January 21, 2020 PetGuide
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Texas Heeler

  • Height: 17-22 inches
  • Weight: 25-50 lb
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Group: not applicable
  • Best Suited For: Families with children, active singles, houses with yards, farms/rural areas, watchdog
  • Temperament: Active, energetic, friendly, alert
  • Comparable Breeds: Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Shepherd Dog

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There are many types of dog out there. Everyone has their favourite type. Some like toy dogs, others like show dogs, a few seek working dogs, etc. But there are some folks out there for whom only a herder dog will do.  Smart, highly trainable and protective, the Texas Heeler is a herder through and through. This designer dog will impress you with his wit and personality, both of which have made him a popular choice for many in Texas and even outside his native state. The lovely appearance is just an added bonus. It’s tough to feel indifferent to those wiggly butts and one of a kind looks. These pups are absolutely adorable. That’s just a fact. 

Also known as the Queensland Heeler or the Blue Heeler, the Texas Heeler is a hybrid breed resulting from the crossing of an Australian Cattle Dog and an Australian Shepherd Dog (In other words, the Texas Heeler combines two of the finest herders into one!). The Texas Heeler is an active and intelligent breed that exhibits a combination of the characteristics of both parent breeds. Because the Heeler is a hybrid, different litters may produce dogs with different physical and temperamental characteristics. Yet, for the most part, the Texas Heeler is a friendly dog and an excellent herder. You can’t always predict what to expect from a hybrid dog, but those two qualities are practically guaranteed to be in this pup’s personality. 

Texas Heeler is a perfect pet for families with older children, active owners, or people who live on a farm and want a reliable companion and working dog in one breed. However, while the unique ancestry of this hybrid makes him an ideal choice for many prospective pet owners, there are many other options who would also be a quality match. Is this hybrid truly the right dog for you? Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place to find out. Keep your eyes glued to this page a scroll on to learn everything that there is to know about the Texas Heeler and whether or not the pooch will fit into your lifestyle.

An excellent watch and herding dog, the Texas Heeler is a hybrid breed resulting from the crossing an Australian Cattle Dog and Australian Shepherd Dog.

Crossbreeding dogs is a process that has been practiced for hundreds (if not thousands) of years Yet, despite that long history, it is difficult to tell when the Texas Heeler breed actually originated. Sadly, there just isn’t much documented history available about this or any other hybrid pooch. Most people count the moment when the breed transitioned from unplanned crossbreeding to intentional development of a new hybrid breed as the beginning of any hybrid dog’s history. However, there’s no information about when this happened for the Australian Cattle Dog and an Australian Shepherd Dog mix. It is known that the Texas Heeler is most commonly found in Texas (obviously), but no one breeder or kennel has been officially credited with the creation or development of the breed. Sadly, this is one of the great canine mysteries. However, it is believed that Lucy Guynes may have been responsible for registering the first Texas Heeler in 1970. Unfortunately, that guess is the closest thing that we have to a history of this beloved pooch. 

After decades of crossbreeding, this intelligent and active designer dog is one of the more popular mixes. While predominantly in demand in his home state, the Texas Heeler is quickly stealing hearts all across the country. And with good reason too! The unique mix of those two purebreds results in a dog that’s suited for the role of pet and of working dog. Beyond that, this pup tends to excel at doggie sports, too. These are active dogs who love to show off their physical prowess. 

The Texas Heeler is a herding breed which means that it has a great deal of energy.

As you’ve hopefully gathered by now, the Texas Heeler is not a purebred dog. It is a hybrid of the Australian Cattle Dog and the Australian Shepherd Dog. He is a 50/50 cross of these two breeds. This is also known as a first generation hybrid or F1 mix. First generation crossbreeds such as the Texas Heeler are the most common ones, but they can significantly vary in looks and behavior. With both of their parents being a different breed, the puppies can end up favoring either one of them. They will often look and behave more like one of their parent breeds than the other. However, which one of the parents will be favoured in each puppy and how that will manifest is impossible to predict. Each F1 puppy is a surprise. 

There are also Texas Heelers with a greater percentage of one breed in the mix. This is a result of multigenerational breeding, a fairly common practice with designer dogs that have been around for decades. Breeders cross a Texas Heeler with an unrelated Australian Cattle Dog or an Australian Shepherd Dog, depending on whose traits they want to make more prominent. Also, some breeders are developing second generation Texas Heelers (F2) which are the result of crossing two Texas Heelers. So, if you would like a more predictable Texas Heeler puppy, there are options beyond rolling the dice with an F1 hybrid. 

