Choosing the right breed for you is one of the most significant considerations if you decide to welcome a dog into your home. Each person will have different preferences in relation to the personality and physical traits they like in dogs. Similarly, some breeds are better suited to certain lifestyles than others. Therefore, it is vital that you learn as much as you can about any breeds you are considering so that you can determine if it is the most suitable breed for you and your lifestyle. If you are considering the Texas Heeler, then you should find out more about its personality traits, its physical attributes, and any other relevant information. To help you decide if this breed is a good option for you, here are 20 things you did not know about the Texas Heeler.
1. It is a Mix of Two Australian Breeds
According to Dog Time, the Texas Heeler is not a purebred dog; it is a hybrid of two purebred Australian dog breeds. One parent is either an Australian Cattle Dog, of which there are two variants. One variant of this called the Original Cattle Dog, which originates from New South Wales. The second variant is the Queensland Heeler, which was first bred as a variant during the 1940s. The other parent is an Australian Shepherd. Regardless of which variant of Australian Cattle Dog is bred with the Australian Shepherd, the result is still a Texas Heeler. Both the Australian Shepherd and the Australian Cattle Dog were bred as working dogs used to herd cattle.
2. Its Name Comes from Its Origins
The name of this hybrid dog comes from a combination of its genetic origins and from the place where it was first officially bred. ‘Heeler’ is a nickname given to Australian Cattle Dogs because they nip at the cattle’s heels during herding. Despite both parent breeds being Australian, the Texas Heeler was first bred in Texas. Hence the name, Texas Heeler.
3. Their Appearance Can Vary Significantly
The appearance of Texas Heelers can vary significantly, and it is potluck how your dog will look like as an adult. What they look like depends on which physical traits they have inherited from which of their parents.
4. There Are Genetic Variations
According to All Things Dogs, there are many genetic variations of a Texas Heeler, including F1, F1B, and F2. The F1 is the first generation of heelers that is bred from a purebred Australian Shepherd and a purebred Australian Cattle Dog. An F1B is a first-generation Texas Heeler that is then backcrossed with either an Australian Shepherd Dog or an Australian Cattle Dog. An F2 is the result of mating two first-generations. Later generations are known as F3, F4, F5, and so on.
5. They Are Often Aloof
Each dog is an individual, so they do not always have the same personality traits just because they are the same breed. With hybrid dogs, they sometimes inherit more of the personality traits of one parent than the other. However, a personality trait that is shared by bot the Australian Shepherd and the Australian Cattle Dog is aloofness. Therefore, most Texas Heelers are also aloof. It can make them seem a little disinterested in their owners, and they are not a naturally affectionate breed.
6. They Are Loyal Creatures
Despite their aloofness, most Texas Heelers are loyal creatures. Although not affectionate, they do develop a deep bond with their family. Once this bond has developed, they will remain loyal to you for life.
7. Their Coat is Low-Maintenance
The coat of a Texas heeler is usually short, straight, and stiff. However, some dogs have longer, thicker coats. Although dogs with longer coats need grooming more often than short-haired dogs, they are not difficult to groom. Short-haired dogs need grooming approximately once a week and bathing once a fortnight. Often, Texas Heelers are touch-sensitive, so it is vital that you take care when grooming them. It is also wise to accustom them to being groomed from when they are a pup. You should trim their nails regularly, about once every two weeks, especially if they do not spend much time outdoors.
8. It is Not Recognized by the American Kennel Club
Currently, the Texas Heeler is not recognized as an official breed by the American Kennel Club because it is classed as a hybrid rather than a purebred. Unfortunately, this means that Texas Heelers cannot register or take part in any events or competitions involving the AKC. However, there are some hybrids that have been discounted in the past, but they are now included for registration by the American Kennel Club. Therefore, it is possible that the AKC may include Texas Heelers in the future.
9. Some Other Dog Organizations Recognize This Breed
Although the Texas Heeler is not recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club, some other organizations do recognize this breed. Therefore, it is possible to register a Texas Heeler with these organizations and to take part in any events. Some of the kennel clubs and associations that recognize the Texas Heeler include the American Canine Hybrid Club, the Dog Registry of America, and the Animal Research Foundation.
10. The First Texas Heeler Was Registered in 1970
Like many hybrid dogs, it is unknown when the Australian Cattle Dog and the Australian Shepherd were first crossbred, as it is likely that this has happened unintentionally for a long time. However, it is known when the first Texas Heeler that was bred intentionally was registered. A woman from Texas called Lucy Guynes deliberately crossbred the American Shepherd and the American Cattle Dog, then registered the pups with the Dog Registry of America in 1970. It means that this crossbreed has been officially around for much longer than many other hybrids.
11. Texas Heelers Are Fans of the Water
As Texas Heelers are bred from two working breeds that herd cattle, it is hardly surprising that they love to run around in fields. What is possibly more surprising is that they love the water, and they are excellent swimmers when given the opportunity to take a dip. If you take your Texas Heeler to anywhere with a water body, you will probably find that your dog is drawn to the water and can’t wait to get in and splash around.
12. They Are Not the Best Option for Families with Young Children
If you have children, it is essential that you put a lot of thought into bringing a dog into your home. It is also crucial to remember that some breeds are better suited to living with children than others. The Texas Heeler is not the best option for families, especially those with younger children. Texas Heelers have a natural instinct to chase and nip at the heels of anything that moves, which is what they do with the cattle during herding. Unfortunately, many Texas Heelers will also do this with young children.
13. They Are Energetic
The Texas Heeler is a lively and energetic breed that needs lots of exercise. Ideally, you should walk your dog every day. If that is not achievable, then they need at least three walks lasting for around 45 minutes every week. Due to their active and energetic nature, these dogs are not ideal for apartment living. They are better suited to a property with a yard, preferably a large garden for them to run around. If you do live in an apartment and you have a Texas Heeler, it is crucial you take them out for a daily walk. In addition to walking your Texas Heeler, you should enjoy a range of activities and games, which is good for their physical health and mental stimulation.
14. They Are a Medium-Sized Dog
Although the size of a Texas Heeler can vary depending on its parents’ size, most of these hybrid dogs have a height range of between 16 and 25-inches tall. Some Texas Heelers are smaller or larger than this range. It is classed as a medium-sized breed, as are both its parents.
15. Their Weight Can Vary Significantly
Just as the height of a Texas Heeler can vary, so can their weight. The height of the dog may impact on their weight as smaller dogs are usually lighter, while taller dogs are heavier. Other factors that will impact the dog’s weight are genetics, general health, diet, and exercise. To make sure your dog maintains a healthy weight, you should make sure they eat a healthy diet and get plenty of exercise. Most Texas Heelers fall within a weight range of 25 pounds to 50 pounds. If you are unsure if your dog is within the healthy weight range, book an appointment with your vet who will weigh them and advise you about their diet and exercise regime.
16. They Are Prone to Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
One reason to crossbreed two purebred dogs is to reduce the risk of the hybrid developing the parent breeds’ health conditions. However, this does not mean that hybrids are not at risk of developing health conditions. In the case of Texas Heelers, common health conditions from which they may suffer are hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. Both conditions involve the joints slipping in and out of place. In both cases, the symptoms will begin while your Texas Heeler is a puppy, and you will need to seek the advice of a vet. Another health condition linked to Texas Heelers is Distichiasis.
17. There Are Many Color Variations
Like many hybrids, there are multiple color variations of the Texas Heeler. Most Texas Heelers have a base of either white or fawn, with spots, patches or a ticked pattern in colors including blue merle, black, or blue. Although some Texas Heelers are a solid color, it is more common for them to have two colors. Pups from the same litter do not necessarily have the same color or pattern.
18. They Need Socialization to Live with Other Dogs
If you already have a dog in your home, it is important to consider the needs of both your existing dog and any new dog you introduce. Some breeds get along with other animals better than others. In most cases, the Texas Heeler is happy to live with other dogs or cats, but they will need early socialization to get to know each other, and this is something you should supervise. Each dog is an individual, so there are no guarantees that they will get along with other animals, regardless of their breed.
19. They Do Not Enjoy Extremes of Weather
Some dogs like hot weather, others like cold weather, and some are adaptable to all weather conditions. The Texas Heeler does not link any extremes of weather. In freezing weather, you will need to put a coat on your dog to keep it warm. In hot weather, make sure they have a shaded area in the yard to get out of the sunlight and make sure they have plenty of fresh water. You may also need to buy some dog sun cream to apply to their extremities, such as their nose, ears, and the pads of their paws. Furthermore, you should avoid walking them over hot surfaces, such as concrete, at the hottest times of the day in summer.
20. Texas Heelers Can Suffer from Eye Anomalies
Texas Heelers are prone to various eye conditions and anomalies. One such eye condition is distichiasis. Vet Specialists says that dogs with this condition grow extra eyelashes that cause them discomfort. In some cases, it can also impact their vision. Another eye problem linked to this breed is collie eye anomaly, which is a genetic condition where the eye does not develop properly. It is so named because it usually affects Collies, but it also affects various other breeds.