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The Definitive Guide to the Texas Heeler Dog Breed

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What is a Texas Heeler?

Texas Heeler puppies are adorable and popular dogs that have become quite the rage in the south. Texas Heelers are dogs that mostly populate, you guessed it, Texas. A Texas Heeler puppy is the product of an Australian Cattle dog and an Australian Shepherd dog. These dogs are mixed breeds, and they’ve become more popular since their unknown creation.

The Texas Heeler puppy was likely created by accident, as many hybrid breeds are. There aren’t many official documents to declare when the first litter of this mixed breed was born. However, after people noticed the desirable traits between the two parent breeds, many started adopting these pups.

Texas Heeler puppies are very hardworking and loyal dogs. They come in all coats and colors, which makes every Texas Heeler puppy all the more unique. Hybrid breeds like this one can produce litters of four to six puppies, and all these puppies can vary in color and temperament. Sometimes these dogs are even born without a tail.

Even though these dogs are popular, they end up in shelters and rescues too. If you’re interested in saving a Texas Heeler, that’s great! This guide is going to help determine if you can meet all of their needs. While these dogs are a bit high maintenance, they’re perfect for people who love to be outdoors and love hiking. If you think you have the energy to add a Texas Heeler puppy to your life, it’s going to be quite an exciting time. Be sure to adopt these dogs from a rescue.

Because these dogs require a lot of exercise and coat care, they are typically best for experienced owners. If you are on the lookout for your first dog, it might be best to try another breed. However, as long as you are willing to put in the time and work and maybe even enlist a professional trainer, there’s no reason a first-time owner can’t have a loyal Texas Heeler.

These dogs got the name “Texas Heeler” because they’re most popular in Texas, even though their popularity has grown across the country. Also, heeler comes from a nickname given to the Australian Cattle dog. The parent breed is sometimes referred to as the Queensland Heeler and the Blue Heeler as well. Sometimes these alternative names get mixed up with the Texas Heeler, but it’s essential to make that distinction. A Queensland Heeler or Blue Heeler is not the same breed as a Texas Heeler.

Breeds like the Australian Cattle dog and the Australian Shepherd are very hardworking and intelligent dogs. Texas Heeler puppies aren’t very different from their parent breeds because they want to work for and please their owners. This drive and need for work makes Texas Heeler puppies excellent service dogs. The Texas Heeler puppy is also an excellent watchdog because of its keen senses and loyalty to its owners. They’re perfect for farm work and a great dog if you want someone to keep an eye on the house while you’re away.

Unique Qualities of the Texas Heeler

These dogs have strong instincts to herd. Generations ago, people trained their parent breeds to herd animals. Because of generational memory, the Texas Heeler hybrid has come to feel the same urges as their ancestral herding dogs. These dogs can feel this connection so passionately that they might occasionally try to nip at some people’s heels. However, Texas Heeler puppies are great at being trained, and if they have any behavioral issues like nipping, some obedience training should help them break their bad habits. Owners can look into enrolling the Texas Heeler puppy in puppy school or they can hire a trainer to get their dogs started with basic commands. Their eagerness to please their owners only helps the training process along. When training, remember that positive reinforcement and encouragement go a long way with Texas Heeler puppies.

In addition to needing obedience training, these pups need daily activity to express their best personalities. Dogs that don’t get their energy out tend to end up using it to destroy their spaces. So to avoid a chewed-up couch cushion, these dogs need some way to get to work. Texas Heeler puppies need anywhere from two hours to three hours of daily exercise, but their individual needs change based on a few things. Exercise needs depend on the age, sex, weight, and overall health of the dog. Not to mention the Texas Heeler size can range, which would mean some bigger dogs may have more stamina than smaller dogs. It’s an important distinction to notice that stamina and energy mean different things. Smaller Texas Heelers will likely need similar amounts of exercise to remain healthy. However, smaller dogs have less stamina because their little legs have to work harder when they move. If you end up with a Texas Heeler on the smaller side, be prepared to break up their hours of activity into smaller periods of exercise. Breaking up a three-hour walk into three one-hour walks would be one of the many ways to support this difference in stamina.

As long as these dogs are well socialized, they’re likely to get along with other people and animals. They get along well with other dogs and can get along with cats as well. Remember that these pups have an instinct to herd, and they might try to herd any other animals in the house or even children. If their herding habits become an issue, they can go through a training process to unlearn this behavior with the help of some behavioral classes.

Speaking of training, Texas Heeler puppies do great in dog sports like agility and flyball. These pups love the outdoors and would love running or hiking in giant green pastures. Their love of the outdoors also means they aren’t great dogs for apartment living. If you live in an apartment and don’t often go out, then a Texas Heeler puppy may not suit you. But, you can live with a Texas Heeler puppy in an apartment as long as you’re sure to give it the daily exercise it needs.

texas heeler puppy with red collar in front of white background

History of the Texas Heeler

The Texas Heeler breed was not officially registered as a hybrid by any known parties. Many experts accept that this hybrid breed came from accidental litters. No one knows for sure who first recorded the hybrid, but the consensus is that it was a woman named Lucy Guynes. Ms. Guynes is said to have registered her Texas Heeler puppy in 1970 in Weatherford, Texas. This mixed breed began a frenzy. The two-parent breeds have been a favorite for many families in the south, so it makes sense that their hybrid is just as popular.

Texas Heeler sizes can range from 16 to 22 inches tall and weigh anywhere from 25 to 50 pounds. Dog clubs and veterinarians assess that this hybrid is, on average, a medium-sized dog breed. Of course, one of the hybrids can be larger or smaller than these generalizations, as these refer to an overall average and not strict size guidelines. These dogs live an average lifespan of 12 – 15 years. Also, Texas Heeler puppies can live longer than 15 years with regular vet checkups and great nutrition, but it’s rare.

