Designer dogs are in vogue in many households today. Interestingly, the Pit Heeler is one of the newest designer breeds around. It is the result of a crossbreed between the American Pit Bull Terrier and the Blue or Red Heeler pure breeds.
The Pit Heeler takes up the loyal traits of its parents but requires more training than the average dog. This way, you can curb its aggressive tendencies and make it into an eager-to-please pet. Need all the details you can get before owning a Pit Heeler? This article maps out facts about this breed’s temperament, appearance, and training.
Pit Heeler Facts and Figures Summary
|Other names||Queensland Pit, Bull Heeler, Blue/Red Cattle Terrier|
|Parents||American Pit Bull Terrier, Blue/Red Heeler (Australian Cattle Dog)|
|Life span||12-15 years|
|Height||17-21 inches (43-53cm)|
|Weight||30-60 pounds (13-27kg)|
|Personality||Loyal, smart, and protective.|
|Temperament||Alert and loving|
What is a Pit Heeler Mix?
Pit Heelers are often referred to as the Queensland Pit or Bull Heeler. Like with most recent crossbreeds, it is difficult to trace the dog’s history and origins. That’s why we rely on the information available about its parent breeds to trace its records.
The American Pit Bull Terrier has its roots in the United Kingdom, sometime in the early 19th Century. Back then, many butchers and hunters bred the Old English Bulldog and English Terrier together. The result was a strong and medium-sized bulldog suitable for dog fighting and bull baiting. When the breed made its way to the United States in the mid-1800s, it became known as the American Pit Bull Terrier.
Similarly, the Australian Cattle Dog came to limelight in the 1800s, thanks to a farmer named Thomas Hall. The farmer bred dogs were used in droves alongside dingoes. This resulted in dogs called the Hall Heelers. Later on, the dogs appeared in the United States and were named the Blue or Red Heelers, based on the color of their coat.
Both of the parent breeds are herding dogs. So, the Pit Heeler takes up that nature by default. Many people believe the first Pit Bull and Heeler mix in the US must have come in the late 1900s. That’s because the parent breeds became mainstream in the United States around that period. Unlike the Australian Cattle Dog, the Pit Bull Terrier is not recognized by the American Kennel Club. However, it enjoys recognition from the United Kennel Club.
Pit Heeler Health & Appearance at a Glance
As expected, the Pit Heeler gets most of its appearance features from its ancestors. This explains the breed’s muscular build and medium-sized body. It mostly takes on the coat of the Pit Bull which is perfectly suited for cold climates. On the other hand, its eyes and ears are quite similar to what you’ll find on a Blue or Red Heeler.
Build, Height and Weight
The Pit Heeler has an athletic and sturdy bodily appearance. It has a longer body, compared to its height. The breed stands between 17 to 21 inches and weighs around 30 to 60 pounds. Male Pit Heelers are known to be slightly taller and heavier than their female counterparts.
Like its Pit Bull parent, the crossbreed has a muscular neck, rounded skull and broad chest. Thanks to both parents, the jaws of the Queensland Pit are very powerful, revealing a scissor bite relationship between the teeth levels. Its eyes are round and medium-sized while its ears come slightly pointed.
While most aspects of the Pit Heeler’s build are fixed, its hindquarters largely depend on which parent has a dominant gene. As such, the mixed breed could either inherit the Pit Bull’s short loin or the Blue/Red Heeler’s broad torso.
Colors and Coat
Pit Heelers come in a diversity of colors. Starting from the face, the hybrid dog has deep brown eyes similar to those of its parents. Its nose, however, comes in blue, brown or black colors, depending on the parents.
The Pit Heeler’s coat is both short and thick, making it adaptable to cold weather. In addition, the coat usually has a wavy texture and is slightly dense. Oftentimes, the breed’s coat may be brown, gray, or white with finishing of stripes, spots or mottles. The coat finishes are usually blue, fawn or red, based on the colors of the Australian Cattle Dog.
Life Expectancy and Possible Health Issues
Life expectancy for the Pit Heeler is relatively high, with the breed having an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. This lifespan is a year more than those of the Pit Bull and the Heeler. Most mixed breeds are healthier than their parents, and the Pit Heeler is no exception.
