|17 – 20 inches
|35 – 50 pounds
|12 – 15 years
|Blue, blue speckled, red, red speckled, red mottled
|Intelligent, alert, protective, loyal, brave
|Active families, farmers, ranchers
Queensland Heelers are one of the most easily recognizable breeds in the world and for a good reason. They’re loyal, intelligent, and fun-loving dogs that love to play. On top of that, they also sport eye-catching coat colors.
The Queensland Heeler is often used as a working dog on farms, but it also makes a great companion for urban dwellers who want a devoted and loyal companion. Undeniably, this dog breed has a lot to offer.
In this article, we’ve compiled essential information about the Queensland Heeler in one place, including their breed information, pictures, traits, facts, and more. Keep on reading if you want to learn more.
What Is a Queensland Heeler?
The Queensland Heeler is a breed first developed in Australia. Originally, the name Queensland Heeler is used exclusively for cattle dogs in the northern Queensland area. Today, the name Queensland Heeler is used interchangeably with the names Australian Cattle Dog, Blue Heeler, and Red Heeler.
The Queensland Heeler is named after its place of origin — Queensland — and its tendency to bite the heels of cattle.
Unsurprisingly, this dog breed is one of Australia’s most popular breeds. It was introduced to the United States through Australian immigrants who came to America in the late 19th century.
Today, these dogs are still prized for their ability to herd livestock and their keen sense of smell and sound. Aside from these, they are also adored for their qualities as companion dogs.
What’s the Difference Between a Queensland Heeler and a Blue Heeler?
The truth is that the Blue Heeler and the Queensland Heeler refer to the same breed. The Queensland Heeler comes in two standard colors, blue and red, making the Blue Heeler a variant of the breed.
Blue Heelers are just regular Queensland Heelers with stunning blue coats, while Red Heelers have red coats. Both types can be mottled or speckled, depending on how their genetics play out.
With all the nicknames this dog has, it is easy to get confused. In the end, Blue Heelers, Queensland Heelers, Red Heelers, and Australian Cattle Dogs are just one breed with interchangeable names.
Watch this video to see both the red and blue Queensland Heeler:
Queensland Heeler Origin and History
The Queensland Heeler was developed in Australia during the 19th century to herd cattle. This breed was vital in expanding the Australian beef industry, allowing ranchers to control herds of wild cattle easily.
They are a result of many selective breedings and cross-breedings. The goal was to create a challenging, hardy dog with the stamina to withstand Australia’s harsh climate and working conditions.
Over many generations, ranchers imported dogs from England, bred them with Dingoes and other dogs native to Australia, and eventually created what they believe is the ancestor of the Queensland Heeler.
Around 1983, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the Queensland Heeler as a herding dog. Additionally, they are also recognized by the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) and Dogs New Zealand (DNZ).
Queensland Heeler Appearance
The Queensland Heeler is a stunning dog with a strong body. The AKC standard describes this breed as having a broad head, short muzzle, wide nostrils, and large teeth.
Moreover, its ears are erect and small. Meanwhile, the neck of a Queensland heeler is strong but flexible, and the tail can either be curled over the back or carried horizontally.
Additionally, this breed has a short coat and a dense undercoat that protects it against cold weather. Their eyes are also almond-shaped and dark-colored at the same time.
Likewise, Queensland Heelers have deep and moderately wide chests that taper down the brisket but do not appear narrow or skinny when viewed from above.
Queensland Heelers can either be blue or red. The Queensland Blue Heeler can either be blue-mottled or blue-speckled with or without markings.
On the other hand, the red variant should be red-speckled all over the body with or without dark red markings on the head.
Queensland Heeler Size and Weight
The Queensland Heeler is a medium-sized dog with a height of 17 to 20 inches and a weight of 35 to 50 pounds.
As with any other dog breed, female Queensland Heelers are slightly smaller than their male counterparts.
Moreover, their size will often be affected by various factors, such as genetics and lineage. Regardless of these factors, these dogs usually reach their adult size at around 18 months.
Queensland Heeler Temperament and Personality
The Queensland Heeler is an intelligent, energetic, and playful dog known for its loyalty to its family. They can be trained easily, which makes them well-suited for active owners.
Aside from engaging them in sports, they should receive regular mental stimulation through other forms, so they don’t become bored or destructive while at home alone during the day.
Additionally, they are known to be excellent watchdogs, so they tend to bark when left alone at home or when they feel like anyone is approaching their territory.
Hence, you must train your Queensland Heeler not to bark excessively so as not to disturb neighbors. Obedience training and positive reinforcement go hand in hand with teaching your dog how to behave appropriately.
Socializing them early on will also help tame their tendency to herd kids and other pets.
Queensland Heeler Lifespan and Health Issues
The average lifespan of a Queensland Heeler is 12 to 15 years, but some can live a few years past that. Their lifespan depends on various factors such as nutrition, pedigree, and environment.
