Texas Heeler: 14 Facts You Never Knew About The Texas Cattle Dog

Texas Heeler Feature
The best adjectives to describe this dog are: loyal, active and dependable

Originally from Texas, the Texas Heeler is stealing the hearts of thousands of families and people across America.

This dog breed has a stable temperament, great intelligence, a working pedigree, and a beautiful appearance!

Highly adaptable, this mixed breed dog adjusts well in many different environments, making them an excellent family pet and working dog.

Since the release of Far Cry 5 (in 2018), which featured a Texas Heeler named Boomer, interest in Texas Heelers has been growing.

What is there to know about Texas Heelers, this vivacious and high-energy mixed breed working dog? Here are 14 must-know facts about them.

1. The Texas Heeler Is Not A Purebred Dog

Texas Cattle Dog

This dog breed is a cross between an Australian Cattle Dog and an Australian Shepherd.

Their unusual name comes from their origin and the Australian Shepherd dog nickname (Heeler).

The Heeler nickname comes from their tendency to nip at the cattle’s heels to encourage the direction of their movement as this Australian Shepherd dog herds them.

There are two different types of Australian Shepherd dog and so there are two different types of mixed breed Heelers:

  • The Original Cattle Dog, originating from New South Wales
  • The Queensland Heelers, who are a variant in this line from the 1940s

Regardless of which cattle dog and Australian Shepherd dog, both are a Texas Heeler!

2. The Appearance Of A Texas Heeler Is A Lottery

Three Heeler Dogs
Three Texas Heeler dogs sitting, each as different as the next.

This mixed breed dog is a medium-sized breed, typically the Texas Heeler size is between 17 and 22 inches tall, they can be much lankier than their parent breeds.

More often than not, Texas Heelers have the stature of the Australian Shepherd dog.

The Texas Heeler dog breed’s coats are usually short to medium in length and can be: black, blue merle, red, white or tan.

They generally have upright, pricked ears, but they can be folded like the Australian Shepherd Dog.

Normally, this high-energy working dog, the Texas Heeler, has big eyes and a generally happy expression.

The Texas Heeler’s tail may be bobbed like the Australian Cattle Dog or long like the Australian Shepherd dog.

While it is easy to make predictions about their appearance, such as their typically black, blue, or merle coats it is important to note that the appearance of each individual mixed breed Texas Heeler is something of a lottery.

Due to the parent breeds’ genetics, those of the Australian Shepherd dog,  you may get two Texas Heeler breed dogs that look distinctly different.

This can even be seen with Texas Heeler puppies, some in the litter will look more like an Australian Shepherd dog.

3. Genetics Are Important For This Dog

Texas Heeler Panting
This is not a purebred dog. It is a cross between an Australian Shepherd and a Red Heeler

Not only are there two potential variations of one parent dog breed (Original Cattle Dog or Queensland Heelers), but there are multiple genetic generations of the mixed breed Texas Heeler:

  1. An F1 is the first generation of Texas Heelers and is bred from a purebred cattle dog and Australian Shepherd
  2. An F1B is a first-generation (F1) backcrossed with either an Australian Cattle Dog or an Australian Shepherd Dog
  3. An F2 is two first generations (F1) Texas Heelers mated together

This is better illustrated in the table below:

Parent Breed
F1Australian Shepherd Australian Cattle Dog
F1B F1 Texas Heeler Australian Cattle Dog OR Australian Shepherd
F2F1 Texas Heeler F1 Texas Heeler
F3F2 Texas Heeler F2 Texas Heeler

As previously stated, genetics is something of a lottery when breeding this Texas Heeler breed dog, for that reason later generations (i.e. F3, F4, F5, etc…) have a more consistent appearance and temperament.

By selectively breeding dogs together, such as the cattle dog and Australian, that have a good blend of the desired temperament and appearance, this allows you to get a more predictable hybrid dog breed.

Consistent breeding, also allows for the mixed breed to develop a pedigree status as you need to have four generations of “purebred” parents to be considered a pedigree by any kennel club.

