you have a blue heeler that does this?

    1. Yes. I have a German Blue heeler I got her when she was 6 weeks old. She will eat anything in the yard. So I really have to watch her.

    2. Our Blue Heeler (Blue is her name) used to eat rocks. I was worried for a while but it sounds like this is normal. She even ate my new sofa. Grrr! She's now over two years old and we've learned…..lots of toys to chase & chew on. She especially loves her herding ball and, oddly, a large plastic ice cream container. Any plastic bowl shape she can put snout under is game on. The best & cheapest toy that keeps her busy for a long time.

    3. I have 2, sisters. 4 months old and they absolutely do this as well. Especially if I try to take something, they’ll swollen it whole. And then I get to clean it up later. ???? I have had all different dogs in my 52 years and these girls have made the blue heeler my favorite breed.

  5. My Blue Heeler Pete is 10 now but when i got him as a pup, he would try to heel and nip. I broke him of heeling by both turning around and growling at him and gently “cow” kicking at him. it took a few times but worked for us. The nipping was easier, when he nipped me I growled and nipped his ear tip back ! This may sound silly but it worked for us. this is the same thing a mother dog would do to her pup and they understand this. There is never a reason to hit a dog, if you do, they won’t understand why or what you are. Watch dogs inter act ! When we have had a attitude problem, grabing him by the throat and growling reduces him to a ear folded submissive pup who can’t seem to get close enough to me or lick me enough. this behavior he understand.

  6. I don’t remember a time in my life not having a heeler around, there amazing dogs how well do anything for a family. But find themselves attaching to a single person.

  7. I read this article before we got our heeler, Salem, and was scared she was going to be aggressive and too much to handle. She is now 11 months. We’ve been training and raising her since she was 8 weeks old. She is very very loyal to myself and my boyfriend. Both of us have been there since we got her. Shes amazing off leash. We take her on 10-12 mile hikes off leash and she might go ahead of us or behind us but always has to be in eyesight. If one of us are lagging behind she’ll stop and wait and tell the other to stop with a bark. She is soo smart! She already knows so many commands and tricks. Very high energy! Definitely need to run her everyday. She loves to cuddle, loves people and loves other dogs. Our blue heeler is more timid than aggressive. We’re so happy to have her.

  8. I’m from australia.
    Had blue heelers all my live. Come from a 2200 acre ranch and they are a tough loyal dog.
    However i moved to central Texas and the itching and biting the poor guy does on himself is crazy. I suffer here too. If a mosquito bites my hand it swells up like a softball for a week.
    His teeth have worn down quite a lot with his biting on himself.
    Its not like this in queensland were we are from and its pretty feral there for biting insects.
    The only thing i found that helps him is front line plus. Poor guy.

  9. I have a blue heeler mix, he’s 10 now….he is ADDICTED to chasing a red laser light! which we do almost every night….it’s a great way to run off excess energy at night before bed. He is the SMARTEST dog I’ve ever had, and has a HUGE vocabulary. When it’s his “time”, it’s going to be very rough. Mine was raised with a cat, so he has no problem with cats, but IF they run, he WILL chase! Even his own cat. I haven’t been very strict with that part of his training, as it doesn’t happen often. I have to say, he is currently getting CBD oil, as he does have a hip issue, and it is working wonders for him. Thank you so much for this post, loved reading all the comments and hearing about similar traits he has with others.

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  14. My wife and I have one we got from a kill shelter she is six months old we also have a Husky Shepard mix he is one year and she has taken over we love her when I saw those eyes and ears I had to go back and get her we were looking for something like him

    1. Elizabeth Southerland

      I got my pup just three weeks ago and she is already my best friend. She does not leave my side ever. If go to the bathroom she is right there guarding the door. My husband try to get in and she growled so it looks like she a mommy girl. Chewing is a problem but we got her dog chew rope and a toy bone so it’s been better. I’m so happy with my pup.