Texas Heeler puppies got the name “Heeler” from their Australian Cattle dog relative. As mentioned, these dogs used to be herding dogs. The name “Heeler” technically came from the fact that these dogs often nipped at the cattle’s heels to encourage the direction of their movement. They’re very driven and intelligent, which makes them perfect for working on farms.

As for the parent breeds, the Australian Cattle dogs have always been a bit aloof but love working for their owners. They aren’t great with children because they sometimes want to nip at their ankles and herd them. The Australian Cattle dog is the reason the Texas Heeler hybrid may carry this nasty tendency. If the Australian Cattle dog doesn’t get their daily activity levels met, they might have a bad habit of chewing, barking, or chasing things. But if Texas Heeler puppies get adequate playtime and exercise, then a well-trained dog is sure to relax at home. Texas Heelers could inherit many qualities of this breed as well, so it’s essential to be able to give these dogs what they need.

The Australian Shepherd dog was bred to herd livestock as well, specifically sheep and cattle. This breed of dog is much more affectionate towards its owners and less focused on work. While Australian Shepherd pups are still brilliant and easily trainable, they’d be happy spending a day in a field of grass chasing their tail. As playful as the Australian Shepherd is, they may not be great around kids because they may hurt them accidentally, not out of aggression. These dogs have a tendency to use too much force because they often aren’t aware of their strength. They could accidentally knock over children or the elderly if they get too excited. With careful behavioral training, Texas Heeler puppies can learn how to behave around others properly.

The Australian Shepherd dog is known to be a “velcro dog”, otherwise known as a dog that clings to its owner for life. Velcro dogs happen because certain dog breeds have the tendencies to get a special, deep relationship with their owners. Looking on the bright side of things, these dogs can become especially bonded with their caretaker, which can be great for people in need of emotional support dogs or service dogs. On the other hand, Australian Shepherd dogs rely on that one person to care for them best, and because of that, these dogs can suffer from separation anxiety. Although helping Texas Heeler puppies through separation anxiety might be difficult, it’s a fantastic feeling to have a dog bond with its person with immense trust. Owners can then help comfort dogs through their anxieties by using counterconditioning techniques to help them, which will be covered further in-depth later in this article.

Texas Heeler puppies have all the potential to carry traits from either of their two parent breeds. These hybrid dogs are usually not a perfect 50/50 mix of qualities but rather a more prevalent mix of one of the two breeds. It’s more likely to have a Texas Heeler that has one parent breed that’s more prominent in them. You might get a Texas Heeler that tends to be a ‘velcro dog’ and has tons of energy. You might also get Texas Heeler puppies that are a little less friendly and a lot more work-focused, but it all depends on each unique dog.

While the American Kennel Club doesn’t recognize hybrid breeds, the Texas Heeler is a well-recognized mixed breed in other groups. The Animal Research Foundation (ARF), Dog Registry of America (DRA), and the American Canine Hybrid Club all recognize the Texas Heeler as a hybrid breed.

In addition to their role working on farms, these dogs have been service dogs in the past. They often make great service dogs because of their hardworking personalities and deep bonds with their owners. Texas Heeler puppies can become very protective of their owners and possibly bark at strangers. While barking at strangers isn’t ideal, it’s suitable for a blind person who needs one of these service dogs. However, if you don’t want your Texas Heeler puppies to bark, you can efficiently train them to stop.

Texas Heeler puppies are a hybrid breed, but there are different kinds of hybrids for all hybrid breeds. For example, a Texas Heeler puppy that is the product of an Australian Cattle dog and an Australian Shepherd is considered an F1 hybrid. An F1 hybrid means that the dog is the product of two purebred parent dogs. The other mixes of hybrid vary based on the parents of the dogs. An F1B hybrid is a Texas Heeler puppy from a Texas Heeler and one of the original two-parent breeds (which means either an Australian Cattle dog or an Australian Shepherd). An F2 Texas Heeler puppy is a puppy that came from two F1 hybrid Texas Heelers. And an F3 Texas Heeler is the product of two F2 Texas Heelers.

By selectively breeding specific types of hybrid dogs for generations, eventually, a breed will be born. These generations separate later dogs of the hybrid breed from the original purebred parent breeds. The farther the generations of the hybrids get, the more consistent and similar the looks and qualities of the mixed breed will be.

It takes many generations of mixed breeding until a hybrid becomes its own breed. Today, many well-known dog breeds began as mixed breeds, but after hundreds of years of breeding, sometimes even thousands of years, these breeds have solidified their traits. But over time, people have mixed dog breeds for particular desirable characteristics, whether these characteristics be personality-focused or physical feature-focused. The specific features that made the Texas Heeler so desirable were the affectionate, hardworking, and robust qualities of the Australian Shepherd and the loyal, intelligent, and guarding qualities of the Australian Cattle dog. Imagine a breed that is affectionate, very intelligent, and dedicated. Many dogs like that exist! But the Texas Heeler puppy does it in its unique way.

