The blue heeler, also known as the Australian cattle dog, the Australian heeler, Hall's heeler and the Queensland heeler, is an intelligent and strong-muscled working dog. The breed originated from Australia and has a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. Blue heelers have blue merle or red speckled coats, are bred to herd cattle and have a very dominant and loyal personality.
Take into consideration a blue heeler's features. A good breed will have straight front legs as you are facing it, ears that are pricked and moderately pointed, eyes that are dark brown and oval and an even red speckle on the coat, without any black markings.2
Choose a blue heeler only if you are prepared to spend a lot of time with it and include it in family activities.3
Purchase a blue heeler if you are looking for a dog that is loyal and protective. This breed, once it gets to know and trust you, will be your friend for life.4
Keep in mind that a blue heeler has a lot of energy and will need a large backyard to run around in. They will need to be walked or run daily - making good companions for runners. There is no such thing as too much activity for a blue heeler.5
Reconsider purchasing a blue heeler if you have children or other pets. Blue heelers are a dominant breed and may be aggressive with other dogs. Unless they are socialized at an early age with children, they may tend to herd small children like cattle.6
Consider adopting a blue heeler from a pet rescue organization, only if you have time and patience. Because of their intelligence and intensity, much time and effort will be needed to work with adopted blue heelers.7
Know before you buy a blue heeler that they are prone to hip dysplasia (a malformed ball and socket in the hip joint), progressive retinal atrophy (progressive damage to the retina) and deafness. Be sure to check on potential breeders to see whether they screen for these health problems before they breed.8
Note that blue heelers will weigh between 35 and 50 pounds by the time they reach maturity, with a height of 17 to 20 inches at the withers (the highest part of the back).9
Think about contacting the orthopedic foundation to learn more about hip dysplasia in blue heelers before you make your final decision to get one.10
Expect to pay between $300 and $1,500 for a purebred puppy.