Blue Heeler Rat Terrier Mix: Everything You Need To Know


Blue Heeler Rat Terrier Mix

The good thing with crossbreeds is getting a dog with the exact temperament you are looking for, whether a soft, gentle dog for your kids or a firm, energetic dog to guard your home. So, where does the Blue Heeler Rat Terrier Mix lie?

The Blue Heeler Rat Terrier mix is a high-energy, agile and robust dog, given that both parents are alert and carry a terrific prey drive. The mix is a great farm dog and a loving companion to keep. 

This article delves deep into this designer dog, the Blue Heeler Rat Terrier mix. You will learn about how it came to be, what it looks like, how it behaves, and how to care for it. You will also find health issues that the mix is prone to, among other concerns you may have keeping this dog. 

Blue Heeler Terrier Mix Background

Understanding the history of designer breeds can be quite a task; however, it is crucial to learn their instincts, the characteristics of the parents, and how they are suited for different environments. 

There is not much information about the Blue Heeler Rat Terrier mix, as it has not been around for a long time. It is challenging to pinpoint where they were first bred and popularized like most designer dogs. 

While there is not much to look back at regarding the mix, the parents, Blue Heeler and Rat Terrier, have been around for ages. Looking at their background can give you an insight into how the mix is cultured and socialized. 

Blue Heelers Background

The Blue Heeler, also known as the Australian Cattle Dog or Queensland Heeler, can be traced back to the 19th century. It was bred by Australian settlers as a guard dog for cattle while traveling long distances. 

Australian ranchers wanted a dog that could manage a large number of cattle and grow the beef industry. Other dogs like the British Smithfield were excellent at herding sheep but could not manage to herd cattle. 

This resulted in numerous attempts to create a hardy dog that would be ideal for cattle herding. They needed a dog that could withstand the high temperatures, rugged terrain, and extreme work activities. 

In 1840, Thomas Hall and George Elliot mixed the British Smithfield with the Blue Merle Highland Collies to create a hardy working dog. Over time, this new dog became the interest of Australian ranchers to get the puppies and raise them for herding purposes.  

Later, Jack and Harry Bagust crossed these dogs with dalmatians. The primary intent was to incorporate loyalty and the horse-friendly nature of dalmatians while maintaining the dogs’ agility. 

In 1903 the dog was endorsed by the Cattle and Sheep Dog Club of Australia and the original Kennel Club of New South Wales. The Australian Cattle Dog was approved for registration by the American Kennel Club in 1980 and placed under the working dog group in the same year. 

Rat Terrier Background

The Rat Terrier, whose name came from its work of controlling rat infestation, was associated with President Theodore Roosevelt. It is unclear whether or not he named the dog, but he used it to kill rats, foxes, and other vermin on his farm. 

The dog resulted from breeding Fox Terriers with Bull Terriers, Manchester Terriers, and Old English Terriers to instill such an incredible quality. Between 1910 and 1930, American farmers sought to modify the Rat Terriers by adding more challenging strains for improved skill. 

They crossed Rat Terriers with Whippets and Italian Greyhounds in Midwestern America. This resulted in a well-rounded and speedy dog more adaptable to working conditions. 

As time went by, Rat Terriers were bred with Beagles to create a compact dog with a strong sense. Some people preferred a small-sized dog that could easily maneuver small holes to catch prey. 

Rat Terriers were bred with toy Fox and Manchester Terriers to create miniature and toy Rat Terriers.

This dog grew in popularity among farmers, but their numbers dwindled as pesticides were introduced between 1930 and 1960. But they later picked up in the late 1980s, with people keeping them as both pets and working dogs. 

Blue Heeler Rat Terrier Mix Appearance 

As pups, Blue Heeler Rat Terrier mixes do not portray any significant differences from their littermates. But, as they grow older, specific traits from either parent with each dog stand out from the rest. 

The mix has a snout which aids in the dog’s keen sense of smell. It comes in handy to collect treats and have a quick grip on whatever you scatter on the ground. The dog’s eyes, muscular build, and the shape of the skull and muzzle manifest from both parents’ features.  

How Big Do They Get?

The mix may take the medium size of the Blue Heeler or the small size of the Rat Terrier. On average, Blue Heelers stand at 17 to 20 inches and weigh between 33 to 48 pounds. On the other hand, the Rat Terrier can grow as tall as 10 to 13 inches and weigh between 8 to 26 pounds. 

With these figures in mind, you can expect an adult Blue Heeler Rat Terrier mix to stand as high as 13 to 17 inches and weigh between 19 to 37 pounds. For a more precise estimate, focus on the parents’ average height and weight to determine how big your mix will grow. 

Coat Type and Color

The Blue Heeler Rat Terrier mix has a single coat that does not shed much. The coat is predominantly black with white hairs of the Blue Heeler, but it can lean towards the various color combinations of the Rat Terrier. 

Blue Heeler Rat Terrier Mix Personality 

Both parents are known to be strong and agile, which explains the high energy and agility of the mix. Looking at the personality of both parents individually can give you an idea of how the mix copes, the kind of behavior it portrays, and how it relates to people. 

Blue Heeler Personality

The Blue Heeler’s strong primal instinct comes from its adaptability as a working dog. It has strong jaws and can be mildly destructive naturally. The dog is excellent around cattle and works well to protect herds; however, it is not ideal for environments with small animals and kids. 

The good side is that the dog is loyal and friendly to its owners. With great endurance and agility, Bue Heelers can handle pain quite well and quickly adapt to harsh working conditions with the same aggression even when injured. 

The dog is athletic, and its high-energy nature requires constant physical and mental stimulation. Without this, the dog might develop aggressive behavior such as destruction, barking, etc. Therefore, it is not suitable for first-time owners that do not have experience keeping a high-energy dog. 