Controversy

Texas Heeler puppies have a few drawbacks. Of course, the amount of exercise they require can be an issue for many people. Another disadvantage of Texas Heeler puppies is their terrible reputation for nipping at people. While they have many lovable qualities, Texas Heeler puppies might nip at the heels or ankles of children or people who don’t know how to interact with them appropriately. They don’t do this out of aggression but rather from the history of their breed. To break a Texas Heeler puppy out of this behavior, you need to make sure you don’t accidentally encourage them. Do not pull your leg away and push your pup away because this will make them think it’s a fun game. The best way to handle herding dogs is to wait until they nip at you, stop walking, and ignore them. Please don’t give them any attention, and don’t get angry with them. Be patient and wait for them to calm down before you continue on your way. Another issue some Texas Heeler puppies struggle with is being too protective of their humans. These dogs tend to want to protect their owners and can be very standoffish to strangers and bark at them often. To curve these bad habits, begin training and socializing Texas Heeler puppies as soon as possible. It won’t be too hard to help a Texas Heeler puppy become the best it can be with consistency and positive reinforcements.

texas heeler laying in tree

Texas Heeler Smarts

Texas Heeler puppies are very energetic and intelligent dogs. Thanks to their Australian Shepherd relatives, they may be a little more affectionate and silly, but their Australian Cattle dog relatives make them want to train constantly. Both parent breeds of this dog are incredibly intelligent. However, as bright as these dogs are, they don’t compare to breed intelligence like the Border Collie or Poodle. Texas Heeler puppies are hard workers and fast learners. While one of their parent breeds, the Australian Shepherd, is the 42nd smartest dog breed, the Australian Cattle dog is considered to be the 10th smartest dog breed. These pups love working and want nothing more than to please their owners. Thanks to their enthusiasm to learn, they’re also great to train.

Texas Heeler puppies can compete in dog shows or just run next to you. If you know how to train your Texas Heeler puppy correctly, then you can likely teach the dog to do anything you want them to do. While they can’t fly, these dogs can quickly master becoming a watchdog or competing in doggy competitions. Proper training entails plenty of encouragement and treats. Patience is essential while teaching any Texas Heeler. These dogs may require some patience because they could get distracted very quickly. However, try to encourage them with kind, encouraging words. Your affection is sure to catch their attention.

Psychological Health

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders seen in dogs. Scientists estimate that about .75% of all dog breeds are affected by this neurological disorder. Sadly, the Texas Heeler breed is no different and is at a somewhat elevated risk of developing epilepsy. Epilepsy is a heterogeneous disease, which means this disease has a lot of severe root causes.

This neurological condition causes recurring unprovoked seizures in Texas Heeler puppies. An abnormality may cause these seizures in the brain from either genetic or idiopathic tendencies. Some forms of epilepsy stem from unknown causes, making it harder to assess proper treatment to help Texas Heeler puppies. Once a vet has made an appropriate determination of the specific cause of the seizures, they can figure out which type of epilepsy it is. 

Not all seizures are equal, and they aren’t all caused by the same issues. Understanding the specific type of seizure and where it comes from will help clarify how severe their case of epilepsy may be. Epilepsy is often treatable but can be more life-threatening on some occasions. But just in case, potential owners should be prepared to notice any symptoms a dog experiencing a seizure might show and the best way to care for them. Owners should also know what information is essential when talking to a vet about episodes, and luckily we will cover all of this information below.

There are different types of seizures that come with epilepsy. These seizures often link back to the root cause of epilepsy. If your puppy has an atonic seizure, they’ll show signs of a sudden loss of muscle tone that should only last a few seconds. Texas Heeler puppies can also experience a tonic seizure which will cause a dog’s muscle tone to increase. Puppies experiencing something like a tonic seizure will look like they have swollen muscles. Also, some dogs have a tonic-clonic seizure which is when a dog goes through a tonic-sedated seizure and then through a phase of jerking movements.

Texas Heeler puppies are also at risk of having cluster seizures. A puppy having a cluster seizure would have a group of attacks in a short amount of time. Typically, this means two or more episodes in a 24-hour timeframe. Another type of epileptic seizure is a focal seizure. This occurs when an attack originates from only one part of the brain, and because of this, the episode only affects part of the body.

On the other hand, a generalized seizure originates from both hemispheres of the brain and is likely to affect a dog’s whole body. Another type of seizure is myoclonic seizure which occurs when a dog has brief but sudden contractions of its muscles. A status seizure is a severe condition where the attacks occur closely together without any break, or one singular episode lasts longer than five minutes.

Refractory epilepsy is when a dog experiences seizures while being treated for their epilepsy. These seizures typically mean the epilepsy medication is no longer effective. Reflexive seizures can also occur consistently after specific exposures, such as loud noises or flashing lights.

It’s worth mentioning there is another type of seizure called a reactive seizure. Vets don’t consider this type of seizure a form of epilepsy because a brain abnormality doesn’t cause it. Texas Heeler puppies might have a reactive seizure if the wrong things stimulate them. Metabolic problems, such as exposure to certain illnesses or ingesting toxins, can cause reactive seizures. It’s important to know this can cause seizures, as any dog has a chance of this type of seizure happening. However, if you think your dog is having a reactive seizure, you must get them to a vet clinic as soon as you can.

The different types of epilepsy cause different seizures to occur in dogs. One type of epilepsy is idiopathic epilepsy, and it happens whenever there is no identifiable structural cause in a dog’s neurological functions. This type of epilepsy is typically assumed to be generic. However, metabolic diseases can also cause this epilepsy. When Texas Heeler puppies experience idiopathic epilepsy, it is difficult to understand what caused the seizures and how to treat them. Dogs aged one to five years old with normal neurological function and no structural abnormalities are usually diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy if they already suffer from seizures.

One of the many types of epilepsy a Texas Heeler puppy can suffer from is called structural epilepsy. Structural epilepsy is when seizures occur because of damage to the brain. Any malformations or deficiencies would cause this to happen. Intracranial tumors, inflammatory disease, or head trauma can be a few other causes of structural epilepsy. Dogs with congenital malformations or vascular health issues (like a stroke) are at risk of developing structural epilepsy.