Nevertheless, the dog is prone to minor health concerns like hip dysplasia, prorgessive retinal atrophy and congenital heart defect. Frequent tests and healthy care are proven methods to avoid serious health problems.
Pit Heeler Personality Traits
The parents of the Pit Heeler share distinct personalities. So, it can be quite tough to predict if your dog will take its traits from the Pit Bull or the Blue Heeler. Regardless, all Pit Heelers share some characteristics. The first is that the Pit Heeler is a very energetic and active dog. As a result, you can find the breed quite enthusiastic about daily exercises.
Pit Heelers make great companions and can be good family dogs if they receive adequate training. It’s not strange that the breed is hardworking and loyal. After all, its parents were herding breeds. They are also highly intelligent and admirable, especially when they get to socialize early enough.
Pit Heeler Temperament and Instincts
A vast majority of Pit Heelers develop an aggressive temperament from its Australian Cattle Dog parent. If your canine has this temperament, there is a high chance it will also have a high prey drive and display protective instincts. As your dog grows, this temperament may pose a threat to smaller pets, children and strangers. Besides, your dog may be prone to biting and nipping. That’s why training your Pit Heeler and helping it socialize with other pets and children is important.
Ironically, the Pit Heeler is very obedient to its owner and eager to please. This makes training less stressful than you would expect. Dogs of this breed who take up the temperament of the Pit Bull tend to be more friendly and affectionate. However, this does not change the need for training. Also, like its parent breeds, the Pit Heeler barks only occasionally.
How to Care for a Pit Heeler?
Fortunately, the Pit Heeler is not a high-maintenance breed. However, they need adequate care to complement their consistent training. Below are some of the major aspects you’ll need to pay attention to while caring for your Pit Heeler.
Grooming and Shedding
The Pit Heeler usually sheds its coat twice yearly, making it a low shedder. Be that as it may, it still requires moderate grooming levels. Specifically, you’ll need to brush the dog’s coat at least once a week. Your Queensland Pit also needs to take a bath every other week or as often as required. In addition, Pit Heelers should have their nails clipped at least once in a month.
Ear infections are common to dogs like the Pit Heeler. So, it would be best if you wiped your pet’s ear on a weekly basis to prevent infections. The same rules apply to your dog’s gums and teeth. However, brushing your Pit Heeler’s mouth requires greater frequency, up to twice weekly or even daily. Some of the must-have tools for your Pit Heeler include a pin brush and nail clipper.
Diet and Feeding
Carbs and protein are important aspects of the Pit Heeler’s diet. For a muscular dog, the Pit Heeler requires a great deal of animal protein to sustain its build. As a puppy, the breed will require up to 5% more protein in its diet than adult breeds. Meals with a high concentration of glucosamine and chondroitin are also necessary for your dog’s all-round development.
This hybrid dog also needs fatty foods, with the puppy having more dietary demands compared to adult dogs. A good mix of minerals and vitamins is also essential. It’s advisable to feed your puppy Pit Heeler thrice a day while adult breeds need just two meals daily. However, if you use your crossbreed as a working dog, it’s best to feed it thrice to replace spent nutrients.
On average, it costs between $35 to $45 monthly to effectively feed a Pit Heeler. If you’re unsure of what to give your canine, be sure to consult a vet.
Activity and Exercise Requirements
Due to its energy levels, this dog breed has high activity and exercise requirements. Pit Heelers need about a full hour of physical activity every day to stay happy and mentally stimulated. The dog enjoys playing fetch and swimming. You should also engage your Cattle Terrier mix in emotional exercises involving interactive toys. Running and constant hiking should also be a part of your dog’s exercise regime. It is recommended for your dog to cover an average of 10 miles weekly.
How to Train a Pit Heeler?
This dog breed requires a whole lot of socialization. It’s advisable to start your dog early at puppy training classes. In addition, you should take your furry friend on frequent walks to public places where it can meet other pets and humans. Be sure to use a leash when outside your home to prevent your dog from chasing after objects or children.
