As many of you know we have five dogs on our farm. (yikes) Red & Ruby are full blood heelers, Rip is half heeler/half Australian Shepherd and Jax is three fourths heeler/one quarter Australian Shepherd. Our fifth dog is our dear Penny, who is a yellow lab and knows her place riding in the gator and protecting the front door. :-)
Heelers, also known as Australian Cattle Dogs, were originally bred in Australia specifically for herding cattle. This breed is known for its stamina, agility, and protective nature. Their tenacity, intelligence, and work ethic make them an ideal choice for farmers looking for a reliable working dog. They have been bred for centuries to help ranchers and farmers with herding,
managing and controlling livestock. They can be a handful to have and definitely need a "job", but they are so worth it in the love and loyalty you get in return!
In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of using Heelers on the farm.
1. Herding Cattle: As mentioned earlier, Heelers were bred for herding cattle. Their natural instincts make them excellent herders, and they are capable of working long hours in difficult terrain. They are also skilled at rounding up stubborn cattle and keeping them in line. They will even "herd" children and grandchildren if you let them!
2. Protection: Heelers are also great protectors of the farm. They can protect livestock from predators like coyotes and wild dogs, and they can also alert farmers to any unusual activity on the farm. They are fiercely loyal to their owners and are always on the lookout for any potential threats. The old saying is "If you think you are in charge, try bossing someone else's dog around." Let's just say our dogs listen to Josh much more than me when it comes to working cows.
3. Agility: Heelers are incredibly agile and can navigate rough terrain with ease. This makes them ideal for farms with uneven ground or difficult terrain. They can also jump over obstacles and squeeze through tight spaces, making them versatile working dogs. You should see them bounce off couches! LOL
4. Versatility: Heelers are not just limited to herding and protection (example A below... Ruby doing her best "downward facing dog").They can also be trained for a variety of tasks, including search and rescue, tracking, and obedience. This versatility makes them an excellent choice for farmers who need a dog that can do more than just herd cattle.
5. Intelligence: Heelers are highly intelligent dogs and are quick learners. They are able to pick up on new commands and tasks quickly, which makes training them a breeze. Their intelligence also makes them excellent problem solvers, and they can figure out how to overcome obstacles on their own. Heelers respond much better to praise than punishment so we give lots of praise when things are done well.
6. Labor Reducers: Working cattle dogs can help to reduce labor costs on the farm. With the help of a well-trained dog, farmers can complete tasks like herding cattle with fewer people, which saves time and money.
7. Low Maintenance: Heelers have short, easy-to-maintain coats that require minimal grooming. This does not mean they don't shed but no grooming bills are needed. :-) They are also a healthy breed and have few health problems, which makes them a low-maintenance addition to any farm.
In conclusion, Heelers are a reliable, versatile, and low-maintenance working dog that can be a valuable asset to any farm and a loyal companion to their owners. Whether you need a dog to herd cattle or even pigs, protect livestock, or perform a variety of other tasks, a Heeler is an excellent choice. With their natural instincts, intelligence, and work ethic, these dogs are sure to make a positive impact in your life, I know that have on our family.