This type of epilepsy can be tested for when a dog exhibits neurological abnormalities. A vet may use an MRI or will perform an analysis of cerebrospinal fluid. Suppose Texas Heeler puppies are outside the typical age range for onset idiopathic epilepsy. In that case, a vet may also test for structural epilepsy in Texas Heeler puppies that suffer from seizures.

Sometimes, vets will say that a dog has epilepsy of an unknown cause. They choose not to specify what type of epilepsy a Texas Heeler puppy might suffer from because they don’t have enough information or confirmation from tests to support a diagnosis. When vets suspect structural epilepsy but dogs have no noticeable symptoms or final exams, they can’t declare a specific type of epilepsy, so it goes unidentified.

To best care for Texas Heeler puppies that suffer from epilepsy, owners need to keep a detailed journal of the observable qualities of seizures. Knowing what body parts were affected, the length of the attacks, when they occur, how often they occur, and any behavioral changes after the seizure occurs can help your vet identify what type of seizures they were and the best treatment process for them.  Sometimes vets will ask about an interictal period or the postictal period. The interictal period is the time between seizures, and the postictal period is the time that immediately follows an attack. Dogs can behave strangely during these periods and often aren’t aware of their surroundings or their actions.

For example, some Texas Heeler puppies experience difficulties standing, moving, or getting up after a seizure occurs. Some experience moments of blindness, unconsciousness, or anxiety after episodes. Knowing that your Texas Heeler puppy experiences these things will help you to better comfort them during and after their seizures. Dogs can show many other signs and symptoms when seizing because there are so many different types of epilepsy and seizures. Symptoms can be repetitive motor activities that resemble movement under voluntary control like lip-smacking, licking, biting, or chewing. These motor activities can be called automatisms. Other symptoms can look like loss of consciousness, jerking, falling over, chewing the tongue, foaming at the mouth, and excessive drooling.

Thankfully, there are tons of medical options to help Texas Heeler puppies with epilepsy. Only veterinarians will be able to assess the origins and severity of epilepsy properly. There are many types of drugs available for Texas Heeler puppies suffering from epilepsy. The main form is called an anti-epileptic drug or AED. These work because they stop neurotransmitters from communicating to the pathways in the brain that cause seizures.

However, many Texas Heeler puppies need different anti-epileptic drugs because sometimes these drugs don’t perform as well in other dogs. Some of these drugs can cause significant side effects, and sometimes Texas Heeler puppies with epilepsy cannot take the drug treatments at all. Many owners recommend other routes of medication, such as CBD. Many people have noticed their dogs have less severe and frequent seizures when taking CBD as a medication for epilepsy. Some owners have been using CBD to stop their dog’s attacks. There is a lot of research on whether CBD can help epilepsy, and while it seems overly optimistic, it’s always important to check in with your vet about any medication you want to give your dog. Sadly, there is no cure for epilepsy.

texas heeler sitting in snow with santa hat on

Stress

The Texas Heeler puppy is not known to be an overly stressed dog. Some Texas Heeler puppies experience stress more severely than others. Most cases of stress in these dogs would likely come from other health conditions affecting them, such as epilepsy or separation anxiety.
Texas Heeler puppies have thick double coats of fur and can be prone to overheating. Overheating can cause Texas Heeler puppies immense stress. If owners aren’t careful about Texas Heeler puppies in hot cars or dogs in the hot sun, a dog may even have heat stroke, which can quickly be fatal. The best way to avoid this type of stress is to have water readily available for Texas Heeler puppies. You could also buy a handkerchief to soak in water and tie around your dog, so his skin is slightly damp. There are plenty of ways to avoid overheating as long as owners are attentive to their Texas Heeler puppies’ needs.

Anxiety

Many Texas Heeler puppies suffer from separation anxiety. These dogs are disruptive or destructive when left home alone and often leave owners angry or confused. When left alone, a well-behaved house dog can become a violent child, and it isn’t from malicious intent. Texas Heeler puppies are no different. Texas Heeler puppies are so scared of losing their beloved humans that they have substantial anxiety attacks.

Some Texas Heeler puppies may urinate, defecate, bark, howl, dig, chew, pace, or even try to escape their homes when left alone. Texas Heeler puppies, like many other dogs, get attached to their guardians and get very upset when they go. Texas Heeler puppies with separation anxiety may seem anxious or depressed before their owners leave. They may even show signs of aggression or begin nipping ankles to herd their owners back into their homes to prevent them from going.

When owners return home to Texas Heeler puppies suffering from separation anxiety, they may act as their caretakers have been gone for days or even weeks. These reactions might seem a bit excessive, but dogs with separation anxiety are often in distress.

A lot of Texas Heeler puppies with separation anxiety get it from their past. More dogs in shelters have this health condition than dogs raised in one family home since puppyhood. Texas Heeler puppies that have experienced abandonment, homelessness, neglect, or abuse are much more likely to be clingy and scared of their parents leaving. These Texas Heeler puppies experienced significant trauma, and it has an enormous impact on their behavior and tendencies. Also, any change in household membership or daily schedules may leave a dog confused about why their people aren’t home with them. It may accidentally cause a similar feeling of abandonment. However, there are methods to help Texas Heeler puppies with separation anxiety.

To help Texas Heeler puppies suffering from separation anxiety, consider giving them medication or CBD oil supplements to help calm their nerves. There are tons of CBD products for dogs with separation anxiety. Many owners put oil in their dog’s food or give them infused treats. Either way, a lot of owners have expressed that CBD has helped their dogs with anxiety.

