During my animal volunteering experience for a decade, I decided to take up a course on veterinary assistance for two years. Upon getting my certificate, I applied to a veterinarian clinic where I was able to provide medical and health care for all animals with people that are as passionate as me when it comes to saving and caring for animals and their well-being.
What I feel excited the most about my job is that we help people take care of their companions in the best possible way we can. I enjoy my work because I love animals too. Whenever I see the owner’s happy face after I attend to their beloved pets is genuinely a unique sight. In the past year, I had the chance to work with hundreds of dogs and chat a little with their owners. In my opinion, dogs need a great home and loving friends and family, as much as we as humans do.
About the Australian Shepherd Blue Heeler Mix
The Australian Shepherd Blue Heeler Mix, also known as Texas Heeler, is a hybrid dog. Its parentage comes from two common Australian breeds, the Australian Shepherd and the Australian Cattle Dog. The latter breed is also more commonly known as the Blue Heeler.
Texas Heelers are a friendly bunch, all while being protective of its family. Aside from its family, it is also quite protective of its turf. The breed is also an intelligent dog that makes for excellent watchdogs, making them easier to train. Due to its Australian Cattle dog lineage, the hybrid is known to be a herding type, which might make it entirely incompatible for families with small children. The breed is also a very active dog, so they are better suited to be placed in a home with a large yard, on a farm, or in rural areas.
Although it is a reasonably common hybrid, not much is known about its true origins, only that it has started in the 1970s somewhere in Texas. Due to the lack of its known roots, looking at its parent breeds may help in the prediction of the possible temperament of the hybrid.
3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Get an Australian Shepherd Blue Heeler Cross
1. Australian Shepherd mixed with Blue Heeler Cross may overpower small children. The breed is a playful dog. While it can get along well with children, its herding tendencies might get in the way. They may think that small children are for them to herd. This might lead to the little children being overwhelmed by them.
2. Blue Heeler Crossed with Australian Shepherd is highly active. Being a herding dog, it is a given that they are born with high levels of energy. They will need highly physical activities and more extended minutes of daily walking time. If they become bored, they might become destructive inside the house.
3. Blue Heeler Australian Shepherd should be kept in households with large yards. Although it is a medium-sized dog, the hybrid is a very active dog that is used to herding and living in a farm or rural areas. If you are not living in such areas, you must at least have a large yard because the hybrid enjoys running around freely in a field.
3 Reasons Why You Should Get an Australian Shepherd Blue Heeler Hybrid
- Blue Heeler Australian Shepherd Hybrids do not require an elaborate grooming routine. Because of its short and sparse coat, you will only need to brush its fur weekly. They also just shed in moderate amounts. You will only have to be concerned about keeping their hair untangled.
- Blue Heeler Australian Shepherd Hybrids are highly intelligent. This trait makes the dog quite enjoyable to train. They love learning new things and exploring new challenges. You will not have a hard time teaching them. Just keep in mind to do it at a young age and apply positive reinforcement so that they learn well.
- Blue Heeler Australian Shepherd Hybrids are very protective. The breed is very affectionate to its owner and family. It can serve as a guard dog and protect you and your family with its life. They will only ever bark and true intruders and strangers that they believe are harmful to you.
Appearance, Personality, and Traits of an Australian Shepherd crossbred with Blue Heeler
|Weight||45 to 50 pounds|
|Height||17 to 22 inches|
|Coat Type||Straight, Slightly Sparse, Medium in Length, Smooth and Soft|
|Coat Color||Black, Blue, Fawn|
|Amount of Shedding||Moderate|
|Ears||Erect or Folded|
|Temperament||Active, Energetic, Friendly, Alert, Protective|
|Life Expectancy||12 to 15 years|
|New Owners Friendly||Yes|
|Breed Recognition||Dog Registry of America, American Canine Hybrid Club, Animal Research Foundation|
Australian Shepherd crossbred with Blue Heeler usually weigh around 45 to 50 pounds in both male and female adult dog. They are medium-sized dogs who stand tall from 17 up to 22 inches from their paws up to the tip of their ears. The hybrid can live up to around 12 to 15 years, all depending on how well they are raised and how healthy their parent breeds are. There is not much difference on the stature of the male and female Texas Heeler.
An individual Blue Heeler Australian Shepherd mix can have a variety of color in their fur, but most commonly the colors are black, blue, and fawn. There also times when the hybrid’s coat appears to be blue merle or blue ticked. Its fur is medium in length, only ranging from one up to three inches. The coat distribution is sparse or slightly scattered, which makes the grooming and brushing requirements lighter. The reason for this is so that they adapt better to the semi-arid conditions in Texas, which is the home for their breed. Their fur is also generally smooth and soft.
The hybrid can either inherit the erect ears of the Australian Cattle Dog or the folded ears of the Australian Shepherd Dog. More often than not, it inherits the trait of the former. White or tan trim can also be found on their feet and legs sometimes. Their tails can be straight of bobbed, but the latter is more common and recognizable. Their eye color usually comes in different shades of brown. Their nose is the usual pointed black with no unusual variety.
