Also known as Border Heelers, the Border Collie Blue Heeler mix is an energetic, fierce, and extremely smart crossbreed. If you’re looking for an intelligent companion, this fido may take the cake.
But no dog is suitable for everyone. If you’re wondering whether the Border Heeler’s temperament, care requirements, and health is something you can deal with, then keep scrolling to find out.
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Where did Border Heelers come from?
Like most designer dogs, the origin of the Blue Heeler-Border Collie cross is not well documented. What is known is that they were created to serve as herders and companions.
Other than that, they come from a rich history of working and herding canines.
That’s how we can get to know the Border Heeler, by learning more about its parents.
This breed is not currently recognized by any national kennel club or association, including the American Kennel Club.
Meet the Border Collie
Border Collies have a history that dates back to the first century. They’re a combination of the Roman shepherd dogs and the Viking’s spitz-type breeds, but if you’re going to research about modern Borders, it will mostly lead to a dog named Old Hemp.
He’s a particularly talented and smart Border Collie that fathered about 200 puppies, making him the breed’s progenitor. Today, they surely make dad proud.
Not only do Border Collies dominate canine competitions, such as sheepherding trials and agility courses, but they also consistently rank number one as the smartest dog breed.
This energetic and focused doggo has an elegant, stocky build. They can reach a height of 18 to 22 inches (46 to 56 cm), and weigh 30 to 55 pounds (14 to 25 kg).
You’ll often find them in a black and white coat that’s either short and smooth or long and rough. But they have a wide range of stunning colors.
Fun fact: Have you seen the movie Babe? You may not know this, but the farmer’s dogs named Fly and Rex are Border Collies. Another famous Border is named Chaser who was tagged as the “smartest dog in the world”.
Meet the Blue Heeler
If you feel like you haven’t heard about Blue Heelers before, it might be because they have a lot of nicknames.
Formally known as the Australian Cattle Dog (ACD), they’re also called Queensland Heelers, Australian Heelers, Hall’s Heelers, and Australischer Treibhund.
“Heeler” is a term referring to the breed’s cattle-herding skills. Did you know that they had a significant impact on the development of Australia’s beef industry?
The original cattle dogs were initially known as Smithfields. They’re a cross between Aussie Dingoes and various Collie breeds.
Amazingly, it resulted in a breed that has a no-nonsense approach when it comes to their task – protecting and herding livestock.
Just like Border Collies, the Blue Heeler is highly energetic, intelligent, and alert. It wasn’t until 1980 did the AKC recognize this breed, and now, they’re Australia’s 3rd most popular dog breed.
Standing at 17 to 20 inches (43 to 51 cm) tall and weighing 35 to 50 pounds (16 to 23 kg), Queensland Heelers aren’t only bred for their herding abilities. They’re also known for their endurance and agility.
They have short and smooth double-layered coats that are dense. Although they mostly have mottled patterns that come in two solid colors – red and blue, they can also have speckled fur.
Fun facts: A Blue Heeler also made an appearance in the movie Babe, and as a villain! And since they’re a kickass breed, there’s an Australian Cattle Dog in the film The Road Warrior that played as Mad Max’s sidekick.
What Does the Border Heeler Look Like?
They have sturdy, compact bodies that are made for all-day work. They are very athletic dogs.
Depending on the genes they inherit, these dogs can have a low-set tail or one that curves slightly. Their eyes are usually brown and oval-shaped.
Out of all their facial features, this dog’s ears tend to vary the most. Their ears might be broad at the base and pointed, or they might be semi-erect with the tips flopping down.
You really won’t know what a puppy will look like until they get a bit older, as the cartilage in their ears usually doesn’t strengthen until around maturity.
They have a natural, weather-resistant double-coat.
Their snout and muzzle are usually medium-length and very strong. They’re working dogs, and you can tell.
Their feet can be round with short toes, or they may be very compact with long toes. It just depends on what parent they take after.
