Red heeler

Loyal / Disciplined / Hard Working

The red heeler, or Australian cattle dog, has a high energy level. They were bred to herd cattle for thousands of miles, so they need a lot of exercise. There are really only two different types. The red heeler and blue heeler only have different colorings. 

medium breed tan red heeler running on the beach


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Lifetime Care

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Breed Profile


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  • Males: 18-20 inches
  • Females: 17-19 inches


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  • 35-50 pounds


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  • 12-16 years

Amount a Spot accident & illness plan would cover*

*Hypothetical reimbursement examples illustrate reimbursement of an eligible vet bill at the noted reimbursement rate, assuming the annual deductible had already been met.

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What is it? 

Glaucoma happens when your pup’s eye cannot drain fluid properly. Because of the fluid, there is increased pressure on the eye, which can harm the optic nerve. 

% Dogs affected: 


Clinical signs: 

Receded eyeball, dilated pupil, vision loss, cloudiness in the eye, redness in the white of the eyes, blinking. 


Medication, freeze cells that produce the fluids, draining fluid, surgery in extreme cases, removing the eye. 

Other risks:  


Average Vet Bill



90% = $3150

80% = $2800

70% = $2450

Hip dysplasia

What is it? 

Hip dysplasia results when the ball and socket of the hip joint become malformed, causing the joint to grate. 

% Dogs affected: 


Clinical signs: 

Swaying gait, avoids climbing stairs or jumping on furniture, lameness in the hind end, limping/stiffness, grating in the affected joint, smaller range of motion and activity, pain. 


Supplements, surgery, joint fluid modifiers, restricting exercise, weight loss, anti-inflammatory medication, glucosamine. 

Other risks: 

Deterioration causing loss of function in the joint. Complications during surgery. 

Average Vet Bill



90% = $5400

80% = $4800

70% = $4200


What is it? 

When an inflamed thyroid gland produces less thyroid hormone than usual, it affects your dog’s metabolism and causes hypothyroidism.  

% Dogs affected: 


Clinical signs: 

Sleepiness, reproductive issues, obesity, heat-seeking (get cold easily), coat and skin problems, drooping face. 


Lifelong medication. 

Other risks: 

Ear infections. Skin infections

Average Vet Bill



90% = $270

80% = $240

70% = $210


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Australian cattle dogs aren’t the most affectionate family pets, but they are loyal and love their owners. 


These herders are courageous and determined dogs. 

Hard Working 

Heelers should be able to have a job to do so they can be occupied 


They have a tendency to be mischievous, especially if their active nature isn’t directed properly. 


If this herding breed doesn’t get enough exercise, they might start racing around the house or finding another indoor activity to do. 

Lifetime Care

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Red heelers have a smooth double coat. 


Red mottled, red speckled. 


No, red heelers are not hypoallergenic. 


Monthly or bi-weekly brushing to help remove dead hair, teeth brushed, nails trimmed and ears checked regularly. 


Teach dogs that their herding instincts are for certain times and places. 

Lifetime Care Cost: 


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Red Heeler: Dog Breed Information Guide 

Are you someone who likes to take long hikes through the forest? Do you have a farm with animals that need herding? If you answer yes to either question, the red heeler might be the pup for you. Read on to learn more about them.  

The red heeler is a relatively new breed of dog. They are officially known by the American Kennel Association as the Australian cattle dog — not to be confused with the Australian shepherd. You might also hear them referred to as the Australian heeler or the Halls heeler. As you’ve probably guessed by now, these pups are from Australia. 

Although they were herding cattle, Australian cowboys and ranchers had trouble finding a dog that could keep up with them over the rugged terrain. To correct this problem, they began to breed herding dogs like border collies with the Australian dingos, which are basically Australian wild dogs.  

After many years, and with some other breeds mixed in, the Australian cattle dog came into being. These hardy and active dogs got their nickname from their method of herding. To get the cows moving in the direction the dogs wanted, they would nip at the heels of the herd. 

