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Texas Heeler: Complete Breed Guide

Texas Heeler: Complete Breed Guide
Texas Heeler

Have you ever heard of the Texas Heeler? It is a mixed breed dog–a cross between the Australian Cattle Dog and Australian Shepherd dog breeds. They are intelligent, hard-working, and energetic, these herding pups have some of the best qualities from both of their parent breeds. Obviously, because this is a mixed breed, they are not accepted by the American Kennel Club.
 
You can probably guess where they get their name from? Yes, you are right, it’s Texas. Texas Heelers get their name from the state where you’re most likely to find them–Texas–combined with the “Heeler” nickname of their Australian Cattle Dog parent breed (also called the Queensland Heeler or Blue Heeler). You can find these mixed breed dogs in shelters and breed-specific rescues, so remember to always adopt! Don’t shop!

This lovely and adorable pup is a working dog but also makes a great family dog. They tend to thrive in a larger home setting, like a farm or house with a backyard since it’s a place where they feel the best.

But this active mixed breed does well in urban environments, too, provided that their owners give them plenty of exercise and playtime. Also be aware that early socialization is a must, just like with any other dog. If you want an intelligent, trainable pooch for your family or a working companion, the Texas Heeler might be the best option for you!

While you’re here, read about other amazing crossbreeds:

 

History of the Texas Heeler

Let’s quickly jump back into history. Texas Heelers have likely existed naturally over the years, but it wasn’t until sometime in the 1970s that breeders started crossing the Australian Cattle Dog with the Australian Shepherd as we mentioned already.

It’s believed breeders in Texas originated the breed, and enthusiasts say that Lucy Guynes was the first to register a Texas Heeler in 1970. Breeders combined the dogs to create a smart working dog. They continued to create Texas Heelers as demand for the mixed breed dogs climbed.   

What makes the texas Heeler such a great dog

But, even though the Texas Heeler breed got its start as a designer breed, some have ended up in shelters or in the care of rescue groups. Consider adoption if you decide this is the breed for you and avoid buying not this but any dog.

Check your local shelters, look up Texas Heeler rescues, or check with breed-specific Australian Cattle Dog or Australian Shepherd rescues, as they sometimes take in mixed breed dogs and find homes for them.

As popular as these dogs are, many of them are still left behind by their previous family. So make sure to check out your local shelters before you go to a breeder! This is the perfect way to have a pup for your cozy home. So let’s now jump in and learn everything you have to know about this breed!

Pedigree

The Texas Heeler is not a purebred dog, as you’ve probably figured out by now. It’s a cross between a Cattle Dog and an Australian Shepherd Dog. He’s a 50/50 cross between the two breeds. A first-generation hybrid, or F1 mix, is another name for this.

The most prevalent crossbreeds are first-generation crossbreeds like the Texas Heeler, but their appearance and personality can vary substantially. Because both of their parents are of different breeds, the puppies may favor one of them over the other. They will typically resemble one of their parent breeds more than the other in appearance and behavior. However, it is hard to foresee which of the parents will be preferred in each puppy and how this would appear. Every F1 dog is unique.

Texas Heelers with a higher percentage of one breed in the mix are also available. This is the outcome of multigenerational breeding, which is pretty frequent among designer dogs that have been around for a long time.

Breeders cross a Texas Heeler with either an unrelated Australian Cattle Dog or an unrelated Australian Shepherd Dog, depending on which characteristics they wish to emphasize. In addition, some breeders are producing F2 Texas Heelers, which are the result of crossing two Texas Heelers. There are alternatives to tossing the dice with an F1 mix if you want a more predictable Texas Heeler puppy.

Texas Heeler Temperament and Size

The size of mixed breeds can vary. As the Texas Heeler is a newer mixed breed, there are few standards when it comes to size. But, you can expect Texas Heelers to be medium-sized dogs. 
 
Generally speaking, they weigh between 25 to 50 pounds and are 16 to 22 inches tall from the shoulder. But, they can be smaller or larger than that. 

Many Texas Heeler lovers describe these dogs’ personalities as very spirited and hard-working. Yes, there are times they love to snuggle with their favorite human, but more often than not, the Texas Heeler is happiest when they are working in some capacity. The Texas Heeler’s aim to please and work is also what makes them such excellent service dogs. One of the key segments of their personality, that’s why they are a perfect fit for herding. 
 
Like the Australian Shepherd and the Australian Cattle Dog, the Texas Heeler can become somewhat protective of their favorite human. If you are looking for an energetic dog who will keep you active, the Texas Heeler may be the right dog for you! But since they are energetic, don’t keep them passive! 

There are many other crossbreeds worth getting to know:


 
But, since the Texas Heeler has two herding breeds as parents, it’s safe to assume that Texas Heelers love to herd as well. They might even nip at heels and try to herd you or your guests, which is why it’s important to curb any unwanted herding behavior early on.