How big does a Collie Heeler mix get?
The Border Heeler usually weighs between 30 to 45 pounds and stands at 18 to 23 inches at the shoulder. However, because this is a mixed breed, many good dogs also fall outside of this guideline.
Mixed breeds aren’t exceptionally “stable.” In other words, they can inherit any trait from either parent.
This means that the appearance, temperament, and maintenance of any particular Border Heeler puppy can vary greatly, depending on the exact traits they inherit.
Their size is not different. Many of these mixed breed dogs are smaller than 30 pounds, while many are larger than 45. It just depends on how the genes fall.
Waterproof and Speckled
Many of these dogs seem to inherit the molting in blue or red from the Australian Cattle Dog parent, though this is not necessarily true for all Blue Heeler Border Collie mixes.
Both their parent breeds have similar, weather-resistant coats, so this mixed breed likely will as well.
However, their outer coat may be either short or medium in length. They can also have wavy or straight fur.
Their overall color can vary widely. They might be black or white like a Border Collie or may take more after their Blue Heeler parent.
Border Collie Heeler: Smart and Sassy
The Border Collie Heeler mix is a working dog, and their temperament shows it. These dogs love to work. They always want to be doing something.
They are incredibly energetic and active. They need hours of activity a day, which is why they aren’t great for apartments.
If you are active, this may be the great companion and exercise buddy you’ve been looking for. However, you can not expect to leave this dog inside all day while you’re at work. Without proper exercise, they can become destructive.
These dogs aren’t necessarily great with children. They have strong herding instincts and may try to herd children. Often, their herding behavior involves a lot of nipping, especially when whatever they’re trying to herd runs away.
They are good with other dogs and typically not aggressive. However, they may try to herd smaller dogs and cats.
Border Heelers are extremely easy to train and have a strong work ethic. They are some of the smartest dogs around, which makes them incredibly eager to learn.
They are not stubborn either, so you shouldn’t have any problem on that front. They housetrain easily and can be kept in a crate for short periods. Of course, their energetic nature also means that they cannot spend long periods in their crate.
The Care of a Border Heeler
These dogs are made to withstand the elements. They are not high maintenance and do well in all climates. Their coats are weather-resistant and make them very easy to take care of.
The Energetic Border Heeler
The activity requirements of a Border Heeler are extensive. They require hours of exercise daily, preferably doing real work. They have extremely high energy levels.
You can not expect them to get their exercise by just shoving them in a yard. They love agility work and things of that sort.
They also need mental stimulation. This can be done quickly when combined with their physical exercise. Games like hide-and-seek are a great option, as is active training such as fetch.
These dogs love frisbee and football, so they do best in family homes where they will have someone to play with.
Expect to take daily walks for up to 2 hours a day. This is a great time to get socialization in as well.
Athleticism and Border Heeler Feeding
Because these dogs are so active, they tend to need more food than other canines. They should be fed a high-protein diet that is formulated for energetic dogs. They usually need to eat about two cups of food a day.
However, you should always follow the feeding instructions on the dog food you purchase.
Because these dogs put a lot of strain on their joints with their constant activity, their diet should be fortified with chondroitin and glucosamine.
These two ingredients are commonly found in cartilage and similar ingredients. They’re the “glue” that keeps your doggies’ joints together.
How to Groom Your Border Heeler
These dogs can inherit their coat from either of their parents. The grooming they need will depend on what traits they inherit. However, these dogs rarely have high grooming needs.
Often, they’re going to need brushing a couple of times a week. This will reduce their natural shedding, which can be moderate to high.
Bathing is not required. Their coats are naturally weather-resistant, so they do a pretty good job of keeping themselves clean.
If you bathe them too much, you can reduce the amount of oils in their coat. This oil is essential for the weather-resistance of their coat.
Like with most breeds, you will need to brush their teeth daily. You may also need to clean their ears, especially if they are a bit floppy. Floppy ears can trap dirt and debris, leading to ear infections if you aren’t careful.
