Texas Heeler – Everything has explained about this dog breed at a glance!
Wanna have a canine companion that is intelligent, active, and friendly? Then, the Texas Heeler could be the ideal choice for you. Texas Heelers are a cross between two purebred dogs – the Australian Cattle Dog and the Australian Shepherd Dog. They started as a designer breed, which means that they are a bit more costly than purebred dogs. Although they are a relatively less popular dog breed, their popularity is growing more and more in the United States recently.
Texas Heelers are great companions, guardians, herding dogs, as well as hard-workers. The following are some important facts you should know about Texas Heelers if you are planning to adopt or buy one or if you already own one!
The Origin of Texas Heelers
Apparently, the origin of the Texas Heeler runs back to the early 1970s. Although the exact date remains a mystery, experts say that a Texas Heeler was registered for the first time by Lucy Gynes back in the 1970s.
Texas Heelers originated as a result of breeders’ need to create a hybrid herding dog that could herd both cattle and sheep. Breeders in Texas combined the Australian Cattle Dog and the Australian Shepherd Dog, two prominent herding dog breeds in Australia, for this purpose. As a result, the Texas Heeler originated in the state of Texas. The crossing continues even at present, with the increase of demand for these smart and intelligent crossbreed dogs. Texas Heeler puppies may display characteristics of one parent more than the other.
Is Texas Heeler a Recognized Breed?
Texas Heelers are not considered a standardized breed as they are not purebred dogs. However, their parent dogs, the Australian Cattle Dog and the Australian Shepherd Dog are recognized dog breeds. They are purebred dogs that belong to the Pastoral group.
Texas Heelers are recognized by the following kennel clubs:
- Animal Research Foundation (ARF)
- Dog Registry of America (DRA)
- American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC)
Unfortunately, they are not recognized by major kennel clubs such as the American Kennel Association. Interesting Fact: In the crossing process, the Australian Shepherd Dog can be replaced by a Border Collie. However, the Australian Cattle Dog must be present. The resulting puppy is still considered an authentic Texas Heeler.
Physical Appearance of Texas Heelers
Texas Heelers are medium-sized dogs, with a height between 16 to 22 inches and a weight between 25 to 50 pounds.
Keep in your mind that, their weight may vary depending on the purpose for which they are used: If they are used as pets, they may be less active and weigh more; if used as herding dogs, Texas Heelers are more active and weigh less. Some Texas Heelers may differ from the average size.
Texas heelers have short, fluffy, and less dense coats which are easy to groom. Their fur is very soft and is often speckled with a mixture of colors. Mostly, their coats comprise black, blue merle, or blue, with a mix of white or fawn. Their coloration is more in resemblance with the Australian Shepherd Dog rather than the Australian Cattle Dog. Rarely, there are plain colored Texas Heelers as well.
Ears and Tail
There is an interesting fact about the ears of Texas Heelers. When they are puppies, their ears have flopped. But, as they grow, their ears become straight and pointy. This is a trait that remains for the rest of their lives. But in some Texas Heelers, ears may fold over without becoming straight or pointy. Most Texas Heelers have bobbed tails, but some may have long tails too. However, this is not a defining physical feature of the breed.
The temperament of Texas Heelers
Although at first people used them only to herd cattle and sheep, Texas Heelers prove to be good house pets too. They are likely to be attached to one family member more and are loyal to and protective of their owners. They prefer to be with someone who knows how to handle them gently.
Texas Heelers have natural herding instincts as they descend from two great herding breeds. Due to this, they try to herd people and other animals too. They could sometimes be snippy with small children due to their herding nature. Therefore, it is essential to socialize them and introduce them to other animals from an early stage.
This crossbreed is very intelligent and highly trainable. As they like to learn new commands, it is effortless and fun to train them in new habits. At the same time, any unwanted herding behavior could be suppressed through proper training, so there is no need to worry!