4. Both Parent Breeds Are Aloof Cattle Dogs

Australian Cattle Dog
The Australian Cattle Dog (pictured above) is one half of the Texas Heeler

In order to better understand the temperament of the Texas Heeler, it may be beneficial to understand the temperament of its two parents, the cattle dog and Australian

Australian Cattle Dog Temperament

Like most working dogs, this dog breed is known to be aloof and distant, they are not overly affectionate dogs, preferring instead, as a working dog, to please their owners through work.

Despite this, they are incredibly loyal dog breeds, loving nothing more than to be at their owner’s side.

This dog breed does not do well with children and other non-human animals, as on occasion they may attempt to herd them. They also show other undesirable behaviors when under-stimulated, such as biting, barking and chasing.

Australian Shepherd Dog Temperament

The Australian Shepherd dog, the other half of this hybrid cattle dog mixed breed, was first bred to herd livestock too (specifically sheep and cattle).

They are loving with their owners but can be shy and aloof with strangers. Despite, this, with high energy, they love to play, and will happily spend all day in your garden playing fetch.

In fact, Aussie Dogs are often called “Velcro dogs”, as they are happiest by their owner’s side. They do well in families with older children as their playful and excitable high-energy nature can lead to accidents as they do not know their own strength.

5. Their Name Is A Match Made In Heaven

Australian Shepherd
The Australian Shepherd (pictured above) is the other half of the Texas Heeler

The Australian Cattle dog breed was first called “Heeler” In 19th Century Australia, since then, they have made their way into ranches across the world, including America in the mid-20th Century.

Often nicknamed “The Aussie”, the Australian Shepherd dog is actually an American dog breed and was first seen in Texas.

Combining these two parents’ names together we get the mixed breed Texas Heeler.

6. The Texas Heeler Has A Rescue Association

Texas Heeler Mix

If you are interested in adopting one of these Texas Heeler breed dogs, but would prefer to rescue rather than buy a puppy, then there are multiple organizations set up to help with this:

  • The Texas Cattle Dog Rescue rehomes these dogs all over America.
  • The Australian Cattle Dog Rescue Association also re-homes this dog by working with local shelters to advertise dogs on their website.

If you are considering adoption, then make sure to read our adoption guide including early socialization and health problems such as progressive retinal atrophy.

7. The Texas Heeler Temperament Is Loyal And Dedicated

Texas Heeler Puppy Eating
This dog can get along with other pets but this is not common

Like with their genetic lottery appearance, it is hard to predict the temperament of a Texas Heelers mixed breed dog as it can vary massively from litter to litter. This is one of the reasons why mixed breed and hybrid dogs aren’t recognized by kennel clubs.

In most cases, it comes down to the temperament of the dog breed parents.

When looking for a puppy, be sure to observe the mother and her temperament to help Texas Heeler’s early socialization. You should try to do this with the father too (if possible), but in most breeding programs, the father is just a stud so won’t physically be there.

In most instances, the Texas Heeler dog breed temperament is loyal and dedicated. They are perfectly designed to work ranches in Western America, their drive to work is at the forefront of their temperament.

Texas Heelers are not known for barking, only barking when they feel threatened. Because of this, they make excellent watchdogs, protecting their families, as well as working dogs.

Texas Heelers get along well with children, but as with their cattle dog and Australian breed parents they may show herding behavior with younger children. Consequently, this Texas Heeler mixed breed dog should be kept with children aged ten and up.

This mixed breed dog does not do well when housed with other non-human pets, as they tend to chase them as they would rogue cattle.

8. The Texas Heeler Has A Low Maintenance Coat

Texas Heeler Dog

Texas Heelers are known to be very low maintenance dogs when it comes to grooming.

Often, they have short, stiff, and straight coats, but the Texas Heeler breed can occasionally be longer and thicker, these shorter coats require weekly brushing and even more infrequent bathing.

Nails will need clipping every few weeks if they are not being worn down through exercise to avoid health issues.

Some of these dog breeds may be touch-sensitive (like their parent cattle dogs), so you should try to establish a grooming routine as early as possible for early socialization so that he or she knows what to expect.

However, some may be the complete opposite, taking after the Australian Shepherd dog, and love being touched on their paws and may not require desensitizing.

Regardless, a weekly grooming routine where you brush your dog’s fur and teeth is never a bad idea and helps to build Texas Heeler’s early socialization and a strong bond between the two of you.