Blue Heelers quickly bond with one member of the family, who they consider their primary caregiver. As such, they prefer to be shown affection by that person in the form of physical contact. But this does not mean they disregard other people’s presence. 

Like other dogs, they require early training and socialization to cut the development of destructive behavior and aggression, common in similar breeds. This also helps train the dog to relate to unfamiliar people and environments. 

Rate Terrier Personality 

The Rat Terrier is intelligent yet stubborn. It dislikes strangers and may take some time to warm up to visitors. The dog is fearless, and with proper training, this can be a remarkable protective trait in a family setup. 

Its energetic, feisty, and fun-loving nature makes it an adorable dog to keep with the added advantage of its strong hunting skills. It has a sharp sensation and speed; therefore great to keep on a farm where vermin may be a problem. 

Like Blue Heelers, rat Terriers can be aggressive towards strangers and unfamiliar situations. They are equally protective and attentive; therefore constantly wary of what happens in their environment. 

But will socialization, the dog is friendly to strangers, even though it may take some time to warm up. Additionally, it does not do well if left alone for a long time. It is prone to developing separation anxiety, resulting in destructive behavior if not solved. 

The Mix Personality

When it comes to the mix, these traits from both parents can manifest differently. Your Blue Heeler Rat Terrier mix may be sporty and active like the Blue Heeler or stubborn and protective like the Rat Terrier. 

The good thing is that with the intelligence of the Rat Terrier and the solid primal instinct of the Blue Heeler, this mix can perform a variety of tasks with proper training. The high energy levels are an asset to have, especially if you are looking for a defensive dog. 

While this mix may come across as aggressive and destructive, it is one of the sweetest dogs to keep. It is affectionate and gentle to its family and will do anything to protect the home from intruders. 

It is a balance of a warm, affectionate dog as a companion and a protective and attentive dog to watch over the home. It is perfect for people looking for a playful, high-energy dog with the added advantages of a highly-intelligent watchdog. 

Blue Heeler Rat Terrier Care and Maintenance 

Both parents are low-maintenance dogs, so grooming, feeding, and caring for the mix should be a breeze. Generally, a Blue Heeler Rat Terrier will need a healthy, balanced diet, regular physical and mental stimulation, grooming, and training. 

Nutritional Requirements of the Blue Heeler Rat Terrier Mix

Blue Heeler Terrier mixes are considered medium-sized dogs, so high-quality food in this category will do. If you buy commercial food, make sure it balances the essential nutrients, including carbohydrates, fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. 

Blue Heeler Rat Terrier mixes are high-energy dogs; therefore, a diet rich in energy-giving foods is recommended. Again, they need protein-rich food to support their active muscles and contribute to healthy development. 

Your dog’s nutritional requirements will change as they grow, so what works for it as a puppy may not be the best as they approach adulthood. Since it can be challenging to find food that needs your all dog’s needs, talking to your vet can help determine the best food at various developmental stages. 

How Much Exercise Does the Blue Heeler Terrier Mix Need?

Like both parents, a Blue Heeler Rat Terrier mix will be high-energy and active. This calls for regular exercise to stimulate the dog physically and engage it mentally. The dog needs short walks every day to stay in good health and expend built-up energy. 

The dog does well in a spacious environment as it likes to run and jump. With that and various dog sports such as fetch, frisbee, and tug of war, your dog will be happy and active. 

Grooming Tips for Blue Heller Rat Terrier Mix 

Blue Heeler Rat Terrier mixes come with a short to medium-length coat. It is pretty easy to maintain as it does not shed much. However, it needs regular brushing to eliminate loose hairs lodged in the coat. 

It is advisable to brush your dog at least once or twice a week to get rid of dirt while stimulating the skin. A bath once a month is adequate to keep the skin and coat clean. Brush your dog’s teeth two to three times a week to prevent tartar buildup and cut the growth of bacteria. 

How to Train a Blue Heeler Rat Terrier Mix

The Blue Heeler Rat Terrier mix is relatively easy to train, even though it is known to be a little stubborn at the start. The dog is brilliant and will pick up on cues and commands instantly. 

Like other dogs, Blue Heeler Rat Terrier mixes do well with short training bouts, backed up with positive reinforcement. Since they have a curious demeanor, they have short attention spans and constantly need stimulation to pay attention during training. 

With praises and treats, your Blue Heeler Rat Terrier mix will catch on to your direction and learn new skills. As long as you start socialization and training early enough, you should not have any difficulties. 

Blue Heeler Terrier Mix Lifespan and Health Issues

The mix has an average life expectancy of 14 to 18 years with proper care and maintenance. Some of the health issues this dog may suffer from include: 

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Deafness
  • Osteochondrosis Dissecans
  • Patellar luxation
  • Dental abnormalities 
  • Heart and liver problems 

Final Thoughts 

The Blue Rat Terrier mix is an excellent dog if you are looking for a loyal, playful and protective dog. Their smaller size and highly-intelligent personality make them a perfect dog for individuals that want a low-maintenance dog. 

Even though this dog is unsuitable for families with small kids and other small animals, its courageous, friendly demeanor and intelligence make it an excellent watchdog. With constant care, the dog will give back to you as a supportive companion and a protective watchdog. 

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Maureen G.

Maureen has been a Content Writer in the pet niche for over 5 years. She has vast knowledge on dog-related topics including dog breeds, dog health, dog care, and nutrition. With keen interest on the evolving world of dogs, Maureen stays on top of developments, specifically designer dogs. She is a part-time volunteer in dog shelters and rescue centers, therefore conversant with the day-to-day lives of dogs.

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