The Mini Blue Heeler is simply a smaller version of the more popular Australian Cattle Dog. They are just as smart, hardworking and intelligent as their bigger parents.
Also known as the Miniature Blue Heeler this breed is named after three key traits.
“Miniature” comes from their tiny size. Mini Australian Cattle Dogs are three to five inches shorter and can weigh as little as 12 pounds. Don’t let their small size fool you, they still have oodles of energy and a strong personality.
“Blue” is a description of their color, but they may also be red.
“Heeler” comes from how they nip cattle on the heels while herding. The good news is that this instinct can be easily trained out!
Keep on reading to discover 15 must-know facts about this intelligent, energetic and miniature breed.
1. What Do Mini Heelers Look Like?
The Mini Blue Heeler has all the typical features of the standard Australian Cattle Dog.
They keep the beautiful mottled blue or red coat, a stocky build and fluffy tail. It is just all sized-down into a smaller, more compact miniature breed. You will find that Minis are three to five inches shorter and can weigh as little as 12 pounds. That is half the weight of a standard sized Heeler.
Miniature Blue Heelers have the classic blue or red coat which is either ‘mottled’ or ‘speckled’ with black, tan, or white markings. These markings usually include a mask over one or both eyes and a white patch on the forehead known as a ‘Bentley star’.
These markings are not a set standard however, as this dog breed is not officially recognized. Therefore not all dogs will have these markings.
Most Heelers will have black noses and black pads on their paws, although this is not a requirement. It is possible to find some that actually have pink paws and noses instead!
Overall Mini Blue Heelers have a strong stature and sturdy look with short legs and a wide body. They get this from their wild dingo ancestry. Their ancestry also gives them their distinctive triangular upright ears and mid-length, fluffy tail. Their fur is also similar to the dingo, being short and dense which helps to keep them clean and dry.
2. Full Grown Size
For most breeders a Mini Blue Heeler must be less than 15 inches tall.
As an adult the Mini Blue Heeler will measure between 11 and 15 inches and weigh 12 to 25 pounds. Standard Blue Heelers have a size difference of one inch between the males and females, but there is no difference between male and female Minis.
Some breeders set themselves a height limit on what they consider to be a full grown Mini Blue Heeler size. This helps them to differentiate the Minis from the standards.
For comparison a standard will be between 17 and 20 inches tall. This means even the smallest standard puppies should almost always be taller than even the tallest Mini! Remember for most breeders this dog must be shorter than 15 inches.
The Miniature breed has the advantage of coping better in smaller spaces when compared with their larger parents, but this is only true if they get enough exercise and play.
3. Teacup Size
Some breeders may use the term “teacup” interchangeably with the word “mini”, but these terms do not always mean the same thing.
A teacup breed is a dog that has been bred to be as small as possible, and they often weigh as little as five pounds. The name itself comes from the fact that these dogs can fit inside a teacup!
Therefore a teacup Mini Blue Heeler is not possible. The smallest Miniature Blue Heeler is 11 inches tall and weighs 10 pounds. That is double the size of a teacup breed.
There is lots of controversy over ‘teacup’ breeds and no reputable kennel club will recognize them. They are often created by breeding runts of a litter with other runts over multiple generations. This will produce the smallest possible dog that nature will allow.
The process of breeding runts exaggerates health issues that are seen in both runts and small breeds, such as heart defects, digestive problems, seizures and liver shunts. Their size also makes them extremely difficult to care for.
If you see a ‘teacup’ Blue Heeler advertised it is worth clarifying with the breeder whether they have simply used this word in the place of “Mini”. Any real ‘teacup’ puppy should be avoided due to all the health risks associated with them.
4. Puppy Ears
An adorable trait of your Mini Blue Heeler puppy you will get to experience is their changing ears. As with any dog with standing ears, they go through a phase of having ‘floppy’ ears as puppies. Blue Heeler ears go from being floppy to standing as they age. The process of the ears standing up is complete by the age of five weeks, but it can take as long as six months for their distinctive dingo-like triangular ears to stand upright.
5. Breed Origin
The history of the Blue Heeler Dog dates back to 1825 when a cattle dog of English descent was bred to a wild dingo by a man called Thomas Simpson Hall.
Thomas thought the cattle dog of English descent was too quiet and did not have enough stamina for working across the Australian landscape. After trial and error he settled on the first Blue Heeler in 1832. Thomas has bred the perfect dog to herd cattle across the vast plains of Australia.
Flash forward to 2022 and this breed is so popular in the USA that it ranks as the 55th most popular dog breed.
The Mini Blue Heeler shares this same history and origin as they share the same ancestors.
6. How Are Mini Blue Heelers Bred?
There are actually three ways to “miniaturize” a Blue Heeler.