9. This Dog Is Recognized By Three Kennel Clubs

Texas Heeler Feature
The best adjectives to describe this dog are: loyal, active, and dependable

As the Texas Heeler is a mixed breed (i.e. hybrid), it is not recognized by any major Kennel club (e.g. Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club).

It is, however, recognized by smaller kennel clubs and associations including:

  • Animal Research Foundation (ARF)
  • Dog Registry of America (DRA)
  • American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC)

Despite the Texas Heeler’s popularity, they do not have an official breed club or standard.

10. This Is A Dog Of Many Names…

Texas Heeler Puppy

Even among fans of the mixed breed, there is some confusion about the names of the Texas Heeler.

As a result of this confusion, it means litters of puppies are often misadvertised as Texas Heelers when they are actually of other dog breeds.

This is common for dog breeds without official breed clubs or standards as their is no central point of authority on the topic or assured breeders scheme.

With no affiliated or assured breeders scheme, advocated for by an official breed club, to help with the search for Texas Heeler dog breed puppies, it can be quite difficult to find one.

Therefore, when looking for a puppy it is important to know what is a Texas Heeler and was isn’t.

Common Misconceptions
Some people believe that the “Queensland Heeler” refers to a Texas Heeler. However, this name refers to a bloodline of Australian Cattle dog breeds from Queensland.

There is also some confusion around the terminology “Blue” and “Red” Heeler.

Often, people confuse the terms and think the Blue Heeler breed refers to a Texas Heeler as they are blue and of the heeler dog breed type.

However, this is also incorrect, as a Blue Heeler is a nickname given to the Australian Cattle Dog.

Dog Breed
Nick Names
Texas HeelerTexas Cattle Dog
Australian Cattle DogBlue Heeler, Original Cattle Dog, Queensland Heelers
Australian ShepherdThe Aussie

11. They Love Swimming

Texas Heeler Swimming
This dog does like a dip on occasion

Texas Heelers were bred to do a job, like cattle dog and Australian Shepherd they are working dogs; consequently, they do not do well with being bored.

The greatest joy in a Texas Heelers’ life is running free and having a purpose. By coincidence, this just happens to be the best form of exercise for these mixed breed dogs.

Texas Heelers need and love to run free across fields and forests, channeling their high energy chasing instincts.

Texas Heelers need around 60 to 90 minutes of physical exercise daily, ideally split into two walks.

Giving this dog the Texas Heeler a job to do is a good idea, even if that job is something as basic as trick training!

Teach your dog to fetch you items or to clean up their toys, as this will be fun and rewarding.

Hiking is another fun pastime for these high-energy dogs. Any individual or family that can take this Texas Heeler breed dog on regular hikes will ensure a great quality of life and mitigate against health problems.

12. They Have Three Major Health Concerns

Texas Heeler Portrait

Like all dogs, there is the potential for health issues with this breed, there are three main health problems to be aware of:

  1. Texas Heelers can develop hip and/or elbow dysplasia, which is seen in other large dogs. At 22 inches height, this is caused by the incorrect formation of the cartilage in the hip or elbow joint, from either genetics or trauma.
  2. They can develop a condition called Distichiasis, whilst uncommon, this condition is where an eyelash or eyelashes grow on the inside of the eyelid.
  3. Also, collie eye anomaly; a congenital, inherited, bilateral eye disease of dog breeds.
  4. The last of the health problems is Progressive Retinal Atrophy. This is a series of conditions that cause eventual blindness and is incurable.

Texas Heelers live long lives, the mixed breed usually living to be between 12 and 15 years.

13. They Were First Registered As A Breed In 1970

Texas Heeler Dog and Cat

Although the Texas Heeler is a popular hybrid dog, the exact origin of the mixed breed dog is unknown.

It is thought that the first Texas Heeler may have been registered to the Dog Registry of America in 1970 by Lucy Guynes.

Since then, over the past 50 years, Texas Heeler’s popularity has grown exponentially (especially in South West America) due to their high-energy skills at cattle herding.

Interestingly, the first Australian Cattle Dog was registered in the USA in 1980, and the first Australian Shepherd dog in 1993 (both after the Heeler).

