Australian Cattle Dog
18 – 20
35 – 50
11 – 16
What is it?:
A very rare condition found in Australian Cattle dogs is hereditary polioencephalomyelopathy which is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. It causes paralyses within the first year itself of most of the cattle dogs.
It is a rare disease occurring in the cattle dogs but does have very threatening symptoms if occurred. Some of them include
Inability to walk for longer durations
Reluctance towards exercise
Incoordination between limbs
Weakness in the lower body
Treatment may include steroids.
The Blue Heelers make a very fierce watchdogs as they are courageous and very much alert of strangers despite them not being loud barkers
The Red Heelers possess high levels of energy, the reason why they were originally used for long herding rides
Cattle dogs are a very pleasant breed with low aggressiveness making them perfect for families with kids
The Australian Cattle Dog has a double coat with its outer one with protective short and straight hair coupled with a fine and dense undercoat
As the nicknames suggest, the breed is found usually in red and blue shades. Other shades are usually considered faulty
A low maintenance breed in terms of grooming, the blue / red heelers don’t require more than a weekly brushing and a thorough one while they shed. Brushing their teeth and cleaning their ears periodically would ensure good health.
Being intelligent and energetic helps the pet parents to train their cattle dog puppies very well and easily. There might be some resistance to new faces at times though.
The term heeler in the name Blue / Red Heeler comes due to their practice of moving reluctant cattle by biting their heels and helping their masters in herding. It has a broad skull with muscular cheeks giving its face a sturdy look. Both blue and red heelers are born white. The colors are actually a result of a ticking gene.
Australian Cattle Dog: Introduction to the Breed
There is nothing much that would worry you if you are planning to adopt one of the heelers. But it is important to know more things before we make the decision. Key features to note here are -
Australian Cattle Dogs are generally:
Highly energetic and active
Highly obedient and trainable
Quick to respond to the emotion of the owners
Strongly bonded with their parents
Cairns are best suited for –
Existing dog owners
Active pet parents who like to keep up with the high energy of these dogs
Someone who likes to cuddle with their puppies as both blue and red heelers are very clingy
Families with big houses or lawns as they need sufficient physical space to release all that energy
Blue Heeler vs Red Heeler
Now that we know that this breed comes primarily in only these 2 colors, one must wonder what are the differences between the two types. As our first instinct suggests, the basic difference between the 2 heelers is just the color of the outer coat.
The blue heelers can have several fur patterns, viz. plain blue, mottled and speckled blue. On the other hand, the red counterparts only have mottled and speckled as the 2 types.
Things to watch-out before deciding to own a Australian Cattle Dog
The blue / red heelers are a beautiful companion, no doubt. But there are some things one should consider before deciding to adopt. Some common findings are
They cannot be left alone for a very long time
Lack of physical and mental stimulus can lead to destructive and aggressive behaviors
They don’t do very well with small pets because of their inherent nature of herding
With smaller chaotic kids, they are known to nip them as a muscle memory of them nipping the cattle during herding
These heelers are prone to eye and joint problems
Not really suited for apartment living
Things to keep in mind while training the cattle dogs
There are some habits of these blue and red heelers which deserve a punishment, however as a pet parent, it is important to know how to tackle them
Do not punish them for their genes. Biting and nipping is what they were bred for. Punishing them for these traits would be like punishing horses for running. Instead hand them a toy to substitute their urge to nip livestock
Always keep them on a leash in an unenclosed area. Heelers will most of the times run away as they love to road and wander in open lands
During their shedding season, you can even comb their fur or else be ready for a house full of fur.
If you’re looking for a playful, energetic, family friendly and an alert dog, then the blue / red heeler or the cattle dog is the one for you. Just don’t forget that you’ll have to run along with it as it will most probably jump around the house and break a lot of things if enough physical and mental exercise is not provided. But don’t worry, for all of that, you’ll get abundant love and loyalty and even security for your house from strangers.