Australian cattle dogs, also known as blue heelers, are stout, agile working dogs who take their jobs seriously and won't stop until the job is done. Their history dates back to 1840 in Australia, where they were valued for their outstanding traits. Today, many of those same traits are sought after in a farm dog and family companion.
This is a very intelligent, hard-working breed, so it's important to give your blue heeler a job. If you don't, he will find one himself -- and it may not be what you want it to be. He will loyally protect your family and property and may seem suspicious of strangers. He is also very trainable and does well in agility work.
A medium-sized dog, the blue heeler averages about 19 inches tall at the shoulder and around 30 to 62 pounds. But don't let the size fool you. Blue heelers are strong dogs. You can expect to enjoy yours for up to 15 years. The blue heeler's coat does not require much grooming and only an occasional bath. He will shed once or twice a year, making him easy to keep groomed.
Blue heelers are bundles of energy that is not outgrown after puppyhood. Yours will need lots of exercise and will be happiest in a large yard or on a farm. All of that energy makes him a great farm hand, because he uses it to keep everyone in line. Herding cattle, goats or even children will make your blue heeler one very happy puppy. Training is essential to keep all that energy under control.
Because the blue heeler bonds so closely with his family, he is an excellent family companion. The children will wear out before he does, and when they nap, he will keep vigilant watch over the home. Because of his high exercise requirements, he may even turn into your ideal exercise partner. He isn't likely to let you miss a date to go for a run!
Kathleen Roberts has been a writer and editor since 1996, specializing in health, nutrition, gardening and outdoor living. She received her master gardener training at the University of Florida and has more than 20 years of experience with herbs and supplements.