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4 Different Types of Heeler Dog Breeds

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In the canine kingdom, some dogs are referred to as "heelers." These canines are usually herding dogs. The name heeler derives from the fact that they nip at the heels of the livestock they are herding, hence, "heeler." In this post, you'll find information regarding four different types of heeler dogs.

1. Blue Heeler

A Blue Heeler

The blue heeler, aka the Australian cattle dog, is a force to be reckoned with. It is a sturdy, energetic, and smart breed native to Australia. It is described by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as a "hard-muscled herder of strength and agility." Australian cattle dogs are born with a white coat that turns either blue-gray or red as they mature. A blue Australian cattle dog is called a "blue heeler" whereas a red Australian cattle dog is called a red heeler.

The blue heeler's coat color may feature distinctive mottling or speckling patterns. According to the AKC, blue heelers are smart enough to routinely outsmart their owners. They are true-blue loyal, famously smart, highly energetic, and may easily become bored if they aren't challenged. Therefore, it is recommended that blue heeler owners regularly exercise these versatile dogs to keep them mentally and physically fit.

Though blue heelers are herders by nature, they're known to make incredibly loyal, watchful, and affectionate companions. The breed's boundless energy makes it an excellent running partner. As a high-energy dog, the blue heeler needs more than just a quick walk and playtime in the yard. In order to remain happy and healthy, the blue heeler really needs a job. Keeping a blue heeler on a working farm may not be an issue, especially if there are livestock to herd.

However, in other living situations, the breed's drive and abundant energy need to be channeled through canine activities such as obedience or agility. Blue heelers are generally healthy dogs but, like any breed, can be prone to health conditions such as deafness, progressive retinal atrophy, and hip dysplasia.

2. Texas Heeler

A Texas Heeler

Developed in the Lone Star State, the Texas Heeler is a cross between the Blue heeler and the Australian Shepherd. The Australian Shepherd and the Blue heeler are both smart and high-energy herding dogs. As you can imagine, their offspring, the Texas Heeler is highly intelligent and possesses a very strong herding instinct. Deemed an all-American breed, the Texas Heeler has a high IQ and makes excellent herding dogs for ranchers and farmers.

Unlike its parents, the Texas Heeler is not yet recognized as a standard breed by any major kennel club. It is a relatively unknown dog breed, but nonetheless popular in certain parts of the U.S. The breed is said to have been created in the early 1970s for Texas cattle ranchers who were in dire need of dogs that carried certain traits.

Specifically, cattle ranchers in Texas wanted dogs with natural instincts to effectively control both sheep and cattle. Thus, the Blue heeler and the Aussie were bred together, giving birth to the Texas Heeler. Like its parents, the Texas Heeler is very loyal and protective of its owners. They're perfect for a farm setting thanks to their natural herding instincts. However, Texas Heelers are also known to be friendly and make excellent house pets.

As a house pet, a Texas Heeler requires early socialization and obedience training to curb its herding instincts. Since they are high-energy dogs, Texas Heelers are not recommended for sedentary people.

3. Labraheeler

Two different Labraheeler dogs

Like the Texas Heeler, the Labraheeler isn't a purebred dog. It's a hybrid dog that was developed by crossing the Labrador Retriever with the Blue Heeler. It is easy to guess the Labraheeler's energy level, given both parents' working backgrounds.

Also, it goes without saying that the Labraheeler must be a very intelligent dog, given both parents' smarts. Since the Labraheeler is not a purebred dog, its temperament is unpredictable. However, according to some pet owners on Reddit, the Labraheeler is a "Sweet, affectionate, smart and high-energy dog."

4. Lancashire Heeler

A Lancashire Heeler

Like the Blue Heeler, the Lancashire Heeler is a purebred dog. However, unlike the Blue Heeler, the Lancashire Heeler is a small breed of herding dog developed in England. It is described in terms of temperament as a Clever, Alert, Intelligent, and Friendly dog.

It is also described as an alert, energetic, playful, and pleasant companion. What gives the Lancashire Heeler its charm is its small size. One of the parent breeds of the Lancashire Heeler is thought to be the Welsh Corgi.

Like the Welsh Corgi, the Lancashire Heeler is capable of both ratting and herding cattle. Recognized by the AKC in 2024, there is currently a growing interest in this great companion dog. Actually, the Lancashire Heeler is gaining popularity in the U.S., Sweden, the Netherlands, and Australia.

According to the AKC, the Lancashire Heeler can participate in obedience, agility, rally, and herding events. Per a 2024 New York Times study, the Lancashire Heeler has an average lifespan of 15.4 years, the longest of any breed.

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