To thrive and stay healthy, every dog needs a well-balanced diet that meets their unique dietary needs. The Texas Heeler is a herding breed which means that it has a great deal of energy. To support all that energy, your dog will need calorie-dense, nutritious meals that will fuel them throughout the day. For most dogs, Texas Heeler included, high-quality dry food for dogs is the best match. This being the case, it is recommended that you feed your Texas Heeler a dog food formulated especially for active breeds. Usually, this will ensure that your dog’s energy needs are met. To boot, their kibble should also be appropriate for their size (medium breeds), as well as their age (puppy, adult, or senior).

Another important aspect of nutrition is making sure not to overfeed your dog. The Texas Heeler will need quality food, but not an excess amount of it. Stick to manufacturer’s recommendations on serving sizes to avoid obesity. As a rule of thumb, these dogs usually don’t need more than 3 cups of premium kibble a day. If you are ever concerned about your dog’s diet, it is always a wise idea to consult with your veterinarian. While dog food manufacturers and the internet provide valuable feeding guidelines, they are still just guidelines. All dogs are different and your personal pooch may have different dietary needs than a typical Texas Heeler. Always consult with your vet before making any big changes to your dog’s diet. Only they will be able to identify the specific dietary needs of your pup. Identifying these sorts of things are the reason why why you have vet, after all. Never be afraid to ask them!

The Texas Heeler is an active and intelligent breed that typically responds well to training.

The Texas Heeler is an active and intelligent breed that typically responds well to training. These dogs love having a job to do so they are eager to learn new tricks and commands. This breed was developed for herding so they have strong herding instincts but they can also be trained for other dog sports including agility and flyball. As always, it’s important to focus on training rooted in positive reinforcement and encouragement. Anything less verges too close to abuse to qualify as training. Early socialization is also recommended with this breed to get them used to being around other dogs and pets. For the most part, these dogs are good with children, but obviously early socialization is also important here as well.

The Texas Heeler is a medium-sized breed that generally stands between 17 and 22 inches tall at maturity. These dogs typically weigh between 25 and 50 pounds when they are full grown.

The Texas Heeler is an energetic and hard-working breed with natural herding instincts.The Texas Heeler is an energetic and hard-working breed with natural herding instincts. These dogs can be affectionate toward their owners but they can also be somewhat aloof around strangers unless properly socialized from a young age.  Early socialization is always so important if you want to ensure that your pup is friendly. Texas Heelers generally get along well with children, but they may not be great with other dogs and household pets. So keep that in mind if you are considering bringing a Texas Heeler into a home that is already filled with furbabies. This breed makes a good watchdog, though they do not tend to bark unless there is an intruder or a stranger nearby.

The Texas Heeler is a hybrid breed and, as a result, it may be less prone to developing hereditary conditions than either of the parent breeds. For the most part, Texas Heelers are a hardy and healthy breed but they may be prone to developing certain health problems. Some of the health problems to which this breed is prone include hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), cataracts, and epilepsy. Dogs with merle coloring may also be at risk for deafness. It’s important to schedule regular check ups with a vet (especially as they get older) to ensure that any potential health issues are identified and treated as early as possible.

The average lifespan of the Texas Heeler breed is about 12 to 15 years.

The Texas Heeler is an active breed that was born to herd. This being the case, they have fairly high requirements for daily exercise. In addition to a daily 30-minute walk, this breed would appreciate some time to run and play outside. Trips to the dog park or to an off-leash area where your dog can run freely will help exert his energy. This is not a dog who will want to be cooped up in an apartment or spend his days lounging in your lap. Texas Heelers need plenty of activity every day in order to be their best selves.

The Texas Heeler is an energetic and hard-working breed with natural herding instincts.

Because the Texas Heeler is a hybrid and not a purebred dog, it is not recognized by the American Kennel Association. It is, however, recognized by the Animal Research Foundation (ARF), Dog Registry of America (DRA) and the American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC).

The coat of a Texas Heeler may vary in appearance depending on breeding. These dogs have been shown to have either short to medium-length coats (about 1 to 3 inches long) of smooth fur in a variety of colors. The most common colors for this breed are black, blue merle, or blue ticked with either white or tan trim. The ears of this breed are generally pricked, but they may fold over in some specimens. Texas Heelers can have long tails but most are born with bobbed tails.

Texas Heeler puppies should be started with training and socialization from a young age. This will help to prevent them from being aloof or nervous around strangers and it will also help you to control their energy levels. Texas Heeler puppies are often born with bobbed tails, though long tails are possible. Puppies are born with drop ears that often become pricked, though some of them will always fold over.

Photo credit: William Scott/Bigstock.com; Amy Wagliardo/Flickr; H. Michael Karshis/Flickr

Comparable Breeds

Go to Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog

  • Height: 16-20 inches
  • Weight: 25-50 lb
  • Lifespan: 11-13 years
  • Group: AKC Herding
  • Best Suited For: Families with children, active singles, houses with yards, farms/country
  • Temperament: Obedient, bold, loyal, energetic, territorial
  • Comparable Breeds: Border Collie, Cardigan Welsh Corgi