Queensland heeler are short coated medium sized dogs originally bred in Australia for herding cattle over long distances. They are also known as Australian Cattle dog, Blue Heeler or Red Heeler.
Queensland heeler got its name heeler from its habit of nipping the heels of the cattle for driving them. They are highly intelligent and energetic dogs having an independent mind of their own. They need a lot of physical exercise and need an active owner. Certainly not for the ones who love to relax on the couch. They are not recommended as Apartment friendly dogs.
Australian Cattle dog are quite loyal dogs who attaches to one person the most with whom he stays like a shadow. This is why they are also considered as “Velcro dogs”. They are reserved to strangers and hence are also used as guard dogs.
Queensland heeler have strong nipping instincts and it is not uncommon to see them nipping at small children. Early socialization and training is required for them to overcome the same.
Check out an Australian Heeler puppy playing
History of Queensland heeler
Queensland Heeler have been credited to the growth of Australian Beef industry. When the Early Britishers settled in Australia and started raising livestock, they had a challenge of moving large group of cattle across hundreds of miles to the Sydney markets. Many a times, they used to loose cattle in the un-fenced areas.
The dog that they brought with them was Old English Sheepdog known as Smithfields. But they were found not suitable for herding large cattle. Hence, need for a dog rose that can herd the cattle over large distances.
In this chase of an ideal cattle herding dog, old English sheepdog was cross bred in early 1800’s with multiple dogs like Australian Dingoes, collies and Dalmatians. This is how Queensland heeler aka Australian Cattle dog was developed.
The blue and red color Queensland Heelers were quite popular and hence they started to be known as Red Heelers, Blue Heelers or Queensland Blue Heelers.
Queensland heeler was approved by American Kennel Club in the year 1980.
Queensland heeler Appearance
Queensland heeler is a strong, compact and a muscular dog with a deep muzzle. They are a bit longer than tall that helps them to nip while herding the cattle. They have broad skull, medium length deep powerful muzzle and muscular cheeks.
Queensland heeler have oval shaped keen brown eyes. They have a standing, pointy pricked ears and curvy tail.
Queensland heeler have a double coat. They are born in white color which later changes to blue-gray or red color. You may also find Australian cattle dog in chocolate and cream color but they are not approved by most of the Kennel clubs.
Queensland blue heeler can grow to a height of 18 to 20 inches and weigh approximately 30 to 50 pounds. The average life span is around 12 to 15 years.
Queensland Heeler Personality
Queensland heeler are quite energetic and tough dogs who doesn’t tire easily. This is due to the fact that they were originally bred to herd the cattle over large distances all day. They need quite an active owner who can keep them busy both physically and mentally.
If he is not kept busy, he can find his own tricks that you may not like. He may become destructive with activities like nipping and chewing at things, digging etc.
As like other shepherd dogs, Queensland heeler is quite intelligent and independent. He can be trained but is obstinate also at times. Firm consistent training helps in this.
Queensland heeler is a loyal dog and would typically attach to one person of the family and would stay around him all the time. He would be protective of his territory and is reserved to the strangers thus making him a good guard dog.
His nipping instincts remain dominant so you may see him nipping at heels specially at young children whom he may try to drive. Early socialization and training is required to subvert this.
Queensland heeler has a high prey drive and he may chase small animals like cats etc. Early socialization helps so they treat them as part of the pack.
Queensland heeler as a family dog
Blue heeler is suitable for active families having a large fenced yard. These dogs are quite agile and needs lots of physical work and mental simulation. They are not suitable for lazy ones and apartment living.
Queensland heeler have strong instincts of nipping to drive (as they used to drive the cattle). This may mean they nip the younger children as well for driving. Thus they are not recommended for families with younger children. If required, they should be socialized and trained early.
Queensland heeler have strong prey drive and may chase small pets like cats. They should be socialized with small pets since birth so they think of them as part of the pack.
Blue heeler are very loyal, protective dogs who will make a special bond with one person and would be stay close like a shadow to him. They are also wary of strangers and are good as Guard dogs as well.
Mixed Queensland heeler breed to explore – Cowboy corgi
It is recommended to give full grown Queensland heeler 1.5 to 2.5 cups of high quality dry food divided in to two meals in a day. Though, you may want to change the diet based on size, age, and activity level of the dog. If your dog is lousy, he doesn’t need much food, while, if he is quite active, he needs more.
Queensland heeler have a double coat that is weather resistant. They have short outer coat and a dense inner coat. They shed moderately around the year but shed heavily once or twice a year when their inner coat blows out.
Australian Cattle dog don’t require much grooming. Once a week brushing is good for the coat to be clean and magnificent. This would also help build the bonding between the owner and him. Frequency of brushing should increase when he shedding heavily while his inner coat blows out.
Queensland heeler needs only an occasional bath when you feel he is dirty or smelly. Frequent bathing may lead to dry skin and other skin related ailments.
Find more apartment friendly dogs – https://www.yourdogsworld.com/b/best-dogs-for-apartment-living/
He is an extremely agile dog who needs lot of exercise and play time. Preferable to have a fenced yard where they can play and run. You should give Queensland heeler lots of mental and physical stimulation. Because, if you do not give him enough, he will find his own tricks which may be destructive to you.
They are highly intelligent dogs who can be obstinate at times. Thus they are easy to train but need firm and persistent training. His instincts to nip and mouth must be handled carefully. If not trained well, they may nip young children often thinking them as cattle to drive.
They should also be socialized early so that they can become a well adjusted dog.
They are generally healthy and live a long life but are prone to certain health issues.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). This disease leads to gradual deterioration of the retina. This may cause the dog to become night blind first and then slowly leads to complete blindness.
- Hip Dysplasia. This is a genetic disease in which hip and thigh bone doesn’t fit properly.
- Deafness. This is a genetic disease prone to Queensland Heelers. This can be tested at the puppy age by doing the Brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) testing.
- Cystinuria. Queensland blue heelers can also suffer from this fatal neurodegenerative disease. Genetic testing may help diagnose the same.
How to get a Queensland heeler Puppy?
So you do not want a lazy pooch and have made up your mind for a Queensland heeler, let us look at how you can find a puppy for you.
As they are purebred dogs, it would not be hard for you to find a breeder. Though we would recommend to look for a breeder of repute so that you do not fall for a run of the mill one. Here are few factors that you should check while looking for a good breeder.
- Your breeder should be able to provide the puppy’s genetic records.
- He should be able to give you the details of the puppy’s parents.
- Observe the area where puppies are kept. It should be clean.
- Check the health of other dogs. They should look active and healthy.
You can also look for Queensland heeler at your local animal shelter. Some dogs may be waiting for being given a new life.
Pros and Cons of Queensland heeler
|Highly intelligent dogs||Have tendency to nip/bite|
|Highly agile, loyal and protective||Prone to certain health issues|
Queensland heelers do shed regularly and shed a lot two times a year when their inner coat blows out.
They do bark on an average whenever they see a stranger or feel threatened.
Due to their instincts of nipping at the heels, they have a tendency to bite. Early socialization and training is required for them.
Yes, they were developed by cross breeding of Old English Sheep dog with tamed dingoes and other dogs.