Canine Breed Menu

Blue Heeler

Blue Heeler

Blue Heeler
Breed Organization
Australian Cattle Dog Club of America
Native Country
Other Names
Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Queensland Heeler, ACD
Life Expectancy
Approximately 12-15 Years
Litter Size
Average 1-7 Puppies
Breed Group
AKC Herding, Herding
Breed Appearance
The general appearance is that of a strong compact, symmetrically built working dog, with the ability and willingness to carry out his allotted task however arduous. As the name implies the dog's prime function, and one in which he has no peer, is the control and movement of cattle in both wide open and confined areas. Always alert, extremely intelligent, watchful, courageous and trustworthy, with an implicit devotion to duty making it an ideal dog.

Breed Description
Head: Strong. Broad, slightly convex skull. Slight stop. Muscular cheeks. Powerful, medium-length nose bridge. Tight, clean lips.
Ears: Moderately small, pointed, broad at the base, muscular. Held erect.
Eyes: Oval, medium size. Dark brown color.
Body: Longer than tall. Compact, balanced construction. Exceptionally broad neck without dewlap. Strong back. Chest well let down and muscular. Ribs well sprung. Shoulders broad, sloping, and muscular. Deep flanks. Horizontal topline. Broad, muscular loin.
Queue: Hangs down forming a slight curve at rest. Richly clad (brush).
Hair: Weather-resistant. Short (2.5 to 4 cm), straight, smooth, close-lying, dense, harsh. Double coat. Longer on the back of the legs and on the underbody. Short, dense undercoat.
Coat: Blue: blue, blue-mottled or speckled, with or without black, blue, or tan markings on the head. Red speckle: small, even red speckle all over the body.
Size: Dog: 46 to 51 cm (18-20 in). Bitch: 43 to 48 cm (17-19 in).
Weight: 15 to 20 kg (33-44lb).

This breed is thought to be the result of crossbreeding of the now extinct Smithfield (closely related to the Old English Sheepdog), the Dingo, the Collie, and the Bull Terrier. Around 1840, Dalmatian and Kelpie blood may have been introduced. The Australian Cattle Dog is also called the Heeler for his ability to nip at the heels of cattle without injuring it. The breed was recognized around 1890, but it was not introduced in the United States and Europe until the 1970s.

Like many herding dogs, Cattle Dogs have high energy levels and active minds. They need plenty of exercise and a job to do, such as participating in dog sports, learning tricks, or other activities that engage their minds. Some individuals find repetitive training frustrating and dull, so owners should aim to make training sessions varied and more exciting in order to keep their dog interested.

Prone to hip dysplasia and PRA. The merle-colored dogs are prone to deafness.

The shorthaired, weather-resistant coat needs little care and is very easy to groom. Just comb and brush with a firm bristle brush, and bathe only when necessary. This breed tends to shed its coat once or twice per year (depending on sex status and region).

Pet, Herder (livestock)

Horse Herd