Another great way to help Texas Heeler puppies through separation anxiety is through counterconditioning. Counterconditioning is a treatment made to change the way animals feel towards specific environments. Counterconditioning is a remarkable treatment because it can also aid a Texas Heeler puppy who suffers from anxiety from abuse. For example, some Texas Heeler puppies who have abuse trauma are scared of playing fetch because they’re scared of sticks, tennis balls, or baseballs. Some abused dogs are afraid of running dishwashers or fans as well. Although it isn’t from trauma, many dogs are fearful of thunderstorms because of their loud noises. Counterconditioning is an excellent tool to help Texas Heeler puppies become more comfortable around things that make them scared. Using this treatment can help their overall daily experiences, and you might even begin seeing a happier, bouncier puppy, depending on how severe their past traumas were.

The goal is to change an aggressive, depressive, or anxiety-ridden reaction to one that is pleasant and replaced. To accomplish this, you must slowly associate the thing that this dog fears with something they love. Owners can try leaving the Texas Heeler puppy alone in a room for a few minutes with their favorite treats. If your dog is terrified of the dishwasher, sit next to them while the dishwasher is off and praise and pet them. Owners could also offer Texas Heeler puppies puzzle toys to get snacks from when you leave the house so they see they can only get special, top-notch foods when you’re away from home.

While counterconditioning is genuinely an excellent treatment to try at home, it won’t always work for more severe anxieties. Sometimes, Texas Heeler puppies are highly anxious and will not eat when their caretakers aren’t home. Severe cases of separation anxiety are going to require more professional help to aid them in complex desensitization programming. You have to gradually accustom a Texas heeler puppy to being alone by starting with many short separations that don’t produce anxiety, then gradually increase duration over many weeks. It’s best to hire an animal behaviorist or, at the very least, a dog trainer to help you in ridding your dog’s separation anxiety for good. It isn’t impossible for an owner to successfully treat a dog’s trauma responses. Still, it is much more likely that professional dog behaviorists will aid them in getting better much faster.

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Physical Health

Gut Health

Many dogs tend to gain weight because of their owners’ sedentary lifestyles. Because of this, about 50% of adult pet dogs in the United States are obese. Dog breeds need daily activity to keep them healthy, both mentally and physically. Also, owners need to carefully choose a dog’s diet by judging their size, sex, activity levels, and overall health. High-quality dog food is no joke, and many brands are lacking in vitamins and supplements. It’s a good idea to keep in mind that many dog foods have guidelines for daily food amounts, but remember, these are just guidelines. Also, it’s scarce that your Texas Heeler puppy will ever need more than three cups of food a day.

Obesity can lead to many more severe health problems. Conditions like type two diabetes, skin diseases, high blood pressure, and respiratory issues can result from dog obesity. Texas Heeler puppies suffering from obesity have an average decreased lifespan of up to two and a half years. They’re also at higher risk of developing osteoarthritis, especially in the hips, or of getting heart disease. Dogs like Texas Heeler puppies are already prone to many joint issues, and obesity would only make those health conditions more likely.

To help Texas Heeler puppies suffering from obesity, be sure to measure meals. Establish schedules to ensure proper meal times and to provide enough daily exercise. Do not give your Texas Heeler puppy human foods from McDonald’s or pieces of leftover dinner. Try to limit any extra treats you might be giving your dog, and save treats specifically for training purposes. Try to choose lower-calorie treat options while integrating more activity into your dog’s lifestyle. Texas Heeler puppies love walking and running, but fetch, swimming, and other dog sports are great exercises for them.

It’s imperative to help Texas Heeler puppies with obesity, as they can get arthritic disorders or some forms of cancer. Change the way you feed your dog and increase their exercise and playtime. Try to only provide food to your Texas Heeler puppy from their bowl, as this requires more effort and makes it less likely you give your dog extra snacks. Also, Texas Heeler puppies may appear hungrier than usual, but that’s because they are learning to adapt to a healthier diet. It’s hard, but you have to ignore your dog’s pleas for more. To remedy this issue, try feeding them many small meals throughout the day. Providing them with many small meals will also help balance their metabolic rate.

Sometimes, hypothyroidism can be a hidden cause behind obesity. If a dog has hypothyroidism, helping them with their obesity can be incredibly difficult. Thankfully, there are tests and treatments for Texas Heeler puppies with this health issue.

texas heeler puppy running on lawn

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Eye Health

Collie Eye Anomaly

Collie eye anomaly, also sometimes referred to as Collie eye defect, is a developmental optic disease in Texas Heeler puppies. Some breeds are predisposed to this eye disease, like the Shetland Sheepdogs, Australian Shepherds, and Border Collies. Because of their parent breed, Texas Heeler puppies are also at predisposed risk of this disease.

A mutated eye gene is the cause of Collie eye anomaly. These defects may occur in many layers of the dog’s eyes. The most common sign a dog is suffering from Collie eye anomaly is blindness. The degree of vision loss can vary considerably based on the severity of developmental defects. When the Collie eye anomaly affects a Texas Heeler puppy, this pup might have thinning layers in the eye or may have an actual hole present in the eye. Sadly, many symptoms Collie eye anomaly can cause won’t heal.

Many Texas Heeler puppies affected by this disease have normal vision, but vision loss can occur to the point where a dog becomes blind. Sometimes, a Texas Heeler puppy’s retinas become detached, making them much more likely to lose their vision. Unfortunately, there isn’t much people can do to prevent this disease. Many breeders screen for this anomaly to lessen the likelihood of Texas Heeler puppies experiencing this disorder. However, we encourage all owners to adopt their Texas Heeler puppies from rescues. 

