There is no difference between a Red Heeler and a Blue Heeler. They are the same breed – the Australian Cattle Dog. They are just different colors.
The Australian Cattle Dog is called by many names, but they all refer to the same breed. These names include Australian Cattle Dog, Blue Heeler, Red Heeler, Queensland Heeler, and Halls Heeler. They are called heelers because they are bred as cattle dogs and will nip the heel (hock) of the cattle to get them moving.
What colors does the Australian Cattle Dog come in?
The Red Heeler coloring is a red speckled coat. The Blue Heeler coloring can be blue, blue mottled, or blue speckled. They may or may not have other solid markings on their body or face. Chocolate and cream are considered undesirable in the show ring.
Red dogs are evenly speckled with solid red markings and can have a brownie red patch or mask on one or both sides of the head and sometimes on the body.
Blue dogs can have tan on the legs and chest and white markings and a black patch or mask on either or both sides of the head
All Australian Cattle Dog puppies are born white but can have solid patches of markings on the head and body. This is due to the Dalmatian gene. The red or black(blue) hairs start to show from around 4 weeks of age.
What determines an Australian Cattle Dogs color?
The color of an Australian Cattle Dogs coat is obviously determined by the genes they carry. The science of this is quite complicated. I will only give a brief outline of the genes without getting too deep into science.
The coat color of the parents doesn’t predict what color the puppies will be. It is common for two blue parents to produce red offspring.
The most significant genes in most Australian Cattle dogs are agouti (A), spotting (S) and ticking (T). The puppies are white and modify to blue or red due to the ticking(T) gene.
The solid patches of either black or red are a result of which agouti (A) gene the puppy carries. The spotting gene (S) determines where spots occur on the body.
For a more detailed understanding of these genes see here.
What age does an Australian Cattle Dog puppy get their color?
All Australian Cattle Dog puppies are born white but can have solid patches of markings on the head and body. This is due to the Dalmatian gene they inherited. The red or black(blue) hairs start to show from around 4 weeks of age.
They do not show their true colors until about 8 to 12 weeks of age.
What breeds originally make up the Australian Cattle Dog
In the early 1800s in the Australian countryside, a capable working dog that could handle the harsh environment was required. George Elliott from Queensland crossed Dingos (the local wild dog) with the now-extinct Smithfield. Later they were also mixed with the blue merle Highland Collie.
Later, Jack and Harry Bagust from Sydney crossed these dogs with the Dalmatian. This was to make them more comfortable around horses and people. Then they were crossed with the Kelpie to make a better working dog from them.
The resulting dog became the ancestor of the modern-day Australian Cattle Dog. For more on the history and origins of Australian Cattle Dogs see here.
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