The Australian Cattle Dog (also known as Blue Heeler, Red Heeler and Queensland Heeler) is a very energetic cattle herder (hence the name) that was created back in the 1800’s. What makes them perfect for cattle farmers is the energetic and fun personality they have and their impeccable skills in herding. The ‘heeler’ from Blue Heeler, Red Heeler and Queensland heeler comes from their tendency to bite at the heels of the falling behind cattle.
Cattle Dogs have a short double coat that needs to be brushed weekly and can grow from 15kg to 22kg. Males are about 46-51cm in length and females can be measured from 43kg to 48cm. Cattle dogs are expected to live for 14 years.
Cattle Dogs are very muscular and sturdy dogs that have great speed and agility, as they were originally developed to chase cattle across tough terrain. They have a broad skull that stops between the eyes. The ears are pricked and set wide apart with hair covering the inside. The eyes are oval in shape, dark in colour and usually display a keen or alert look. The neck and shoulders are strongly built and the forelegs are straight and parallel. The feet are round and arched with small toes and nails.
Usually, a cattle dog’s build standard is straight and muscular even when built for show purposes. It’s appearance should be symmetrical and balanced.
There are two coat colours in this breed, often corresponding with the Red or Blue Heeler name. These two colours are red and blue-black, though chocolate and cream coats do occur.
A cattle dog’s tail is often the same colour as the coat but with a white tip. It usually starts quite low and goes with the slope of the dog’s back.
Cattle dogs are very intelligent dogs and eager to work. They pick things up quite fast and due to their energetic nature they are always keen to learn new things. The breed ranks 10th in Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs because of their great obedience command trainability.
Cattle dogs are friendly and protective pets but will often act shy around people that are not accustomed to and is naturally cautious towards new situations. They may also have a habit of biting at smaller children who run around and make a lot of noise due to their cattle dog heritage. Cattle dog’s are often protective and defensive of their owners. They are well-behaved around familiar dogs but do not respond very well to dogs they don’t know, and may even become aggressive, as it is not a breed that lives in a pack with other dogs.