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  20. Our 8 mos heeler mix Aspen came from an Indian Reservation in NM. Apparently they spend 100% of their life outside. We’ve had her 2 months & love her more everyday! She is very sweet around people & other dogs & is slowly getting used to my 2 cats. She does want to chase them but over time the cats are learning to stand their ground. This seems to dissuade Aspen’s interest. Aspen is an extremely active dog and we are an active family. She gets walked 3 miles every morning & evening. On the weekends we take her hiking and sometimes swimming. Although she hesitates to go in all the way but maybe she just needs to warm up to it more. She has been a really great dog to have and would highly recommend to adopt. There are so many dogs (Reservation Dogs) out there that need loving homes. One thing I forgot to mention is that Aspen smiles all the time! That brings so much happiness to my heart!

  21. We found our puppy at a gas station, limping with a very noticeable broken leg. We found out she had been there all morning. This was a popular spot to dump animals unfortunately. She was about 8 weeks old. She is 5 months old now, and I cannot imagine ever not having her! She is the most loveable, loyal dog ever. She trains us so easily..haha. She appears to be mixed with something, only because her legs are pretty long, and she doesn’t have that lower rear end. She does not know a stranger, and greets everyone she sees with equal excitement. She appears to have an old soul.

  22. Angela D Jones

    I have a question about my blue heeler. He’s 6 months old and got him at 8 wks. I have a smaller breed dog and they have bonded really well. My one and only real concern is that when they play he is always trying to bite at her back. Is this common with these dogs. This is my first blue heeler. I have knowledge about the breed but this one thing. I just don’t know. I’ve heard things but don’t know if this is a concern. If it’s a training thing. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. BTW….no other issues with him. He’s amazing.

    1. Dogster Admin

      Hi there,
      We suggest asking a trainer / behaviorist for the best insight. Here are some more articles on Blue Heelers and puppy training that might provide some additional insight:

      1. thank you for the tip. I haven’t had a puppy in so long, and I want to do this right. She already knows about 6 tricks. Since she has learned to tell me specifically that she needs water. Gosh I love her. 🙂

        1. I AM ON NUMBER 2. The first was very polite and very well mannered. Would kill varmints and go toe to toe with Coyotes. She would not touch the cats. She tried to please with every fiber in her body. The second had been killing chickens and it transferred to killing cats. She is a bull in a china shop jumping on the couch. One ear she slit from a coyote fight…I was told. Number one would not lay on her back. Number 2 always wants her tummy rubbed.

          Hard to imagine getting any other breed except a German Shepherd. I had a very smart one of those.

  23. My sister just recently got a blue heeler and brought her over for dog sitting. I do have two other dogs of my own, a mini Schnauzer and a long haired cream dachshund. My brother was feeding both my dogs and the heeler but putting them in different rooms. My mini schnauzer bumped the heeler and then got attacked by the heeler. His injuries are very severe and could possibly lead to death. I have heard about warning other dogs with food and how they usually just nip or growl but the heeler attacked my schnauzer and never let go of him. Is this a thing that they do since they are hunting/herding dogs?

      1. I agree. We got our Heeler at 6 or 8 weeks. Been a couple years now. Anyway, since she was a pup we would periodically take her bowl away while she was eating and then put it back a few seconds later to try to avert food aggression. Did the same with toys. It was important because we have 3 children. She's fine if you do this now; no growling or anything. She'll even share a bowl with my niece's dog who is 3x her size (Argentine Dogo/Doberman/Sheppard). It's funny because she tries to dominate this dog and Bailey just puts her giant paw on Blue's head and pushes her down like "stop it. You're annoying.". LOL. They play very well together. Blue is even good friends with one of my mom's cats. Not so much the others.
        It's mostly all in how they are raised. I believe instinct can kick in – same with humans, but like us, they just need to learn self-control or avoidance from that behaviour.