Generally, they are a healthy breed, but like other dogs, they can be prone to some health issues.
Here are some health issues common in Queensland Heelers:
- Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia happens when the hip joint becomes misaligned, which causes pain and lameness in your dog. It can be caused by genetics or trauma, but usually, it’s both. If you notice your dog limping or holding up one leg for no reason, this could be a sign of hip dysplasia.
- Osteochondritis Dessicans (OCD): OCD is a condition where fragments of cartilage separate from the bone surface and form loose bodies within the joint space. It often affects Queensland Heelers under one year of age but can also affect older dogs.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): PRA is an inherited disease that causes progressive vision loss due to the degeneration of the retina. This condition may occur at any life stage of a dog and may result in blindness. There’s no cure for PRA, but there are treatments that may slow down symptoms or make them less severe.
Some of these health issues can be managed with the proper care and treatment. But as always, prevention is better than cure. Taking your pup to the veterinarian on a regular basis can ensure that it stays healthy.
How to Take Care of Your Queensland Heeler
When you add a Queensland Heeler to your family, you get a friend who will be with you forever. However, with that comes a lot of responsibility. Read along to learn how you can properly take care of your Queensland Heeler.
Food and Diet
What you feed your Queensland Heeler is very important, as it directly impacts their growth and development.
A good diet consists mainly of protein, vitamins, and other nutrients essential for growth. They must only be fed high-quality dog food to ensure they get the right amount of nutrients in their body.
Queensland Blue Heelers should be fed twice or thrice per day. However, this can vary depending on your dog’s activity level and health status.
Moreover, fruits, vegetables, and healthy treats can be given as an additional source of nutrients. Likewise, monitoring food intake should be done to avoid excessive weight gain, which may lead to obesity.
You may also consult a veterinarian or pet nutritionist for a more specific diet for your Queensland Heeler.
Cleaning and Grooming
The Blue Heeler needs regular grooming to keep them looking and feeling great. It has a double-layered coat that sheds during spring and fall.
You should brush them at least once a week to get rid of any mats or tangles and remove any loose hair from their face if needed.
If you see any mats forming on their legs or belly area, use scissors to clip off the matted fur before brushing it out again.
Additionally, you should bathe your Queensland Blue Heeler at least twice per month. Avoid bathing them too frequently, as it may cause dry skin, scabs, or irritation.
Finally, remember to brush your Queensland Heeler’s teeth regularly. Most dogs don’t like the taste of toothpaste, so we recommend getting some flavored dental chews instead.
Training and Exercise
Your Queensland Heeler is a brilliant dog, and it can be taught new commands with ease. But it’s the daily training that will create good behavior patterns and prevent destructive behavior.
Patience and consistency are essential in training Queensland Heelers. They will only learn if you’re gentle and consistent.
The goal of training your Queensland Blue Heeler should be to have a happy dog who behaves well. They respond well to positive reinforcement techniques such as praise or treats.
Early socialization is vital for them to grow up into well-adjusted adult dogs. They need to be exposed to people, places, sounds, and situations to learn how to react appropriately in various situations.
Lastly, the Queensland Heeler needs space to run around and play daily.
On average, they need at least 90 minutes of exercise each day. This can be regular jogs or agility training. They also love playing games with their owners, like fetch and tug-of-war.
How Much Does a Queensland Heeler Cost? Puppy Prices & Expenses
The Queensland Heeler is a beautiful and feisty dog, and as such, you can expect to pay up between $500 and $2,500 for a pup.
This price range depends on various factors, such as location, pedigree, or whether you want to buy or adopt one in shelters.
On top of the price of a Queensland Heeler, here are other initial expenses you need to consider:
|Type of Expense
|Food and Treats
|$80 – $100
|Food and Water Bowls
|$10 – $30
|$40 – $180
|$50 – $370
|Leashes and Collars
|$15 – $50
|$30 – $40
|$40 – $160
|Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications
|$50 – $200
|Initial Vet Visits
|$100 – $300
|Initial Vaccine Shots
|$75 – $200
|Neutering or Spaying
|$50 – $500
|$10 – $20
|$40 – $60
|$15 – $30
|Total Initial Cost
|$605 – $2,240
These prices are merely rough estimates. The actual price you’ll pay for your pup will depend on several factors, including the quality and brand of the items you choose to purchase.
Places to Find Queensland Heeler Puppies for Sale and Adoption
Blue Heeler puppies are a great addition to any family. However, it is important to do your research before getting one. To help you out, we’ve compiled some reputable sources.
Here are some reputable places where you may find a Queensland Heeler puppy for sale:
- AKC Marketplace – The AKC Marketplace hosts reputable breeders who abide by their breeding ethics. This resource only lists responsibly bred dogs and AKC-registered kennels. You will find Queensland Heeler breeders on this platform easily.
- Buzzards Australian Cattle Dog – The Buzzard family has been breeding cattle dogs since 1980. They are proud of the 400 AKC champions that have come from their kennels, but more than that, they value quality over quantity.