It is also necessary to train your dog against biting. Interestingly, Pit Heelers are quite obedient and responsive to training. So, adding positive reinforcement to their training will help them quit destructive habits early enough. Notably, as a trainer, you should be confident and refrain from punishments as often as possible.
You should also be quick to set boundaries within your home. This involves training your dog on what parts of the house to play in etc. As a breed with a high energy level, the Pit Heeler has the tendency to nip into many household items.
Known Pit Heeler Health Problems
Given its healthy genetics, there aren’t many problems for owners of the Pit Heeler mix. Notwithstanding, the dog remains prone to some diseases. Common defects of the Bull Heeler include hip and elbow dysplasia. The dog also tends to suffer from an eye infection known as progressive retinal atrophy.
In addition, they are predisposed to congenital hereditary sensory deafness, an illness obtained from their Heeler parent. Following the care routine for your Pit Heeler and making constant trips to the vet will help prevent these defects.
Young Pit Heeler dogs may also face separation anxiety and excessive fear without proper socialization and training. These psychological problems could cause it to be more aggressive and fearful.
Daily Routine for a Happy Pit Heeler
Your Pit Heeler needs a potty break as soon as it wakes up. The Pit Heeler needs a great amount of physical activity each day. So, you should encourage three short walks of 15 minutes each daily. In addition, you should set aside about 10 minutes of physical exercise twice daily.
Endeavor to feed your Bull Heeler before each round of physical exercise. For puppies, it is appropriate to feed them after their morning walk, at noon, and after sunset. After each meal, your Pit Heeler should get to take a potty break. Also, in between walks, be sure to insert periods of training and naps for your puppy.
Is a Pit Heeler the Right Dog for You?
Pit Heelers are a good family dog because they offer companionship. Similarly, if you need a working dog, the breed is perfect for such purposes. However, you must be ready to meet the dog’s emotional needs. Also, Pit Heelers need confident trainers, preferably an owner with prior experience training dogs. If you’re ready to meet the training and activity requirements, then there’s no reason to not have a Pit Heeler.
Should you buy or adopt a Pit Heeler?
It’s quite rare to find breeders putting up a Pit Bull and Heeler crossbreed for sale, thereby pushing the price up. You could, however, find this dog at shelters or rescues around you. This makes adoption the most accessible option for you. When adopting, be sure to test your dog for genetic conditions.
FAQs about the Pit Heeler Cross-Breed
Is the Pit Heeler mix a good family dog?
Yes, Pit Heelers are great family dogs. They are loyal companions like their parent breeds. However, they require consistent training to relate very well with children and other pets. Otherwise, they could turn out quite aggressive and antisocial.
What does a Pit Bull and Blue Heeler Mixed Breed look like?
The mix shares a physical resemblance with the American Pit Bull Terrier and the Australian Cattle Dog. It has a muscular body and a thick coat. They come in black, brown or gray undercoat as well as spotted, striped or mottled finishing. It is also famous for its round skull and long body.
Are Pit Heelers aggressive?
If they do not receive adequate training, Pit Heelers may exhibit aggressive tendencies towards strangers and pets. They also have very protective instincts and a high prey drive, leading them to bite and nip. It’s advisable to discourage this temperament in your young Pit Heeler through consistent training.
Is a Pit Heeler puppy easy to train?
Surprisingly, the mixed breed is quite easy to train. It is very obedient and loyal, so it is very likely to listen to commands and adjust appropriately. Also, the pet is eager to please its human owners, thereby making it receive instructions effortlessly.
Is the Pit Heeler dog a low shedder?
Yes, the Pit Heeler is a low shedder, shedding its coat only twice in a year. Although, when in colder climates, Pit Heelers tend to shed all year round.
Are Pit Heeler mixed breed dogs hypoallergenic?
If you have an allergic reaction, dogs like Pit Heelers are suitable keeps. The dog is hypoallergenic since it is a low shedder. It is important to bear in mind, though, that no dog is 100% hypoallergenic.
How much is a Pit Heeler worth?
Although Pit Heelers are in high demand, they attract a lower price from shelters, local pet shops and adoption homes. A puppy costs between $200 to $500. However, this price may be higher when buying from a reputable breeder.