Blue Heeler breed characteristics, origin and care

Blue Heeler breed characteristics

  • Size: Medium
  • Traits: Alert, intelligent, energetic, strong, loyal
  • Maintenance: Low maintenance
  • Best Suited To: Families, Farmers

Alert, intelligent and lively, Blue Heeler, also known as Australian Cattle Dog, Hall's Heeler, AuCaDo, is happiest when it has a task to do like herding cattle or competing in organised trials. It makes a loyal family pet that looks after the people it loves and may affectionately herd small children.

Where I'm From

The Blue Heeler was born out of a need for a dog that could herd cattle like no other and so Australian cattle ranchers got to work creating the perfect canine for the job. It took 60 years of crossbreeding to create the right dog for the job. Breeds with all sorts of talents and abilities were mixed together including the Scottish Collie, the native Dingo and a Dalmation. The standard was set in 1893 and the Blue Heeler has been bred true ever since. The breed is known for its agility, endurance and loyalty.

What I Look Like

The Blue Heeler is also known as the Australian Cattle Dog. It’s a small to medium dog that’s compact, agile and muscular. It reaches around 50 centimetres in height when its fully mature. These dogs have broad heads, powerful jaws and large teeth which they use to nip at the heels of cattle to keep them moving. Their ears are straight and pointed, and their tails are long.

Blue heeler puppies are born white which is a genetic trait they inherited from early crossbreeding with dalmations. As they grow their coats take on colouring that’s red or blue speckled, blue mottled or blue. Their coats are smooth and medium in length. The undercoat is short and dense while the outer coat is straight and protects the dog from the elements.

How I Act

The Blue Heeler is an unashamedly energetic dog. Bred for its endurance, it’s one canine that works hard and keeps moving. These pooches are well suited to herding and structured activities and may become destructive if they’re lacking stimulation. For example you may come home one day only to find your garden destroyed by a bored dog.

They’re very loyal and protective of those they care about but tend to be wary of strangers. It’s within the Blue Heeler’s nature to protect children but young kids may be less than enthused by dogs that nip at their heels.

Blue Heelers tend to be a quiet breed and rarely bark. They have a lot of muscle packed into their small frames.

Looking After Me

This breed is hardy and only requires an occasional brush. It doesn’t need a fancy diet either but one thing you should make sure it has is plenty of space to exercise. It’s best suited to an open area in the countryside but it can adapt quite happily to suburban life with a large yard. If you’re considering adopting this breed and you live in an apartment, you really should reconsider. This breed is not at all appropriate for life in small spaces.

Blue Heelers are intelligent and alert dogs that respond well to positive training techniques. It’s better to reward them and praise them for their good work than it is to tell them off for their misdemeanours.

While these pooches enjoy the company of their human families, they’re not so keen on canine companionship and may act aggressively toward other dogs. To keep your Blue Heeler in peak physical condition it will need a lot exercise. Structured trials and competitions are ideal way to do this and will keep this breed mentally stimulated.

Blue Heelers are generally healthy but tend to be susceptible to deafness, hip dysplasia, eczema, kidney stones and progressive retinal atrophy.

They will shed a moderate amount of hair each week.

Am I the pet for you?


  • Suited to farm life
  • Protective of children
  • Generally healthy breed


  • May act aggressively toward other dogs
  • Not suited to apartment life
  • May become destructive if it’s bored
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