Top 10 Facts You need to Know about the Texas Heeler dog breed

Top 10 Facts You need to Know about the Texas Heeler dog breed

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Last Updated on January 29, 2021 by Dogs Vets

The Texas Heeler Dog Breed Overview

The Texas Heeler is a crossbreed herding dog found primarily in Texas. They are a cross between the Australian Cattle Dog and the Australian Shepherd, but may also be a cross between the ACD and the Border Collie. They are bred primarily for their ability to work livestock. The Texas Heeler dog breed have historically been found primarily on ranches and are currently used in dog sports such as agility, Frisbee, and rally obedience.

Where did the Texas Heelers come from?

Obviously, Texas Heelers first originated in the state of Texas, but their history is much more complicated. Texas Heelers are not a standard breed, but a cross between the Australian Cattle Dog and the Australian Shepherd. Both breeds are used almost exclusively for herding cattle in the Australian outback.


Breeders in the United States wanted to bring these Australian herding dogs to Texas, so they began the crossbreeding process, resulting in the Texas Heeler. Cattle ranchers in Texas desperately needed dogs with certain characteristics. Specifically, they wanted dogs that had the natural instinct to herd sheep and cattle effectively. Thus, the Texas Heeler was born.

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It is unclear exactly when this crossbreeding process took place, although records show that the first registered Texas Heelers appeared sometime in the early 1970s. The Texas Heeler, also known as the Queensland Heeler or Blue Heeler, is a breed whose origins are mysterious. Nevertheless, the breed lives on today as both a working dog and a pet.

Is Texas Heeler a recognized breed?

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

Top 10 Facts You need to Know about the Texas Heeler dog breed
texas heeler brown

However, because the Texas Heeler is a crossbreed and not descended from a purebred ancestor, there are no major kennel clubs that recognize it as a standardized breed. While the Texas Heeler is considered a cross and has well-defined characteristics, it does not meet the standard that purebred animals must meet.

But what exactly are the criteria that must be met to be considered a standardized breed?

Texas Heeler Standardized Breed Criteria

Breed standards are determined by the Kennel Club and may be subject to change from time to time. In general, breed standards are merely descriptions and therefore somewhat open to interpretation. This is why dog shows are so popular, as judges can decide how well individual dogs meet the criteria for their particular group or category.

While the Texas Heeler is not recognized as a standardized breed, both breeds from which it originated are recognized. The Australian Cattle Dog and the Australian Shepherd are both considered to be part of the “Pastoral” breed group. According to the Kennel Club

Top 10 Facts You need to Know about the Texas Heeler dog breed

Texas Heeler Breed Information

Popularity 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018
Name Texas Heeler
Other names Aussie Shepherd Heeler
United States
Breed Group None
Size Medium
Type Cross Breed
Life span 13-15 years
Temperament Clever



Height 17-22 inches (43–61 cm)
Weight 25-50 pounds (11–23 kg)
Colors Black




Litter Size 4-6 puppies
Texas Heeler Puppy Price Average $200 – $400 USD

The Texas Heeler History

The Texas Heeler is not a purebred dog. It is a cross between the Australian Cattle Dog and the Australian Shepherd Dog. The best way to determine the temperament of a mixed breed is to look up all the breeds in the cross and know that you can get any combination of the characteristics of either breed. Not all of these designer hybrid dogs that are bred are 50% purebred to 50% purebred. Breeders often breed crosses with multiple generations.

The Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle Dog is a high-energy working dog. He is not a couch potato – we repeat, he is not a couch potato. He wants to be active and busy most of the time. His energy needs to be directed or he will get bored and entertain himself, usually by doing something you think is naughty, like digging in the trash or digging up your flower garden.

australian cattle dog

The Australian Cattle Dog is also very devoted to his owner and family. He usually bonds closely with one person and associates less closely with others. He is often called a “Velcro” dog because he is so tightly attached. he likes to be in close physical contact with his chosen person all the time.

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Because the Australian Cattle Dog was bred by biting to herd and force to herd, he is a mouthy dog. His instinct is to choke cattle, children, pets, cars and anything that moves. He has a strong tendency to bite, even in play. This tendency must be properly directed with socialization and training when he is a puppy or it can become dangerous behavior.

