Mixed dog breeds are finally starting to gain recognition for their unique combinations of practical qualities and attributes, and the Texas Heeler is no exception. Bred from two highly prized breeds of herding dogs, many people consider Texas Heelers, the ultimate herders. They also function quite well as guard dogs. You may be wondering if a Texas Heeler pup would be a good pet for your household. Keep reading to determine everything you need to know about Texas Heelers before making your decision.
Texas Heeler Breed History
As with most mixed breeds, the origin of Texas Heelers is somewhat obscure. Their breed history has not been documented very well. Someone named Lucy Guynes supposedly registered the first Texas Heeler in 1970, but this is the only “concrete” detail we have. While most believe that the Texas Heeler was first intentionally bred in Texas, as the name would imply, no specific kennel or breeder in Texas has claimed the origin of this breed. Texas Heelers have enjoyed intense popularity in their home state for quite some time, but they are steadily becoming more popular across the United States for being both an ideal working dog and pet.
Texas Heeler Pedigree
Texas Heelers are bred by combining two purebred heelers: the Australian Cattle Dog and the Australian Shepherd. First-generation Texas Heelers are the most commonly bred, as they have a solid mixture of half genes from both parent breeds. First-generation mixes may take after one parent breed more than the other in terms of appearance and behavior, and how they will look or act is difficult to predict.
For a more predictable Texas Heeler pup, find a credible breeder who specializes in introducing new Australian Cattle Dog or Australian Shepherd genes in the second generation to make the puppies favor whichever one is desired over the other.
Texas Heeler Puppies
A litter of Texas Heelers may contain anywhere from six to eight puppies on average. As with most dogs, these puppies should start receiving training and be introduced to new people and places within one to two months.
Texas Heelers may become anxious or aloof around strangers otherwise, and it can be difficult to control their seemingly endless supply of energy. These puppies are typically born with short tails and folded ears. Some puppies may have longer tails that will need to be docked, and while Texas Heeler ears usually become upright over time, sometimes, they will remain folded.
Texas Heeler Temperament
Texas Heelers are naturally alert, energetic, and inclined to herd other animals. These dogs also tend to be intelligent and loyal, and they respond well to commands. They will be friendly with their owners, but unless they are properly socialized while they are young, Texas Heelers are generally aloof towards strangers.
These dogs tend to do fine with children, but they do not always get along with other dogs or indoor pets, and they can be incredibly stubborn. Texas Heelers also rarely bark, although they will if they sense an intruder is nearby. These hard workers make for excellent watch dogs.
Texas Heeler Appearance
A Texas Heeler coat may be a variety of colors. Most Texas Heelers are black, blue merle, and blue ticked with tan or white. Their fur can be short or medium in length, anywhere from one to three inches. As mentioned above, most Texas Heelers eventually have perky ears, but some retain the folded ears they all have at birth.
Texas Heelers are medium in size, and they usually are seventeen to twenty-two inches tall once they reach adulthood. These dogs can weigh anywhere from twenty-five to fifty pounds, with males being slightly larger.
Texas Heeler Training
Texas Heelers are highly active and intelligent dogs, so they respond incredibly well to training. They love having something to do, and they are eager to be taught. While Texas Heelers are naturally inclined to herd, in which case they do excellently in training as farm dogs, they also have the athletic ability to be trained for other dog sports like flyball, rally obedience, and agility.
Positive reinforcement is the best method for enforcing training. Good examples of applying positive reinforcement include giving pets or verbal praise whenever your Texas Heeler successfully carries out a command.
Texas Heeler Care
Since Texas Heelers have so much energy, they require dense meals in both nutrients and calories. Dry food for active, medium-sized breeds is usually the best fit for Texas Heelers. This food should be distributed to them in one and a half cups twice a day.
These dogs also need to walk for at least thirty minutes and time to play outdoors in order to accommodate their energy level. Going to the dog park or any space where a Texas Heeler can run freely is a good way to let them exercise.
While this breed is quite healthy overall, Texas Heelers may develop health problems like hip dysplasia, eventual eye degeneration like cataracts, epilepsy, or deafness. These dogs need to see a vet regularly once they start getting older to prevent these problems from becoming serious.
Texas Heeler Summary
Although their origin is relatively unknown, Texas Heelers are a beloved mixed breed in Texas, and their popularity has started to spread throughout the rest of the United States due to their protective and energetic nature.
These dogs are intelligent and very receptive to training. They are affectionate with the people in their household, but Texas Heelers will be aloof towards others if they are not socialized around the time they are being trained. Texas Heelers also need to burn a lot of energy, and they are naturally inclined to herd, which makes them an ideal farm or watchdog. If this breed cannot burn energy properly, they may develop destructive behaviors like digging holes.
Texas Heelers are a particularly good fit for active adults or families with large yards in rural places. If any of that sounds familiar, this might just be the dog for you.