|Height:||17 – 20 inches|
|Weight:||35 – 50 pounds|
|Life Expectancy:||12 – 16 years|
|Coat Colors:||Red, red speckled, red mottled|
|Temperament:||Brave, clever, alert, loyal, independent, protective|
|Suitable for:||Active families; ranchers; farmers|
Aside from the famous Blue Heelers, there are also Red Heelers. This dog, also known as the Australian Cattle Dog or the Queensland Heeler, is a loyal and protective pooch that comes in a vibrant red coat.
Aside from being one of the smartest working dogs, the Red Heeler has a few unique features that make them stand out. This breed loves being around its favorite humans and is very affectionate.
In this guide, you will learn everything about the Red Heeler. This includes facts about its appearance and genetics as well as its lifespan and health.
What Is a Red Heeler?
The Red Heeler is a purebred Australian Cattle Dog that has a red coat. Red Heelers often have a speckled or mottled coat that has a shade of white. These dogs are called “heelers” because they nip the heels of the cattle they herd. Interestingly, Red Heelers have a blue counterpart known as the Blue Heeler.
The popularity of the red Australian Cattle Dog escalated when it was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1983 as a herding dog.
Some folks think that Red Heelers are an entirely different breed. They are, in fact, a color variation of the Queensland Heeler much like its Blue Heeler counterpart.
3 Little-Known Facts About Red Heelers
1. Red Heelers are “Velcro” dogs
Aside from being an energetic breed, they are also known as velcro dogs. They will stick to your side like glue, and they are also the kind of pup that will tear through your house if you do not watch them 24/7.
The Red Heelers fit this description perfectly, and their devotion makes them a great family pet if trained properly.
2. Red Heelers descended from Wild Dingoes
The red Australian Cattle Dog is one of the most popular breeds now. But what most people don’t know is that the Red Heelers descended from wild Australian Dingoes.
Early Australian settlers crossed their original furry helpers with Dingoes to produce heat-tolerant herding dogs that could handle long distances. This process created a double-layered coat in this breed.
Fortunately, their outer coat serves as an insulator to protect them from the cold climates and rough terrain of the Australian outback.
3. Red Heelers are born with a completely white fur
Australian Cattle Dogs were born white, and only later do they exhibit the solid red markings that make them distinct.
As for the Red Heeler, some parts of their white coat will grow into brown and eventually into a red color. It may come in a lighter or deeper shade, depending on the number of tan markings that appear on the coat.
What Is the Difference Between a Red Heeler and a Blue Heeler?
It’s a common misconception that Red Heelers and Blue Heelers are different breeds, but to clarify, they’re both Australian Cattle Dogs.
Although they may look different in terms of colors, they are both energetic and active dogs that are excellent at herding cattle.
Thanks to their coats, Blue Heelers have a natural edge when they are out at night. Rather than startling the animal, this helps the dog remain calm and less likely to scare the livestock away.
And at the same time, the distinctive red coat of the Red Heeler dog prevents them from being mistaken for Dingoes by hunters.
To visualize the difference, this is what a Red Heeler dog looks like:
Meanwhile, the photo below shows what a Blue Heeler looks like:
You can also watch this video of Red Heeler puppies together with their blue counterparts:
Red Heeler Origin and History: Where Do Red Heelers Come From?
Originating in Australia, the Queensland Heelers were produced by settlers who were trying to find a way to handle large herds of livestock on their own.
This breed started when a cattle farmer named Thomas Hall from New South Wales crossed the Highland Collies that he used to drive cattle with tamed dingoes. This also explains why this breed is known as the Halls Heeler.
After multiple attempts of backcrossing, he was able to produce the very first competent Australian Cattle Dog in 1832.
During World War II, Alan McNiven exported some of these pups to the United States. And eventually, soldiers stationed in Queensland decided to bring one home with them as well.
Later on, Jack Woolsey, a Californian vet, was the first to register Red Heelers to the National Stock Dog Registry (NSDR).
The result of the mix is a dog with spectacular herding instincts and the strength, speed, and agility to herd livestock by nipping at their heels.
In addition, Red Heelers are one of the most hardworking shepherd dog breeds out there. They’re loyal, intelligent, and great companions.
Red Heeler Appearance: What Does a Red Heeler Look Like?
The Red Heeler is a medium-sized working dog with a solid, tough-looking body and a thick double-layered coat that can be red with white or tan markings.
This canine has strong, muscular legs, a broad head, medium oval eyes, and triangular, pricked ears that hang close to its head.
Their furry tail is fairly low, so they won’t get caught in fences or bushes when working on farms and ranches. Also, these working dogs will always display an alert expression that is favorable if used for protection purposes.
