Texas Heeler vs Blue Heeler

Written by Katelynn Sobus
Published: August 22, 2022
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Blue Heelers, also known as Australian Cattle Dogs, are purebred dogs recognized by the American Kennel Club. Texas Heelers are a cross between Australian Cattle Dogs and Australian Shepherds.

The Shepherd in their lineage can make quite the difference! Texas Heelers tend to be larger, may have longer coats, and require more frequent grooming. They may be easier to train and lose the guarding instincts the Blue Heeler is known for.

That isn’t all, either! Keep reading to learn more about mixed breed dogs and the differences between the Texas Heeler and Blue Heeler.

Comparing Texas Heeler vs Blue Heeler

The largest difference between the Texas Heeler and Blue Heeler is that the Blue Heeler is purebred.
Texas HeelerBlue Heeler
Size17-23 inches, 35-65 pounds17-20 inches, 35-50 pounds
AppearanceShort-medium double coat, upright or floppy earsShort double coat, upright ears
TemperamentMay be better with children and more playfulMay be less playful and more stand-offish with children, protective
TrainabilityMight be easier to trainMight be slightly more difficult to train, but still eager to please
Barking LevelLow to moderateLow
Purebred or Mixed BreedMixed breedPurebred

Key Differences Between Texas Heeler and Blue Heeler

The largest difference between the Texas Heeler and Blue Heeler is that the Blue Heeler is purebred, while the Texas Heeler is a cross between the Australian Cattle Dog and Australian Shepherd.

Other distinguishing traits include size, appearance, temperament, trainability, barking level, and grooming frequency.

Let’s discuss all of these in further detail below!

Texas Heeler vs Blue Heeler: Purebred?

Texas Heeler dog leaping over a pile of logs.

Texas Heelers are a mixed breed with one Australian Cattle Dog and one Australian Shepherd parent.

©Sari ONeal/Shutterstock.com

Texas Heelers are a crossbreed between the Australian Cattle Dog (also known as the Blue Heeler) and the Australian Shepherd. This means they can take after either parent in their genetics. They may be a fair balance between the parent breeds or be just like mom or dad!

Even in the same litter, puppies can look and act very differently. That’s why it can be difficult to describe mixed-breed dogs.

Of course, purebreds, like the Blue Heeler, also consist of individual dogs with unique characteristics. However, there is a breed standard that these dogs go by, and their lineage tends to be more similar, making them more predictable.

Purebred dogs also tend to be easier to find, whether you’re looking to purchase a puppy from a breeder or adopt from a shelter. Mixed breed dogs are less likely to be bred purposefully, making them rarer to see!

Texas Heeler vs Blue Heeler: Size

Blue Heelers stand 17-20 inches tall and weigh 35-50 pounds. Meanwhile, Australian Shepherds are larger at 18-23 inches in height and 40-65 pounds.

Texas Heelers can be the size of either parent breed, giving them a wide range of 17-23 inches and 35-65 pounds.

In both breeds, females are smaller than males. Here’s what to expect depending on the dog’s gender:

  • Blue Heeler females: 17-19 inches, 35-50 pounds
  • Texas Heeler females: 17-21 inches, 35-55 pounds
  • Blue Heeler males: 18-20 inches, 35-50 pounds
  • Texas Heeler males: 18-23 inches, 35-65 pounds

Texas Heeler vs Blue Heeler: Appearance

Blue Heelers have a short double coat and ears that stand naturally upright. They’re a bit stocky with short legs and long backs.

Blue Heelers come in the following coat colors according to breed standards:

  • Blue
  • Blue mottled
  • Blue speckled
  • Red speckled
  • Red mottled

Australian Cattle Dogs can also have tan, black and tan, or red markings.

Australian Shepherds have medium-length double coats and floppy ears. This means that a Texas Heeler can have a coat length ranging from short to medium depending on which parent they take after. Their ears might flop or stand upright or adorably have one of each!

