There are many different dog breeds out there, and it can be tough to decide which one is right for you. If you’re looking for a herding dog, two of the most popular options are the Blue Heeler and Australian Shepherd.
So, what’s the difference between these two breeds? Let’s take a look!
History of the Blue Heeler
The nickname of the Australian Cattle Dog, which is Heeler, arose because of their tendency to nip at cattle’s heels to encourage the direction of movement while they are being herded. They were bred to herd cattle over long distances and special characteristics such as their high energy levels and stamina were desired to cope with the rough terrain and high temperatures of the Australian outback.
This background means that they are very energetic and playful dogs with a high intelligence. You’ll need to make sure that you have enough time to spend with your Blue Heeler outside, although they also do well as a pet rather than a working dog when they are trained and socialized properly.
There are two different types of Australian Cattle dogs and therefore there are two different types of Heelers — the Original Cattle Dog, from New South Wales, and The Queensland Heelers, who are a variant of the breed from the 1940s. Both are now known as Heelers.
Australian Shepherd HISTORY
Despite the name, Australian Shepherds were fully developed in the United States. Spaniards probably brought these dogs to America in the 19th century, along with Australian sheep and cross-bred them with collies. Later they were further developed from sheep dogs to become cattle dogs and today American cowboys still use them to drive cattle. The dogs are also trained for police work and competitive obedience.
Australian Shepherds are ranked 34th out of 154 dog breeds in AKC registrations.
Blue Heeler vs Australian Shepherd: Height and Weight
When it comes to size, the Blue Heeler is slightly smaller than the Australian Shepherd. The average Blue Heeler weighs between 35 and 50 pounds, while the average Australian Shepherd weighs between 40 and 60 pounds.
The height of these two breeds also varies. The Blue Heeler typically stands between 17 and 20 inches tall, while the Australian Shepherd typically stands between 18 and 23 inches tall.
So, what does this mean for you? If you’re looking for a smaller herding dog, the Blue Heeler might be the better option. However, if you’re not concerned about size, either breed would make a great choice.
Blue Heeler vs Australian Shepherd: Coat Type
Another important difference to consider is coat type. The Blue Heeler has a short, dense coat that sheds moderately throughout the year. The Australian Shepherd, on the other hand, has a medium-length coat that can be either straight or wavy.
This is an important consideration if you’re allergic to dog hair or if you simply don’t want to deal with a lot of shedding. If either of these things is a concern for you, the Blue Heeler might be the better choice.
Blue Heeler vs Australian Shepherd: Colors
When it comes to color, the Blue Heeler is typically blue or red with white markings. The Australian Shepherd can come in a wide variety of colors, including black, blue, red, and merle.
Blue Heeler vs Australian Shepherd: Temperament
When it comes to temperament, the Blue Heeler and Australian Shepherd are fairly similar. Both breeds are intelligent, active, and loyal. However, the Blue Heeler is typically more reserved around strangers, while the Australian Shepherd is more outgoing.
Blue Heeler vs Australian Shepherd: Lifespan
Another important difference to consider is lifespan. The Blue Heeler typically lives for 12-14 years, while the Australian Shepherd typically lives for 11-13 years.
Blue Heeler vs Australian Shepherd: Health Problems
Finally, it’s important to consider the health problems that each breed is prone to. The Blue Heeler is generally a healthy breed, but they can be susceptible to hip and elbow dysplasia, as well as eye problems.
The Australian Shepherd is also generally a healthy breed, but they can be susceptible to hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, epilepsy, and cancer.
So, which breed is right for you? If you’re looking for a smaller herding dog with a short coat, the Blue Heeler might be the better choice. However, if size doesn’t matter to you and you prefer a longer-coated dog, the Australian Shepherd might be a better option.
Ultimately, the best way to decide which breed is right for you is to do your research and meet some dogs of each breed in person!