Another part of the breed’s instinct is his strong prey drive. He is fascinated by squirrels, cats and other small animals. If the Australian Cattle Dog is raised from puppyhood with other pets, including cats, he can be trusted to live peacefully with them in his home. However, he will likely consider those outside his household fair game.

The Australian Cattle Dog is generally friendly, but protective of his family and home turf, and tends to be wary of strangers.

The Australian cattle dog has a toughness – he has had to be tough to cope with the high temperatures, rough terrain, and long distances associated with his work on ranches – that makes him both pain tolerant and focused. He will continue to work even when injured. Owners need to pay special attention to this breed to ensure that he will not continue to work or compete if he is injured.

Australian Shepherd Dog

Australian Shepherd Dog

Despite its name, the Sheepdog dog breed originated in the western United States, not Australia, at the time of the Gold Rush in the 1840s. Originally bred for herding livestock, they remain a working dog at heart.
You can find these dogs in shelters and rescues, so opt to adopt if you can!

Australian Shepherds, as they are called, are happiest when they have a job to do. They can be wonderful family companions when their intelligence and energy are channelled into dog sports or activities.

Australian Shepherd shows an irresistible impulse for the herd, everything: birds, dogs, children. This strong drive to work can make Aussies too much dog for a sedentary pet owner. Australian Shepherd are remarkably intelligent and quite capable of fooling an unsuspecting novice. In short, this is not everyone’s cup of tea. However, if you are looking for a smart, tireless and trainable partner for work or sport, your search may end here.


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The coat of a Texas Heeler can vary in appearance depending on the breed. These dogs have been shown to have either short to medium length coats (about 1 to 3 inches long) of smooth fur in a variety of colors. The most common colors for this breed are black, blue, merle, or blue with white or brown trim. The ears of this breed are generally pricked, but may flip in some specimens. Texas Heelers can have long tails, but most are born with wagging tails.

Texas Heeler Puppies

The Texas Heeler puppies should begin training and socialization at a very young age. This will help prevent them from being aloof or nervous around strangers, and it will also help you control their energy level.

texas heeler puppies

Texas Heeler puppies are often born with wagging tails, although long tails are possible. Puppies are born with dropping ears that are often pricked, although some of them always fold over.

Top 10 Facts about the Texas Heeler


1. Texas heeler were first registered as a dog breed in 1970

Although the Texas Heeler is a popular hybrid dog, the exact origin of the dog is unknown.

It is believed that the first Texas Heeler was registered in the Dog Registry of America in 1970 by Lucy Guynes.

Since then, their popularity has grown exponentially over the past 50 years (especially in Southwest America) due to their livestock breeding abilities.

See also: Australian Shepherd Dog, Price, Size, Temperament and Colors

Interestingly, the first Australian Cattle Dog was registered in the U.S. in 1980 and the first Australian Sheepdog was registered in 1993 (both after the Heeler).

2. The Texas Heeler is not a known purebred dog

This breed of dog is a cross between an Australian Cattle Dog and an Australian Shepherd Dog.

Their unique name comes from their origin and the nickname of the Australian Cattle Dog (Heeler).

The nickname Heeler comes from their tendency to nip at the heels of cattle to encourage the direction of their movement while herding them.

Texas Heeler

There are two different types of Australian cattle dogs, and therefore there are two different types of heelers:

  • The Original Cattle Dog  was from New South Wales
  • The Queensland Heelers, which are a variation of this line from the 1940’s.

Regardless of which Australian Cattle Dog is paired with an Australian Shepherd, both are a Texas Heeler!

3. Size and Weigh

Texas Heelers are medium-sized dogs that generally weigh between 11 and 23 kg. Their coats can vary in texture from short and smooth to medium length and color, including black, blue merle, or blue with white and/or brown trim. They usually have smooth or medium length coats (1 to 3 inches). Texas Heelers generally have pricked ears, but their ears may flip over. They are usually between 43 and 61 inches tall. Most have bobtails, but they can have long tails.

4. The Texas Heeler They Love to Swim

This dog likes an occasional swim
Texas Heelers were bred to do a job, they are working dogs; Consequently, they don’t do well being bored.

The greatest joy in their lives is to run free and have a purpose. It just so happens that this is the best form of exercise for these dogs.