Because they are a very intelligent breed, they learn incredibly quickly. They are highly trainable, intelligent dogs, so with consistency and patience, you can curb these habits or form new, positive ones.

Are they good with children?

Adults or older children who know how to play in a gentle way are perfect for the Texas Heelers. They can be a little snippy or try to nip the heels of small children who don’t know how to properly engage with them because they are a herding mixed breed. The Texas Heeler, on the other hand, may be a fantastic, active companion for children who learn how to appropriately approach and play with a herding dog at an early age.

When it comes to other animals, Texas Heelers can get along with them if they’re introduced carefully and calmly, and early socialization will make this easier. It’s preferable if they become accustomed to other pets as soon as possible. However, because Texas Heelers are herding dogs, they may attempt to herd non-dog animals in the same way they would cattle or sheep.

However, many Texas Heelers get along perfectly with other dogs and cats, so it all comes down to training, socialization, and luck. Which makes him a great dog for families.

Texas Heeler Complete Breed Guide Infographic
Texas Heeler Complete Breed Guide Infographic

Health 

Like the other breeds, this one has some health issues that you should keep eye on. The Texas Heeler puppies are predisposed to some of the same conditions that the Australian Shepherd and Australian Cattle Dog also face.

In general they are healthy, some may be prone to a few health issues, which is why it’s important to maintain good care and regular veterinary checkups. Please don’t avoid going to the vet if you notice that something is wrong with your pup. 

texas heeler
Texas Heelers are working dogs that are prone to some health problems

Find listed some of the more common health problems that Texas Heelers have: 

  1. Distichiasis 
  2. Eye anomalies
  3. Hip Dysplasia 
  4. Elbow Dysplasia
  5. Progressive Retinal Atrophy

A part of a dog’s health is making sure they have a balanced diet that will provide them with all the needed nutrients. Because we love to give our dogs human food, you should also know which human food is safe and which is not.

The Texas Heeler breed has an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. This is one of those regular canine life lengths that makes them ideal companions for a significant portion of your life. Unfortunately, of all the Heeler breeds, the Texas Heeler has the most potential health issues if not properly cared for.

These issues could shorten their life expectancy, but if you take good care of your companion and follow all of the guidelines, there’s no reason why he or she shouldn’t live to be 15 years old.

You can learn more about human foods in our “Food category” or check out the following articles:

Coat Color And Grooming 

Since this is a mix, also, it can have a really mixed coat coloring. Texas Heeler coats are often a mix of their Australian Cattle Dog and Australian Shepherd parents’ coats and colors. The main colors of Texas Heelers are black, blue merle, and blue ticked with white or fawn. Sometimes their coats are solid, but more often than not they have a mix of colors. 
 
You would probably notice that their coats may look fluffy, but they are usually shorter less-dense coats. They are moderate shedders, which might not make them a good choice for allergy sufferers. Fortunately, the Texas Heeler’s coat is easy to groom. A good brushing every few days should do. Be sure to bathe your Texas Heeler regularly as well, especially if they are working outdoors. Your pup will be very thankful! 
 
Since they tend to have less dense coats, Texas Heelers aren’t particularly suited for extreme weather. Ensure your pup has some kind of cover. This means that you’ll likely need a coat in the winter for your dog. Besides that, you’ll need to apply dog sunscreen to the ears, nose, and areas where they have less fur.

Don’t forget to also care for the nails, ears and teeth of your dog. Brush their teeth at least a couple times a week with a dog brush and toothpaste. Clean their ears with cotton balls and a cleaning solution, and file or clip their nails whenever they overgrow. If you’re inexperienced with clipping dog nails, ask your dog’s vet or groomer to do it.

Exercise needs of the Texas Heeler

The Texas Heeler is a herding dog. So it’s no wonder that they are a very active breed. As a result, they have to do a lot of exercise every day. They would benefit from some time outside to run and play, as well as a 30-minute walk every day. Trips to the dog park or a place where your dog can run free will help your dog get some of his energy out. This will help him be more calm. This is not a dog who will want to spend his days pent up in an apartment or in your lap. To be their best selves, Texas Heelers need to do a lot of things every day.

Neglecting a Heeler’s need for exercise could cause problems to show up sooner than planned. This is possible if a Texas Heeler doesn’t have the chance to let off steam. He might come up with his own way to do it. The furniture could be chewed up, the cables and table legs could be eaten, and the paper could be torn. They are more likely to do this when they are puppies.

Furthermore, if a Heeler is completely ignored and their needs are not met, they may become overweight over time. Puppies who have been mistreated, kept in cages, and fed too much may become overweight, making it hard for them to move. There were also a lot of health problems. In the beginning, set up a routine and stick to it. It will not only help your Texas Heeler, but it will also help you.

Training

Active and smart, the Texas Heeler is a breed that responds well to being trained, and it’s a good dog to start with. It’s because these dogs enjoy having a job to do that they’re willing to learn new things. If you want to train your dog to do agility or flyball, you can do that with this breed. They were made to herd sheep, so they have strong instincts to do that.

