Texas Heeler

45-50 lbs
17-22"
United States
Australian Shepherd
Australian Cattle Dog
Queensland Heeler, Blue Heeler

A great breed whose name you don’t hear all that much, the Texas Heeler is a mix of two pups that appear to come from down under (though more on that later) — the Australian Cattle Dog and the Australian Shepherd. From those names you can make a pretty educated guess as to what this furry fella is going to be like, but we’ve pulled it all together in this handy guide for you.

On this page we’ll delve together into the specifics of the Texas Heeler, including these key nuggets of wisdom:

  • Texas Heelers often have bobbed tails
  • Their main health complaints are osteochondritis dissecans, elbow dysplasia, and collie eye anomaly
  • Texas Heeler puppies should be socialized to be around strangers so that interactions when they’re older become considerably easier
  • It has a natural tendency to sometimes herd other dogs and people


Texas Heeler breed overview

What is a Texas Heeler? In short, a Texas Heeler is a gorgeous dog with a huge amount of energy and love to offer. This hard-working, intelligent dog is a great breed for anyone with a farm or somewhere rural with plenty of space; perhaps less good for someone living in an apartment in the inner city.

You’ll get a snuggle and a cuddle from a Texas Heeler but don’t expect it to be as affectionate as a lapdog; its main priority is working hard. Whether that’s being trained, running around or generally staying alert with toys and play, it’s clear — the Texas Heeler doesn’t like to stay still for long. It acts as if it’s got things to do and people to see.



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purpose Purpose
Herding Cattle, Watchdog, Companion
history Date of Origin
1970s
ancestry Ancestry
Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Shepherd

Texas Heeler Health

Average Size
Male Texas Heeler size stats
Height: 17-22 inches Weight: 45-50 lbs
Female Texas Heeler size stats
Height: 17-22 inches Weight: 45-50 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Distichiasis
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA)
Minor Concerns
  • Deafness
  • Cataracts
  • Epilepsy
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Osteosarcoma
Occasional Tests
  • Eye Examination
  • Blood Analysis
  • Hearing Tests
  • Full Body Physical Examination

Texas Heeler Breed History

The first Texas Heeler dog was registered in Texas in May 1970 by Lucy Guynes. Though we have a specific year and name, not much more is known about exactly how the breed came to be. What we do know, however, are the basics: its parents are the Australian Cattle Dog and the Australian Shepherd, two dogs with a history of helping humans do the crucial job of herding large livestock.

Registered with the American Kennel Club in 1993, the Australian Shepherd gets its name not because it’s Australian — it is in fact American — but because Australia was one of the places to which its herding dog ancestors from Spain and France went, breeding along the way. 

By contrast, the Australian Cattle Dog is indeed from Australia: a combination of English herding dogs and the Australian Dingo, the dog helped 19th-century Australian settlers herd cattle and was called a Blue Heeler because it had a noticeable blue tinge to its coat. (If you have children, you may know that the dogs in your favorite show, Bluey, are Blue Heelers.) The Australian Cattle Dog, however, was only registered with the American Kennel Club in 1980, despite probably having originated a great many years prior.

Texas Heeler Breed Appearance

A full grown Texas Heeler is medium in size but hardy and strong because of the herding DNA still very much present within it. The trait for which the Texas Heeler is most famous is its blue-tinged coat but there might be a little variety in color — Texas Heelers can come in blue ticked, blue merle or black, and might have tan or white trim on the feet and legs. 

They tend to have the Australian Cattle Dog’s bobbed trail and erect ears but this will obviously depend on the way the traits of the parent breed have been distributed.

Eye Color Possibilities
brown Texas Heeler eyes
Brown
Nose Color Possibilities
black Texas Heeler nose
Black
Coat Color Possibilities
fawn Texas Heeler coat
Fawn
blue Texas Heeler coat
Blue
black Texas Heeler coat
Black
Coat Length
coat
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
pin
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Texas Heeler straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Texas Heeler Breed Maintenance

It isn’t too hard to stay on top of your Texas Heeler’s grooming regime because of the dog’s typically short coat. You may, however, have a Heeler who has inherited the longer hair of its Australian Shepherd parent, in which case you’ll want to brush the coat at least once a week. This grooming is important because one peculiarity of the Texas Heeler is that it can be fairly sensitive to touch. The younger they are when you begin brushing, the more comfortable they ought to be. 

