What do you get when you cross two of the most popular herding breeds? Tons of energy and unmatched intelligence, that’s what!
The Australian Shepherd Blue Heeler mix goes by several names: Australian Blue Heeler, Texas Heeler, Australian Heeler, and Queensland Heeler Australian Shepherd mix, to name a few.
Keep reading for all the information you need to know about this awesome hybrid!
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What two breeds make a Texas Heeler?
Developed in Texas in the 1970s, Texas Heelers were bred to work all day, every day. It’s no surprise that this crossbreed is most often found lending a helping paw to cattle ranchers.
As a hybrid, the Aussie Shepherd Blue Tick Heeler mix isn’t recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). The Dog Registry of America (DRA) and the American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC) both recognize the breed, however.
To truly understand what makes this hybrid, we need to get to know its parent breeds. Let’s look at the Australian Shepherd and Australian Cattle Dog in more depth.
Get to know the Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherds, or Aussies, are well-known for their outstanding herding abilities. Their roots extend all the way to Europe’s Pyrenees Mountains, where their earliest ancestors served as herding companions.
By the 1800s, modern Australian Shepherds made a name for themselves (literally!) oceans away in the Australian Outback.
Not long after, these canines were imported to the United States. Farmers and ranchers in the American West immediately took to this hardworking breed, and the rest is history.
You’ll still see Australian Shepherds working America’s farmland. Their athleticism and drive make them excellent candidates for agility and obedience trials, too.
Meet the Australian Cattle Dog, AKA Blue Heeler
Don’t let the nicknames confuse you. The Australian Cattle Dog and Blue Heeler are the same breed! You may also hear this canine referred to as a Queensland Heeler or Australian Heeler.
Australian Cattle Dogs, like the Aussie Shepherd, was refined in the Land Down Under. Here, they gained a reputation for their devotion and endurance.
Unlike their canine counterpart, however, the Blue Heeler’s family tree has a few more branches.
Blue Heelers are descendants of the Smithfield, a British herding breed imported to Australia.
What does a Texas Heeler look like?
As you may have guessed, the Australian Blue Heeler’s appearance is far from standardized.
It’s sporadic to find Texas Heelers that look alike, even from the same litter!
They often boast the Australian Cattle Dog’s muscular frame with perked up or flopped down ears and a black nose.
Their eyes are round that can have a bright blue, dark brown color, or a mix of both.
Some may have one eye color different from the other as Aussies can have heterochromia.
Blue Heeler Australian Shepherd mixes are usually born with a bobtail, but they can have a long tail.
Did you know that dogs who have bobbed tails are a sign of their heritage as a working breed?
It’s considered a liability when they have a full tail when they’re herding large groups, so many breeds evolved to have shorter tails.
How big will an Australian Shepherd Blue Heeler mix get?
Standing 17 to 22 inches (43 to 56 cm) and weighing 45 to 55 pounds (20 to 25 kg) when fully grown, the Australian Blue Heeler is the perfect size for rounding up livestock.
While female Texas Heelers may be slightly smaller, there’s rarely a noticeable size difference between the two genders.
Texas Heelers with a Miniature Australian Shepherd parent, however, often have a daintier build.
Even though they’re small- to medium-sized, Cattle Dog Australian Shepherd mixes need ample room to run. The bigger the yard, the better!
But we recommend considering their history, so they should live in rural areas, like in ranches and farms.
Coat types & colors of the Blue Heeler Australian Shepherd mix
They typically have a short- to medium-length double coat – a weather-resistant topcoat and a dense undercoat.
Some Australian Shepherd-Cattle Dog crosses have straight or wavy hair that’s smooth, but others have fur that tends to be stiff.
This crossbreed comes in combinations of black, white, brown, tan, grey, blue merle, and red merle.
They frequently sport a white stripe from their forehead to their muzzle, masks, patches, spots, and speckles of these colors.
Temperament: Is a Texas Heeler a good family dog?
The Queensland Heeler Aussie Shepherd mix isn’t for the faint of heart. Every bone in their body is dedicated to hard work and herding.
As such, you can expect an energetic, intelligent pooch. That is why they make excellent companions for families who enjoy the outdoors and being active.
As livestock herders, Texas Heelers are naturally protective. You won’t typically see them make fast friends with strangers or unknown animals.
For this reason, regular socialization is essential. Your Australian Blue Heeler needs frequent opportunities to interact with other people and dogs.