    1. Yes……they will try to kill any dog or animal they attack. My heeler is very aggressive toward any strange animals and is a fierce alpha around my other dogs. Unfortunately this is a trait that some of them have and you have to be aware of it and careful for other dogs’ and animals’ sakes. Plus I don’t want my heeler hurt (even if he started the fight).

  24. My Charlie is about 92 pounds and he just turned two in February. He is a blue heeler/pit mix – and I love him to pieces. I am single and live alone. He is very protective of me, my home and my car. If he sees anyone coming too close to either – you can visibly see his agitation. He knows almost 60 words. I live in a large apartment – but it’s still an apartment community – so I take him to doggie daycare every day to get him socialized and to get his exercise. He gets to play with other dogs for about 6 hours per day. When I pick him up after work – he is exhausted, which makes me very happy. When I first got Charlie – my brother lived with me and my brother has sleep apnea. One day – Charlie was at my brother’s bedroom door barking and refused to move from it. My brother had stopped breathing. My family adores Charlie and they always tell people how Charlie saved my brother’s life. Charlie is his happiest when he and I are spending one on one time together. He loves playing fetch – but he tends to overwork his left hind leg and ends up limping if we play too long – so I limit our fetch time to 20-30 minutes. I just love my Charlie boy and cannot imagine life without him.

    1. We are the owners of a beautiful blue heeler/pit mix, quite unintentionally lol. Our son brought her home, not realizing what he was in for, and it quickly became obvious (to us anyway) that he was not a fitting owner for her. She is very active, stubborn and mouthy..I have never had a dog “argue” with me and have to have the last word like her! The breed definitely requires a take charge owner with some experience. I wasn’t familiar with the breed but I’ve had dogs my entire life and I picked up on that obvious fact. I could tell she was extremely intelligent and eager to be doing something at all times, all she needed was someone to put in that time and effort and help direct all that energy. After my son moved out we were reluctant, initially, to keep her bc she’s more difficult than what we were used to and wants to eat anything smaller than her, which includes our chickens! We have decided however, to give it a go bc she’s also a total sweetheart and I feel with effort and vigilance to keep her from eating our chickens, she will be a great family member..well she kinda already is bc I must admit we’ve already become attached. I will say, she’s already shown great potential..but that back talking, headstrong, bratty side still flashes on and off lol. After learning about the breed she definitely ticks all the boxes.

  25. My dani girl just turned one in January and i’ve only grown up with small breeds such as yorkies. Dani is a crazy one she’s a blue heeler/border collie and extremely intelligent. Just the other day out of nowhere brought me a potato…. very sneaky girl but since i’ve had her at 8 weeks she has always been skiddish of strangers even when i first met her and her siblings they were scared of people. I found it it very odd and no matter what i did for her or socialized her she was scared and verrry protective. I don’t have a problem with her effort to protect though. she’s an all around amazing dog towards my family and their little pups but people also don’t understand that some dogs don’t like it when you come up to them and try and be friends.

  26. I have a rescue Blue Heeler mix??? She is two years old and a true joy. Yes she nips at my heels when I run down the stairs and likes to mouth our hands. Early on we used the words “no biting, kisses” and she would then just lick our hands. It is daily and a game now. She never bites, just puts her mouth around our hands.. a couple of her litter mates had GSD markings but she is solid red with very large pointy ears. We think all of her dingo genes came to the forefront. Yes very active and very strong weighing in at 40 lbs but never destructive when left alone. A very affectionate pooch!

  27. How are blue heelers with a cat existing in the home already? 3 year old cat, small sized, very sweet and affectionate cat. But usually runs under the bed when company comes over. Not sure how a dog/blue heeler would work in this situation. Hoping the cat would warm up to the puppy.

    1. Our heeler LOVED cats, chasing them that is. I’m sure if the dog is introduced as a true puppy he/she will grow up fine together but the cat is more of an issue. It will most likely not appreciate the intrusion into its domain and go into hiding for a while, possibly months, until it warms to the new arrival.