As well as brushing the hair, brushing the teeth needs to be a big priority, happening at least a few times a week to stave off cavities and bad breath. Check their ears daily and stay on top of their nail routine by trimming the nails whenever they are beginning to look a bit long. Because the breed is vulnerable to eye conditions, do make sure you’re regularly on the lookout for redness, discharge or any change at all.

You ought to know before getting a Texas Heeler that this is a dog that requires a huge amount of exercise. They should be getting around two miles a day, so this is of course not a pet for someone looking to sit at home with a dog on their lap 24/7. 

If the Texas Heeler doesn’t get a regular run around, there’s a great risk that it will become overweight and destructive through boredom. Make sure you get those daily walks in!



Texas Heeler health risks

All being well, you should have 12 to 15 years with your marvelous Texas Heeler but along the way there’s bound to be the odd health complication. We hope you never have anything serious to worry about but with Texas Heelers, the following conditions are a little more likely to occur than others, so keep an eye out for:

Osteochondritis dissecans

Always be on the lookout for your furry friend walking irregularly or being unable to walk at all. If they’re having difficulties, or looking depressed and reluctant to play, then one of the diagnoses could be osteochondritis dissecans. 

Shortened as OD or OCD, this condition can affect dogs in various areas of the body: the ankle, the spine, the knee, the elbow, and the shoulder. What happens as the animal’s cartilage grows is that some of the cartilage on the end of a bone can develop abnormally and separate from the bone, causing painful inflammation.

Though medicines like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and glucosamine can help, surgery tends to be the best course of action for OD. It will always depend on exactly what kind of OD your dog has but two of the common procedures are arthrotomy and arthroscopy. The former involves creating an opening in the joint in question, and the latter involves removing the flap that forms in the joint and letting the cartilage heal through the formation of scar tissue. In the shoulder, a surgeon might use titanium metal or graft polycarbonate urethane.

Elbow dysplasia

Though it might not be obvious, dogs do have elbows. Dysplasia of the elbow occurs most often in puppyhood when arthritis affects the elbow joint. Mainly a genetic developmental condition, this is characterized by abnormal development in one or more of the three bones (ulna, radius and humerus) that comprise the elbow.

So, if you notice swollen joints, or your furry pal limping after exercise or being reluctant to go on walks, you might be looking at elbow dysplasia. How can it be treated? Well, in the short term, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be prescribed. But for the long term you’re looking at surgery. During surgery your dog would have problematic cartilage or bone fragments removed; have its bones realigned somewhat; have a whole bone within the elbow removed; or have the whole elbow joint replaced.

Collie eye anomaly

Collie eye anomaly — or Collie eye defect — is one of the eye conditions to which the Texas Heeler is a little more prone than other breeds. It’s something with which dogs (most often Collies) are born. Not every dog will be affected identically by the condition, which is graded from 1-5 according to severity. It might cause a variety of issues like a defect in the optic nerve, a thinning of the sclera, or underdeveloped blood vessels in the tissue beneath the retina.

At its worst, Collie eye anomaly can cause your dog to go completely blind. But many dogs may be almost unaffected. In order to support your furry friend through the condition, reattaching the retina with surgery is possible; so is laser surgery; and cryosurgery may destroy the damaged cell tissue completely.



Feeding a Texas Heeler — what’s the best diet?

As with all other dogs, it’s important you give your Texas Heeler plenty of high-quality, nutrient-rich food full of animal proteins to keep it healthy and full of energy. This isn’t a breed that tends to overeat but always be observant about whether you may be overfeeding your dog.

Do your research and avoid harmful ingredients and things like fillers. If you can afford it, favor dog food brands that are transparent about how they source their ingredients and what goes into each packet. Try, if possible, to avoid giving it scraps from your plates — food tailored to dogs will always be preferable. 

And, if you want comprehensive information about the best dog foods out there, check out our friends at Dog Food Advisor — they have in-depth brand reviews that include ingredient analysis, so you know exactly what you’re feeding your pet.


Brushes for Texas Heeler
Slicker Brush
Slicker Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Texas Heeler requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Texas Heeler Temperament

The Texas Heeler’s temperament is one of the many reasons it makes a great pet. This is a really bright and affectionate dog who will be super-protective of his family. This intelligence and eagerness to keep its pet parents happy means it’s an easy breed to train but also a breed that may be a little less happy than most to see strangers. 