The Texas Heeler is a highly trainable dog because of its intelligence. The dog can learn by taking cues and signals from its master. Their natural herding instincts may become a challenge at times, but the breed is affectionate and highly protective of its family. They may be uncomfortable with strangers, but this is because of their protective nature. To counter this, it is advisable to subject the puppy to socialization with family and other dogs at a young age.
The dog generally gets along with children, but there is still a tendency that it may overwhelm the kids, due to its instinct to herd. Experts advise early training to prevent this from happening. While it makes for a good watchdog, it does not bark as much unless there is an actual intruder or stranger nearby.
Currently, there are only three associations in the United States of America that recognizes the Blue Heeler Australian Shepherd mix:
- Dog Registry of America, Inc.
- American Canine Hybrid Club
- Animal Research Foundation
Blue Heeler Australian Shepherd Mix Puppies for Sale
Many experts recommend acquiring all kinds of animals through rescue, but in case you would want to raise your own, you can look for trusted breeders.
A trusted breeder have the dog’s best interest in mind and will not overbreed the features of the parent breeds. Remember that you have you have to be careful in looking for a breeder. One of the indicators is that a reputable breeder will hand you the proper documents of the hybrid as well as the parent breeds. They will also warn you if the mix has inherited any genetic disease from its parents.
It is better to personally meet with a breeder so that you can ask them in person all the critical information regarding the Blue Heeler Australian Shepherd mix like its parental background, health history, and even the needs of the growing puppy.
Before meeting with the breeder, it is also advisable that you perform some kind of research about the breed so that you will know what kind of questions you should ask the breeder. You can look on the internet about the usual demeanor of the dog, proper training routines, and basic needs.
When you meet with the breeder, you can also ask to meet the puppy itself, that way you will know if you are compatible with them and if you are indeed capable of taking care of one.
If you still decided to purchase a Blue Heeler Australian Shepherd Cross online, here are some of the recommended sites that offer many breeds of puppies:
You can also choose to consult with a veterinarian so that they can give you better tips in raising your dogs and even proper diagnosis of the newly purchased puppy. It is better to detect possible health concerns of a dog while it is still juvenile. If the breeder is unable to show you the proper documents of its parent breed, especially the health records, it is better to find a new breeder than to adopt a puppy with a high risk of disease.
Grooming Your Blue Heeler Australian Shepherd Cross
The Blue Heeler Australian Shepherd cross is a relatively low maintenance breed. Although its fur is rather short and smooth, weekly brushing is still needed to prevent matting or tangling of the coat. Bathing your dog should only be done whenever it is necessary.
You must also keep in mind that the breed may sometimes be sensitive to touch, so an established grooming routine when it is young is advisable. Brushing their teeth two or three times a week is also recommended to prevent bad breath and the build-up of tartar. You can also choose to brush their teeth daily to prevent tooth decay.
Trimming their nails should be done every two weeks if he doesn’t naturally wear it down. Cleaning their ears will depend on which ear type your pet has. If they inherited the erect ears, you are only required to clean them during bath time. However, if their ears are folded, you will need to clean them with damp cotton balls once every week. While doing the ear cleaning, you should also check for redness and bad odor. If you notice either of these two symptoms, it is possible that your dog has acquired an ear infection.
Some of the recommended tools for your hybrid are:
- Nail Clipper
If you are not confident with how you groom your pet, you can always visit a pet salon since the groomers can take better care of your dog. Other than that, they will also have a chance to socialize with other dogs.
Blue Heeler Australian Shepherd Hybrid Health Problems
Blue Heeler Australian Shepherd hybrids are generally healthy, but once something goes wrong, it may lead to a wide variety of diseases. When adopting a puppy from a breeder, make sure that you were able to ask for health documents of the dog and the parents so that you can trace whether there are hereditary conditions you need to look out for.
To make sure that your puppy is at its peak health condition, frequent trips to your trusted veterinary clinic is advisable. Some of the tests usually done for early diagnosis are the following:
- Eye Examination
- Blood Analysis
- Hearing Tests
- Full Body Physical Examination
You should also need to regularly talk to your puppy’s veterinarian because most Texas Heelers are diagnosed with Osteosarcoma.
Some of the significant health problems that your Blue Heeler crossbred with Australian Shepherd may have are:
- Distichiasis – The condition in which an eyelash arises from an abnormal location on the eyelid or when an eyelash grows in an unnatural direction. This is usually diagnosed during an eye examination.
- Elbow and Hip Dysplasia – A common skeletal condition in which the ball and socket joint do not develop properly. This leads to deterioration over time and an eventual loss of the function of the joint.
- Osteochondritis Dissecans – An inflammatory condition in which diseased cartilage is separated from the underlying bone. Reduced energy and calcium intake in the diet can reduce the risk of this incidence.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) – A general group of degenerative diseases that affect the photoreceptor cells in the eyes of the dog. Over time, if not treated, it will lead to blindness of the affected dog.
- Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) – This condition is an inherited congenital condition in which the eyes are mutated, making the choroid underdeveloped. This will lead to other worse defects in the sight of the affected dog.
