Australian Cattle Dog

...the Blue Healer

Just like the Australian Kelpie, the Australian Cattle Dog, more commonly known as the Blue Heeler in Australia, is a herding dog bred to work. Its origins are well documented and are the result of crossing drovers' dogs with tame dingoes in the 19th century. It produced a medium sized, stocky dog.

These are highly intelligent dogs with boundless energy and a strong independent streak. They are thought to be the easiest to train of all breeds. They need consistent, structured training when young and need to be challenged. Training must include teaching the dog not to bite, because Heelers were bred to bite. As such, whilst not aggressive, Heelers may become very possessive and protective of their owners and their possessions and may bite if they feel these are threatened. Good socialisation in puppy hood will ensure outstanding behaviour with children, other pets and visitors - the last thing you want is charity collectors mutilated on the doorstep!

Blue Heelers rarely bark, but do make reasonable watchdogs and guard dogs. They have very few genetic health problems and have been known to live to the ripe old age of 20! They are shedders, despite being short haired, and you will need to take this into account if you decide to have them indoors a lot. It might be a good idea to 'quarantine' most of your house and only allow them in certain parts that you are willing to clean up regularly.

Their biggest needs are for exercise and mental stimulation. You must remember these dogs were bred to work. If you want a Blue Heeler in the suburbs, keep it busy. It will love to jog with you, play Frisbee and will relish in things like agility work and organised dog club activities.

A bored, unstimulated Blue Heeler will turn your house and yard into a war zone. Off lead it will chase cars too and attempt to herd everything, including you.

So, if you have the time and energy to put in to a Blue Heeler, you will be rewarded with an extraordinary companion who will love you with intensity.

<ul> <li>Medium dog.</li> <li>Very intelligent</li> <li>Can bite</li> <li>Needs a lot of exercise.</li> <li>Sheds a lot.</li> <li>Few health issues</li> <li>Easy to train.</li> </ul>