Furthermore, the Red Heeler is known for its stamina and endurance.
Because of their smooth double coat with a dense undercoat, they will not lose body heat as quickly as other breeds, making them suitable for cold weather conditions.
Red Heeler Size and Weight: How Big Do Red Heelers Get?
The average full-grown size of a Red Heeler can range from around 17 to 20 inches tall. Weight-wise, these dogs can reach between 35 and 50 pounds.
It’s important to note that the size of a Red Heeler can vary depending on its gender, ancestry, and diet.
Generally, male Red Heelers are usually taller than their female counterparts because they have longer legs and bodies. Their size difference is not that big, so it can be hard to tell the gender of an Australian Cattle Dog from far away.
Needless to say, giving your pup high-quality dog food alongside exercise can also help them attain their ideal weights and lengthen their lifespans.
Red Heeler Kennel Club Recognition: Is Red Heeler a Recognized Breed?
Yes, the red Australian Cattle Dogs are recognized by different kennel clubs, such as the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC), the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC), and the Continental Kennel Club (CKC).
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC) breed standards, Red Heelers must have an evenly distributed coat of red speckles and a white or cream undercoat.
However, a Red Heeler or even Blue Heeler with black markings on their body is not permitted.
If you want your fur baby to walk with confidence in events such as canine sports, races, and dog shows, then make sure it’s registered with the AKC.
The same breed standard can be seen in the Australian Cattle Dog Club of America (ACDCA), another kennel club in the United States that recognizes this pooch.
Red Heeler Temperament: Are Red Heelers Good Family Dogs?
Yes, absolutely! Red Heelers are some of the most adaptable and loyal canines out there. If you’re looking for a dog that can be gentle with older kids, then look no further than this great family dog.
Aside from that, these furry friends were originally bred to herd cattle. Not only are they good at herding, but they also love doing it. However, they’ll try to herd you and your children, too, so it’s best to watch out for this tendency.
Red Heelers have boundless energy and enthusiasm that matches younger children. But if you’re not ready for the responsibility of training this pup, you might want to reconsider owning one.
Nonetheless, they make great family dogs because they love being around people. They have an affectionate nature and are always eager to please their owners.
Red Heeler Lifespan and Health Issues: Are Red Heelers Healthy Dogs?
The Red Heeler is a relatively healthy breed that has a lifespan of around 12 to 16 years. They are known for their endurance and high energy, but they may not be the best dogs for everyone.
While Red Heelers are generally healthy dogs, they have some common health issues that owners should note.
For a more thorough explanation, we have listed below some of the following health conditions that a Red Heeler may have:
- Glaucoma: Glaucoma can occur in dogs when their blood pressure is too high or when they have diabetes. The symptoms include cloudy eyes, sensitivity to light, pain, and redness. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to blindness. Fur parents should also monitor their dog’s eyes to catch any signs of glaucoma early on.
- Hip Dysplasia: Another condition that may affect a Halls Heeler is hip dysplasia. This condition limits the movement of their bones and sockets. It is treatable through weight reduction, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, and joint supplements.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): Vision impairments are hard for any dog, especially for a Red Heeler. Progressive retinal atrophy is a condition that often affects them. The disease begins with the degeneration of the retina, then works its way into the canine’s brain, causing eventual blindness.
- Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD): OCD is a condition that affects your Red Heeler’s elbow. It’s not dangerous, but it can be painful and frustrating. This condition occurs when a flap of soft tissue at the joint surface is damaged or irritated by an injury.
Other health problems such as deafness, infections, cataracts, allergies, and elbow dysplasia can also affect a Red Heeler.
As you may know, some of these health issues are manageable. But as always, it is best to prevent them from developing in the first place. One thing you can do to help your Red Heeler stay healthy is to take them to the vet regularly.
Additionally, a trained eye exam by an experienced veterinarian can enhance your dog’s overall health and bring about the early detection of potentially harmful conditions.
How to Take Care of Your Red Heeler
Before deciding to commit to owning a red Australian Cattle Dog, it’s better to understand their everyday needs to live a healthy life.
With proper care, training, attention, and early socialization, a Red Heeler puppy can learn to be as loving and affectionate as any other adult dog.
So if you think that you are ready for all the responsibilities, we have put together an in-depth guide on how to take care of this dog breed.
Food and Diet
Like any dog, a Red Heeler must only be fed high-quality dog food to be healthy and happy. The diet of a Red Heeler should consist mainly of protein, vitamins, and other nutrients essential for its growth.
