red heeler

geekhyena  asked:

Have you already done a breed overview of the Queensland Heeler/Blue Heeler? We had them growing up, and I'm quite fond of them, but we never learned a lot about them in my animal science classes as a breed (they're not super common in the Midwest). We lost one at age ~11 due to heart cancer, but I don't know if that's common for the breed or just bad luck.

Also @osteoarchivist said:

If you are so inclined, would you do a post on Australian Cattle Dogs? I have a 10 month old ACD mix (his father was a handsome stranger) and I’m curious what your take on the breed is. Love your write ups!!         

Two of you have asked about this actually Australian breed. It was absolutely on the list, there’s just a bit of a waiting list, that’s all.

Nobody really uses the term ‘Queensland Heeler’. They’re usually Blue Heelers, Red Heelers, or officially the Australian Cattle Dog.

These dogs are stubborn and in many cases they are more stubborn than their owners. They can be lovely, but they’re equally likely to be undisciplined, spoiled rule breakers with attitude. That’s what happens when you have a breed that’s highly intelligent, but also very willing to be lazy.

Originally posted by butter-and-simba

I kind of like ‘em. Wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw them, but like them anyway.

The breed clubs are still very big on screening for hip dysplasia, and I think this is wise. Though it’s rare for me to encounter a Heeler with dysplastic hips, the dogs I see only ever seem to have hips that are great, or atrocious, and no inbetween. I don’t know why this is. While hip dysplasia is not as common as in certain other breeds, it’s still worth screening for.

They tend to reach old age reliably but many seem to have vision problems in their senior years. The bred is known for its cataracts, but I also seem to see them over represented among our diabetics. Whether this is genetic or environmental I cannot be sure. As a breed they will happily pack on a few extra kilos, and this can lead to pancreatitis, but I don’t think I can call that a genetic correlation.

There is reasonably extensive genetic testing for progressive retinal atrophy, and attempts are being made at removing deafness from the breed, though they do pop up occasionally.

I often see these dogs in their old age with arthritis, either secondary to cruciate rupture due to their active, energetic bursts, or ankylosing spondylosis of the spine, which seems more common in any individual dog that has spent a large percentage of its life jumping up onto things.

Oh, and while I haven’t personally encountered this too much, they have a reputation for giving themselves intestinal foreign bodies by eating objects that really shouldn’t have been able to be chewed up and eaten.

It should go without saying, but if you intend to own this breed please be smarter than the dog. They can be loyal and great friends, but they will also push boundaries and have a tendency to snap. It’s all too easy for someone to find themselves cooking steak for the dog’s dinner each night and ending up with a canine shaped more like a wombat and less like a working breed.

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