14. They Need a High Protein Diet

Texas Cattle Dog Puppy

The Texas Heeler breed is known for many things (most of which you have learned above), but fussy eating isn’t one of them.

Texas Heelers need around three cups of high-quality, dog food each day. If possible, try to pick a food specifically tailored for active dogs.

Due to the Texas Heeler’s high-energy active nature, the Texas Heeler may need a higher energy diet than other dog breeds.

The high protein dietary requirements of the Texas Heeler breed (of around 20%) mean whatever they eat, meat should be the primary ingredient.

For this reason, a Texas Heeler’s owners may wish to consider feeding their pets raw food, or the BARF diet.


We hope you have enjoyed learning more about Texas Heelers.

This breed dog combines the working drive of both breeds, the enthusiasm of the cattle dog and the Australian Shepherd dog’s.

These mixed breed dogs should be owned by experienced and high-energy active people only, be that a family with older children, singles, or couples.

A lack of stimulation, both physical and mental can lead to health problems and destructive and undesirable behavior.

This mixed breed working dog remains a firm favorite of many, a loyal working canine breed companion.

Do you have a Texas Heeler at home? Let us know your thoughts on this mixed breed below.

About John Woods 301 Articles
John Woods is the founder of All Things Dogs, member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, graduate in Animal Behavior & Welfare and recognized author by the Dog Writers Association of America.


  1. I’m in complete love with my Texas heeler. Oh yes! It’s often said “Who saved Who?” I truly know the correct reply to that question. Loyal , protective, intelligent, sensitive to my quirks, and won’t ever let me feel down. She’s just a wonderful companion and the sloppy dog kisses… can’t get enough of them. If I didn’t know better, I would say she’s human. An absolute gift of tremendous love and I really needed her.

  2. Our Australian cattle dog Missy is the sweetest and most lovely dog. She has to be with me every moment of the day. We go to the dog park two times a day and my husband walks her in morning. Missy is very intelligent and a real family dog that wants to be with us all time. She is most loveable dog I ever had!

  3. When my Heeler is sitting in my lap the wife will come up to love on her and she will snap at her. We got her at 3 1/2 years old from the pound, what can we do?

    • How is the relationship between your dog and your wife at other times? Does your dog spend more time with you? Do they do anything together? It would be essential to prevent the opportunity for this to happen. So, whether you no longer have the Heeler on your lap, or if you do, your wife doesn’t interfere. Separate to this, it would appear that your wife and the Heeler need to spend more time having positive interactions together. So, can your wife try training some new tricks/commands, or play for 10 minutes each day? Building their relationship is essential. If she was from the pound, we are unsure of her experiences and how easily she learns to trust. Focus on positive reinforcement and reward based training and don’t put either of them in the position where your Heeler feels she needs to snap. If things worsen then please seek the advice of a force-free trainer in your area.

  4. We adopted out Texas Heeler, Dixie, as a puppy. She is an absolute gem. She has 5 acres to roam and loves to heed our horses and neighbors cattle. She is the sweetest most loyal dog we’ve ever had. She is wonderful with our 6 year old daughter and has been nothing but sweet and gentle with her. She’s protective but not aggressive. Dixie is also exceptionally loving and kind to our Senior Labrador. Love this breed and she will always be a special member of our family.

  5. Our dog was a pup when rescued by an Australian Shepherd Rescue program. Her name is Flint. She is so sweet. Her “sister” is Steel and was rescued from a shelter at six years old. She may be a Texas Heeler as we adopted her in New Mexico. She is darling and had been the shelter’s temperament dog for compatibility testing. They are people oriented and great with kids over 8. We love them both dearly, along with our cat, Spark.

  6. Bought our Texas heeler for $100. She’s a dork, but we love her, would recommend for families or just as a companion, beware of shedding though.

  7. Our Texas Heeler, Bucket, is the sweetest dog! He loves to exercise and have fun, but is the sweetest little cuddler. He is very smart and was easy to train. We love this guy so much!