Some minor concerns like deafness, cataracts, and epilepsy are also reasonably common within the breed, so early detection and diagnosis is the key to prevent further complications on your pet’s health.
Blue Heeler crossbred with Australian Shepherd Food Requirements
Being a breed originally meant for herding, the Blue Heeler crossbred with Australian Shepherd has a great deal of energy. Most experts recommend dog foods that are specially formulated for active breeds, making sure that the nutritional needs of the dog are met.
Here are some of the best dry dog foods that meant for puppies of active breeds:
- Wellness Core Air Dried Dog Food – With this brand, your dog will have two flavors to choose from, namely whitefish & salmon and turkey & chicken. This brand produces a formula that is grain-free, which makes it easily digestible. It is also fortified with nutrients, as well as vitamins and minerals, making it an excellent option for your active dog.
- Taste of the Wild High Prairie Canine Formula with Roasted Bison and Roasted Venison – This brand is also grain-free and contains natural ingredients like buffalo, lamb, chicken, venison, sweet potatoes, and peas. It also includes low-fat content while holding a full profile of B vitamins and magnesium. The formulation also contains probiotics for easier digestion.
- Canidae Grain-Free Pure – Even with its simple formula, the brand boasts a good range of flavors and recipes especially made for breeds of different sizes. The ten key ingredients and probiotics help in the proper digestion of the dog. By containing all the necessary nutrients, this brand will provide your active dog with more effective absorption.
However, you must keep in mind that these brands are merely suggestions by experts all over the world. The proper diet for your dog will still depend on its physical characteristics, health condition, and genetic upbringing. It would be better to consult a trusted veterinarian so that you can get a unique diet plan for your puppy.
Blue Heeler mixed with Australian Shepherd Exercise Requirements
The Blue Heeler mixed with Australian Shepherd is a dog with high energy levels. The breed will always crave for a job to do and will love learning new tricks and commands. It will enjoy participating in activities that will involve flyball and agility exercises if they will not be assigned in a job involving herding on a farm or a ranch. This is because they were born to herd and will therefore not stray too far from their instincts.
They will enjoy any type of exercise, specifically a thirty-minute walk about twice a day. However, the best activity for the Australian Shepherd mixed with Blue Heeler is when they are freely running outdoors. This is why they are recommended for families in rural areas or those with farms and large yards.
The breed will also enjoy trips to dog parks where they can socialize with other canines. They will also enjoy hiking on any type of terrain. This breed is one that will appreciate any kind of outdoor family activity.
Their required mileage per week is at least 14 miles while the daily required activity time is 90 minutes.
Australian Shepherd mixed with Blue Heeler Training
The Australian Shepherd mixed with Blue Heeler is an active and intelligent breed that will respond quite well to whatever training you are going to subject it to. This breed can be eager to learn new tasks and new tricks to develop. Although they have strong herding instincts, they can also be easily trained for other activities like agility training and flyball.
It is highly recommended that you perform early socialization for this breed to get used to children and other pets and dogs. All dogs respond to positive reinforcement so it would be good to apply rewards and treats during training.
To help you home train your dog, here are some of the necessary training that every dog should undergo:
- Teach them how to come. You can start at smaller distances and increase the gap little by little every session.
- Teach them how to “loose-leash” walking. Train them to walk politely at your side without pulling their leash too much.
- Teach them how to sit. You can train them using two methods namely “capturing” and “luring.”
- Teach them how to stay. The goal is to teach your dog to remain in its place until you give them a release cue.
- Teach them how to lay down. This can be quite similar to teaching your dog how to sit.
There are also instances that the breed can become stubborn. During these situations, you will have to be strong and must exhibit strong leadership if you want this hybrid dog to learn well.
Australian Shepherd Blue Heeler Mix And Families
The Australian Shepherd Blue Heeler mix can be protective and affectionate towards its family. However, due to its herding instinct brought about by the natural trait of both its parents, it may overpower small children and “herd” them. While this may be prevented with proper socialization and training at a young age, it is still better to be cautious. The hybrid also does not get along well with other house pet. If you have a cat in your home, the puppy may try to herd it.
The breed does not also cause much disturbance in a home because it is not much of a barker, but it does not mean that the dog is not energetic. Its highly active lifestyle can lead to a very playful demeanor. Since it is highly intelligent and low grooming maintenance, new pet owners will have a more convenient time getting along with them.
- Turnova, Evelina Hrckova, et al. “A Novel Mutation in the TYRP1 Gene Associated with Brown Coat Colour in the Australian Shepherd Dog Breed.” Animal Genetics, vol. 48, no. 5, 12 May 2017, pp. 626–626., doi:10.1111/age.12563.
- Cho, D. -Y., et al. “Neuronal Ceroidosis (Ceroid-Lipofuscinosis) in a Blue Heeler Dog.” Acta Neuropathologica, vol. 69, no. 1-2, 1986, pp. 161–164., doi:10.1007/bf00687053.
- Mendoza, Mark. Blue Heeler Training Secrets. Publisher Not Identified, 2014.
- Schwartz, Charlotte. Australian Shepherd. Kennel Club Books, 2009.