Understanding your pup’s breed history can help you get an idea of what they need to be happy and healthy. At Spot Pet Insurance, we know that it’s difficult to keep track of your pet’s needs, especially if you have multiple fur babies, so we’re trying to give you all the resources you need. 

A working dog like the Australian cattle dog requires a lot of careful thinking before you can adopt one. If you’re a first-time pet parent, Australian cattle dogs can be a bit of a handful since they have big personalities.  

Are you ready to learn more about these pups? Let’s go. 

What are the two types of red heeler? 

There are really only two different types. The red heeler and blue heeler only have different colorings.  

One of the two true variants of the red heeler dog is the original cattle dog, the first type of Australian cattle dog. These pups are from New South Wales, an area in Southeast Australia.  

The other type of heeler is the Queensland heeler, from an area in the Northeast of Australia. Both dogs are officially considered Australian cattle dogs, but they still have their own histories. 


How to care for an Australian cattle dog 

What is a red heeler’s coat like?  

Red heelers have a smooth double coat. The dense undercoat is coupled with a stiff outer coat.  

Red heeler coat colors: 

  • Red mottled 
  • Red speckled 

Are red heelers hypoallergenic?  

No, red heelers are not hypoallergenic.  

What are the grooming requirements for a red heeler?  

Red heelers need monthly or bi-weekly brushing to help remove dead hair.  

They will also need to have their teeth brushed, nails trimmed and ears checked regularly. 

What is the lifetime care cost of a red heeler?  

The lifetime care cost of a red heeler is $223940

How to be the best pet parent for a red heeler 

How much does a dog or puppy cost?  

Adoption fee: $250-$1,200 

[Expense: first year, following years]  

Food: $105-$220, $115-$360 

Water/food bowls: $5-$40, N/A 

Treats: $115-$335, $115-$335 

Collars: $10-$40, N/A 

Leashes: $5-$20, $0-$20 

Dog bed and crate: $50-$205, N/A 

Toys: $30-$100, $0-$100 

Vaccines and routine care: $395-$1,245, $380-$725 

Heartworm and flea prevention: $240-$360, $255-$300 

Total: $955-$2,565, $865-$1,840 

Basic training and behavior etiquette for your dog 

  1. Red heelers tend to be independent and mischievous. You need to be able to teach them and guide them with a firm hand. Let them know that you are in charge. 
  2. They need to learn basic commands like sit, stay, come, heel and so on. You should also teach them other tricks and commands to keep them occupied. 
  3. Heelers should be able to have a job to do so they can be occupied, whether it be going on hikes with you, herding cattle, or working on agility training.  
  4. Because these dogs were bred to be able to run long distances, even over rough terrain, they need space to run around in. However, they shouldn’t be outside a fenced-in area without a leash. 
  5. It’s important to teach them that their herding instincts, like nipping or being overly territorial, are for certain times and places.  

What type of foods should a red heeler never eat? 

Human foods can frequently be toxic for dogs, although there are some they can eat. However, it’s important to be aware of what your pup can or cannot eat. We’ve written about both kinds of human foods on our blog here. 

Sometimes your pup might also have allergies to certain foods. We can’t really determine that here, so if you notice that your dog is showing signs of food sensitivity, you should take them to the vet to have them evaluated. 

Some foods that your pup cannot eat, even if they aren’t allergic, are

  • Toxic mushrooms 
  • Potato leaves and stems 
  • Tomato stems and leaves 
  • Chocolate 
  • Dough with yeast 
  • Spinach 
  • Alcohol  

There are many other foods that your dog absolutely cannot have, so it’s important to look into it further. 

Exercising tips to keep your dog to stay fit and healthy 

Australian cattle dogs have a high energy level. They were bred to herd cattle for thousands of miles, so they need a lot of exercise. Fortunately, you can do plenty of things with your pup to keep them healthy and active. 

As we’ve mentioned before, hiking would be a great activity for you and your pup to do together. You could also just go for a long walk or a jog. You could also play games with them, like fetch or tug-o-war.  

Red heeler life stages 

Puppy: 0 – 12 months 

Adult: 1 - 10 years 

Senior: 10 – 16 years 


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