Texas Heelers don’t have a breed standard and can come in any coat color with any markings. However, they’re going to take after their parent breeds.

With that said, here are the colors and markings they can inherit from their Australian Shepherd parent:

  • Black
  • Blue merle
  • Red
  • Red merle

Their markings might be white, tan points, or both.

Texas Heeler vs Blue Heeler: Temperament

Australian cattle dog laying in leaves

Blue Heelers are protective, and breeding them with the Australian Shepherd can (but won’t necessarily) lessen this instinct.


These dogs are both energetic, eager to please, and fairly adaptable. They enjoy spending time with family and must be given plenty of exercises daily.

Texas Heelers may be friendlier toward children due to their Australian Shepherd heritage. That’s not to say a Blue Heeler cannot be good with children.

The main drawback when it comes to children and Heelers is that these dogs get their name from how they herd livestock: by nipping at their heels. A rambunctious, poorly-trained dog or puppy can hurt children, pets, and even grown-ups in the family, which isn’t ideal.

Australian Shepherds aren’t incredibly protective if you’re looking for a guard dog. Blue Heelers are very protective, and Texas Heelers may take after either parent breed, leaving them a bit unpredictable in this department.

Lastly, Texas Heelers may be more playful than Blue Heelers, and they might engage you in more play and enjoy playing games more often and for longer. However, both Heelers require plenty of hands-on activity and engagement.

Texas Heeler vs Blue Heeler: Training

Your main obstacle with a Heeler will likely be their herding instinct. It’s great if you live on a farm, as they’ll have an outlet for this behavior!

But even then, they must be trained on appropriate and inappropriate herding. You don’t want these dogs trying to herd your cats, other dogs, or children. Though it may sound convenient, they can cause pain by nipping at their heels.

Another thing to watch for is their tendency to roam. These pups may become escape artists because they’re intelligent and have strong prey drives. It’s vital to keep them on a leash or in an enclosed space at all times.

All of this said, both Heelers are eager to please. Texas Heelers might end up even easier to train than Blue Heelers because Australian Shepherds are huge people pleasers!

Texas Heeler vs Blue Heeler: Barking Level

Black and white Texas Heeler dog lying in a sunny patch of clover.

Texas Heelers may bark more than Blue Heelers.

©Sari ONeal/Shutterstock.com

Blue Heelers seldom bark, except when alerting you to a perceived threat. Australian Shepherds can be a bit louder, as they’re moderate barkers. They’ll be noisier than the average dog but more prone to excessive barking than Blue Heelers.

Texas Heelers may sit somewhere in-between or take after one parent breed. There’s no way to know until your dog grows up!

If you do encounter problematic barking behavior, first look at your dog’s exercise and activities. They should be receiving plenty of daily exercises and mental enrichment.

Unlike many other breeds, walks aren’t enough for these pups, and they need to run and have mental stimulation through games, toys, and training.

These dogs also aren’t met to spend a ton of time alone in the backyard or even in the house while you’re at work. They do best in families where someone is home and can engage with them most of the day.

Remember that a bored dog is much more likely to misbehave than a dog whose needs are met.

Next, figure out your dog’s barking triggers and begin training. You’ll likely want to introduce a “quiet” command so that they stop barking when you need them to.

Texas Heeler vs Blue Heeler: Grooming

Texas Heelers with medium-length coats will require some extra care.

Both Heelers should be brushed once weekly. While the Blue Heeler will need a simple once-over with a brush, Texas Heelers will require more time and effort to ensure their fur doesn’t become tangled or matted.

During shedding season twice yearly, both dogs will lose their undercoat, and they’ll need a more thorough brushing once every couple of days during this period.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © WOLF AVNI/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Katelynn Sobus is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on pets including dogs, cats, and exotics. She has been writing about pet care for over five years. Katelynn currently lives in Michigan with her seven senior rescue cats.

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