Texas Heeler

fast facts

About Texas Heeler

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
Height
17-22 inches
Texas Heeler Basics


There are many types of dog out there. Everyone has their favorite 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.


Origin


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.


Pedigree

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.


Food/Diet


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.


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.


Weight


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. As these dogs take the best features from their two parent breeds, they tend to be powerfully built, tall, and lean. So, even though they can go to 50 lbs and up, they won’t display many tendencies towards obesity or rapid weight gain – they are athletic, energetic, and muscular. Nevertheless, maintaining that balanced weight and build will require plenty of exercise and a healthy, balanced diet.


Temperament/Behavior

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.


As far as their behavior is considered, you will quickly notice that Texas Heelers have ample amounts of energy. With those natural herding instincts, they will love to run around and spend all that pent up energy inside them. This means that regular walks and playtime in the park will be a must. Texas Heelers – when raised properly – can be quite playful and friendly with other dogs of the same character. Don’t hesitate to let them run about in the park in friendly play with other dogs – with your supervision, of course.


Not at all surprisingly, Texas Heelers can also be great as family pets. With some friendly and loving attitude from an early age, you can ensure that your four legged friend will grow up to be as affectionate and caring as a pupper can be. And this means that they will develop that iconic protective attitude that only puppers can have. They are great around kids too – always teasing for play and standing close watch over the youngest ones. All that is needed is some patience and early relationship building.


Common Health Problems


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.


Life Expectancy


The average lifespan of the Texas Heeler breed is about 12 to 15 years. This is one of those standard life spans amongst dogs that makes them good as companions for a big chunk of your life. Sadly, out of all Heeler breeds, Texas Heeler displays the most potential health problems if not cared for properly. These potential issues could affect that lifespan, but if you show good care and follow all the rules – there is no reason whatsoever why your beloved friend could not surpass that 15 year mark.


Exercise Requirements


The Texas Heeler is an active breed that was born to herd cattle. 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.



If you happen to neglect a Heeler’s need for exercise, negative effects might show up sooner than expected. If not given the chance to release some steam, a Texas Heeler might invent his own way of doing it. This can result in some torn up furniture, chewed up table legs and cables, or torn up newspapers. Such behavior can be especially observed amongst puppies.


What is more, if a Heeler is totally neglected and their needs are not met, obesity might occur in the long run. Mistreated, cooped up, and overfed puppers can grow overweight and moving will become a difficulty. What ensues then is apathy and lethargy, and a host of health problems. Make a daily routine early on and stick to it. Daily exercise will not benefit your Texas Heeler only – it will be good for you as well!


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


Recognized Clubs


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). As a part of these associations, this breed received a somewhat standardized set of common traits observed, such as coat colors, physical and behavioral traits, common patterns, and other similar features.


Coat


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.


Puppies


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. Still, if you happen to neglect the training and socialization of your puppy at an early age, you can still remedy this when they become adult dogs. That’s thanks to the excellent intelligence of Texas Heelers, and their great reactions to training. Armed with patience and plenty of treats, and utilizing positive reinforcement, you can make up for the time lost when your dog was a puppy.



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.


Texas Heeler Frequently Asked Questions


What is the difference between a blue heeler and a Texas Heeler?


The main difference between a blue heeler and a Texas Heeler (besides their names) is that the blue heeler is a purebred dog originating from Australia, whereas the Texas Heeler is a crossbreed designer dog developed in the United States. In general, both are intelligent, medium size dogs with lots of energy. The Blue Heeler is also known as the Australian Cattle Dog or the Queensland Heeler, and is one of the two breeds that gives the parentage to the Texas Heeler. This, of course, makes them two different breeds, but they do share plenty of similarities in their characteristics and traits.


Are Texas Heelers hard to train?


Intelligent and bred as a working dog, Texas Heeler has all it takes for the training process to be smooth. For most dog owners, Texas Heelers are fairly easy to train with a little patience and the right approach- positive reinforcement works wonders with any dog. This hybrid breed is the offspring of two classic shepherding dog breeds, and it is a well known fact that shepherd and cattle dogs are amongst the smartest out there. This means that the Texas Heeler will inherit all those positive traits – this is a breed eager to learn and obey! They will learn commands, tricks, and will know how to react to your voice. Of course, it all works best when you begin the training at an early age: Texas Heeler puppies will soak it all up, especially when positive reinforcement is utilized.


Do Texas Heelers shed a lot?


Texas Heelers have a short, dense coat that sheds moderately. While they won’t have big seasonal blowouts that will leave your house covered in fur, these designer dogs still might not be the best choice for dog allergy sufferers. An occasional brush or a visit to the dog grooming salon can help your pet to get rid of all the excess and loose hair, and in turn make this issue much more tolerable.


How much is a Texas Heeler?


A Texas Heeler puppy can cost you anywhere from $400 to $850. Puppies that come already trained and vetted by a veterinarian, with all their shots and necessary check ups will be pricier, as well as those that boast a more impressive pedigree line. If you take into consideration some other designer dog breeds that are in higher demand, you will see that Texas Heelers are not that expensive after all. Some other cross-breeds can cost well over a couple of thousands!


Can Texas Heelers be inside dogs?


Herding instincts and great working habits make people think of Texas Heelers as exclusively farm dogs, but the truth is that they make great house pets, too. As long as you give them something to do and a productive outlet to burn off their energy through exercise and playtime, Texas Heelers can be perfectly happy in an urban environment. Of course, it won’t do them any good to be cooped up in a small apartment or a tiny house – in fact, this can make them sad and lethargic over time. In case you want to keep your Texas Heeler inside a relatively small home, you will need to meet their exercise needs and take them outside often. And while they can be inside dogs, Texas Heelers will thrive best when they have plenty of access to the outdoors: a fenced-in yard or a farm environment would be an ideal solution for this breed.


Do Texas Heelers like to swim?


Texas Heelers love swimming! These are highly active dogs that love spending time outdoors: running through the fields, going on long hikes in the woods, and taking a dip in a lake are some super fun activities your pet will enjoy. Swimming is a particularly great way to get some much needed exercise in the summer while cooling off to boot. Of course, even though these are athletic dogs and true outdoors puppers, you still shouldn’t let them swim in every body of water that they encounter. A shallow pond in the park is not the same as an unpredictable river in nature or a swampy pond full of leeches or treacherous mud. So, keep an eye out on the environment, and allow your Texas Heeler to take a dip in water that is deemed safe to swim in. If you are unsure of the water, or if you want to take extra precautionary measures for your dog, you can invest in some floatation devices for pets. Safety vests and similar accessories for dogs will make swimming time safe and under control.


Photo credit: William Scott/Bigstock.com; Sari ONeal/Shutterstock; Chris Curtis/Shutterstock


Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

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