ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What is the Temperament of the Blue Heeler? Challenges with Australian Cattle Dogs

Updated on May 5, 2013

Australian Cattle Dogs, sometimes called Blue Heelers, can make wonderful family pets. They are energetic, smart, and pleasant dogs, who have very specific needs. Potential owners need to realize how to handle the Blue Heeler’s temperament in order to have a positive experience. Blue Heelers were originally bred to be working dogs, and they are still commonly found on farms, as herding dogs. Since Blue Heelers still retain many of their herding traits, you will need to provide them with opportunities to express these instincts.

Behavior Challenges

Many people choose Heelers for their energetic and clever personality, but some pet owners may not be prepared for the level of aggression present in some Blue Heelers. As working dogs, heelers are known for being excellent herders of livestock. Blue Heelers can deal with even the most challenging livestock. Potential pet owners should be aware that aggression can be an issue, even with the right training. Blue Heelers often yearn to chase and herd things, which can be very problematic if yours gets out of the yard and wants to chase cars. Blue Heelers may also try to “herd” young children.

If your family is active and full of energy, the Blue Heeler will make a great pet. The most important thing to remember about this breed is that they love to work. Both physical and mental stimulation are imperative for the dog to be happy. If your family cannot provide regular exercise, your dog will probably develop behavior issues such as digging, chewing, and running away. Authorities on the breed state that Blue Heelers, “Must have something to do. If they aren't given a job, then they will make one.” Heelers will try to herd just about anything, and they are most satisfied when doing this type of work.

Just one way you can give a Blue Heeler a job no matter where you live

The Best Environment for a Blue Heeler

You don’t have to live on a ranch to own a Blue Heeler, but there are certain environmental considerations that should be made. Your home must have enough space for the dog to explore and express their physical needs. If you try to make a Blue Heeler into an apartment dog, you will get terrible results. It is likely that without the proper space, your dog will put all its energy into destroying your home. If you plan on adding this type of dog to your family, you must have a large home, with plenty of backyard space.

Intelligent dogs are easily bored, so mental stimulation is critical for the success of your Blue Heeler. If you don’t have time to play with the dog, then this breed is not for you. Blue Heeler owners should play with the dog frequently, give it access to new spaces to explore, and provide it with new and interesting toys. If your dog gets bored, expect to see this aggression in the form of bad behavior.

Properly training your Blue Heeler is very important. Your dog must understand that you are in charge. It will be very difficult to retrain the dog once bad habits have been established.

Owning a Blue Heeler can be demanding, but it is well-worth the effort. If you can meet the needs of this unique breed, then you will have a fantastic pet for your family. This breed is full of energy and incredibly smart. Make sure you give your Blue Heeler plenty of space and lots of exercise. If you care for your dog correctly, you will be very satisfied with this adventurous breed.

A look at the energy level of a Blue Heeler puppy

A great overview on Blue Heeler history and temperament


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • breathe2travel profile image


      6 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA

      My husband once bred Blue Heelers, or was a partner in the business. Our Izzy, officially "Hilltop's Living on top of the Moment" was a champion and her pups beautiful. We personally had two Heelers, who were quite affectionate and loyal. Izzy favored my husband and Cruzer favored me. They did "herd" our children and playmates, but gently. Quite comical, actually. The breed is quite strong, and I agree completely - they are intelligent, and in need of exercise, play and attention.

      Good hub. Voted up & interesting.

      Best regards~

    • wychic profile imageAUTHOR

      Rebecca Mikulin 

      7 years ago from Sheridan, Wyoming

      Agreed, I come from a very similar perspective. I have great respect for this breed, the dogs are generally very intelligent and they're excellent working dogs. Having been raised around working dogs, it's simple -- give them something to do, or they will FIND something to do and you probably won't like the results.

      The primary inspiration for writing this article is the shelter where I volunteer. Because we are in a ranching community, the shelter often gets aged heelers, or ones with genetic abnormalities or other issues that make them unfit for work. There are some fairly stringent adoption rules for them, and a LOT of people get irritated about it because they can't understand why the shelter really doesn't want to adopt these dogs out as family pets. While they can fit into non-working homes, they must go to people who are experienced with dogs and who lead an active lifestyle in which their dog can participate.

    • onegoodwoman profile image


      7 years ago from A small southern town

      Being a farm girl, I understand the value of this animal.

      But, I confess, that I find nothing about this dog to be attractive.

      If your are considering a family dog,.......research and choose carefully. ( what aspects and qualities do you expect from a dog)

      Whatever your choice..........PLEASE be a responsilby minded pet owe it to your dog, your family, and to your neighborhood.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)