      1. Lynne,
        You’re absolutely correct. A Blue Heeler will kill a cat, rabbit or anything else they can catch.
        My Son has a Blue Heeler for about 5 years. Unfortunately his dog is not welcome in most family members homes because he nips at small children, barks at them terrifying them and attacks other dogs no matter the size. He’s very unpredictable at best.

        1. I have a Heeler and a cat and my Heeler absolutely loves my kitty. She has never once even nipped at her. She is so gentle she will lie down in front of my cat and wag her tail and see if my cat will play with her. Even when my cat is grumpy, and smacks her in the face (doesn’t use her claws) my Heeler never reacts in aggression. I believe it’s most often how early they are socialized and if they are trained to get a long. My Heeler has been around the cat since 9 wks old. She will even leave quail alone (she wants to chase them) if I tell her too. Only small animals she acts aggressive towards are squirrels and when she smells skunks.

      2. My puppy respects his older kitty brother. I hope this continues. She puts her ears down and wags her butt in submission. They even play “chase each other around the house and on all the furniture”.

  28. I have discovered that my Vixen , who is only 7 weeks, is intrepid, tenacious, loyal almost to a fault, and more intelligent than I expected. AND Her eyes are emerald green. I was visiting friends that had a litter ready for a home. I wasn’t looking for a dog, but my 11 year old Pit/Walker , Mona, picked her out of 5 and insisted we take Vixen home. I don’t think I’ll be disappointed. It’s almost like Mona selected her successor.

  29. I called it the snow king dog for their shinny skin .Also this breed is smarter then others . I like Blue Heeler for their hardworking and smartness but afraid of dangerous eye contact and aggressive lookup .

  30. This article is mostly right for my bluey Gemma, she’s a 9 year old female from Queensland, Australia. She was a cattle dog for the first 8 years of her life but now has come to live with me. She is so friendly and affectionate to everyone and every dog she meets, there isn’t a mean bone in her body. She’s a ball of energy and so I take her for walks/to play fetch twice a day. She will accompany me anywhere I go, whether on walks, in the car or simply if I’m walking from my bedroom to the kitchen. When I shower, she guards the door. She doesn’t nip or bite and she is exceptionally obedient but a little mischevious. I love her to absolute pieces and wouldn’t swap her for the world.

    1. My blue heeler puppy LOVES the snow. She sleeps inside and also spends time inside too but she probably spends around 4-6 hours outside in winter months and she has no problem with it. She would die if she had to stay inside all day lol

      1. I have had two. They both loved to play in the snow, especially when being walked or in the back yard. Like any dog, their paws are sensitive so they can get frostbite or burns from hot pavement. Blue Heelers will tell you what they need. They are brilliant at communicating, however, you must understand them to translate their messages. I had a major stroke three years ago. My three year old has never left my side since.

    2. They have a double coat and can sleep in a snowdrift. They blow their out coat twice a year. They catch on fast, vary fast. Creatures of habit. They love the routine. Cheese every night at 10 and bed at 11. Get up to pee at 2 ND 4 AND BACK OUT AT 7. HAHAHA

  31. I had one through my teens. Smokey died at 7 years, then went in the Army for a few too many years. At 37 brought my family home, and we wanted a dog. After a few miserable attempts at adopting, and a few fines. I found a breeder, and bought Hippo. She’s blue, with red legs, clutsy puppy, I called her purple hippopotamus. She walks every step with me, yup, sitting there right now waiting for me to get up.
    City says she has to be on a leash, so she drags one along. If she sees another dog she might get loud, but she won’t leave me.
    If I hold my hand up high she will leap up in the air, and lightly snap at it. Will do that for miles if I let her. I call out Kangarooooo!!!
    She has a little brother with the markings of a red, but he’s mixed. He’s also much more possessive and affectionate. Both have learned to give hugs, by rubbing the top of their head on my sternum, or the side of my head.
    I think this breed in general is smarter than most politicians.