Because there are obvious signs this health condition affects Texas Heeler puppies, this anomaly may go unnoticed and undiagnosed until a dog’s vision has already been affected. Veterinarians can diagnose Collie eye anomaly by diluting the pupil and inspecting the retina. If a vet suspects Collie eye anomaly is present, they might refer you and your Texas Heeler puppies to an ophthalmologist for a complete eye exam. Sometimes, if the disease is severe enough, surgery might be an option. Laser surgery can potentially re-attach the retina to the eye if the condition is detected early enough.

Genetic testing is available for Collie eye anomaly, but not much can prevent this condition. This condition isn’t fatal, but Texas Heeler puppies with CEA that go untreated may become completely blind.

Distichiasis

Distichiasis is when a dog’s eyelashes grow the wrong way. This health condition is a common one where eyelashes develop in an abnormal location. The eyelashes come from the eyelid margin rather than the eyelid skin. Often, Texas Heeler puppies experiencing distichiasis grow very soft eyelashes and experience no discomfort or problems. However, sometimes, Texas Heeler puppies can get irritated eyes because of the lashes rubbing on the eyeball. Severe cases of this health condition can cause pain, and it can damage the surfaces of the eyes and possibly even cause corneal ulcers.

Some breeds are more susceptible to this health condition than others. The breeds most commonly affected are the American Cocker Spaniel, the Bulldog, Cockerpoo, and Poodle. Both Australian Shepherds and Australian Cattle dogs are at risk of developing this, making Texas Heeler puppies at higher risk.

Treatment for this condition can be non-surgical or surgical. Ocular lubricants are available for less severe conditions. They use gel to reduce any irritation in the eye, and it helps improve any film that has torn. This ocular gel would be a lifelong medication. Another option is to pluck the extra eyelashes out. Plucking the eyelashes would need to be repeated every four to six weeks for the rest of the dog’s life.

More advanced options are available, like electrolysis, which shocks the inside of the eyelash glands to destroy the hair follicles. Only eyelashes that are present at the time of the treatment will be affected. Since the treatment can only treat visible hairs, dogs will likely need this procedure multiple times, but it would permanently destroy these follicles to prevent the regrowth of other eyelashes. Cryotherapy is similar to the previous method, but this method freezes the hair follicles in an attempt to destroy them.

Lastly, surgery is an option to treat this health condition. Vets usually reserve surgery for more severe cases of distichiasis. If the above procedures have been unsuccessful, surgery would permanently remove hair follicles. A vet may also make a dog’s eyelid margin turn outwards to encourage the eyelashes to grow away from the surface of the eye.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive retinal atrophy, sometimes referred to as PRA, is the slow degeneration of a dog’s eyesight. The health condition works by slowly diminishing the rods and cones in the eye. First, Texas Heeler puppies will lose their ability to see at night, and then they’ll lose peripheral vision. Finally, they’ll lose sight during the day.

Most Texas Heeler puppies that experience progressive retinal atrophy lose their entire vision by the time they are one year old. Sometimes, complete blindness doesn’t occur until the puppies are three to four years old. There is no official treatment for this health condition, but sometimes people use supplements to prolong naturally occurring blindness. Texas Heeler puppies with PRA also often get cataracts, and sometimes, if an owner or vet catches cataracts early enough, vets may perform surgery to remove cataracts. Cataracts are not a dog’s ultimate cause of blindness if they’re experiencing PRA, although removing cataracts can extend a dog’s limited vision.

To help Texas Heeler puppies adapt to blindness, change visual commands to verbal ones. Help them adjust to their surroundings by offering tactile or scented markers in rooms. Also, make sure to give plenty of praise and treats when they begin losing their vision and are scared to go outside at night. Always stay with your bling dog to make sure they are safe. While sight is only a dog’s third strongest sense, it will still take them some adjusting to get used to blindness. However, dogs mostly rely on smell and hearing, so they can adapt very well to a life without vision.

texas heeler laying in front of tablet

Cataracts

Cataracts are mostly inherited traits, although they can be side effects of other health conditions, like progressive retinal atrophy. Cataracts appear as cloudy lenses in a dog’s eyes. Note that if a Texas Heeler puppy has gray eyes,  it doesn’t automatically mean they are blind.

A vet can adequately determine if Texas Heeler puppies have cataracts. Cataracts are caused by the proteins in the eyes clumping up to make this thin layer of gray. Eye structure changes with age, and eye proteins shift as well. Underlying causes of cataracts could be eye diseases. If an owner or vet doesn’t see cataracts developing, Texas Heeler puppies may become blind.

Some breeds are especially at risk of developing cataracts, and the Australian Shepherd is one of them. Because they’re a parent breed of the Texas Heeler, the Texas Heeler puppies may also be at higher risk. Vets may use light to examine the eyes to diagnose cataracts. If the dog’s eyes look cloudy or bluish-gray, take them to the vet. Sometimes vets can perform surgery to remove cataracts and replace the clouded lens with an artificial lens made from plastic or acrylic. Artificial lenses prevent total blindness from occurring.

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Ear Health

Congenital Hereditary Deafness

Genetic defects, such as a recessive or autosomal dominant mutation, can cause Congenital hereditary deafness. Often, this mutation connects to the color of a dog’s coat. Dogs with light colors or white pigmentation of the skin or fur can be predisposed to deafness. Not all Texas Heeler puppies that experience this disease have light-colored coats, and not all light-colored coats have this health condition. Texas Heeler puppies have a wide variety of fur colors, but they are at higher risk of developing congenital hereditary deafness than some other breeds.

This deafness may be inherited or acquired by an illness like toxic exposure or liver disease. A side effect of a drug may also cause this disease. This health condition affects a whopping 80 dog breeds, but studies show certain dog breeds are more affected than other breeds. The Australian Cattle dogs, Dalmatians, Cocker Spaniels, and English Setters are more affected breeds.

