Red Heeler vs. Blue Heeler: A Breed Comparison

The red heeler and blue heeler breeds originated from Queensland, Australia. This has earned them both the name "Queensland Heeler." They originated as a result of scientists seeking to create a tough-working, clever, and active dog breed.

Tests were carried out in the 19th century when the Australian Dingo was crossed with the Australian Collie to produce the red heeler and blue heeler in 1802 and 1840, respectively.

Since then, ranchers have used them on their ranches. They are both medium-sized dogs used to herd cattle. While both breeds share many characteristics due to them being sister breeds, they still have distinguishable differences. The red and blue heelers are just about the same dog with color variations. 

In this post, we compare red heelers and blue heelers, providing relevant information on both species.

  • Height:

The red heeler and blue heeler males both are slightly taller than their female counterparts. The size for male red heeler measures between 18-21 inches while the male blue heeler is slightly smaller at 17-20 inches. The red heeler and blue heeler females both measure about 16-19 inches tall.

Weight: The males of both breeds tend to outweigh the females. The weight of the male red heeler and male blue heeler is about 33-36 pounds and 30-36, respectively. The weight of the female red heeler is about 30-36 pounds and the female blue heeler is 26-31 pounds.

Life Span: Both heelers have an average life span of 14 years, though blue heelers can live around 12–16 years while the red heeler can live around 13-15 years. This is slightly above the normal lifespan of dogs, which is estimated at a range between 10 – 15 years.

Litter size: This is a very important characteristic in the life cycle of every dog, especially for owners who plan to breed their dogs. The litter size for the red heeler is 3-7 puppies while that of the blue heeler is 1-7


  • Coat and Colors:

The red heeler is mostly red, but it could have other variations of blue, chocolate, and cream, sometimes with white markings.  The blue heeler, just as its name suggests, has a mostly blue color, although some may have red in their coat. Interestingly, neither of them is born with that color, as newborn puppies are white. The fur of the red heeler is short and densely packed. Both breeds shed, but the red heeler doesn’t shed as frequently as it is affected by the seasons. The low to moderate shedding of the red heeler makes its maintenance moderate. This is not the case for the blue heeler as it has very high maintenance.

Temperament: The heelers might be sister breeds, yet there is nothing close about them in behavior. While both tend to be energetic, playful, affectionate, alert, and cheerful, the red heeler is not as territorial as the blue heeler. They are both easily trained, not hypoallergenic, and kid-friendly. 

  • Health: 

Just like every other dog in the canine world, they each have different health problems.

Some of the health challenges of the red heeler include:

· Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): This is an eye defect that is characterized by the deterioration of the rods and cones as their age advances. The bad news about PRA is that it is autosomal recessive, which means that even if it does not manifest in the present dog, it could be a carrier.

·  Fractures

Some health challenges of the blue heeler include:

·  Deafness: Congenital Hereditary Sensorineural Deafness (CHSD)

·  Joint diseases

·  PRA

Red and blue heelers are amazing ranching dogs with incredible intelligence. With patience and consistent training, they can be great companions.



Hello, I'm Shelly! I write about all things dogs. I'm a proud mother of 3. So I guess my official title is fulltime mother, part-time dog blogger. Look around and if you have any questions reach out to me