  32. On my 2nd Blue Heeler, they absolutely are amazing dogs! There are lots of fakes, make sure you see the parents, demand it. They should be born white with their black spots visible. A spot closest to their hind quarters are the higher intelligence however much more mischievous the first couple years & they bloom beautifully! A stern owner is the ticket to a wonderful dog and owner relationship. Best of luck…

    1. There is a lot of variability in the appearance of blue heelers. Not all of them are blue, some are red, and the earliest forms were called “Hall’s Heelers” and had both straight and floppy ears and looked a lot like a large blue collie with tan markings on the legs and face from the dingo crossing. Your comments that to verify the lineage that the puppies are all born white with spots is complete nonsense. I have seen a great deal of variation in their size, ears, and markings. There is also quite a bit of variability of their size, and many blue heelers can get up to 60 lbs. As puppies, most of them have floppy ears which get stiffer as they grow up. The one common trait across all of their variation is their intelligence, which is greater than most breeds.

      1. I agree. My dog is a heeler mix (mostly heeler with some Aussie Shepherd or BC, thought the shelter) and he is amazing – incredibly intelligent, loyal, affectionate, hilarious, quite handsome, and just a happy guy, especially after a hike or playtime in the yard (which is necessary at least three times a day to keep him chill during down time when I need to work).
        I guess if purebreds is your thing, it’s your thing. But mixed breeds from unknown lineage can be fabulous companions and it’s terribly sad that they get overlooked in favor of a pure bred pup. Personally, I would never buy from a breeder. Adoption all the way. Not judging anyone, mind you. Just reminding readers, I hope, that there are options and some very perfect dogs out there with unknown lineage, just waiting for a home.

        1. Just came back from the first vet visit to learn my my dog is a Australian shepherd blue heeler mix. She came from a shelter in rural central California, so definitely a farm dog. Personality is more blue heeler, but showy like an Australian shepherd, but I’ve just started learning about both breeds. I’m starting to panic a little, because I am not very active, and the dog is probably smarter than me. I need to step up my game.

          1. I have an extremely active Schnauzer. He needs tons of exercise which I did not do when I got him. Now we walk an hour in the morning in an hour at 9 Ferry briskly and play in between. So I’m getting ready to get a Blue Heeler to go with him as he still has more energy to rough-and-tumble with another puppy in between all of that. But I will warn you of this. Prepare for people to start looking at you a lot because you will have muscles and be very trim and everyone will wonder why.

        2. I just got a heeler mix from the shelter today, my first ever of this breed. Looking forward to the future with her.

          1. I just adopted a Jack Russell/Australian Cattle Dog (Blue Heeler) mix from the Humane Society. Sadly, I can’t bring him home till he’s been neutered. Looking forward to bonding with my new best buddy.

        3. Ayne, my dog is also an ACD mix. My vet believes she is an ACD/ beagle and her behavior certainly supports this belief.
          She is the most intelligent dog that I have ever had. My previous four dogs were Labradors and I had thought that they were very smart. My ACD learns tricks in fifteen-minute. She is extremely affectionate and loyal to me. She very much likes children and women.

          1. We are in process of adopting a 3 month old ACD/beagle mix now. We get to meet her in person this week. If all goes smoothly she’ll be closer to 4 months when we adopt her because she hasn’t been spayed or microchipped yet, and that is required with this agency.
            You’ve had yours for over 7 months now. Any new tips or insights? We have a 12 year old ACD pure bred now, years ago had a ACD mix

        4. We had a 3/4 Queensland Stumpy and 1/4 BC mix. At the same time we adopted a full Blue Healer. Both were just the greatest dogs.
          We used to tease the Stumpy that she was a Border Collie at which point she would shake any toy she had violently , like she hated being called a Border Collie. It was hilarious.
          These dogs lived a long happy life, over 15 years each.
          Now we have 2 BC resues and another BC puppy, ironic. We will probably get another Blue Healer once our broken hearts heal from losing our Cattle dogs.