If your pet doesn’t get this exposure, their watchdog tendencies can become overwhelming.
The good news is that Aussie Shepherd Blue Heeler mixes rarely bark without reason. They’re also incredibly friendly with their pack.
Between their loyalty and high energy, this crossbreed can have fun with the whole family–even the kiddos!
It’s important to note, though, that the Australian Heeler’s herding instinct can be a blessing and a curse.
We caution against bringing this pup around smaller animals. The temptation to chase and herd is just too strong.
You’ll want to supervise playtime with young children for this same reason. Fido may mistake them for sheep!
Fortunately, Texas Heelers respond well to positive leadership. They aim to please, and they learn quickly. Experienced owners shouldn’t have any trouble guiding this hybrid’s dynamic personality.
Notice how this dog dad combines a clicker, treats, and praise to reward his Texas Heeler pup for a job well done. Please take a moment to enjoy 15-week-old Maggie showing off her cool tricks in this video!
Your Queensland Heeler Aussie mix will love training more than cuddling. Independent and witty, these dogs are happiest when they’re on the move and working.
Taking care of your Aussie Shepherd Blue Heeler mix
How often should you groom your Texas Heeler? And how much exercise do they need? The answers may surprise you!
But no need to worry. They’re relatively low maintenance designer dogs.
How often should you groom your Texas Heeler?
In case you were wondering, Australian Shepherd Blue Heeler mixes do shed. With their full coats and year-round shedding, these pups are about as non-hypoallergenic as a dog can get.
Still, this crossbreed doesn’t require hefty grooming. 2 to 3 times a week is usually sufficient, but you can always brush them more often, especially if your fur buddy has longer hair.
You can also give your Australian Heeler a light haircut to cut down (no pun intended) on overall grooming time. Just DON’T shave them!
You might need to bathe them more frequently than other mixes, especially if they routinely work outdoors. You don’t want to shampoo them with every bath, though.
Save the suds for a full scrub-down every 6 to 8 weeks at most. In the meantime, rely on water baths to hose off any dirt or mud.
While you’re scratching Fido’s ears, check them for signs of irritation or infection. Wipe them down with a clean cloth or wipes to remove any debris.
To top off your Australian Blue Heeler’s beauty routine, brush their teeth twice a week and trim their nails 1 to 2 times a month.
How much exercise do Australian Heelers need?
If your Texas Heeler had it their way, they’d be outside stretching their limbs from sunrise to sunset. If it seems excessive, plan on at least 60 to 90 minutes a day, or 14 miles per week.
Keep in mind that this is the absolute bare minimum for this hybrid. When it comes to physical activity, more is almost always better.
Wondering if you can keep up? Aussie Blue Heelers don’t necessarily need their humans to provide exercise directly. They just need you to provide the opportunity.
Giving them a job to do is one of the best ways to provide the mental and physical stimulation that they crave.
Don’t have livestock casually roaming your backyard? Teach your Aussie Shepherd Blue Heeler mix to help out around the house.
Alternatively, it’s not unheard of to hire out working dogs to local farmers.
If that’s not an option where you live, turn your pup loose in a secure yard and watch him run! Add in brain games and training sessions to really tire out this pooch.
You can even give him a toy that looks like an animal to satisfy his need to chase.
Given their smarts, the Queensland Heeler Australian Shepherd mix appreciates a bit of novelty once in a while. Feel free to switch up their exercise routine and give them new experiences.
Texas Heelers can tolerate various weather conditions, including extreme heat. What does that mean for you? Options, my friend!
This hybrid takes to canine sports like agility, flyball, and rally in no time. No doggie agility course near you? Pack plenty of fresh water, and take Fido for a hike.
Australian Heelers are also avid swimmers. Nothing is off-limits for this rugged breed!
Diet and feeding: how much kibble is too much?
On average, Aussie Blue Heelers need 2.5 to 3 cups of food per day, spread out over two to three meals. If your pup is more active or has a larger build, you might need to increase this amount.
Texas Heelers can eat dog food formulated for medium or large breeds. You’ll want to be sure their kibble has at least 20% protein.
Note that Cattle Dog Australian Shepherd mixes can be picky eaters. Consider buying small quantities of food until you find a nutritious brand that suits your pup’s taste buds.
Are Blue Heeler Australian Shepherds healthy?