Texas Heelers are excellent guardians. They are unfriendly around strangers and often bark only if they are provoked. So they will immediately let you know if an intruder enters your house. Texas Heelers are very active and hard-working. Similar to many other dog breeds, this breed too likes to snuggle and cuddle with their humans. But more than that, they like to work. Due to this very reason, Texas Heelers are not recommended for people, especially the elderly, who cannot maintain an active lifestyle. They are more suitable for active adults and youngsters.
Texas Heelers usually live between 12 to 15 years.
As Texas Heelers are an active breed, their diet should consist of high calories to keep them healthy and energized. But do not overfeed your Texas Heeler because it may lead to unnecessary weight gain. The dietary needs of the canine may differ according to its age, weight, health, and energy levels. Therefore, when choosing dog food, take all these aspects into consideration. Moreover, consult a vet for recommendations about the perfect diet plan for your Texas Heeler. Last but not least, stick to a regular feeding schedule.
Common Health Issues Faced by the Texas Heeler
Although most Texas Heelers are healthy, some may face health issues. Following are the common health conditions faced by Texas Heelers.
Hip dysplasia refers to the instability of the hip bone of the dog.
Here, the dog’s elbow joint encompasses multiple developmental abnormalities, including the growth of cartilages. These abnormalities result in lameness in the forelimb of the dog.
This is a condition where one or more “extra” eyelashes grow from the margins of the dog’s eyelids. This may cause pain, irritation, and sometimes, bacterial infections.
Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA)
Although not as common as hip/elbow dysplasia or distichiasis, Texas Heelers are prone to this condition too. CEA is an inherited, congenital condition that may if left untreated, lead to blindness.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
This is an incurable disease that may lead to permanent blindness. However, this is a rare condition.
Generally a lifelong disease, epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes random seizures. Apart from these complexities, Texas Heelers are prone to cataracts and deafness too. However, most serious health issues are uncommon to this breed as they are usually very active. Fortunately, regular veterinary checkups and proper care minimize the risk of any possible health issue.
Maintaining Good Care of Your Texas Heeler
Texas Heelers are dogs with high energy levels. This breed requires at least 2 one hour to one-and-a-half-hour-long walks per day. In between, they like to have active play sessions, and some short walks too. Keeping them active is crucial to avoid unnecessary weight gain and health issues.
Keep your Texas Heeler very clean. Bath and brush them regularly to keep their coat clean from dust and dirt and ticks and fleas. Check their ears daily for debris. Do not forget to wipe the inside of their ears gently to keep them clean.
The less-dense coats of Texas Heelers are not suitable for extreme weather conditions. To take better care of their soft coats, use a dog sunscreen in summer and use a winter coat.
Maintain oral hygiene. Although oral hygiene of dogs is overlooked, dental issues are common to any dog breed. Therefore, it is important to keep your Texas Heeler’s mouth clean. Brush their teeth as instructed by the vet and keep an eye on any irregularity in their mouth.
Apart from these, take your Texas Heeler for regular veterinary checkups. Your vet will recommend all the necessary steps and actions to keep your dog fit and fine!
Misconceptions about Texas Heelers’ Nicknames
Many people think that “Queensland Heeler” and “Blue Heeler” are nicknames for a Texas Heeler. But these two are the nicknames of one of its parents – the Australian Cattle Dog.
However, Texas Heelers are referred to as the “Texas Cattle Dog.”
Rescue Groups for Texas Heelers
As Texas Heelers are a mixed breed, it is hard to find breed-specific rescues for them. But you would be able to find them in Australian Cattle Dog or Australian Shepherd Dog breed-specific rescues.
All in all, Texas Heelers are the ideal choice for you if you are looking for an active, energetic, and at the same time, playful canine companion. Descending from two purebred dog parents, the Texas Heeler resembles both the Australian Cattle Dog and the Australian Shepherd Dog. Its passion for working and making you happy is what makes the Texas Heeler more special. So, take good care of your precious canine companion to keep them happy in return.
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