        5. I have a stumpy tailed Australian cattle dog, different mix to the ordinary cattle dog but does include the dingo. He looks like an Australian Cattle dog except for the short tail (he really should have none but I like that he can wag it when he sees me) and the characteristics listed suit him. He is just 12 years old and I do hope he makes it to 15.

      2. I have had two heelers born white with spots although they were both Texas Heelers ( Blue Heeler x Australian Shepherd). A calmer dog than a Blue Heeler for sure. I now own my 2nd purbred Blue Heeler and he is a wonderful dog. Super intelligent and extremely protective. And he loves me so much it breaks my heart sometimes.

    2. I have 2 brothers. Oreo has big spot right at his hind quarters and is have to you’re right. He is very intelligent, and mischievous but has started to settle down. I was wondering his brother is literally scared of everything, the vacum, the sound spraying airfreshener, blender,hairdryer, everything so bad that he hides in the smallest space he can find hrbwill crawl intibkitchr cabinets. Have you had any experienc with this?

    3. I have a blue and red heeler and he will go after anyone who tries to get close to our room. Even with my roommates he will go after. Why is this?

  33. I have had my Blue Heeler going on 6 years. He is extremely intelligent, loyal, loving, and strongly bonded to me. The Dingo blood gives him a wild streak and he is not safe around some livestock like chickens. When he was 8 months old, he got into my ex-wives chicken coop and killed then consumed four of her chickens. He has poor social skills around people and other dogs he does not know and he will bite people who ignore his warning growls. He is also quite the fighter and has taken down a doberman and great dane who got to close and charged at me. The vet bill for the great dane was around $300.00 to sew one of his ears back on that my blue heeler bit off. He is incredible around children and extremely protective of any small child he comes in contact with, he seems to know they are not a threat he acts like a sweet puppy dog with my grandkids. These are awesome dogs but you have to be cautious with strangers and dogs they don’t know because they will attack them if they feel they are a threat to their owner or territory. I am a disabled Veteran and my blue heeler has been through service animal training and is my service dog. If you plan on getting a blue heeler they need lots of space, a backyard to frolic in, and puppy friends. They will accept other dogs and in fact need to social interaction, but you have to introduce them gradually and I muzzle my dog when I am getting him used to other dogs. His current puppy friend is a Welsh Corgi, and Blue heelers seem to bond well with other herding breeds from my experience.

    1. I’ve had my Blue Heeler girl for 15 years and she us going strong even though having seizures all of her life. She hasn’t had one on the last year but we are diligent on giving her meds exactly the same times every day. She is my best friend and understands a multitude of words. She remembers people by names. She loves watching dogs on TV. She is a protector. They can be nippy with dogs they don’t know, people also. She tollerates children but you have to keep her in check. She has a weak back leg that we are working on. After having her I cannot imagine ever wanting anyother breed.
      She is a beauty.
      Oh my, it will kill me when she goes.

      1. One more note , Train your heeler from early on. They are incredibly smart and love to work.
        Give them a ” job ” to do.
        I heard someone who would take gallon milk cartons and have the dogs herd them. I wish I had known this from the beginning. I had no idea how smart they are. Love Love my Blue.

          1. I’ve had my healer for 15 years and he’s had environmental skin allergies the entire time. Hot spots, itchy paws, dry skin, etc. Anti-itch shampoos never worked. Fish oil supplements never worked. Vets labeled his allergies “environmental,” which basically meant they didn’t know the source. I tried feeding him different types of protein and nothing seemed to help until I started making his food from scratch.

