The Blue Heeler Rat Terrier mix is a cross between two energetic working breeds – the Australian Cattle Dog and the Rat Terrier. This mixed breed dog tends to be lively, alert, extremely loyal and bonds very closely with their family.
Background of the Parent Breeds
The Blue Heeler, also known as the Australian Cattle Dog, was originally bred to herd cattle in the Australian Outback. They are medium-sized dogs that are muscular, agile and have very high energy levels, needed to work long days herding livestock under hot weather conditions.
The Rat Terrier originated in England as a versatile farm dog able to hunt rats and other vermin. They were later brought over to America where they continued their role as all-purpose working dogs on farms. Small to medium in size, Rat Terriers have seemingly endless energy reserves.
Crossing these two breeds results in a mix that has strong guarding and herding instincts together with very high stamina and drive.
Appearance and Size of the Blue Heeler Rat Terrier
As a cross between the sturdy 30-50 lb Blue Heeler and the small 15-25 lb Rat Terrier, Blue Heeler Rat Terrier mixes can vary quite a bit in size. Most tend to be medium-sized dogs ranging from 30-45 lbs as adults and 17-20 inches tall at the shoulder.
In appearance, this mix usually has the stronger body structure of the Blue Heeler combined with some of the finer features of the Rat Terrier. The triangular, erect ears of the Rat Terrier are often seen on these crossbreeds.
Coat colors include mottled blue or red speckled coats from the Blue Heeler side as well as white coats with black and/or brown patches from the Rat Terrier lineage. Blue eyes or heterochromia (two different colored eyes) also sometimes occur in this mix.
Temperament of Blue Heeler Rat Terrier Crosses
As a cross between two highly energetic working breeds, the Blue Heeler Rat Terrier unsurprisingly also tends to be bursting with energy. They are always ready for action – whether it’s learning new tricks, patrolling the homestead or going out on long adventures with their beloved owners.
This mix bonds very deeply to their family and will want to be constantly by their side. Their protective instincts make them excellent watchdogs who will alert bark to anything unusual.
Without proper socialization and training, these hybrids can become quite possessive and wary of strangers. However with early socialization and firm leadership, they make wonderfully devoted companions.
Smart, alert and trainable, the Blue Heeler influence means these mixes are often easy to train and highly capable when motivated. Consistent, reward-based training is essential however to prevent or curb any stubborn tendencies from developing.
With their high drive and need for activity, this energetic mix thrives best in an active home. Owners able to provide adequate exercise as well as mental stimulation through interactive play, obedience & agility will find a steadfast canine companion in this hybrid dog.
Blue Heeler Rat Terrier Mix Care & Exercise Needs
As a high energy crossbreed accustomed to life as a tireless working farm dog, the Blue Heeler Rat Terrier has very high exercise requirements to stay fit and happy.
At a minimum, these mixes need 1-2 hours of vigorous activity per day. This can comprise of running, hiking, swimming – essentially any exercise that allows them to burn off their boundless reserves of energy.
In addition to physical activity, this smart hybrid also needs substantial mental stimulation on a daily basis. Training sessions, interactive games and challenging puzzle toys will help engage their agile minds.
Without adequate outlets for their energy and intelligence, these dogs are likely to become frustrated and destructive. Potential behaviors like excessive barking, furniture chewing and aggressiveness towards other pets can manifest if their needs are not met.
The short dense coat of the Blue Heeler Rat Terrier requires only weekly brushing to remove loose hair. Bathing can be done every few months or only when dirty. As with all breeds, regular teeth brushing, nail trimming and ear cleaning is important.
Overall a healthy breed, some issues to watch out for include hip dysplasia, eye problems, deafness and compulsive behaviors. With good nutrition, exercise and vet care, these mixes enjoy a typical lifespan of 12-15 years.
Training Tips for Blue Heeler Rat Terrier Puppies & Adults
The Blue Heeler Rat Terrier is an intelligent crossbreed with strong working drive – making them generally eager to take on training. However without proper techniques, their independent nature and occasional stubborn streak can become challenging.
Here are some key training tips for this hybrid:
- Start socialization and training early in a firm but loving manner. Puppies should be gradually exposed to a wide variety of sights, sounds, people and other animals in a controlled, positive way.
- Use positive reinforcement techniques like food rewards and praise. This allows you to shape behaviors in a motivating manner without suppressing their natural exuberance.
- Provide consistent rules and structure via fixed feeding schedules, designated potty breaks, crate training etc. This mixes thrives when it understands its place in the household hierarchy.
- Engage their agile minds via interactive play, food puzzles and changing up obedience commands to prevent boredom. Combine mental exercise with plenty of physical activity.
- Practice key behaviors like ‘drop it’, ‘leave it’ and ‘settle’ commands to control their protective tendencies around food, toys and the home.
- Stay patient, firm and consistent when training – this mix can have an occasional stubborn streak. End each session on a positive note to keep them engaged for next time.
Proper socialization, training and leadership from an early age allows Blue Heeler Rat Terrier owners to fully appreciate the endearing loyalty and versatility of this energetic hybrid breed.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Blue Heeler Rat Terrier Mix
Here are some common questions about Blue Heeler Rat Terrier mixes:
Are Blue Heeler Rat Terrier mixes good family dogs?
Yes – when properly trained and socialized from a young age, these loyal dogs make excellent family companions. However their high energy means they are best suited for active families able to give them adequate exercise and training.
How big do Blue Heeler Rat Terrier mixes get?
Most Blue Heeler Rat Terrier mixes reach 17-20 inches tall at the shoulder and 30-45 pounds when full grown. There can be some variety in size though depending on which parent breed they take after more.
Do Blue Heeler Rat Terrier mixes shed a lot?
These designer dogs shed moderately year-round and more heavily during seasonal shed cycles. Their short dense coats require weekly brushing to minimize loose hairs around the home.
Is the Blue Heeler Rat Terrier hypoallergenic?
No, Blue Heeler Rat Terrier mixes are not hypoallergenic. While considered low-shedders, they do shed year-round and can trigger allergies in sensitive individuals. They are not well suited for those looking specifically for non-shedding dogs.
How long do Blue Heeler Rat Terrier mixes live?
With proper care, exercise and nutrition, the average lifespan for Blue Heeler Rat Terrier crosses is typically 12-15 years. Mixed breed dogs tend to have good vitality.
Final Thoughts: A Versatile & Vigorous Crossbreed
For the right owner able to provide adequate daily activity, training and companionship, the Blue Heeler Rat Terrier makes for a wonderfully energetic and steadfast canine companion. With their working dog versatility, tireless energy reserves and devoted loyalty, this devoted crossbreed will be by your side at both work and play.
These medium-sized mixes thrive best in active rural or suburban homes – preferably with access to a securely fenced yard. Their exercise, mental stimulation and socialization needs must be met to prevent problem behaviors from developing. When properly cared for both physically and mentally however, the Blue Heeler Rat Terrier’s vigor and loyalty truly shines.
Have you had the pleasure of knowing or living with a Blue Heeler Rat Terrier mix dog before? Feel free to share your experiences with this energetic crossbreed in the comments below!