Well...after posting about my best friend, Oscar, you just know I couldn't forget my little cattle dog , "Miley" (uhmm... I can't figure where my granddaughter came up with that name??) ...she is my other man's best friend. Not really my best friend..but we'll settle for my sweet friend ..she's a work in progress. She can be a little-bit-of-a-pain-in-the-a$$ sometimes..but then, aren't we all?? Hey..I heard that!
She is a full blooded, Australian Cattle Dog..aka Queensland Heeler or Australian Heeler..aka Blue Heeler, or Red Heeler... sometimes called a Hall's Heeler.
The standard for the body of these beautiful dogs is a bit longer than high with a slightly curved tail reaching approximately to the hock. ( I have no problem with docking tails as some do at birth.. Miley's just wasn't) The front legs should be perfectly straight when viewed from the front, the head is broad and slightly rounded between the widely set, moderately pointed pricked ears. The oval eyes are dark brown, and the teeth should meet in a scissors bite.
Their weather resistant coat consists of a short dense undercoat and a short straight outer coat. It comes in blue or red speckled. The blue speckles is with or without out black, blue or tan markings on the head with tan points. Black markings on the body are not desirable for show dogs. The red speckled variety should be evenly speckled all over, but mainly have darker markings on the head.
I've been around a livestock show arena plenty but I know nothin' of the standards for dogs..but who CARES?? I just want to know what we are up against..right.. Miley? She does have red speckles too..down her front and on her legs..which I think are soo cute! She was sort of a gift to my husband, so beggars are not whiners ..or is it beggars aren't stealer's.. or is it whiners don't complain..or beg.... Anyway.. I know, we didn't beg or steal her .. and she was free, she is very smart and we like her, so she's part of the family, perfect or not!
The breed makes a very good guard dog as they are very suspicious of people and even other dogs. They have been bred to be aggressive. Just ask my son- in- law.. who darn near paid for his vet's trip to Cabo, when the bill came due this Christmas! We believe some cruel person put his beloved heelers' eye out while poking him with a long stick!
I know many people who own and love these dogs ...and true to form, most descriptions come with adjectives like: obedient, loyal, loving, trustworthy and, of course..very brave! but some know these canine to have a bit of a mind of their own. Yea! They can get themselves in a bit of trouble now and then. Esp. when chasing cows! We all know that the heeler is bred to do just that. They are well muscled and powerful but yet agile enough to snap and bite at the cattle's' heels.
That is where Miley and I have our conflict. We were trying to teach her to bring the cows in prior to selling them.. ...so now she still wants to do her job....and I have no job for her to do! She thinks by telling the horses and the Donk when it's time for them to eat and she thinks by telling them when it's ok to run .. she'll make me happy, but I'll tell you like I tell her.. IT doesn't!! She's not in charge! I am the "Alpha"! ( hear me Roar!!) and I do stay on top of her, it's just she's taken this job thingy to her head (sometimes literally..ha! ..she's been kicked in it ..more than a few times!) Ya gotta love her! Note to self: more time needed watching the Dog Whisperer!
Heelers are dominant, also. They are one of the most intelligent breeds of dogs, so their human has to remain the "alpha"! Some dogs can become a one-person dog. Our little heeler likes everyone...mostly our grandchildren! (who wouldn't.. I can't think of a soul!) Sometimes she even likes the people I don't want her to like. Damn! But, she dominates our place, barks and growls at strangers, and other strays! and boy does she let the coyotes know they're not welcome..even tho they still come down for their drinks of water and nightly prowls. But even the Donk can't keep them away!
These cattle dogs were developed by ranchers in the 19th century to herd cattle on the large ranches where the countryside was harsh. They derived from different mixes of blue speckled Collie imports from Scotland and wild Australian Dingoes for their suitability to the Australian climate. The Australian Kelpies were mixed in for their herding abilities, the Dalmatians for the way they worked so well along side the horse, and the Bull Terrier for it's fierceness and strength. The Australian cattle Dog was fully recognized by the AKC in 1980.
I hope you enjoyed my introduction to Smiley/ Miley. I would never want her to feel more left out than she does already...not being able to sleep in my bed like Oscar does.....(No...she's not getting in...I smell enough like animal dung and swallow enough dog hair, I'm gonna cough up a hairball!) .. Oscar dosn't have it so good..he hides when it is his weekly bath time! besides they say heelers shouldn't have too many baths! So..I'd love to hear about your almost best..sweet..friend!