It is advisable to feed them twice or thrice per day. Essentially, the recommended amount is 1 to 2 cups of dry food, but this will vary based on your fur baby’s age and level of activity.
In addition, homemade treats such as fresh fruits and vegetables are an excellent choice for them to receive additional nutrients.
Also, remember to monitor their eating habits and follow a regular feeding schedule.
Cleaning and Grooming
The double-layered coat of a Red Heeler is easy to maintain. However, their undercoat is susceptible to shedding during spring and fall.
If you brush them with a firm bristle once a week, you can remove dirt and dead hair before it gets trapped in their outer coat. These canines should also be bathed at least twice a month, depending on their daily activities.
Furthermore, check the ears and eyes of red Australian Cattle dogs for signs of infection or irritation. It is best to take them to the vet as early as possible once you’ve noticed something is bothering them.
But what you might not know is that these pups suffer from gum disease at twice the rate of other breeds. That’s why it’s a good idea to brush their teeth at least once per day to help combat this condition.
Additionally, it’s important to trim their nails once every two months so that it won’t get too long or cause injury during playtime or walks outside.
Training and Exercise
Daily training is needed to reinforce good behavior patterns and prevent destructive behavior from developing.
Because Red Heelers are highly intelligent, they can be taught new commands with ease if their owners have patience and consistency.
These can help them lessen the anxiety of interacting with multiple dogs. Plus, this herding breed can also be excellent guard dogs if given proper training.
As for physical needs, you should also give them a minimum of 90 minutes of exercise every day.
Since this dog loves to run, you must provide them with plenty of exercise or even agility training. It can be a perfect way to prepare them for dog sports.
However, ensure that these activities are done in a safe environment with plenty of space to avoid injury.
How Much Does a Red Heeler Cost? Puppy Prices and Expenses
The average price of a Red Heeler puppy can be anywhere between $500 and $2,500. This price range depends on the breeder’s reputation and the pup’s lineage.
Moreover, when you bring a new pet home, you need to invest in food, treats, toys, and other supplies to make your fur baby comfortable.
The following table shows the estimated initial costs of expenses you need to consider when thinking about owning a Red Heeler:
|Type of Expense||Cost|
|Food and Treats||$80 – $100|
|Food and Water Bowls||$10 – $30|
|Bed||$40 – $180|
|Crate||$50 – $370|
|Leashes and Collars||$15 – $50|
|Toys||$30 – $40|
|Grooming Essentials||$40 – $160|
|Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications||$50 – $200|
|Initial Vet Visits||$100 – $300|
|Initial Vaccine Shots||$75 – $200|
|Neutering or Spaying||$50 – $500|
|Dog License||$10 – $20|
|Microchip||$40 – $60|
|Miscellaneous Supplies||$15 – $30|
|Total Initial Cost||$605 – $2,240|
Once you’ve worked out the initial costs of living with a Red Heeler, you’ll need to put aside funds for emergencies such as your dog’s treatment, regular vet check-ups, and medications.
But the prices listed here are just rough estimates for your convenience. Your actual expenses for your pup will depend on many factors, including the quality and brand of the items you’ll buy.
Places to Find Red Heeler Puppies for Sale and Adoption
Getting a Red Heeler puppy requires preparation. Before you bring one home, you should consider your finances, evaluate your current living situation and lifestyle, and plan how to buy or adopt a dog.
Also, you should carefully verify the credibility of the breeders that you encounter online before making a deal.
Here’s a list of some reputable breeders that offer Red Heeler puppies:
- Buzzards Australian Cattle Dogs (BACD) – This Oklahoma-based kennel facility is one of the top Australian Cattle Dog breeders in the United States. They have produced top-quality Halls Heelers that are champions in conformation, agility, and obedience competitions. You can check their website to see available Red Heeler pups for sale.
- Flying D Kennels (FDK) – Another AKC-registered breeder, the Flying D Kennels, is also focused on breeding Queensland Heelers that are independent, strong-willed, and loyal. Make sure to check out their website for updates about their available red Australian Cattle Dogs for sale.
- Cricket Creek Ranch (CCR) – The breeder of CCR, Leisel Moseley, focuses on maintaining the hardworking temperament of both blue and red variations of Australian Cattle Dogs. When you visit their website, you will see the list of championship titles that they have won. However, they have a limited number of litters, so you might want to sign up on their waiting list.
In addition, we have put together a puppy buying guide to help you avoid scams when doing transactions online.
But if you are looking for other options to save money, you can also adopt one. There are many rescue organizations that help these lovely pooches search for a new welcoming home.