- Cricket Creek Ranch – Cricket Creek Ranch is a family-owned and operated business that breeds Queensland Heelers with champion and grand champion titles. The ranch has been breeding since 2000, and its main focus is on health and quality.
Before buying a dog, be sure to read our puppy-buying guide to help you steer clear of scams when buying puppies online. You can also check our recommended Australian Cattle Dog breeders for more options.
Meanwhile, if you’re keener on adopting a Queensland Heeler, here are sources to check out:
- Texas Cattle Dog Rescue– This nonprofit organization has rescued Queensland Heelers since 2009, and they have saved over 1,000 dogs already. These dogs are vaccinated, dewormed, given flea and tick treatment, and other medical care before being matched to potential adopters.
- Australian Cattle Dog Rescue Association (ACDRA) – This volunteer-run organization facilitates the rescue and adoption of Queensland Heelers in need. They aim to eliminate stray, abandoned, and unwanted dogs through spaying or neutering, adoption, and education.
- Pacific Northwest Cattle Dog Rescue – This foster-based and donor-funded rescue group for Queensland Heelers offers a safe space until these dogs find new homes that will love them forever. They provide medical care, behavioral evaluation, training, and more.
If you’ve decided to adopt instead of buy, read our ultimate guide to pet adoption to help ensure a successful match.
Pros and Cons of Owning a Queensland Heeler
Despite their good qualities, Queensland Heelers may not be for everyone. Like other breeds, this dog has some benefits and drawbacks that you should be aware of.
Here are the pros of owning a Queensland Heeler:
- Highly intelligent: The Queensland Heeler is an intelligent dog that learns quickly. They excel in obedience training and following commands. They are loyal and protective of their family members but do not need to be trained with harsh methods as they respond better to positive reinforcement.
- Low-maintenance: The Queensland Heeler is a low-maintenance dog that only requires regular grooming or brushing. It can be kept indoors and knows how to clean itself. Additionally, it has a short coat, which means it sheds less than other dogs with long hair.
- Excellent working and family companions: Queensland Blue Heelers make excellent family companions as they get along well with children and other pets, especially if they are raised together. Moreover, they are working dogs too. So if you need help on your farm or ranch, you can also count on them.
On the other hand, here are some cons of owning a Queensland Heeler:
- Highly protective and territorial: Queensland Heelers are naturally protective so expect that they may bark at strangers or other animals. They will also guard your home. This can be a good thing if you live alone or have a large property, but you’ll need to watch out for how much barking goes on in your house.
- Abundantly energetic: The Queensland Heeler is a highly energetic dog that needs at least 90 minutes of daily exercise and mental stimulation. If you own one, you should be prepared to give it the time it needs to release its energy.
- Prone to destructive behavior: Queensland Heelers can be prone to destructive behavior if they don’t have enough physical and mental stimulation. If also left alone too long, they may find ways of entertaining themselves by chewing furniture or digging holes in your yard.
Having a Queensland Heeler is an exceptional experience. You’ll never forget the first time you see your puppy’s furry face or how it feels when it cuddles up on your lap.
However, everything comes with responsibility. Make sure you’re ready for all that comes with owning one so neglect and abandonment cases will be avoided.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Queensland Heelers Good Family Dogs?
Queensland Heelers are very loyal animals that love spending time with their owners. That said, they make excellent companions for families with children of all ages.
They also get along well with other dogs when socialized. This means they are perfectly capable of sharing a home with other pets.
Do Queensland Heelers Bark a Lot?
Since Queensland Heelers can be pretty territorial, you can expect some barking in your home. Some Queensland Blue Heelers are quiet, while others are very vocal.
The amount of barking you will hear from your Queensland Heeler will depend on its temperament and how much training it received.
Do Queensland Heelers Have Dingo in Them?
Queensland Heelers descended from Dingoes. They were bred in Australia to be used as farm and hunting dogs, and many still serve those purposes today.
Are Queensland Heelers Hypoallergenic?
Blue Heelers are not hypoallergenic. This means that they shed, which can cause allergic reactions in some people. If you have allergies, you should consult your doctor before bringing home this breed.
Do Queensland Heelers Shed?
Queensland Heelers shed but not as much or as messy as other breeds. They are known for their short hair, which makes them very low-maintenance in grooming and care.
Final Thoughts: Is a Queensland Heeler the Right Dog for You?
The Queensland Heeler is one of Australia’s oldest working dogs. They were bred to drive cattle and sheep and have also been used as guard dogs.
If you want an energetic, intelligent dog trained to do some pretty amazing things, you should consider getting a Queensland Blue Heeler.
They are incredibly affectionate, and their loyalty makes them great companions, especially for active owners. They will also protect their family from intruders and ensure they are safe from harm.
What’s your favorite trait of this dog breed? Let us know your thoughts about the Queensland Heeler in the comments below!