      2. OMG……I so understand how you feel about when she goes. I had a full blood Red Merle Australian Sheppard for 13yrs. We just had to put her down about 2 months ago. She was so beautiful and such an amazing dog. She was very protective over the people she knew really well. We couldn’t allow our friends in the house with out us if she hadn’t ever met them. If you you came at me or my now ex husband(even playing around) she was ready to attack. She never gave a warning sign either. I miss her so so so much. It was like losing my first kid when we put her down. I now have a Blue Heeler that I got 3 days ago. She won’t replace my Aussie but I know they are a lot alike breed wise and I think that’s why I got her. I am a single mom and have my daughter every other week and I now can feel safe with us being home.

      3. Our dogs are the same! He’s 15 years old and nearing his end. Vets told me they live between 12-14 years. He’s now deaf, blind, and immobile so we do everything for him to be comfortable and healthy. He recently started getting seizures for the first time ever. We’re treating them with cbd and he went from having five per day to none. Any other tips on how you deal with them?

    2. You have described my blue heeler Topcat, to a tee in your post. Except my boy doesn’t like anyone but me. He is my best friend and I love him with all my heart.

      1. I have heard that they can tend to be a one owner dog at times. I just got one for my daughter for a early Christmas present but since I will be around her most of the time I have a feeling she will bond to me more, but protect both of us.

  34. Article is spot on. Our 4-month old has been herding the family by nipping at heels, make a point of catch daily as she needs the movement, we work on our vehicles as a hobby and she is bothersome though we expect she will mature. Texas.

      1. I have read that the blue heeler was started by a dingo dog and terrier but the breed was to aggressive towards the cattle and the horse rider so they bread them with a Dalmatian that is why they are born white and a few black spots ends as they get older they get their color and you can still see a few dots of color on them . they are a strong breed solid neck muscle ,they have to coats of hair an upper and lower so they are water proof . They are very intelligent when he was born I had kidney surgery and as a pup he laid with me in bed he would whimpered I open the door and the little guy walked outside did his business and came back inside I never trained him to do that freaking amazing . He was never aggressive towards anyone but my wife’s uncle he just didn’t like him . He would run with me 5 miles a day he doesn’t bark much but if any animal gets in a yard it’s over it he will kill it (raccoons,skunks,cats ,birds ,snakes I have trained in early and showed him I was the alpha male he will not snarl at me or my family we we reach at his food .he knows a ton of tricks . He is 13 years old and it is getting closer to his time . I am a tough ex soldier but as I write this I can’t help but shed a tear we love our dog (blue) —Roy -Texas

        1. Hi, everything u say about our Queensland blue healers. I have had 3. Besides my labs. Healers r the best. Smart, loyal , beautiful. All without training. My girl is 2.5 and her name is Whiskey Blue …

        2. Hi Roy, to respectfully correct you- not crossed with Dalmatian, crossed Mostly with UK highland cattle dogs ( where the blue and speckles come from ) and dingos. Some other herding dogs in the mix here and there depending on the line, such as Collies. -regards, Robyn- long time Australian owner / Breeder

          1. The British breed used in the mix was the Cur Heeler only. No Collies were introduced into the line at all.

        3. They are just a cross between the Cur Heeler and the Australian Dingo. They were originally bred by Thomas Hall, an Australian Grazier, over an 8 year period between 1824 and 1832. During that period Hall back bred numerous times in order to achieve the ideal working breed with the intelligence and working instinct of the Cur Heeler and the physical capability of the dingo in the harsh Australian climate.

          The breed is officially known as the Australian Cattle Dog, not the American Cattle Dog as the article suggests.

