The Blue Heeler, one of Australia’s original herding breeds and a popular working dog, may well be the dog with the most names. It is known as the Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Heeler, Hall’s Heeler, Queensland Heeler, Red Heeler, ACD, AuCaDo, or just Cattle Dog.

This dog was deliberately bred in the mid-19th century to help Australian cattle farmers drove cattle over long distances. Hall’s Heelers were the result of New South Wales cattle farmer Thomas Hall’s crossbreeding of collies with native dingoes. They were later cross-bred with other breeds to become the strong and loyal Cattle Dog it has been for the last century.

Blue Heelers are muscular, medium-sized dogs standing 43-51 cm at the withers and weighing 15-22 kg. A Blue Heeler’s coat colour, as its name suggests, is blue while the Red Heeler has red speckles, and both can have black, tan, blue or red markings mostly on the head and legs.

The Australian Cattle Dog or Blue Heeler has a double coat: a short, smooth undercoat and a hard, weather-resistant outer coat. It needs little grooming.

This is a strong working dog with incredible stamina and is happiest when it’s given a job to do. You should only get a Blue Heeler if you can provide it with the space and the action and adventure it needs. This is definitely not a dog you keep in an apartment or a small courtyard.  It needs LOADS of exercise!!

Its wonderful intellect means the Australian Cattle Dog excels in obedience training, agility trials and show rings.

Loyal as it is to its owner, the Blue Heeler also makes a very good guard dog. Socialise your Blue Heeler when it’s young and it will behave well towards other household pets and children, although many Cattle Dogs prefer to be the only dog in the household.

The Australian Cattle Dog or Blue Heeler is a relatively healthy breed with a life expectancy of 14 years on average.

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Liz Walden

Liz has a passion for all things cat and dog, and was one of the first in Australia to bring Pet Insurance to the market. She has headed up Petsecure marketing for the past 10 years, and is committed to promoting and supporting the amazing work done by rescue groups around Australia, and those who work to promote a better life for all animals