Be aware of this as you introduce your dog to strangers; your Texas Heeler may want to herd them to a safe distance away from you. The earlier you can introduce it to strangers, therefore, the better. 

You should be aware that, because of the herding DNA in the Texas Heeler, it may not get along brilliantly with other animals in the house unless time has been taken to ensure that the animals are accustomed to one another. Remember, this isn’t the dog’s fault, it’s just a remnant of their ancestors wanting to herd anything in sight. 

For this reason, toddlers can be somewhat likely to be briskly herded as well — so be conscious of where your little ones are if you have a Texas Heeler in the house. As soon as the kids are older they won’t be as unstable but when they’re young the dog can accidentally knock them over, just as many other larger breeds can.

Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
14 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
90 minutes
activity minutes

Texas Heeler Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
3 cups
cup per day cost cup per day cost cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$1.20 - $1.40
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$34.00 - $45.00
food bag monthly cost

Texas Heeler Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Texas Heeler size stats at six months
Height: 9.5 inches Weight: 22.5 lbs
Female Texas Heeler size stats at six months
Height: 59.5 inches Weight: 22.5 lbs
12 Months
Male Texas Heeler size stats at 12 months
Height: 13.0 inches Weight: 32.5 lbs
Female Texas Heeler size stats at 12 months
Height: 13.0 inches Weight: 32.5 lbs
18 Months
Male Texas Heeler size stats at 18 months
Height: 16.0 inches Weight: 40.0 lbs
Female Texas Heeler size stats at 18 months
Height: 16.0 inches Weight: 40.0 lbs