      2. I have a two year old Heeler. The article describes Obi to a tee. I also have an Australian Shepherd, they are the best of friends, but sometimes have spats that can end with hurt feelings or a nip or two with my Heeler on top. They have a shrill bark that is hard to listen to, it hurts your ears. This is to let me know someone other than the family is on our property. All and all, he is a wonderful dog that is a very good watch dog and companion. Never would I hit my dogs, they depend on me for their care and love me for that. Dar in Georgia

      1. I don like hitting. We use a fly swatter. Our new puppy is 3.5 months old. She does not nip. We had friends with their dogs (6) total. And she was wonderful. So smart. We are on 7 acres and she is truly a smart and loving girl. Her name is “Blue Bell”. Bell for shor

        1. i just got a blue heeler puppy given to me by a family friend and this article is definitely spot-on! if she gets bored she’ll get into anything within grasp lol. they’re really good dogs though and very loyal

        2. How did you use the fly swatter…? I’m inheriting a blue healer puppy and I’m concerned of the nipping that I’m reading about.. I’m kinda afraid of dogs in general.. help

          1. Nipping is not a behavior problem, these dogs are herders, this is a very smart breed of dog. Please don’t hit him. I have been nipped on the rear because I was a few minutes late for feeding time. I survived. Heelers are high energy dogs, They need to work and they need space to run. I’ve had my heeler about 15 years now.

          2. Well number one you don’t ever hit your dog, any dog with anything. How about using a spray bottle filled with water… that works really well.
            We adopted a blue heeler “Tess “ at a year and a half old she turns four in a few more days and she is just such a sweetheart. We constantly work with her, train her, and reward her with good praise and treats, her personal favorite. We never hit her although sometime she likes to howl and bark at the dinner table. All I will need to do is reach for the spray bottle and she understands that she’s doing something she shouldn’t be and she corrects her self. Very intelligent, very intuitive, very communicative.
            We let her run on a 50 acre open space area with hills and trails so she can chase her squirrels and that’s how she gets her exercise and she has a blast. We do this twice a day, once in the morning once in the evening.
            She has been nothing less than a joy to be with.

          3. lucey,our healer just turned 3 as we are in a woods with no neighbors has never been tied up and can come and go free but will not go out of sight of the house unless we go on a hike or a ride ,she has had a small bowl of milk twice a day sene 8 weeks old and food in her dish. she has never met anyone she did not like and wants to hug and kiss, at night she curls up on my lap ( all 35 #) and sleeps like a baby. and by the way get then lots of toys to call their own and they will leave your stuff alone

        3. I have 2 blue heelers that are dappled real light blue and we want to breed them was wondering if u can help by letting me know on her 2 heat can they breed and she is 2months old they both have papers and i have had dogs that have had ? but not starting out this young…

      2. I hear you on that. I love my dog more than anything and would never hit him, I thought. I was getting him into the bathtub to give him a bath and he turned around and nipped my arm and in a regrettable but immediate reaction I smacked him on the nose. My bad, and poor response…stupid me. What was interesting is it took my heeler 2-3 weeks before I could hug him without a little growl.

        This was a great article, perfectly describing my dog. I have owned several other dogs before but I have never loved a dog like this. Don’t get one if your lazy, or two busy to spend time with them. They are ALWAYS up for doing something.

    1. That’smessedup

      You do not hit a dog. That includes spanking. EVER. A dog that gets spanked or hit does not respect their owners, they fear them.
      I use clicker training with my Blue Heeler mix. He loves it. I didn’t get him as a puppy. He was 2 years old when I adopted him from the local pound.

      1. Janet (Jan) Marie Wall

        Hi – I also agree that dogs should NEVER be HIT. EVER!!! Why do people want to do this?

        I am writing to ask you how you train with a clicker? I have not heard of it and want to try. My dog, Ginger, a red/blue heeler mix is so awesome, but she is dog aggressive when we go on walks. She loves other dogs, but I think she gets upset and fears them. She is a rescue from Puerto Rico and had abuse in her background. I love her so incredibly much and want to teach her that other dogs can be safe for her to love. She whimpers and whines as she meets them on the road, wanting to play with them. But when they get close she seems either aggressive or defensive.

        I am wonderinf where to buy the clicker and also a reference book on this type of training.

        Thank you for any consideration in sharing with me and Ginger.


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