Red Heeler Vs Blue Heeler

Blue and Red Heelers are often at the top of the list for people looking to get themselves a loyal, intelligent, and hard-working dog.

However, choosing between the two and deciding on Blue Heeler vs Red Heeler is actually nothing more than the aesthetic dilemma.

Each of these dogs belongs to the same breed with their color being the only difference.

You may know them as Queensland Heelers or Halls Heelers. So, no matter if you go blue or red, you’ll be getting a dog with similar personality traits.

The only difference between the Red Heeler and Blue Heeler is their color. Blue Heelers are dark in color with blue-black fur, while Red Heelers are primarily an orange-brown color. Keep reading to learn more about their coats and the Australian Cattle Dog breed as a whole!

Do they get the trademark blue and red color from the parents?

Well, you might say that this is an obvious question. But no, that is not it. The Australian cattle dogs are white at birth. They have white fur all over the body, and with time some develop blue or red color along with the speckled or mottled coat.

There are three types of genes in these dogs, Agouti, Spotting, and Ticking. While developing, if the Ticking gene is dominant, the puppy will develop vividly clear blue or red color.

On the other hand, the dominance of the Agouti gives them patches of red and blue (primarily over the face). Lastly, the extent and location of the white spots are decided by the Spotting gene.

Australian Cattle Dog VS Blue Heeler-What’s the Difference?

The official name is Australian Cattle Dog but they are also known as Blue Heelers, Red Heelers, Queensland Heelers, and 200 years ago, were known as Hall’s Heelers.

Although there is always a temperament or personality difference possible between individual dogs, it has nothing to do with their color. Australian Cattle Dog VS Blue Heeler: Whatever is said about one applies to each.

What’s so special in Australian Cattle Dogs?

Living in Australia, the cattle rearers need to move the cattle from one place to another. Not considering the reason for the cattle’s migration, it is a daunting task to shift them. It’s not like you can airlift them or hire a cargo ship for cattle. They have to be moved on foot while taking care of a multitude of aspects.

So, cattle dogs provide the necessary help in moving the cattle. Some of the most important traits of cattle dogs include intelligence, stamina, perseverance, energy, apt decision-making skills, especially when the driver is away. All of these characteristic features are present in the heelers.

Most importantly, a cattle dog needs to be steadfast and ensure that even the most stubborn and annoying cattle falls in line with the others. So, when no dog could fit the bill, Thomas Hall cross-bred a special cattle dog that can wear different hats.

Where the characteristic feature of blue and red color comes from the genetic differences in both the dogs, rest everything is more or the same in both the breeds.

Lastly, the Australian cattle dog is low maintenance, wash and wear kind of dog. This is because they boast a short and tightly packed inner coat, which keeps it warm. Plus, the heeler’s topcoat is harder and denser, giving it high resistance to rain and dirt.

Fusing all these attributes together, we have a highly intelligent being that is the panacea for all drovers. Since their color characterizes the only difference between the blue and red heelers, let’s take the discussion forward.

You will see two subtypes of red heelers, red speckled and red mottled. By now, you must have realized that apart from appearance, there are no physical and cognitive differences among the Australian cattle dogs.

The red speckled heelers are distinguishable by their white hairs protruding out of the outer fur coat. These white hair spots are irregular in shape. These white spots are as big as the fingertip. Since the underlying coat boasts a dark red color, these white spots are vividly visible.

Red Heelers need the distinctive color and the speckled fur. Apart from this, their masculine body makes them strong, hyperactive, and agile. If you would observe carefully, the Red heelers have stronger muscles around their shoulders. In terms of height, the red heelers can grow up to 20 inches.

Besides the speckled fur, you might also find some red heelers having mottled coat fur. The difference lies in the background, which in this case, ranges between light red to ginger. Lastly, some dogs might have a red patch over one eye as opposed to others who might have the patch over both eyes.

Like its red brother from another mother, the blue heelers are equally energetic, agile, and ready to tackle cattle hoards. However, their blue color is darker and more challenging to spot in the night.

The blue heelers have a slightly lighter colored tail with an extensive white spot presence, making it easier for the owners to locate them in the night. It is because their background coat is darker than the red ones. However, the dark blue coat’s glaze is less visible when there are more speckles and vice versa.

Some blue heelers also have black hair, and almost all of them have a tan shaded coat at the insides of fore and hind legs, which is another one of their distinctive features. Compared to the red heelers, the tan shade in blue colored Australian cattle dogs has higher visibility. The same tan shade is also seen on the throat and breasts.

Now, the blue mottled skin coat of the blue heelers is similar to the red ones in terms of the size and color of spots, fingertip plus white. However, the actual color of the skin coat is either blue or, in some cases, black. The blue heelers also boast single or double masks over the eyes.


Are blue and red heelers different breeds?

By crossing native Dingoes with Collies and other herding dogs, Australian George Elliott developed the Red Heeler, a.k.a. Australian Cattle Dog, in 1840. Ranchers were impressed with the breed’s toughness and work ethic, and they quickly became popular as cattle herders.

Can a Heeler be blue and red?

Australian Cattle Dogs and Blue Heelers are exactly the same dog. The term Blue Heeler refers to Australian Cattle Dogs that are blue in color. Australian Cattle Dogs that are red in color are called Red Heelers. This is an explanation including a pictorial guide of all possible colors and variations.