The Australian Shepherd and the Blue Heeler are two hardworking and beautiful dogs, and together they have made some seriously cute designer puppies. The Australian Shepherd Blue Heeler mix is commonly referred to as the Australian Heeler, which we will refer to them as in this guide, but sometimes you will also hear them referred to as the Texas Heeler or the Queensland Heeler Australian Shepherd mix.
Whatever you might call him, the Australian Heeler is an energetic and work-oriented dog who ideally needs to be placed with a family who will work him on a ranch, or an active family who can exercise him for at least 60 to 90 minutes every day without fail.
Exercise is his main stipulation if you want him to grace your life with his presence, but with so many other aspects that you need to be aware of before you invite him into your home, you need to learn a lot more about him. So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at this friendly mix.
When thinking about inviting a designer dog into your life it is important to research both of his parents so that you can get a good idea as to what characteristics he could inherit. Here we will look at his parent’s history, personality and size in order to get a better understanding of his parentage and what you can expect from him.
In 2020, the American Kennel Club (AKC) has ranked the Aussie as the 17th most popular dog in America. This cowboy companion stands between 18 and 23 inches tall and weighs 45 to 60 pounds, so he is a medium sized pooch.
Ironically, the Australian Shepherd does not actually come from Australia, instead he is a creation of travelling farmers and ranchers who passed through Australia. His breed standard was finalized in North America and was bred to be used as a herding dog.
He is described as smart, work oriented and exuberant, and combining this with his high energy means that he is an intense dog, and not to be taken on if you aren’t seeking a canine shadow. Because of his affectionate nature, the Australian Shepherd is often chosen as a parent breed for many Aussie mixed breed dogs. Some of the more popular mixes include the Aussiedor, the Aussiedoodle mix or the Siberian Husky Aussie mix.
The Blue Heeler is not this guy’s real name; it is the nickname commonly used for the Australian Cattle Dog. In 2020, the AKC ranked the Blue Heeler as the 55th most popular dog breed in America, and he is described as alert, curious and pleasant.
The Blue Heeler measures between 17 and 20 inches, from paw to shoulder, and weighs somewhere between 35 to 50 pounds. His coat is dense, short to medium in length, but easy to care for. Whilst he is not technically blue in color, he will have black, gray and white patches which often gives him the blue appearance compared to his red sibling.
The Blue Heeler, unlike the Australian Shepherd, does originate from Australia. A local man imported Scottish Collies and the Smithfield dog, and bred them with his domesticated dingoes. Other dogs such as Dalmatians, Black and Tan Kelpies and Bull Terriers were thrown into the mix, and the Australian Cattle Dog was born. Thanks to the Collie gene, he too is a fantastic herder, as well as being loyal and protective. One of the more notable blue heeler mixes is the Labraheeler.
Aussie Blue Heeler Mix
Whether you love or hate the idea of designer dogs, they are becoming increasingly popular and this guy is no exception. The Australian Heeler is the combination of two equally striking herding dogs, but ones that are slightly different from one another, so below is what you can expect from a typical Australian Heeler.
The Australian Heeler is naturally going to be a fantastic herder, so if you are seeking a herding dog that is different from your neighbours dogs, then look no further than this guy. He will have the stamina of an athlete, and you could work him for as long as you do, and he will do it with a smile on his face! One of the hardest workers you’ll ever employ, and you’ll only have to pay him in treats and belly scratches, so everyone’s a winner! Just be warned that he may try to herd strangers, small children or other pets in the home, and if he does then this behavior will need to be discouraged immediately.
The Australian Heeler is a loyal and loving dog, so you can be sure that he will stick to you like glue and shower you in doggy kisses. He will love every member of the family, be that granny or grandchild, and once he has expelled all of his energy he will happily snuggle up on the sofa.
He will be aloof with strangers, with a natural suspicion from the Heeler parent, so you can be sure that he will be protective of his family. If he feels that his family are in danger, he will step in harm’s way to defend them, but once he has assessed the situation and deemed it safe, he will let his master’s guests pay him attention. It is unlikely that he will be super sociable with strangers, just mildly so, which many people prefer over a jumpy and needy pooch.
Following on from this, he also makes a great watchdog and will alert you to things that aren’t quite right. This is great if having a watchdog is part of your canine tick list, not so much if you have sensitive neighbours or noise level restrictions.
Size & Appearance
The Australian Heeler will measure between 18 and 22 inches tall, from paw to shoulder, and will weigh anywhere between 40 and 55 pounds. Both of his parents are similar in size, with the Blue Heeler being slightly smaller, but whichever parent he takes after more you can be certain of a medium sized doggo.
Unlike some designer dogs who inherit a certain shape from a particular parent, the Australian Heeler is usually a 50/50 split when it comes to his appearance. He will have large ears that could stand erect or flop down, and round eyes that could be dark in color, bright blue, or a mixture of both.
Coat & Colors
The Australian Heeler’s coat is undoubtedly his most distinctive feature, and like both of his parents his coat will be patchy, spotty and speckled. Because his parent is the Blue Heeler, rather than the Red Heeler, it is likely that his coat will be black, white and gray in color rather than reds or browns. However, his parents may carry the red and brown colored genes, so these colors may pop up, albeit in smaller amounts.