They love to run free across fields and woods and channel their chase instincts.

Texas Heelers need about 60 to 90 minutes of physical exercise daily, ideally split into two walks.

Giving this dog a job is a good idea, even if that job is as basic as trick training!

Teach your dog to fetch you items or clean up their toys, as this is fun and rewarding.

Walking is another fun pastime for these dogs. Any person or family that can hike this dog on a regular basis provides a high quality of life.

5. They have three major health concerns

As with all dogs, there is the potential for health problems with this breed. There are three main health issues to consider:

These dogs can develop hip and/or elbow dysplasia, which occurs in other large dogs. This is caused by faulty formation of the cartilage in the hip or elbow joint, either due to genetics or trauma.

They may develop a condition called distichiasis, while this condition is uncommon when an eyelash or eyelashes grow on the inside of the eyelid.

The last health problem is progressive retinal atrophy. This is a series of conditions that eventually cause blindness and are incurable. Texas Heelers live a long life, usually between 12 and 15 years.

6. They were first registered as a breed in 1970

Although the Texas Heeler is a popular hybrid dog, the exact origin of the dog is unknown.

It is believed that the first Texas Heeler was registered in the Dog Registry of America in 1970 by Lucy Guynes.

Since then, their popularity has grown exponentially over the past 50 years (especially in Southwest America) due to their livestock breeding abilities.


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Interestingly, the first Australian cattle dog was registered in the U.S. in 1980 and the first Australian sheepdog was registered in 1993 (both after the Heeler).

7. They need a high protein diet

Texas Heelers are known for many things (most of which you learned about above), but fussy eating is not one of them.

You need around three cups of high quality dog food every day. If possible, try to choose a food specifically tailored for active dogs.

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Because of their active nature, they may need a higher energy diet than other dogs.

Because of their high protein needs (of about 20%), meat should be the main ingredient, regardless of what they eat.

For this reason, owners may want to consider charging their pets for raw foods or the BARF diet.

8. The Texas Heeler Dog has a rescue association

If you are looking at adopting one of these Heeler dogs, but would prefer to rescue rather than buy a puppy, there are several organizations set up to help you:

  • Texas Cattle Dog Rescue places these dogs throughout America.
  •  The Australian Cattle Dog Rescue Association also houses this dog by working with local shelters to advertise dogs on their website.

9. The Texas Heeler Temperament and Behavior

This dog can easily get along with other pets, but this is not common. As with their genetic lottery appearance, it is quite difficult to predict the temperament of a mixed breed dog, as it can vary massively from litter to litter. This is one of the reasons why mixed breed and hybrid dogs are not recognized by kennel clubs.

In most instances, it comes down to the parents’ temperament.

When looking for a puppy, pay attention to the mother and her temperament. You should try to do this with the sire as well (if possible), but in most breeding programs the sire is stud only so he is not physically there.

texas heeler puppy

In most cases, the Texas Heeler temperament is loyal and dedicated. They are perfectly designed to work on ranches in Western America. Their drive to work is at the forefront of their temperament.

They are not known to bark, but only when they feel threatened. For this reason, they make excellent guard dogs, protecting their families.

Texas Heelers get along well with children, but as with their parents, they can exhibit herding behavior.

10. Apartment Friendly

The texas heeler dog breed is not suitable for residential or apartment living and is most suitable for a small to medium sized yard or garden space. This dog breed can handle most types of hot and cold weather.

Texas Heeler Dog Names

Rank Boy Names Girl Names
01 Max Molly
02 Buddy Lucy
03 Oscar Lola
04 Jack Luna
05 Jackson Bailey
06 Bandit Lady
07 Harley Sugar
08 Diesel Zoey
09 Sam Ruby
10 Bruno Gracie



We hope y have enjoyed learning more about the Texas Heeler.

This dog combines the working drive of both breeds with the affectionate Australian Shepherd and the enthusiasm with the Australian Cattle Dog.

These dogs should only be owned by experienced and active people, be it a family with older children, singles or couples.

A lack of physical and mental stimulation can lead to destructive and undesirable behaviour.

This working hybrid remains a firm favorite of many, a loyal canine companion.

Do you have a Texas Heeler at home? Share your thoughts on this breed below.


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Fact Check

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