These dogs may be prone to a variety of eye disorders, like their parents. You should clean and examine their eyes regularly because of this.
The Joint and Eye Diseases of the Border Heeler
The Border Collie Blue Heeler mix is prone to many of the same health problems as their parent breeds are.
They are somewhat prone to joint problems, like hip dysplasia. This is somewhat due to poor breeding and also their energetic nature. They tend to put a lot of stress on their joints, creating significant problems down the line.
A food designed for joint support can be helpful. You should also avoid force-exercising them when they are still growing, which can affect the development of their joints.
The Border Heeler’s eyes also tend to be prone to a variety of problems. For example, they are somewhat prone to Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and Primary Lens Luxation, which is genetic.
Both of these problems can result in blindness if left untreated. Cataracts are also somewhat common, so you should examine your dog’s eyes regularly. They may also be prone to Collie eye anomaly.
These dogs are also prone to deafness. It isn’t much you can do about this once it develops, but genetics does seem to play a role.
Ask the breeder you’re purchasing from if either parent is deaf or if any other dog in the family line is deaf.
They may also be somewhat prone to epilepsy and similar health issues.
Usually, these dogs can live anywhere from 13-17 years. The more active and healthier these dogs stay throughout their life, the longer they typically live. Genetics do play a role, too, though.
Dogs prone to more diseases are more likely to die at an earlier age than those who are not.
Where to Find an Australian Cattle Dog Border Collie Mix Puppy
Border Heelers are somewhat challenging to find, as there aren’t as many breeders around as there are for purebred dogs.
While you may find these dogs at pet stores, you should avoid buying from these stores because they often source their dogs from puppy mills.
Puppy mills are all about profit and often breed unhealthy dogs. They rarely do the proper health testing.
Furthermore, pet store employees often do not know the history of the puppies or their parent’s, so you can’t ask them about health conditions.
Blue Heeler Border Collie Mix Breeders and Rescues
The easiest place to find this mixed breed is at a rescue. Your local shelter may have some of these dogs. It doesn’t hurt to check their website or give them a call.
While there are no rescues specific to Border Heeler puppies, you can also check rescues dedicated to its parent breed. The Border Collie Society of America has a list of rescues by state, for example.
Similar Blue Heeler Border Collie Mixes and Dog Breeds
There are a few different breeds that are similar to the Border Heeler.
However, they have slight differences. If you can’t find a Border Heeler near you, one of these breeds might be fitting as well. Some of these are a bit less energetic, which may be a good option for less-active families.
Below, you’ll find a shortlist of the most similar breeds:
- Aussie Sheltie
- Border Collie Lab mix
- Poodle Border Collie mix
- German Shepherd Australian Shepherd mix
Pros and Cons of Owning a Border Collie Blue Heeler Mix
Like all dogs, the Border Heeler has its pros and cons. No dog is perfect. However, finding a breed that best fits your situation and preferences is essential.
For example, you should not get a Border Heeler if you want a dog to lounge with you on the couch all day! The dogs will be your best friend while exercising.
Here are some pros and cons associated with this particular mixed breed.
- Very Smart
- Easy to Train
- Little Grooming Needed
- Requires Lots of Exercises
- Mental Stimulation Required
- Can Be a Bit Too Smart
Is a Border Collie Blue Heeler mix right for me?
Firstly, this mixed breed is best for very active households. If you have a decently large family that spends lots of time outside, this dog may be perfect for you.
It is preferable that this dog has many different people to play with, as it will wear you out before you wear them out.
Secondly, this is the best dog for families who have time to commit to training, as they need mental stimulation daily.
This can leave you with a well-trained family pet, but you will need to put the time in, or they can be destructive.
This canine is usually best for families with multiple older children who can play fetch and participate in training the dog.
However, one dedicated family member can also take care of this dog independently if they have a lot of time on their hands.