He will have a double coat that will keep him warm on the ranches, and it is likely to be denser like the Cattle Dog’s coat, but shorter than the Australian Shepherds. Because it is shorter than the Shepherds coat, less grooming will be required, which we will cover further down in this guide.
Exercise & Living Conditions
As we have already covered, the Australian Heeler will need between 60 and 90 minutes of intense exercise every day to keep his mind happy and his body healthy. If you cannot commit to this high level of activity, then you need to consider a different pooch altogether.
Being an intelligent dog who loves nothing more than a job or a challenge, he will need a variety of exercise activities and brain games. If he becomes restless, he will most certainly chew up your furniture, so it would be wise to commit to his exercise needs for everyone’s sanity!
The Australian Heeler, having double working and herding parentage, would do better in a medium to large sized home that can provide him with access to ample outdoor space. Ensure that this space is reinforced, otherwise he might escape and find cattle to herd, but fresh air will please the Australian Heeler like nothing else.
The Australian Heeler will be suited to a home with young children and other household pets, just as long as he doesn’t display herding tendencies. This is heavily influenced by proper socialization and training, but with this he will be an affectionate and gentle dog who wants to please every member of the family.
The Australian Heeler will need to be socialized with other dogs, animals and unfamiliar humans so that he grows into a confident and well-mannered pooch. This will also ensure that he does not become too overprotective. Be sure to make all of his training a pleasant experience, and utilize positive reinforcement training.
If you find that he is herding inside of the home then you need to ensure that you discourage his behavior with these steps. Because he is a super intelligent dog then you’ll hopefully find that he will pick up this training quickly, and if not just be persistent and consistent with it and you will soon see results.
The Australian Heeler enjoys a lifespan of 12 to 16 years, and he is a relatively healthy dog. Inheriting genes from two different dog breeds, he is susceptible to health concerns from both sides, so let’s take a closer look at what he might inherit:
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia: Both of his parents are prone to Hip Dysplasia, and the Cattle Dog is also prone to Elbow Dysplasia. Whilst this is a common condition in many dogs, it can eventually lead to pain and paralysis in later life through wear and tear of the affected joints.
Ophthalmologist Evaluation: Both of his parents suffer from a variety of eye concerns, such as Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Collie Eye, and Primary Lens Luxation to name just a few, and generally his eye health will deteriorate overtime.
Deafness: There is a chance that he may inherit deafness, which may be bilateral or unilateral, from the Cattle Dog parent. This is tested by a BAER test, and any dog suffering from deafness should not be bred from.
The Australian Heeler should be fed a high-quality kibble that will keep him energized throughout the day, and it should be protein, energy and calorie rich. This is particularly true if he is a working dog. Kibbles designed for working dogs have the optimum levels of protein to fats, to keep his body energized and muscles strong and healthy.
A typical Australian Heeler will need around 2 ½ cups of kibble every day, dependent on his energy levels. Aussies can be notoriously picky eaters, so make sure to choose a food that’s suitable for pups that may be a little choosy about what they eat.
The Australian Heeler will likely develop a short to medium length coat that will need less grooming than his Australian Shepherd parent, but slightly more than the Australian Cattle Dog, so you are looking at 2 to 3 brushing sessions every week. This will keep him looking healthy and to remove the dirt his coat will pick up in the dusty ranches.
His large ears will need cleaning every week as they will also pick up a lot of dirt whilst at work, and a bath every 6 to 8 weeks will keep him feeling fresh. Be sure to monitor the condition of his eyes as he suffers with them, and if in any doubt about their health be sure to visit your Veterinarian.
The starting price of an Australian Heeler will start from around $800, increasing in price depending on lineage and appearance, with different color eyes commanding a higher price.
Be sure to work with reputable breeders, and if you find an Australian Heeler that is being sold for much less or much more than this price, then this should be a warning sign that something is not right with the breeder.
As Family Pets
- The Australian Heeler is full of working energy and intelligence.
- This breed should be placed with a family who is seriously active.
- You should exercise this breed a minimum of 60 minutes each day.
- He is a protective pooch who will ensure the safety of his family.
- He will be aloof at first, but will be fine once socially acclimated.
- This breed will naturally herd because both parents are herders.
- Socialization is an important part of his training.
- Without proper socialization, this pup may be warier of strangers.
- He needs space both inside and outside of the home.
- This breed gets on well with children and other household pets.
- His coat will need brushing several times a week.
Finding A Breeder
In order to find an Australian Heeler you need to get your detective hat on. This guy is rarer than most designer dogs, and you will also need to track down a breeder that is reputable and can show that his parent is a Blue Heeler and not a Red Heeler.
Be sure to meet them and their dogs in person, ask to see the dog’s health certificates, ask for social media pages or check them out online to find reviews from other customers.
Rescue & Shelters
If you are thinking about rescuing an Australian Heeler then be sure to check out these dedicated breed rescue websites, as they also look after breed mixes, and this is where your highest chance of finding one of these beautiful guys lies.
The Australian Cattle Dog Rescue website, along with the Australian Shepherd Rescue website, lists adoptable dogs state by state and usually the contact details for rescue representatives too, so good luck!
The Australian Heeler is a beautiful herding dog who deserves the very best, and we hope that after reading this guide you understand that he needs to be exercised thoroughly in order to be healthy and happy.
If this is something that you can offer him, then your new found canine relationship will be one of the most rewarding ones you can find, so what are you waiting for?!