Name: Australian Heeler, Hall's Heeler, Queensland Heeler, Blue Heeler
Breed Group: Herding Dogs Group
EASE OF TRAINING
Most people who consider getting a dog, want a loving and fluffy companion, with whom they can play and cuddle when they come home from work. However, a small amount of people still see dogs like trustworthy buddies that offer not only companionship but also their unconditional help. Such people, look for intelligent, easy to train dogs, that can watch their homes and maybe even help around with some chores. The Australian Cattle dog is one of the smartest dogs in the world. It was developed for the task of herding cattle, a job that it happily performs even nowadays. However, this dog is not just meant for farm life, but as long as it is exercised daily, it can be a loyal companion to all people. It is particularly fond of children, a trait that makes this breed an ideal candidate for a family dog.
Australian Cattle Dog Picture
This dog breed was developed in the 19th century for the purpose of herding cattle. The breed was a success as it actually helped Australian ranchers expand their beef industry. This type of dog knows exactly how to do adapt its behavior to all situations. Depending on the behavior of the cattle, the dog can be calm, but also aggressive when the cattle are otherwise uncontrollable. This breed was developed by mixing a wide variety of dogs. The purpose of this mixture was to create a dog breed characterized by high intelligence, obedience as resilience to harsh climates and difficult working conditions. The breed was first called the Australian Heeler, a name which continues to be used in Australia. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1980 under the name of the Australian cattle dog and was included in the Working Group category, only to be moved into the Herding Group in 1983. Aside from herding, this dog also excels in other activities such as rallies, obedience competitions, flying disk competitions and many other canine sports.Australian Cattle Dog Picture
The fact that this breed was created by mixing a wide variety of dogs resulted in a very peculiar, Dingo like appearance, that features versatile coat color patterns. The most popular Australian Cattle Dogs are the ones with blue eyes, which are also referred to Blue Heelers. The males are usually 18-20 inches high and weigh about 33-35 pounds, whilst the females are about 17-19 inches tall and weigh about 30-35 pounds. These dogs have compact and robust bodies. Their bodies are slightly longer than they are tall and they hold their tail rather low. They have broad skulls with wide set ears and teeth that meet in a scissors bite.Australian Cattle Dog Picture
The Australian Cattle Dog likes to keep busy at all times. It will never be happy if kept alone in a small apartment all day long or chained in the backyard. This dog is highly active and very intelligent, which is why he needs regular mental and physical stimulation. While this dog is generally very friendly, the history of its breed left if with some slightly aggressive instincts, which can sometimes manifest in biting or nipping. A common behavioral problem that this breed often displays is nipping people’s heels in order to herd them. However, obedience training can help your dog forget this bad habit. Another distinctive characteristic of this breed is loyalty. This dog likes to be alongside its owner as often as possible in order to protect them as well as help them around. If it is socialized with children and other pets from an early age, this dog will have no problem living with both pets and children. In fact, he is particularly fond and protective of children.Australian Cattle Dog Picture
Due to the fact that they were bred in order to resist in harsh working conditions, the Australian Cattle Dogs are very resilient and if cared for properly, they can live for about 12-15 years. However, some dogs can be affected by some medical conditions such as hip dysplasia and PRA. Furthermore, Merle-colored dogs seem to be more susceptible to deafness than dogs of other colors. Like it goes for all dog breeds, you should only buy puppies from breeds that can show you medical clearances for both of the pup’s parents.Australian Cattle Dog Picture
If you are a farmer or a rancher and you need a working dog or a companion for your child, the Australian Cattle Dog is an excellent choice. However, if you live in an apartment or you have a busy schedule, you should consider a breed with less energy. Confining it alone in a small place without giving it anything to do, will only cause boredom and unhappiness for an Australian Heeler. Daily regular exercise is a great way of keeping these dogs happy while also diminishing the risk or a destructive behavior. Daily, long walks or jogging sessions are a great way of keeping the dog in good shape, especially if you don’t pick the same route everyday. Exercising the dog in new environments will keep the dog not only physically stimulated but also mentally stimulated. Furthermore, teaching this dog tricks is a great way of keeping it busy. As far as health care goes, this dog is quite low maintenance but you should still brush its coat once a week. As far as teeth brushing goes, it depends on the how much time you have on your hands. Daily brushing sessions are advised but if you don’t have that much time, 2-3 teeth brushing sessions per week should do the trick. You should also check its ears from time to time in order to prevent infections.Australian Cattle Dog Picture
The Australian Cattle Dog features a short and straight, weather resistant outer coat and a dense undercoat. It has one or two shedding seasons per year when it needs daily brushing sessions but the rest of the year it sheds very little hair and requires a single brushing session per week. As far as the coat’s color goes, this breed is divided into two categories: blue (includes blue and black with various tan markings on the chest, the throat, the jaw or the hint legs) and red speckle (overall red speckle with rare dark red markings on the head).Australian Cattle Dog Picture
As we mentioned above, the Australian Heeler makes for a great family dog. If it is raised with children and other pets, it will accept them as part of thefamily. If the dog was not socialized with children, it needs to be supervised around them for a while, until it accepts them. As far as other pets go, it can be jealous of other dogs that show affection towards their owner. Furthermore, unless it has been raised with smaller pets, interacting with them at adulthood will awaken its hunter instincts and it will consider them to be pray.Australian Cattle Dog Picture
Ease of training
Training an Australian Heeler is essential in order to keep its herding instincts under control. However, training is not that much of a problem, since this dog is very smart and highly intuitive.