1. Mix the Blue Heeler with another smaller dog breed.
This process involves breeding a female Blue Heeler with a smaller male dog such as the Dachshund. This particular example will produce Doxie Heeler puppies. This type of breeding is also used for Mini Golden Retrievers. This method will produce a smaller Heeler, but there is no way to guarantee the appearance of the puppies. As they grow older they may look more like a Dachshund. Therefore this is not the best route for those who want the classic Blue Heeler appearance.
2. Introduce the dwarfism gene.
This is how breeds such as corgis, dachshunds, or basset hounds of today were first bred. A gene for dwarfism was specifically selected when breeding these dogs which resulted in pups with very short legs. The same dwarfism gene was used when Mini Labs were bred. Doing this would technically result in a Mini Blue Heeler, but it is also not recommended. The dwarfism gene comes with many health issues such as bone deformities and it would affect their naturally muscular legs.
3. Selectively breed naturally small Blue Heelers.
This is the most common way to breed a Mini Blue Heeler. Professional breeders take a purebred female who is typically slightly smaller than usual and breed her with a naturally small male. This is then repeated over a few generations and eventually you achieve Mini Blue Heeler puppies. These puppies will be around five inches shorter than their great-great-great grandparent!
7. Mini Blue Heeler Puppy
Finding a Mini Blue Heeler puppy can be a challenge.
The miniature size is not an official breed and because of this it may take you some time to find one.
There are currently no official breed standards or recognized breeders because major kennel clubs do not recognize the Miniature breed. This means it is not only difficult to find a puppy, but it is almost impossible to make sure they are a purebred.
It will be difficult to make sure that the puppy you are buying is truly a Mini Blue Heeler and not a mix. The best way to put your mind at ease is to speak with the breeder. Make sure they have plenty of information about both parents and their pedigree. They should also be able to put you in touch with previous puppy parents as genuine Mini Blue Heeler puppies are bred over many generations.
If the size and pedigree status of your Australian Cattle Dog is the most important aspect, then perhaps consider getting an older dog who is already fully grown.
8. Mini Blue Heeler Price
The price of a Mini Blue Heeler puppy will be between $500 and $1,000, depending on the breeder.
In general the Miniature will cost a little less than the standard Blue Heeler. The reason for this is because the mini is not a registered pedigree breed. The same is true for Texas Heelers which cost less than their Heeler parents at $500.
The miniature’s price tag is mostly dependent on the breeder. Beware of breeders offering cheap puppies and not allowing you to visit or interact with either of the parents. They are most likely breeding Miniatures Heelers by mixing other dogs or using the dwarfism gene. In both cases these puppies should be avoided as they will have more health issues.
Paying a little more for a reputable breeder is worth it to ensure you get a healthy and happy pup. You should expect to pay closer to $1,000, but this can vary with demand, especially if there are fewer Mini breeders in your area.
9. Raising A Mini Puppy
The Mini Blue Heeler is easy to train, even as a puppy.
Their history as a working breed means they need something to keep their mind busy. The best way to raise these puppies is with plenty of short training sessions every day.
With origins as a herding dog the Mini Blue Heeler will likely still have all the same instincts as their larger working siblings, this will be especially true for puppies. Do not be surprised if your puppy tries to herd you or any other pets or children in the house!
One way they herd is by nipping at heels, so if your puppy starts doing this it is important to quickly train it out of them. The best way to do this is through positive reinforcement. Reward the puppy with praise and a treat immediately after they stop nipping heels.
With the wrong sort of training, you might just get a nip on the heels to get you moving on!
Although their working history may bring some behaviors which need training out, it also means that almost always the Mini Blue Heeler is extremely smart and will quickly pick up anything you want to teach. This can be great for general commands such as ‘sit’ or ‘come’ as well as trying out some fun tricks such as ‘spin’. Have a look here for some great ideas on what to teach your Mini Blue Heeler.
10. Breed Personality
The most important thing to understand about the Mini Blue Heeler is that they come from a working dog. Their bloodline is full of working and wild dogs. Because of this they need to be kept busy and active.
You probably won’t find these dogs climbing into your lap for a cuddle! If you are looking for an active dog who also loves to cuddle take a look at the Husky.
They are simply a smaller version of the Australian Cattle Dog. They keep all of the Cattle Dog herding instincts, behaviors and traits. This means they are full of energy and have a strong work ethic.
They need an active home that will keep them engaged both mentally and physically. This breed is especially great for active families who love hiking and adventures. With some training from an adult a Mini Blue Heeler will happily play all day with older children or teenagers – you can even play a game of hide and seek!
The Mini Blue Heeler is a protective dog who bonds strongly and will quickly become a central member of any family.
If you enjoy an active lifestyle a Miniature Blue Heeler will be perfect.
Given how energetic they can be a Mini Blue Heeler would not be suited to someone who cannot get out on walks.