Meanwhile, here are some places where you can adopt a Red Heeler:
- Texas Cattle Dog Rescue (TCDR) – TCDR is a non-profit organization that works to save thousands of Australian Cattle Dogs from being abandoned. Their adoption fees may range between $100 and $350. You can check their website to see if they have Red Heelers available for adoption.
- Australian Cattle Dog Rescue Association (ACDRA) – As a volunteer-run organization, they aim to rehome all variations of the Australian Cattle Dog to get the good life they deserve. ACDRA adoption fees can cost you $200, more or less. However, they also offer free adoption of adult dogs for seniors. Visit their website for more information about their canines.
- Arizona Cattle Dog Rescue (ACDR) – Another non-profit organization that offers Australian Cattle Dogs that are up for adoption is the ACDR. Their fees can range from around $200 to $250. You will be able to find a Red Heeler that’s looking for a new fur parent to care for them.
Furthermore, if you’re considering adopting a pet, be sure to check out our ultimate guide to pet adoption to help you make an informed decision.
But if you are aiming for a more practical choice, you can read our article about how to find free puppies in your area that are looking for a new home.
Pros and Cons of Owning a Red Heeler
Fur parents should realize that heavy responsibilities are involved with pet ownership.
Although you might feel eager to add a Red Heeler to your family, it’s essential to consider both the benefits and the drawbacks before finalizing your decision.
Here are some of the advantages of owning a Red Heeler:
- Low maintenance: The Red Heeler is not that demanding compared to other dogs in terms of grooming. It’s a low to moderate shedder and only needs occasional bathing.
- High level of intelligence: Red Heelers are clever dogs, making them easy to train. They can learn many tricks and commands quickly and easily. Also, they often excel in obedience training classes and enjoy being mentally challenged by their owners.
- Brilliant family companions: These pooches love spending time with people, making them great family companions. Red Queensland Heelers enjoy playing games with children and other pets in the household, as well as going on walks or runs with their owners.
Some of the disadvantages of owning a Red Heeler include:
- May have destructive behavior: When they are bored, Red Heelers may chew on furniture and other items in your home, dig holes in the yard, or bark at every person who passes by your house. It can be challenging for owners who are always away from their canines for long periods.
- Highly energetic: This breed is one of the most active dogs you can own, so if you’re looking for something mellow, the red Australian Cattle dog is not the right breed for you. With their high energy level, you should be prepared to provide them with plenty of exercises and mental stimulation because they can become aggressive.
- Protective instinct: Red Heelers are known for being protective and territorial. Their drive to protect their family may lead them to act in ways that aren’t safe. For example, they may try to attack strangers and other dogs approaching their owners. That’s why they should be socialized properly at a young age.
Having a red Australian Cattle Dog can be a rewarding experience for you. But before getting one, you and your family members should consider both the advantages and disadvantages of bringing them into your home.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Red Heelers Part Dingo?
Yes. As mentioned above, Red Heelers are descendants of Dingoes, a species of wild dog that roamed the outskirts of early Australian settlements.
They were bred from a mixture of other breeds, including the Dingo, to create a working dog to assist ranchers and farmers with their livestock.
Do Red Heelers Bark a Lot?
Red Heelers can be loud if not properly trained, but they are an ideal dog for owners looking for protection.
Additionally, this breed’s high-pitched bark will alert you when assistance is needed or when they sense danger.
Do Red Heelers Shed?
Yes, Red Heelers shed. While they require regular grooming, they don’t shed nearly as much as some other breeds do. But you will still have to groom them on a regular basis to keep their coats clean, healthy, and tangle-free.
They have a shedding season during spring and fall.
Are Red Heelers Hypoallergenic?
No. Red Australian Cattle dogs are often mistaken for being hypoallergenic because they shed little amounts of fur.
However, this does not mean that they won’t trigger an allergic reaction in some people.
Are Red Heelers Easy to Train?
Red Heelers were bred to work with their owners, so expect them to thrive on the structure of training sessions. That allows them to express their intelligence and bond with their fur parents at the same time.
In addition, Red Heelers are clever dogs that require a lot of mental stimulation during training. If you don’t provide them with an outlet for their energy, they may be less receptive to learning new tricks.
Final Thoughts: Is a Red Australian Cattle Dog the Right Dog for You?
Like their blue-colored counterparts, Red Heelers have been fortunate enough to gain a lot of appreciation and admiration. Any fur parent will be happy to own this fur baby because of its excellent characteristics.
They are treasured by cattle farmers and dog lovers alike because of their versatility, temperament, and hardworking nature.
If you are looking for a dog that is eager to learn, fun to train, and always willing to play, then the Red Heeler is the perfect pooch for you.
How do you feel about having a Red Heeler as a new family member? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!