This mixed dog breed has a lot to offer, but these high-energy dogs are definitely not a good match for every family. Here's what you need to know about this breed.
Blue Heeler and Jack Russell mix history
The Blue Heeler was developed in Australia as a dog to help work the herds of British immigrants to the continent. The dogs that were imported from England couldn't handle working herds over the extremely harsh and vast terrain of the Australian plains.
Therefore, they were bred with the native dingoes which had been brought to the continent with its earliest inhabitants. The goal was to develop a dog that was tough and strong enough to handle the harsh terrain, energetic enough to herd cattle over vast stretches of land, and intelligent and biddable enough to respond appropriately to the handler.
The Jack Russell was bred to be fast and strong enough to run with hounds but small enough to go to ground after game. This little dog had to be sufficiently tenacious to chase badgers, foxes, and other aggressive prey underground.
They would go into a tunnel without knowing what they would encounter, a job that required incredible bravery. Over time, the original Russell Terrier was divided into two breeds: the Parson Russell Terrier end the Jack Russell. Although this terrier is small and cute, it is a true working dog, with all of the tenacity and determination required to be one of the best hunters of any breed.
Temperament and personality of the Blue Heeler and Jack Russell mix
Both the Blue Heeler and the Russell have been developed as intense working dogs with tremendous amounts of energy and drive. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that a combination of these two dogs is also highly energetic and tenacious.
This is a spirited pet with tons of personality. This dog is unlikely to be afraid of anything. Expect your Blue Heeler Jack Russell mix to take on any challenge with enthusiasm and never back down from a fight.
Appearance of this mixed breed
A Blue Heeler Jack Russell mix may develop the distinctive short legs of the Jack Russell Terrier or may have the longer legs of a Blue Heeler. Either way, expect a muscular, compact body. The Jack Russell Terrier comes in three different coat types: smooth, broken, and rough.
Blue Heelers have a smooth double-layered coat that is generally a few inches long. Depending on what kind of coat your dog's Jack Russell parent has, your Heeler Jack Russel could end up with a distinctly scruffy appearance or a smooth, short coat.
Australian Cattle Dogs tend to have a speckled or mottled coat in colors of red and blue with white. Jack Russells have a coat with a base of white that could be entirely white or could have tan, brown, black, cream, or tri-color markings. All of this variety in the parent breeds means that there could be a great deal of variety in your Jack Russell Blue Heeler mix.
Training and Exercise needs of a Blue Heeler and Jack Russell mixed dog
If you're just looking for a cute dog that will turn heads, this is not the breed for you. It probably isn't the best dog for first-time dog owners either. Your Blue Heeler Jack Russell mix will need lots of mental activities in the form of canine sports and games as well as physical exercise to keep them happy and well-behaved.
The Heeler Jack Russel has extremely high energy that can easily get them into trouble if they're not provided with intense exercise and a job to do. From the time your Blue Heeler Jack is a puppy, they need plenty of training in basic obedience.
It is also important to realize that there are some things you may not be able to train out of or into this breed. They are likely to have a very high prey drive thanks to the Jack Russell. They may also tend to nip heels, particularly with children, thanks to the herding characteristics of the Blue Heeler.
Grooming a Blue Heeler and Jack Russell mix
Regardless of what kind of coat your Blue Heeler Jack Russell mix has, grooming will likely be very straightforward. This mix is likely to have a fairly wash and wear coat that isn't prone to tangling or matting and can be maintained with basic brushing.
Depending on how much of the Blue Heeler is in the coat, your dog may have a double coat that sheds a fair amount, which you may want to brush regularly to keep the shed hair from ending up in your house and on your furniture.
Health and life expectancy of this breed
Both of these breeds tend to be fairly healthy dogs. The Blue Heeler has one of the longest average lifespans of any dog of its size, typically between 12 and 16 years. The Jack Russell Terrier is also fairly long-lived, usually between 12 and 14 years.
If your dog inherits the short legs of the Jack Russell, they may be prone to potential health issues in the hips and back. Be sure to have your veterinarian check your dog regularly, particularly because the high-energy activities that these dogs enjoy can be hard on their bodies.
Fun Facts about this mixed dog
- Both of the parent breeds of the Blue Heeler Jack Russell mix were developed in Australia, although their roots are in England
- Both the Jack Russell Terrier and the Blue Heeler were developed for function over looks
- The Blue Heeler Jack Russell mix can have a wide range of coat and color variations, but the chances are good that your dog will be attractive and have an interesting appearance
How much does this breed cost?
This is not a dog that is likely to be bred on purpose, so it's more likely that you'll find this Blue Heeler mix dog at an animal shelter or as a result of an accidental breeding than as the offspring of American Kennel Club registered parents from a deliberate pairing.
Since both of these dogs are popular on ranches and farms, it may be that an accidental litter is produced. It is possible, although unlikely, that the dogs may be deliberately bred to create a better working dog for either hunting or herding. For the most part, though, expect to pay a minimal adoption fee if you can find this mixed dog.
Do they make good family pets?
While individual dogs may do well with children, it is important that they get early socialization within the family from the time they are young and that children are carefully supervised to prevent them from teasing the dog, who may not hesitate to defend itself and take disciplining a child into their own hands.
While many Jack Russell Blue Heeler mixes are very loyal, their strong instincts can cause problems within the family. If you are considering this mix as a family dog, it is best to think carefully before making your decision
Are they easy to train?
Blue Heelers are extremely intelligent and highly trainable. They need to be able to listen to their owner's commands very carefully as they work large and difficult herds of semi-wild cattle on the Australian plains.
Jack Russell Terriers also tend to be extremely intelligent, but they are much more independent. It is up to the hunter to follow the terrier, not up to the terrier to listen to the commands of the hunter. Therefore, your mix may be a little bit on the stubborn side and more likely to follow their own drives and instincts than to listen to your commands much of the time.
My experience as the liaison of integrative medicine, neurology, and zoo medicine at UF Small Animal Hospital gave me valuable insight into the challenges faced by pet owners with animals who have medical conditions. My time there also gave me the opportunity to care for a disabled dog and write a book about the experience.
As manager of a dog daycare, I learned about how dogs play and interact, warning signs for aggression, and how to rehabilitate dog-reactive dogs. During my time there I was under the mentorship of two groomers, from whom I learned grooming essentials.
I currently work with high-risk shelter dogs and manage a blog to help other volunteers and foster families. I have two dogs of my own, a Maltese and a Standard Poodle.