Australian Blue Heelers are rarely born with severe medical conditions. With the right care, their lifespan can be as long as 12 to 16 years!
This doesn’t mean that Texas Heelers can’t develop health conditions, though. If your canine friend routinely herds, he’s at greater risk for elbow and hip dysplasia due to wear and tear.
Eye conditions, like Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA), and cataracts, can develop as your dog ages.
Additionally, the same genes that give an Aussie Blue Heeler their merle coat can also cause deafness. While this isn’t a guarantee, it’s a possibility, so it’s best to be aware of it.
Finding Texas Heeler puppies for sale
Most Australian Shepherd & Blue Heeler mixes usually cost $800 and up. Beside being a rare designer dog, being a desirable hybrid for farm work and genetics can bring the price higher.
How much you’ll pay can also be affected by the pup’s gender, appearance, and pedigree of the parents.
You might be torn between shopping with a breeder or adopting a Texas Heeler. Let’s explore both options so you can make the best decision.
Australian Shepherd Blue Heeler mix breeders
This mixed breed is quite popular in Texas, but you can find Texas Heeler pups outside the Lone Star State.
You might need to travel, so plan accordingly. You don’t want to skimp on a home visit and meet-and-greet with the pups. Make sure your purchase timeline and budget account for this.
It’s worth asking potential breeders to provide health guarantees before you hit the road. You’ll need this documentation anyway, so you might as well ask for it early.
If a breeder can’t or won’t provide it, you can redirect your efforts to a more reputable place.
Ready to get started? Here are a few breeders for you to check out:
- CrossBow Cattle (Jacksonville, FL)
- Town & Country Texas Heelers (Seneca, NM)
- ALT Texas Heeler Pups (Dalhart, TX)
Aussie-Australian Cattle Dog rescues
Some dog lovers prefer to adopt rather than shop. If that sounds like you, you’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of Australian Shepherd and Australian Cattle Dog rescues all over the country!
When choosing a rescue pooch, treat the process just as you would buying through a breeder.
Visit the rescue organization in person. Especially if you’re adopting an older dog, you’ll want to meet them first. How else will you know if your personalities jive?
Make sure the shelter has already handled initial vet visits and vaccines, too. You won’t know everything about your rescue pup’s history, but this extra bit of care gives them a leg up health-wise.
We know you’re anxious to give an Australian Blue Heeler their forever home, so we’ve put together this list of rescues to help you out:
- Texas Cattle Dog Rescue (Fort Worth, TX)
- Australian Cattle Dog Rescue Association (Garden City, NY)
- Australian Shepherd Furever (Rancho Cucamonga, CA)
- HeRD of WY, Inc. (Sheridan, WY)
- Speak! St. Louis (Troy, IL)
You’ll love these other herding mixes
With so many impressive designer breeds out there, it can be hard to choose. If you haven’t yet made a decision, here are even more hybrids to consider.
Australian Shepherd Lab mix
Australian Shepherd Poodle mix
Sensitive to pet hair? The Aussiedoodle might be just what you need! With the Poodle’s hypoallergenic genes, Aussiedoodles are a great low-shedding alternative. You could even get a Mini Aussiedoodle if smaller breeds suit your fancy.
Australian Cattle Dog Corgi mix
Known as the Cowboy Corgi, this crossbreed is downright adorable–and spunky. Picture the characteristic Heeler merle with short Corgi legs. Couple that with the Corgi’s spunk, and you’ve got a pocket-sized pooch with a big personality!
Australian Cattle Dog Border Collie mix
Border Collies have been dubbed the smartest breed in the world. Their wit plus the Blue Heeler’s passion? If you’re in the market for a superb herding dog with top-notch intelligence, look no further than the Border Heeler.
Australian Shepherd German Shepherd mix
Also known as German Australian Shepherd or German Aussie, this crossbreed is adorable yet very capable. You can rely on the German Shepherd Australian mix on any task, job, or sport.
If having a canine shadow is not an issue, this might be the lively companion for you.
Will the Australian Shepherd Blue Heeler mix join your pack?
Texas Heelers are the quintessential working dog. Tireless and brawny, this crossbreed makes herding look easy.
A dog with this kind of ability is best in the hands of an experienced owner. Australian Blue Heelers thrive with knowledgeable, active leaders!
Think that owner could be you? Tell us in the comments why you and the Texas Heeler are the perfect match!