In the same way, it’s important to focus on positive reinforcement and encouragement-based training. Anything less is too close to abuse to be called training. This type of dog should be socialized as soon as possible to get used to being around other dogs and pets. For the most part, these dogs get along with kids. Early socialization is very important for these dogs.

Is it hard to train Texas Heelers?

Heeler is a smart and hard-working working dog. He has everything he needs to make the training process easy. People who have a lot of patience and the right attitude will find that Texas Heelers aren’t too hard to train, though. There is no dog that isn’t helped by positive feedback! This breed is the offspring of two traditional shepherding dog breeds. Shepherd and cattle dogs are known to be some of the smartest dogs on the planet.

This means that the Texas Heeler will have all of those good traits. This is a breed that likes to learn and obey. Commands, tricks, and how to answer your voice will be learned by them as they listen to you. Of course, it’s best to start training at a young age: Texas Heeler puppies will drink up everything, especially if positive reinforcement is used.

Nutrition of the Texas Heeler

Every dog requires a well-balanced diet that fits their specific nutritional requirements in order to grow and stay healthy. The Texas Heeler is a herding breed, which means it is highly energetic. Your dog will require calorie-dense, nutritious meals to sustain all of that energy throughout the day.

High-quality dry dog food is the greatest match for most dogs, including Texas Heelers. Given this, feeding your Texas Heeler a dog food made specifically for active dogs is recommended. This will usually suffice to meet your dog’s energy requirements. Furthermore, their kibble should be appropriate for their size (medium breeds) and age (puppy, adult, or senior).

Another aspect of nutrition to consider is avoiding overfeeding your dog. The Texas Heeler will require high-quality food, but not an abundance of it. To avoid obesity, follow the manufacturer’s serving size recommendations. As a general rule, these dogs don’t require more than three cups of premium kibble every day. If you have any concerns regarding your dog’s nutrition, you should always visit your veterinarian.

While dog food manufacturers and the internet provide helpful feeding recommendations, they are only that. Every dog is unique, and your dog’s food requirements may differ from those of a normal Texas Heeler. Before making any significant modifications to your dog’s diet, always consult with your veterinarian. Only they will be able to determine your puppy’s unique nutritional requirements. After all, it’s for identifying these kinds of things that you have a veterinarian. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions!

Texas Heeler puppies

At a young age, Texas Heeler puppies should be taught how to behave and how to get along with people. These tips will help you control them and keep them from being aloof or nervous around people they don’t know. Even if you don’t train or socialize your puppy when they are young, you can still make up for it when they are older dogs. This is because the Texas Heelers have a lot of smarts and respond quickly to training. You can make up for lost time when your dog was a puppy with patience and a lot of treats, as well as positive praise.

There are some Texas Heeler puppies that have short tails, but there are also some that have long tails! Puppies are born with ears that are prone to getting pricked, but some will always fold over.

How much does it cost to get a Texas Heeler puppy? It can cost up to $850. It will cost more for puppies that have been trained and checked by a veterinarian, as well as those with a better pedigree line, to get them. Because Texas Heelers are so popular, you’ll be surprised that they’re not as pricey as you think they are. Other cross-breeds can cost a lot more money.

Is Texas Heeler a Recognized Breed?

One interesting thing about the Texas Heeler is that it does not need to be the result of both an Australian Cattle Dog and Australian Shepherd to still be considered part of the breed. The Australian Cattle Dog must always be present, but the Australian Shepherd can be replaced by a Border Collie, and the resulting puppy will still be recognized as an authentic Texas Heeler.

However, since the Texas Heeler is a crossbreed and does not descend from a purebred ancestor, there are no major kennel clubs that recognize it as a standardized breed. While the Texas Heeler is considered a crossbreed and has well-defined characteristics, it does not meet the standard that purebreds must meet. But what exactly are the criteria that must be met to be considered a standardized breed?

Standardized Breed Criteria

Breed standards are set by the Kennel Club and are subject to change from time to time. Generally, breed standards are simply descriptions and are therefore somewhat open to interpretation. This is why dog shows are so popular, as they allow judges to decide how well individual dogs meet the criteria for their given group or category.

While the Texas Heeler is not recognized as a standardized breed, the breeds that it comes from are both recognized. The Australian Cattle Dog and the Australian Shepherd are both part of the “Pastoral” breed group. According to the Kennel Club, this group is defined as follows:

“The Pastoral Group consists of herding dogs that are associated with working cattle, sheep, reindeer and other cloven footed animals. Usually, this type of dog has a weatherproof double coat to protect it from the elements when working in severe conditions. Breeds such as the Collie family, Old English Sheepdogs, and Samoyeds who have been herding reindeer for centuries are but a few included in this group.”

Since the Kennel Club’s definitions are subject to change from time to time, and new breeds can always be admitted into a given category, there is a chance that the Texas Heeler will one day be recognized as a standardized breed in the Pastoral Group.

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