Texas Heeler Owner Experiences

Trucker
6 Months
4 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Trucker is a great dog. Very protective and smart. He has an equal balance of traits from his father and mother (which I own both). His appearance I would say is more like his mother (Aussie side), but he has a tad more personality traits from his daddy (queensland). He is a great family dog but attached himself to one owner. He is quiet like the Aussie but a great guard dog like the queensland. His only urge to herd is a ball, wheelbarrow, vacuum or anything rolling on the ground. He doesn't bother livestock (horses, cows or chickens). He is more affectionate like his mother (Aussie). He loves to cuddle and lay with you. He's less active like his daddy (queensland). If he knows your home he just has to be with you or has to follow you or see you just like his daddy (queensland). He is also a little hard-headed like his daddy. Surprisingly he has a real nice combo of both parents, I am very pleased with the results. Trucker is a solid red with freckling on his nose and legs. Him and his other 6 siblings were NOT born with bobbed tails. He has medium length coat and is about 37 pounds at 6 months old. He is going to be a big boy. His mother weighs 46 pounds and his daddy weighs 33 pounds. We love him, one of the best dogs ever.
5 years, 10 months ago
Mozzie
6 Months
3 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Fetch
Very active, smart, and playful.
5 years, 9 months ago
Keeva
14 Weeks
3 People
Apartment
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Road trip
Dog Parks
Shopping
Walk
I’ve had this pup for about a month and she is one of the smartest dogs I have ever had! Great with people and other animals so kind natured and easy to train, but she is very strong willed and thick headed at the same time!
5 years, 7 months ago
jackson
2 Years
5 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
he is a lovely little guy. very affectionate toward me and the family, hes also protective of us. he loves to play and run and has tons of energy!
5 years, 7 months ago
Bearbear
8 Weeks
5 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
They are very sensitive but she is an amazing with kids meeting new people, animals and love to learn new things but she hates treats
5 years, 7 months ago
Frida
4 Months
2 People
House
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Walk
Swim
Tug-of-war
Hide & Seek
Dog Parks
Running
Frida is a beautiful girl who has two different color eyes and definitely takes after her Aussie side with looks apart from her short fur. She has a naturally bobbed tail and is blue and white. She's a good listener 80% of the time and the other 20% stubborn as can be, haha. However she has picked up training extremely fast and if calm will do as asked. She is very high energy so keeping her mentally and physically active is very important so she doesnt act out (She's still a puppy so she can be a bit sassy). She's great with everyone we have socialized her with but barks if anyone walks near our house that she doesn't know. Along those same lines she loves me and my daughter both and is a good family dog however is more attached to me. From what I have studied it is not unusual for them to choose one person they bond the most with and claim them. She can be overprotective of me at times so I would again stress the importance of socialization and training! She's nippy, it's scared a few of my daughter's friends who now shrink away if she even sits by them. I'm not sure if this is due to her being a puppy yet or being a herder but we are working on that as well. She's incredibly loving and affectionate and wants to snuggle constantly. She follows me through the house at every moment. All in all she's an absolutely wonderful addition to the family, strikingly beautiful, and wonderful dog. I would suggest this breed to anyone who can keep up with them, keep them entertained and stimulated and has the dedication to socializing and training them that is needed with a herding breed in genral.
5 years, 6 months ago
Roxanne Eliza Beth
15 Months
2 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
We adopted her as a mixed breed last month. She looks as if someone bred her on purpose, very well proportioned. We had her DNA tested. It came back mostly Aussie cattle dog, Aussie shepherd and border collie, so I researched online to see if there was anyone around doing that combination on purpose and found the Texas heeler. She is a lot thinner and longer than most heelers and she is red. I think she is a throwback to her dingo ancestors. She is affectionate, funny, loves to herd us around the house and is determined to eat every bunny in the neighborhood. Roxanne learns very quickly. I have experience with corgis and shelties, and this girl can wipe the floor with them. Probably the smartest dog I have ever owned. Rally-O, here we come!
5 years, 6 months ago
Texas
4 Years
6 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
I adopted my baby about a year and half ago. He’s got long hair like a Aussie but is colored like a red heeler.! He’s super smart and I still to this day teach him new tricks. He knows how to lay and sit. He listen to my four year old son. He lets my son lay all over him and they even share my son bed together.! I wouldn’t trade him for the world.! He’s an amazing dog. Only thing is he doesn’t like the other dogs having their no toys. Only he can own the toys and they can play with them when he’s up for it.! If not he chews all their toys up and lays on his.!
5 years, 5 months ago
Tejas
2 Years
3 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Walk
Service dog trainkng
training
Cuddles
Fetch
Dog Parks
Just adopted my fur baby on 10/02. Shes a ball of energy but i need a dog willing to work and train to be my service dog. Vet said shes really healthy and needs a job to do. Shes super sweet and cuddly all she wants to do is be by my side.
5 years, 1 month ago
copper
6 Months
4 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
they are a very intelligent, willing to please dog. as long as you have room i would highly recommend them
5 years ago
Bandit
6 Years
8 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Herding
Run
We live on a farm with two Texas Heelers. Both are very smart dogs, but also needing of lots of attention. They also can jump incredibly high. Our male can easily scale a 6 foot fence. They enjoy herding our goats and cattle just for the sake of herding them.
4 years, 11 months ago
Hank
8 Months
4 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Sometimes Protective
4 years, 6 months ago
Buddy
12 Months
2 People
House
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Herding
We just adopted him last night. We are gonna have to learn what he would like. Im hoping to have him help with our goats. We live on a farm.
4 years, 5 months ago
Alfred
6 Months
2 People
Apartment
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Fetch
Tug-of-war
Explore the woods
Our pup has such a personality that I have never experienced in another dog before. He Can be quite stubborn, but when he realizes you are being serious he is quick to obey. he is such an explorer and is very curious about everything.
