The Texas Heeler is not recognized purebred breed, but a crossbreed between two purebred dogs – the Australian Cattle Dog and Australian Shepherd. It is very likely, that crosses between those two breeds have been around for a long time, but it was not until 1970s, when some breeders in Texas started to cross those two dogs together with the goal of creating a new breed. Some sources say, that the first person who registered Texas Heeler was Lucy Guynes from Texas.
The Texas Heeler was developed to be an intelligent, independent, energetic and hard working farmdog and herder and indeed, Texas Heeler has all those qualities. These dogs have natural herding tendencies and can be trained to be extraordinary farmdogs.
Of course, this dog is not only amazing farmdog, but also great companion. This breed is known to be very loyal and affectionate towards it family. It is very lively and energetic breed who will always be ready for any kind of an outdoor adventure. On the other hand, these dogs are known to be alert and suspicious towards strangers and they can make good watchdogs. The Texas Heeler can also be good playful partner for older kids and with proper early socialization they can live with other dogs or some other pets in the family as well.
As you can probably imagine, the exercise needs of this dog are very high. They need plenty of daily exercise, which include several daily longer walks, hikes, jogs or swiming, but also mental stimulation such as regular fun training sessions, task oriented playtime or some dog sport, such as agility, flyball or herding trials. These dogs are not for everyone, you should be active person who like outdoors if you want to buy or adopt this breed. Without enough exercise, the Texas Heeler can develop some unwanted behaviour, such as destruction.
Just like with all the crossbreeds, the appearance is quite a lottery, but it seems that vast majority of Texas Heelers are more similar to the Australian Cattle Dog, than the Australian Shepherd. Most often they have erect ears, but the ears can be folded as well. The eyes are typically quite big and they usually have very lively, happy and alert expression. Interesting fact is, that these dogs can show heterochromia, which means they have each eye in different color. One eye is typically in blue color and the other in darker color, most often brown. The tail can be either bobbed or long.
This is very athletic and strong, medium sized dog breed, with average height between 17-22 inch, which is 43-56 cm and weight is usually between 45-50 lbs, which is 20-23 kg. The females are usually slightly smaller than males.
The Texas Heeler got its name from the place of its origin and from one of its parent breeds. Heeler is a nickname of Australian Cattle dog and it comes from their tendency to nip at cattle´s heels to drive them where they want. Many Texas Heelers also have this natural nipping tendencies, so the name is a great fit for this breed.
The Texas Heeler comes in variety of coat types and coloration. Most commonly, you will see this breed in relatively short, 1-3 inches long, smooth and soft coat, which is similar to the Australia Cattle dogs coat. Very rarely, they can inherit the longer and flowy coat as well. You can see this dog in different colors and color combinations, but the most common are black, blue merle, or blue ticked with white or fawn.
Great fact is, that this is fairly low maintenance breed. If they inherit the short coat, than even without any brushing, they will keep it in good condition. If they have longer coat, regular brushing to prevent matting is recommended. These dogs are known to be above average when it comes to shedding, so if you want to minimize the shedding, regular brushing to remove the dead hair is recommended. But it is impossible to stop the shedding. Just like with all dogs, you should regularly check their eyes, ears, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed.
The average lifespan of Texas Heeler is relatively high – between 12 to 15 years. There are some health issuses associated with this breed and those are hip and elbow dysplasia, distiachiasis and progressive retinal atrophy. These dogs can also suffer from Collie Eye Anomaly, cataracts or allergies.