If you've got an active lifestyle and are inclined to take your dog along for the adventure, blue heelers are up for whatever exciting activity you have in mind. Also called Australian cattle dogs, they're working dogs who need a lot going on to keep them occupied. They aren't exactly high maintenance in the grooming department, but knowing what you're in for with blue heelers and shedding will make grooming easier to deal with.
Blue Heeler Coat
Blue heelers have a double coat. They have a dense undercoat beneath an extremely short outer coat that typically grows only to 1 1/2 inches in length. Blue heelers' coats don't appear to be as thick as they are because the outer hairs rest close to the undercoat. If you like dogs of unusual color and markings you'll approve of the blue heeler's appearance. Coloring can range from blue to red or blue speckled, blue mottled or even a combination of these.
There's no getting around it: any dog with fur will shed. Dogs with thicker fur tend to shed a bit more, especially in warm climates. Blue heelers, in general, will shed moderately under normal circumstances. Yes, this means he'll leave hairs on your pant leg when he leans in for a pat, and if he reclines on the sofa, there'll be evidence of his presence there, as well.
The Biannual Blow
Aside from the usual shedding that can be expected, if you adopt a blue heeler be prepared for his twice yearly "coat blow." For one or two weeks every spring and possibly one additional time each year, blue heelers blow their coats, shedding their undercoat in tufts and clumps. How often your heeler's coat undergoes this major shed depends on the climate and whether he has been neutered or not. Altered males typically only blow their coats once a year. If you have a female heeler who isn't yet fixed, though, you can expect her to go through a major shedding after each time she goes into heat.
Grooming to Control Shedding
Routine grooming is a useful recommendation to control shedding both in and out of the shedding season. When your blue heeler is blowing his coat, daily grooming with a steel comb and a wire brush will be necessary to control the free-floating hair in your house. One or two warm baths with a quality dog shampoo will also help eliminate loose hair during this time. Outside of shedding season, combing and brushing only needs to be done a couple of times a week and baths can be limited to an as-needed basis, like if your heeler gets into something extremely dirty or smelly.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.