The Australian Cattle Dog, commonly know as a blue (or red) heeler, is a short but sturdy herding breed that has the tendency to want to push cattle, unlike the Kelpie and Border Collie which like to “bunch and bring.” They have a double coat that comes in a blue color or a red color (and occasionally a mixture of the two). They are a hard working and loyal breed that has a lot of energy and is prone to serious behavior issues if not properly maintained.
Often you might have herd about a blue heeler nipping at someone or at their heels. That dog is actually herding that person in their mind. Heelers like to nip at the heels of their stock to encourage them to keep driving forward. That behavior and style is where they got their name. The heeler was developed because the Smithfield and Old Smooth Collies could not handle the vast distances that were required of them to work in Australia. The Australian Cattle dog is thought to be a mix of a dingo-blue merle collie to Dalmatians and with black and tan kelpies. The kelpie and merle influence can still be seen today in these dogs. Heeler pups are born white similar to their Dalmatian relatives. The result was a dog that was a hard worker, could herd cattle and had the stamina to keep up with any distance. They also were assertive enough to keep the cattle moving but also protective of their stock to keep predators at a distance. In 1893 Robert Kaleski wrote a standard for the breed and in 1980 the breed was recognized by the AKC.
Arrows dad is where the heeler comes into play. Ruff is half Kelpie and 1/4 border collie and 1/4 blue heeler. So really there isn’t much heeler running through their veins but it still is noticeable. Arrow has a nack for getting up behind the cattle and nipping at their heels so the keep moving. Also, arrows little sister looks like a blue heeler!