  8. I rescued a Texas Heeler back in July… I had to put her down Thursday due to cancer…. I only had her for 5 months but she was the best dog that I have ever had…. She was my heart dog…. She was very loyal…. followed me everywhere…. I never needed a leash for her because she never left my side even if other dogs were around… she was a VERY NON reactive dog… She was very tolerant and would let you do anything…. She never barked… She liked people but would never approach them first… She would eat ANYTHING… I never knew how much of the world was edible until I met her… LOL…. She was very stoic and she NEVER let me know that she was sick…. I had to pay VERY close attention to her…. I found out Saturday Dec 5 that she had cancer… She went down hill FAST so on Dec 9 I decided she had had enough and made an appointment for home hospice the next day… Even the day that she went down she stayed strong… I absolutely LOVE this breed and will be looking for another…. She had the Aussie Shep temperament with the floppy ears and tail… I love her… If you are looking for a wonderful dog… consider a Texas Heeler

  9. im waiting for my texas heeler to grow a little. she is only 2 wks old. i have only seen pictures of her but i am already in love.

  10. My daughter and family of two young boys adopted a Texas heeler a few years ago. He is great with the kids, my husband, myself and son (people he met the first few days of adoption). He is reactive to everyone else. He has bit or tried to bite people–even those he has been introduced to for months. Friends cannot come into the house without the dog being in place or crated. My daughter and her husband have spent a lot of $$ and time in training; the dog is VERY smart, trainable — but still unpredictable. The dog is on Prozac. We have now had the dog for 3-4 months while my daughter’s family is out of state. He gets along well with our two pit bulls, but can be reactive to other dogs. He gets daily walks but I cannot let him off leash due to his unpredictable behavior. My daughter now has a baby girl and we all are concerned about the baby’s well being when they return. We all agree the dog needs to be rehomed — but with his biting behavior, who would take him on? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. This dog is extremely loyal to those he accepts as his clan. We might consider keeping him with us, but that just moves the problem into our household.

  11. Texas herlers are by far one of the best mixed breeds I’ve had.
    My Cali lived just shy of 17 years. She was good with other dogs and even cats and kids. She was a very loyal and loving dog. I miss her dearly.
    I have a small red heeler I’m considering breeding to a small Aussie
    It’s a possibility but I’m really picky about who would get one besides me. I may even adopt instead.

  12. We love our Luna aka LU
    She is the best fur human LOL to ever come into our lives! She is loyal and SUPER smart!
    Protective of children the grandchildren love her and she gets extremely excited to see them!
    She loves water, her fur squeaky toys, and being with her family.
    She loves car rides and ribeyes with sweet potatoes lol she is out spoiled girl!! ♥️ I would have a 100 of this breed before any other

  13. I have a cattle dog I got as a rescue 6 weeks ago. A very scared shy girl that is coming out of her shell but what amazes me the most with her is I have a cockatiel bird that raven (the dog) is so polite with the bird she won’t stare at coco (the bird) she’ll turn her head away from the bird and never steps with in 2 feet of him who is making the bird feel safe with her
    Coco sees that she has no reaction to him so he’s getting closer and closer to her. I’m sure in know time he’ll be riding her. She’s just so well mannered and I never thought I could love a dog so much so fast she rules the house a d that’s fine with me

  14. I have both. Heeler and Texas Heeler we just got love them both ! I’ve grown up w Heeler a and couldn’t wait to get another one when me and my husband got our own house . Smartest most loyal dogs ever Foxie is our red Texas ans. Butch is our make Blue Heeler !

  15. This is exactly my heeler and me! She came as a complete surprise! Most intelligent fur baby I have ever had. I am her human! I was in a very hurtful state of mind and heart..
    She rescued me. I thank God for her and her previous owners. She was gifted to me..

  16. We adopted our Texas heeler Roxanne after years of owning corgis and shelties. She is a joy. I call her Farm Doggie and wish we had a farm for her, though she seems happy in our suburban home, supervising the corgis, patrolling the town with my daughter, keeping the bunnies out of the backyard and making sure I sleep safely in my bed at night. She is probably the most elegantly beautiful dog we have ever owned, too.

  17. I will just have to be happy with what I get, you really can’t be ttooooo chooses I just want it healthy and a blue heeler àmd 4 lethe thtrooegs dotrme safety!!!! And the the rest of the of troops

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