The symptoms of this health condition present themselves in many ways. Aggression when playing with other puppies, ignoring squeaky toys or other noises, no responses to loud noises, and abnormal amounts of sleep are all signs that point to congenital hereditary deafness. Other symptoms include snapping when woken or touched when they weren’t looking, lack of activity, ignoring commands, unusual vocalizing, confusion, and disorientation.

A vet can diagnose congenital hereditary deafness by performing a brainstem auditory evoked response test, known as a BAER. If your Texas Heeler puppy is deaf, get your dog a tag that tells others he is deaf, and always keep them on a leash outdoors. You can try to train them by focusing on visual cues like specific hand signals. Texas Heeler puppies that are deaf lose one of a dog’s primary senses, but as long as these pups remain loved and cared for, they will be happy all the same.

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    10/04/2022 12:08 am GMT

Immune Health

Canine Lymphoma

Some dog breeds are more prone to hereditary cancers. Sadly, the Texas Heeler is one of those breeds. Canine lymphoma is a blanket term used by veterinarians to describe a large group of cancers that stem from lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell that helps fight off infections in the immune system. These blood cells mostly populate areas in the spleen, bone marrow, and lymph nodes. Because of this, lymphoma is most commonly active in those areas.

There are more than thirty types of dog lymphoma cancers, and all of them vary in aggression. Out of all thirty types, four of them are the most common. The four types are: multicentric lymphoma, alimentary lymphoma, mediastinal lymphoma, and extranodal lymphoma.

Multicentric lymphoma is the most common of the four. About 80-85% of dogs suffering from lymphoma cancer have multicentric lymphoma. This cancer primarily affects the lymph nodes and causes rapid enlargement. The most common symptom for this type of lymphoma are swollen lymph nodes, anywhere from three to ten times their natural size. The swelling will not be painful for your pup, but these nodes will feel like substantial rubbery lumps that move beneath their skin. Developments of this cancer can lead to lethargy, fever, anorexia, weakness, and dehydration.

Alimentary lymphoma is the second most common form of lymphoma. About 10% of dogs suffering from lymphoma cancer have this type. Alimentary lymphoma targets the intestines, and the majority of the symptoms occur in that area. More prominent symptoms include the intestines, abdominal pain, vomiting, anorexia, diarrhea, or weight loss.

Mediastinal lymphoma is another rare form of this cancer, but it’s the third most common, and it focuses on the thymus and the chest area, which may become enlarged. Symptoms of this form of cancer include difficulty breathing, swelling in their face or front legs, or increased thirst and urination.

Extranodal lymphoma is the fourth most common type of lymphoma. This type of lymphoma targets specific organs such as the skin, eyes, kidneys, and lungs. Sometimes extranodal lymphoma might also target the nervous system. Extranodal lymphoma most commonly affects the skin and is occasionally given a more specific title of cutaneous lymphoma. The lymphoma depends on the organs involved. Cutaneous lymphoma is specific for the skin, and signs include raised individual nodules or more dispersed scaly lesions. Texas Heeler puppies with this type of lymphoma can also have symptoms of respiratory distress, and their kidneys could cause renal failure. This type of cancer can progress to the point where it may cause blindness, seizures, bone pain, or fractures.

Scientists aren’t entirely sure what causes lymphoma in dogs. Vets can get definitive diagnoses if you suspect your dog is suffering from lymphoma. The vet can then decide the best route for treatment. Treatment for lymphoma cancers typically varies based on the different types of cancer. Chemotherapy is the most common, as dogs don’t get nearly as sick as people treated with chemotherapy. Texas Heeler puppies rarely lose their hair, but they may suffer from bouts of vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, and decreased activity levels.

There isn’t a cure for lymphoma. A Texas Heeler puppy may go into remission for elongated periods but will eventually experience the cancer symptoms again. Remission is when the cancer is still present but not causing any symptoms or effects on a Texas Heeler puppy’s overall health. Sadly, lymphoma is often fatal.

close up of texas heeler in the woods

Autoimmune Thyroiditis

Some breeds are more predisposed to autoimmune thyroiditis than others. The only way to get this disease is first to have hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is when a dog is not secreting enough thyroid hormones, which causes metabolism deficiencies. The metabolism slows, and dogs often become obese, which was briefly mentioned earlier in this article. This condition is much more common in Texas Heeler puppies than other domesticated animals. Many dogs suffering from hypothyroidism respond well to medication.

Low thyroid levels affect your dog’s organ systems, and symptoms can vary greatly from dog to dog, although usually they’re related mostly to the slowing of the metabolism. Other symptoms include exercise intolerance, lethargy, mental dullness, weight gain without a change in appetite, obesity, cold intolerance, or changes in coat and skin. Signs could also be present in Texas Heeler puppies that suffer from hair thinning or hair loss.

Medium to large dog breeds are much more likely to suffer from autoimmune thyroiditis than other dogs. The Texas Heeler is a hybrid breed that is at a more elevated risk of developing autoimmune thyroiditis. Texas Heeler puppies can get treatment for this health condition, and it can be as simple as replacement hormone compounds.

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Joint Health

Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is when there are abnormalities present in the elbow joint. The disease encompasses severe conditions grouped into this elbow dysplasia umbrella term. Three bones make the elbow joint: the radius, ulna, and humorous. If these three bones don’t fit together perfectly because of growth abnormalities, they will suffer consequences. Those consequences can include uneven weight distribution, which results in lameness or arthritis.

The cause of elbow dysplasia in Texas Heeler puppies remains unclear. Although, things like genetics in certain breeds are one of the many theories to finding the cause of elbow dysplasia. Other factors can be defective cartilage growth, trauma, and diet.
Dogs suffering from elbow dysplasia will usually be affected in both joints. Up to 80% of patients experience this. After damage has affected one elbow joint, progressive arthritis of the elbow sets in, leading to pain and possible loss of function.

