The blue heeler, or Australian cattle dog, is a compact or midsize working dog of the AKC herding class. The blue heeler is intelligent and strong, he likes to keep on the move and excels in obedience and agility. The blue heeler is an excellent companion animal for folks who like active dogs.
Pioneer settlers who ventured from Europe to Australia developed the blue heeler breed in the 1800s to withstand the harsh climate down under. According to the Dog Breed Info Center website, these pioneers cross-bred dingo/blue merle collies with Dalmatians and black-and-tan Kelpies, producing a strong and sturdy breed that could herd cattle in the hot, dusty climate of Queensland.
The blue heeler stands between 17 and 20 inches at the shoulder and weighs 30 to 62 pounds. The dog has a smooth double coat and a short, thick undercoat. Possible coat colors include blue, blue-mottled or blue-speckled, or red-speckled. Black markings are not suited the show ring. Blue heelers have wide-set ears and dark brown eyes.
While loyal and loving, blue heelers are working dogs at heart, so be prepared to provide lots of exercise and intellectual stimulation on a daily basis. Without exercise, these active dogs can get bored easily and develop serious behavior problems. City owners may find that obedience and agility courses offer an excellent outlet for draining excess energy.
Debra Levy has been writing for more than 30 years. She has had fiction and nonfiction published in various literary journals. Levy holds an M.A. in English from Indiana University and an M.F.A. in creative writing/fiction from the Bennington Writing Seminars.