Australian cattle dogs, also known as Heelers, are a unique dog breed. Unlike many domesticated dogs, they have not been subjected to an abundance of inbreeding and over breeding. Though some have said they are a most unusual breed mix of Wild Australian Dingos, Blue Dotted Collies, Australian Kelpies, Bull Terriers and Dalmatians, most Blue Heeler history relates their breeding to only the Dingo. Nonetheless, Heelers remain a very pure breed. Their rare mix has resulted in a notorious breed of the cattle dog, a well proportioned, athletic working dog. They were bred to endure the job of herding cattle across large expanses of land in extreme hot and cold weather conditions. This provided tremendous herding relief for the cattlemen. Their strong characteristics as cattle dogs is their somewhat fierce bite at the heels of the cattle to control them, and their stamina for long, hot cattle drives. Heelers are highly efficient in their job of herding because of their keen alertness, quickness and endurance.
The colors and markings of these dogs are extraordinary. I was stopped often with my Heeler by people in awe of her unique and beautiful color combinations. There are Heelers with the blue, tan, black and white that often blazes their foreheads. There are red Heelers who also have the white and reddish tan, but with less black. The Blue Heelers are notorious for the black, bulls eye markings around their eyes. Some Heelers have their tails cropped. Some Heelers are short and stout while others are taller and leaner. Both the male and female are usually close in size, though the females have a tendency to be taller than the males. I have yet to see evidence of a major distinction between the two in character traits save for their colors.
Heelers are extremely tough dogs. They will hike with you in hot, desert climates without needing or wanting drinks of water, and hike with you in extreme cold without a single shiver. Their weather resistant coats are designed to insulate them from the cold, yet keep them cool in the heat. Most Heelers love the snow, but not all Heelers love being in the water. Heelers are energetic, always ready for adventure and to play. Heelers want a job to do, and once they learn it, they are committed to doing it. Even if it is catching the frisbee every evening, they will show up at that hour ready to go. And they will give playing frisbee all they have got! Sometimes it can be hard to tire them out. I have seen Heelers at work herding cattle. They are fearless, precise and loving their job. They are very protective of their territory and super loyal, making them a valuable guard dog and a devoted companion.
You can read more about the history of the Heeler at the links below.