A Texas Heeler puppy may begin experiencing symptoms of elbow dysplasia after about five months. Still, Texas Heeler puppies often don’t get diagnosed until they are four to six years old. Over time, lameness worsens after exercise and cannot ever completely heal with rest—an official diagnosis when clinical exams or x-rays confirm this health condition. Treatment depends on the severity of the issue, and surgery may be an option to correct the joint or to replace the joint if the elbow is severely damaged.

To help a dog with elbow dysplasia, try to refrain from excessive exercise. Spread out daily activity needs over multiple periods to refrain from irritating the health condition too much. Some Texas Heeler puppies that suffer from this may lose movement in their arms and may not be as active as they once were. Provide your Texas Heeler puppy with comfy places to rest, including dog beds or any couch, so any pressure on the affected elbow may be relieved. Giving your dog more time to relax can only help delay elbow dysplasia’s more severe side effects.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia can reduce a dog’s quality of life drastically. Hip dysplasia is a common skeletal condition and is more common in large dogs, but it can occur in a dog breed that is any size. A hip joint functions like a ball and socket. Dogs with dysplasia have a ball and socket, but they don’t fit into each other correctly or develop correctly. These dogs have hip joints that grind instead of sliding when they run. Owners need to know the signs and symptoms to help their dog if they ever develop hip dysplasia.

Several factors can cause hip dysplasia in Texas Heeler puppies. Genetics, improper weight, and nutrition can magnify genetic predisposition even further. Just as obesity can worsen this, too much exercise can also cause excessive strain in the joints. There are supplements available to treat Texas Heeler puppies with this issue. Throughout the progression of arthritis, they’re safe for long-term use in most patients.

Symptoms of hip dysplasia are inflammation, degrees of looseness in the joint, and decreased activity. Other signs include decreased range of motion, reluctance the  rising, difficulty jumping, running, climbing the stairs, and lameness in the hind legs. Texas Heeler puppies may have a funny, swaying, “bunny hopping” walk to them and may lose thigh muscle mass when suffering from this health condition. The length of time the dog has suffered from this illness may change the symptoms as well.

Noticeable enlargement of the shoulder muscles as they compensate for the back legs are other, subtler symptoms owners can observe in their Texas Heelers. Pain, swelling, stiffness, and limping aren’t good signs, and you should take your dog to the vet if you suspect hip dysplasia.

Vets will do a physical exam and may be able to diagnose your dog. Otherwise, owners may need to keep a detailed list of symptoms and discuss them with the vet to understand the dog’s health issues further.

Treatment for dogs with this health condition can be lifestyle changes or surgery. Also, a healthy diet is an essential factor, as a significant contributing factor of hip dysplasia is obesity. Exercise reduction is critical, especially on hard surfaces. Try not to allow playing indoors, and reserve it for soft, grassy fields. Physical therapy may be necessary, and joint supplements or anti-inflammatory medication could help. A vet might give joint fluid modifiers or recommend common surgeries to help heal or completely replace the hip.

The best way Texas Heeler puppies can get through this health condition is by having observant and attentive owners. Don’t let Texas Heeler puppies overwork themselves, and offer soft, squishy places for them to rest. Orthopedic dog beds can help take the stress off of their hip bones.

texas heeler jumping over logs

Cranial Cruciate Ligament Tear

Cranial cruciate ligament tear is one of the most common issues in Texas Heeler puppies. It’s similar to a human tearing their ACL. The cranial cruciate ligament is one of the most critical stabilizers in the canine knee joint. Rupturing this ligament is a common reason for hind limb lameness, pain, or knee arthritis. This issue is much more complex in Texas Heeler puppies than it is in humans.
Over 40% of dogs with a Cranial cruciate ligament tear in one knee will eventually also develop a similar problem in the other knee. A partial tear is also common and will eventually progress to a complete tear over time. This issue can affect Texas Heeler puppies of all sizes and breeds. Poor body conditions and excessive body weight are common risk factors for developing cranial cruciate ligament disease.
Symptoms may look like difficulty rising from sitting, trouble jumping into cars, decreased activity level, lameness, muscle atrophy, reduced range of motion, popping noises, swelling on the inside of the shin bone, pain, unwillingness to play, and stiffness. A veterinarian will take X-rays to make a proper diagnosis, and treatments may vary based on many things. Size, age, activity level, skeletal conformation, and degree of knee instability will carry treatment options from surgical to non-surgical.
Make sure you don’t let your dog suffering from this condition exercise too much. If your Texas Heeler puppy has this, avoid games like frisbee or catch where your dog might try to jump in the air and catch the ball. Movements that involve jumping and twisting might only make things like this worse.

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Skin and Coat

Texas Heeler puppies are unique because each one is made incredibly different. Sometimes their coats are one color, but more often than not, the coats are a mix of colors. For example, the primary coat colors Texas Heeler puppies might have are black, blue ticked with white fawn, blue merle, or fawn. Although they have double waterproof coats, Texas Heeler puppies are moderate shedders and have shorter, less dense fur. Texas Heeler puppies are not fit for harsh winters and may need coats to keep them warm. Even though they have thicker coats, they are native to Texas, so these dogs can live quite happily in warmer climates.

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Owners will need to brush Texas Heeler puppies every few days. They aren’t great dogs for people with allergies to animals. Trim their nails once or twice a month to be sure they won’t tap against your floors. You may need to apply sunscreen to sensitive areas like their ears or nose when there is a lot of sunshine.