Thanks to their size they can manage well in smaller homes so long as they get plenty of exercise outdoors every day. They will also need a designated space or room inside where they can play and release their energy.
Another consideration for the Miniature Heeler is that they are not an officially recognized breed. If you are looking for a dog to take to shows and compete with then this is not the breed for you. The lack of official registration for these dogs means they are not allowed to compete in dog shows.
|Mini Blue Heeler Quick Facts Table|
|Size||11 to 15 inches|
|Weight||12 to 25 pounds|
|Coat||Short and dense|
|Colors||Red or blue, with mottled or speckled markings|
|Temperament||Intelligent, energetic and protective|
|Walking||At least 1 hour a day, plus other exercise and games|
|Grooming||Once a week|
|Lifespan||10 to 13 years|
|Health||Hip dysplasia, deafness, retinal atrophy and dwarfism (achondroplasia)|
|Price||$500 to $1000|
The Mini Blue Heeler is a very quiet dog and will only ever bark in extreme circumstances. This is great for those who live with close neighbors or families who don’t want to be disturbed by a noisy dog at all hours of the day. They make a perfect guard dog, not bothering the neighbors too much, but still providing safety and security.
13. Mini Blue Heeler vs Standard Differences
The key difference between the Mini Blue Heeler and the standard is their size! A Mini will on average be three to five inches shorter than the standard. In extreme cases they can also weigh as much as 30 pounds less.
Another key difference between these two dog breeds is that the Miniature is not a recognized breed. The standard Blue Heeler Dog is recognized by many associations and kennel clubs, including the American Kennel Club, the British Kennel Club and the Australian National Kennel Council.
|Country of origin||USA||Australia|
|Height||11 to 15 inches||17 to 20 inches|
|Weight||12 to 25 pounds||33 to 49 pounds|
|Life expectancy||10 to 13 years||12 to 16 years|
|Breed Recognition||Not an officially recognized breed.||Recognized by breed standards around the world.|
|Price||$500 – $1,000||$750 – $1,500|
Another great feature of the Mini is that they are cheaper to buy than the standard Blue Heeler!
The key to keeping a Mini Blue Heeler happy and healthy is an active lifestyle.
They need an active home that will keep them engaged both mentally and physically.
The best way to do this is to walk a Miniature Blue Heeler for at least an hour each day once they are fully grown. Walking puppies for an hour a day can damage their joints and cause arthritis. You should also vary this walk as much as possible to avoid boredom on similar routes.
One thing they do love to do is to run in large open spaces. Finding a large dog-safe field or forest for them to roam and run in is a great idea.
Without enough exercise Miniature Blue Heelers can become destructive through the misdirection of pent-up energy.
Mini Blue Heelers can also become destructive out of boredom. Another key way of keeping this breed happy is through play and training. These dogs are well suited to agility training, which allows them to use their intelligence and their physical abilities at the same time. Agility can also be a great way to bond with your dog and test your own skills as well.
15. Health Issues
The typical lifespan of a Mini Blue Heeler is 10 to 13 years. This is slightly shorter than the lifespan of their larger cousins of 12 to 16 years. It is thought this reduced lifespan is due to some Miniatures being bred from the dwarfism gene.
Other health issues relating to the dwarfism gene can include:
- Achondroplasia. This is a form of short-limbed dwarfism affecting cartilage formation. It is associated with a number of health issues including narrowing the spinal canal which can compress the spinal cord, apnea, or excess fluid in the brain.
- Pituitary dwarfism. This is a form of dwarfism resulting from insufficient growth hormones being produced. It can result in poorly developed organs, poor intelligence due to insufficient brain development and a shorter lifespan.
Mini Blue Heelers that are bred correctly will not have any of the health issues listed above as they will not have the dwarfism gene. Instead they will share the same health issues as the standard Blue Heeler such as hip dysplasia, deafness and retinal atrophy.
A good way to test your dog’s hearing is to clap or click in the spot behind their head in the middle of their ears. A dog with good hearing should turn to look, or react in some way to the sound.
The Mini Blue Heeler is exactly what you think of when you hear their name – a miniature version of the Blue Heeler.
This breed will measure between 11 and 15 inches and weighs 12 to 25 pounds.
These tiny Australian Cattle Dogs are an intelligent bundle of energy who require an active lifestyle to stop them attempting to herd their owners. This miniature breed can be an incredibly rewarding family dog. They can easily keep up with children playing all day long and will do any trick you ask of them.
Mini Blue Heelers are perfect for any family who has an active lifestyle and wants a loyal companion at their heels.
Remember there are currently no recognized breeders which means it is difficult to find a puppy. Make sure that your puppy is purebred by checking their parents’ pedigree and lineage.
Do you want your own miniature Australian Cattle Dog?