4 years, 2 months ago
Elektra
4 Months
2 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
she is very loving. a little skiddish around new people & loud noises. very smart. loves other animals. we live in the country & deer come to the yard all the time, she just sits & watches them. a couple of her best friends are my moms cats. notices planes, birds, etc flying in the sky. even notices when the clouds are moving. she is a pure joy!!! a little hard headed at times, but usually comes around to our way of thinking. can be very sassy, til she gets the look, then settles down. i have had Rotties & Schipperkees, she is just as smart as them, maybe a little smarter.
3 years, 11 months ago
Ginger
3 Years
1 People
Condo
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Walking
Cuddling
Tricks
She was a rescue and had problems with separation anxiety. Over time she realized that I was always coming home and she calmed down. She is slow to warm up to new people but a velcro dog to me.
3 years, 11 months ago
Sheldon
4 Years
1 People
Condo
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
He was diagnosed with Ehrlichia tick disease then heartworm after adoption. He was a stray from Oklahoma so not sure of history. He also has pellets in his body from someone shooting at him. He's healthy now but have to keep tests up to date to make sure his chronic tick disease isn't resurfacing. Great dog and companion to my female Australian cattle dog, Emma.
3 years, 9 months ago
Marley
1 Year
5 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
She is my baby I love her so much the sweetest dog you vould ask for
3 years, 8 months ago
Athena
12 Weeks
3 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Playdate
Run outside
Walks
Fetch
She is so easy to train and is highly intelligent. Within 3 days of having her she started playing fetch without me asking. She gets so excited to see me and is a snuggle bug.
3 years, 7 months ago
Midna
6 Months
2 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Playing
barking
Fetch
Tearing Stuff Up
training
Running
water
digging
Eating Snacks
Cuddling
Hide & Seek
My husband and I got her a bit after buying our current house! She was a cute little ball of fluff with energy and attitude! Now that she is older I notice that she is VERY protective of myself especially. The neighbors can't even go in their backyard without her going berserk! But when she knows you, she definitely loves you! She's my sweet baby girl. She gets along with my other two dogs who are around 4&5 but the cat doesn't like her so she's very indifferent around them. She's probably the most gorgeous dog I've ever seen! We taught her 6 tricks in a week easily and she was only a month or two old!
3 years, 5 months ago
Jaxper
7 Months
2 People
House
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
We are enjoying him since we adopted him a week ago from a rescue in Alabama. Our vet told us he was a Texas Heeler - the rescue thought that he was a collie. He has gained 3 pounds in one week. He is laid-back and we are working on his socialization that he missed earlier.
3 years, 5 months ago
River Roosevelt
5 Months
3 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
walking, swimming, herding ball and other toys
He is high energy, smart and very sweet. Not sure he and the cat will ever get along!
3 years, 1 month ago
Reid
9 Months
3 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Dog Parks
Walk
Bath time
He is super good normally around other dogs and people but within the last week he has been trying to hump and barking a lot and people walking by when he normally never does that. He also has been trying to tip over his food all the time and won’t eat it. The only time he was eating it was when my moms dog would.
3 years ago
Margot Peanutbutter
6 Years
2 People
Condo
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Hiking
snacking
swimming
learning tricks
Fetch
Herding
Dog Parks
Cuddling
True to her Heeler nature, Margot is 100% a "shadow" dog -- she never lets me out of her sight, whether it be at home, at the park, or while I'm using the bathroom,. She doesn't care too much about playing with other dogs, but she coexists well with her 7yo sister (German Shepherd) and ignores other dogs at the dog park when she wants to play fetch. Ball is life. The first three years of her life were HARD as she is a very high energy breed that requires a lot of attention and training. She caught on to tricks very quickly, and is all around a smart girl. She loves to do puzzles and find snacks in her snuffle mat. She no longer nips heels while walking or running, but anything with wheels is at risk of being herded ;-) Can be standoff-ish towards strangers, but very curious. Loves her people. Honestly all the trouble was worth it, I couldn't imagine a better pup and will add another to the family when she's a few years older. Very sweet, snuggly pup who sleeps next to me EVERY night.
2 years, 9 months ago
Shelby
5 Years
5 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Snuggles
Playing Ball
Slides at the park
Tetherball
Playing in the snow
Our Shelby has been the light of our families life since day one ❤️ She herds the vacuum, toy cars,and our boys. She is very protective of our entire family, but is a magnet to me. She thinks everything I have is hers and will take my clothes and shoes under my bed in her "den" to guard and protect them. She's beautiful with a stubby tail short red Merle coat and one blue eye and one brown. She tolerates her other dog brother and sister and still considers them part of her pack. She makes the strange Dingo noises and loves to talk. She could play all day long and still has the energy of a puppy and likes to get into mischief. She is smaller than average, she was the runt and had a hard time growing the first few months. We will never be without a Texas Heeler again, they are the best dog in the world!
2 years, 9 months ago
AnaBelle
8 Years
1 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
I got Ana 8 months ago, my only problem is when we go to my neighbor’s on our evening walk, she refuses to come home. As soon as I tell her we’re coming home, she lies down and rolls over, refusing to get up. Yet she runs over there full blast, plays, etc., so it seems not be a health issue, more of a stubbornness. I got her from a friend that never had this issue but she never walked her, she only exercised her in fenced yard. *she does absolutely love our neighbor. This is very frustrating though....
2 years, 6 months ago
Animal Expert Question Icon
Question - Behavior
Question

After guests have been in my home a couple hours or so, without being provoked, my Texas Heeler will run over to a guest sitting in a chair and begin barking and nipping at them. If I'm walking with a guest around the house, she will bark, jump and nip at them. Clearly she's trying to get them to do something? Does she want them to leave, like a guest that's overstayed their welcome?

Answer
Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd