You can probably tell by now, we like Blue Dogs! So, what exactly is a Blue Dog? Well, we've welcomed several into our home, and our Blue Dogs come in two different varieties - Blue Heelers and Blue Merle Australian Shepherds! 

We thought we'd build this page to tell you a bit about Blue Heelers and Aussies!


Shannon & Terri


     The Blue Heeler or the Australian Cattle Dog is a breed of herding dog originally developed in Australia for driving cattle over long distances across rough terrain. The Australian Cattle Dog is a medium-sized, short-coated dog that occurs in two main color forms. It has either brown or black hair distributed fairly evenly through a white coat, which gives the appearance of a "red" or "blue" dog. It has been nicknamed a "Red Heeler" or "Blue Heeler" on the basis of this coloring and its practice of moving reluctant cattle by nipping at their heels. The Australian Cattle Dog has a high level of energy, a quick intelligence, and an independent streak. It responds well to structured training, particularly if it is interesting and challenging. It forms a strong attachment to its owners, and can be protective of them and their possessions. Australian Cattle Dogs participate in a range of activities beyond the herding they were bred for, including competing with their owners in sporting events and working as assistance dogs.

     When on home ground, the Australian Cattle Dog is a happy, affectionate, and playful pet. However, it is reserved with people it does not know and naturally cautious in new situations. The bond that this breed can create with its owner is strong and will leave the dog feeling protective towards the owner, typically resulting in the dog's never being too far from the owner's side. The Australian Cattle Dog can be the friendliest of companions although it is quick to respond to the emotions of its owners, and may defend them without waiting for a command. The ACD was originally bred to move reluctant cattle by biting, and it will bite if treated harshly.

     Among the most popular activities for an Australian Cattle Dog is dog agility. It is ideally suited for navigating obstacle courses, since as a herding dog it is reactive to the handler's body language and willing to work accurately at a distance from the handler. Agility has been used by Cattle Dog owners to instill confidence in their dogs, and enhance their performance in training and competition.

     Australian Cattle Dogs have been successful in a range of dog sports including weight pulling, flyball and schutzhund. The breed is particularly suited to activities that a dog can share with its owner such as canicross, disc dog, and skijoring or bikejoring. It is an effective hiking companion because of its natural endurance, its general lack of interest in hunting, and preference for staying by its owner's side. Most Australian Cattle Dogs love the water and are excellent swimmers. It is not a hyperactive breed, and once one has had its exercise, it is happy to lie at its owner's feet, or to rest in its bed or crate while keeping an ear and eye open for signs of pending activity. The Australian Cattle Dog is an adaptable dog that can accept city or indoor living conditions, if its considerable exercise and companionship needs are met.

     The Australian Cattle Dog can be put to work in a number of ways. Cattle Dogs are service dogs for people with a disability or are therapy dogs, some work for customs agencies in drug detection, some as police dogs, others haze pest animals, such as geese, for city or state agencies, and some work as scat-detection dogs, tracking endangered wildlife species.







     The Australian Shepherd, commonly known as an Aussie, is a breed of dog that was developed on ranches in the western United States. Despite its name, the breed was not developed in Australia, but rather in the United States where they were seen in the West as early as the 1800s. The breed rose gradually in popularity with the boom of western riding after World War I. They became known to the general public through rodeos, horse shows, and Disney movies made for television.

     For many years, Aussies have been valued by stockmen for their versatility and trainability. They have a similar look to the popular English Shepherd and Border Collie breeds. While they continue to work as stock dogs and compete in herding trials, the breed has earned recognition in other roles due to their trainability and eagerness to please, and are highly regarded for their skills in obedience. Like all working breeds, the Aussie has considerable energy and drive, and usually needs a job to do. It often excels at dog sports such as dog agility, flyball, and frisbee. They are also highly successful search and rescue dogs, disaster dogs, detection dogs, guide, service, and therapy dogs.

     Aussie colors are black, red, blue merle (marbled black, white and gray), and red merle (marbled red, white and buff), each of these colors may also have copper (tan) points or white markings in various combination on the face, chest, and legs. A hallmark of the breed, some Aussies are born with naturally bobbed tails (NBT). Others have full long tails, and others with natural partial bobs, where the tail is mid-length and appears stubby. Even without a tail, the wagging movement still occurs as the dog wiggles or shakes their hind end.

     The breed is typically highly energetic, requiring a great deal of exercise and attention, although some can be calm and easy-going. An Australian shepherd enjoys working, whether it is learning and practicing tricks, competing in dog agility, or engaging in any other physically and mentally involving activity.

     The Aussie is intelligent, learns quickly, and loves to play. Aussies also do best with plenty of human companionship: they are often called "Velcro Dogs" for their strong desire to always be near their owners and for their tendency to form intense, devoted bonds with select people. The Australian shepherd has a reputation as a highly intelligent and versatile stock dog with a range of working styles. A good working Aussie is quick, thoughtful, and easy with its stock. The ability for the breed to adapt to the situation and think for itself makes it an excellent all-around worker. For this reason the Aussie is often chosen to work unusual livestock such as ducks, geese, and commercially raised rabbits.

      These dogs require a minimum of 2–3 hours a day of play, exercise, and attention. They thrive in rural, ranch like conditions, and need space to run and play in an urban setting. The Australian shepherd is a high-spirited dog that requires much attention and work. Teaching them tricks keeps them focused and happy, which also keeps their minds working. The breed also has great stamina and can live in a variety of terrain. That's why they are a popular pick as trail dogs and working dogs.

     The Australian Shepherd's history is vague, as is the reason for its misleading name. It is believed by some the breed has Basque origins in Spain and was used there by shepherds (who might, then, have emigrated to the West Coast of the United States via Australia). The Australian Shepherd was a particularly tireless sheep herder in the Rocky Mountains because it is relatively unaffected by altitude. The Spanish dogs that accompanied them to American West proved well suited for their job in the wild and dangerous territory. They were highly valued for their ability to herd and protect their charges from predators on the open range. In the arid and semiarid areas inhabited by early Spanish settlers, temperatures reached extremes of hot and cold, and fields varied in altitude from sea level to the higher, rougher Sierra Nevada and similar mountain ranges. The ranchers in these areas often pastured livestock on remote ranges. They preferred more aggressive herding dogs that served in the capacity of herder and guardian.