The Blue Heeler, also known as the Australian Cattle Dogs, is a medium-sized intelligent, energetic dog originally bred for herding cattle. This dog breed makes a great family dog and is quite good for alertness and protection. If you are considering getting one, it is important you know more about their traits and life expectancy to know if the dog is a good fit for you or not.
The Blue Heeler has a life expectancy of about twelve to fourteen years; however, in some cases, the dog can live for about fifteen years. The lifespan of the Blue Heeler can be shortened by health issues, including progressive blindness and deafness; there are hereditary health issues.
The Blue Heeler is a great dog, and you can never go wrong when you own one. Blue Heelers are known by other names, including Queensland Heelers and Australian Heelers.
The history of this dog breed can be traced to Australian settlers around the 19th century. Back then, the herders needed a perfect dog to help herd their cattle and survive the harsh weather conditions. The dog they brought from England, Smithfield, could not handle the breeding job well due to the weather conditions.
So, they had to breed this dog with the domesticated Dingo dog in Australia. After a series of breeding and crossbreeding, the resulting mix finally gave existence to the Australian Cattle Dog. This dog breed came in two colors – blue and red. However, due to the popularity of the blue color, they were called the Blue Heelers.
The dogs were named Queensland Blue Heelers, as they were equally popular in Queensland. In 1980, the Blue Heeler was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club and became eligible for show in the working ground around September of the same year. In January 1983, the dog was transferred to the Herding Group.
The Blue Heeler is a very intelligent, active, protective, loyal, and hard-working dog. The dog is sturdy, with muscular legs, pointy, erect ears, a broad neck, and alert. When fully grown, this medium-sized dog has an average height of about 17 to 20 inches with a weight of about 35 to 50 pounds.
The Blue Heeler is fit to survive under any weather condition. It is surprising that at birth, Blue Heelers have an all-white coat. The dog has a short and dense undercoat which keeps its body cool during summer and warm in winter. To maintain their coat, all you need to do is ensure you brush it once every week.
However, you might need to increase the number of brushing per week during shedding seasons. A soft bristle brush is best to use, considering their coat type. Their coats could come in shades of colors like white, black, and gray. Their bathing routine is once every 3 months.
The Blue Heeler is a very energetic dog and would require at least 90 minutes of exercise daily. Since the dog is quite energetic, failure to allow it to release inbuilt energy by exercising could make it channel its energy into destructive behaviors. So, ensure you always engage the dog in daily physical and mental stimulations.
All herding dog breeds are often advised to be bred only in homes with a big land area. This allows the dog to have enough access to meet its walking and exercising needs. In addition, ensure its yard is very secure, as it could be tempted to herd other animals on sight and could also be very territorial.
What Is The Life Expectancy Of A Blue Heeler?
Considering the Blue Heeler is a medium-sized dog, one could wonder if they live long or not. On average, the Blue Heeler could live for about 12 to 14 years. Different factors could be responsible for this.
For instance, large dog breeds tend to grow and mature quite fast. They are always known to have a very short life span than small-sized dogs. So, since the Blue Heeler is a medium-sized dog, it is normal to expect it to live longer than the average big dog breed.
Another factor responsible for the Blue Heeler living long is their lifestyle. The Blue Heeler is a working breed known to be always active and ready to work. So, daily exercise makes them very healthy and fit, reducing their chances of getting obese.
In addition, if we closely look at the Blue Heeler, we could still see some resemblance to the native Australian dog, the Dingo. This means that there has not been much genetic change as a result of the human intervention in the breeding of this dog, which could be a valid reason why the dog is very much always healthy. Changing a dog’s genetics through poor breeding or cross-breeding by humans often affects dogs’ genetics and makes them less healthy.
Although we already stated that the Blue Heeler is a healthy dog. However, it is essential to state that these dogs are prone to hereditary health conditions. Some likely conditions are elbow and hip dysplasia, deafness, and eye issues.
We will look at some of the health conditions they are susceptible to. So, owners must become aware of these conditions and know when to call on a vet to avoid further complications to their dog’s health.
How Old Do Blue Heelers Live?
A survey was carried out to determine the longevity of average-sized dogs; Blue Heelers or Australian Cattle Dogs have a median longevity of about 11.7 years and a maximum of about 15.9 years. Blue Heelers are known to age well and live longer than other dog breeds within the same weight range.
Health Issues Affecting The Lifespan Of Blue Heelers
Blue Heelers are generally healthy dog breeds; nevertheless, they are still susceptible to health issues. It is important to know that some of these health issues are hereditary, so you may have to take your dog to the vet for regular check-ups and treatment. Some of the health issues affecting the lifespan of Blue Heelers or Australian Cattle Dogs are:
This is a hereditary health issue Blue Heeler are susceptible to, and you need to take the dog to a veterinarian to test using a tuning fork or loud noises. Definitive testing can also be used to test if a Blue Heeler can go deaf.
Sadly, there is no cure for deafness. Nevertheless, a deaf dog can still live a full and happy life; its owner can communicate with the dog using hand signals instead of verbal commands.
This is another hereditary health issue Blue Heelers can have; they can be predisposed to progressive retinal atrophy. This form of degenerative ocular disease is inherited, and there is currently no treatment or cure. However, it is not a painful health issue.
During the early stages of the issue, the dog will experience night blindness, and slowly the dog loses its sight. As long as the dog’s environment remains constant, dogs with partial or complete blindness can still do well. It is important to always take your dog to a vet for a regular check-up.
Oldest Blue Heeler
The oldest Blue Heeler is also the oldest living dog; the dog was called Bluey, and she lived for 29 years and 5 months. Blue was obtained in 1910 as a puppy by Les Hall of Rochester in Victoria, Australia; she worked among sheep and cattle for about 20 years before dying on the 14th of November 1939.
Blue Heelers are one of the most intelligent and loyal dog breeds; being herding dogs, they make great family dogs and relate well with little children. However, they require lots of exercise, so you must enjoy vigorous outdoor exercise if you want to own a Blue Heeler.
Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.