A mini Heeler is a small Heeler, a breed known for its intelligence and high-energy. The Heeler or the Australian Cattle Dog was actually bred to herd cattle so these dogs want to be busy and active most of the time.
They have to release their energy or they will resort to amusing themselves by doing something you consider mischievous like digging up the garden.
The ideal mini Heeler weighs 15 to 30 lbs and stands at 13″ to 15″ tall. Dogs that weigh 15 lbs or less and are 12″ tall or less can be considered toy size mini Heelers. Their coloring can be red or blue speckle.
Blue-mottled or blue speckled mini Heelers have tan, black or blue markings on their head. They are partially tan on the chest, throat and forelegs and tan on the hind legs and jaw. They may have a tan undercoat and a blue outer coat.
Red speckled mini Heelers have a red undercoat. They may also have dark red spots on their head.
Mini Heeler Care Tips
Since these dogs have lots of energy, you have to keep them active and happy. This means that mini Heelers are not for everyone. They are a bad match for first time dog owners, but terrific companions to experienced dog lovers who understand working dogs.
Mini Heelers have a short, double coat that can resist dirt and water. They have a thick undercoat that blows once or two times a year. The undercoat will shed in clumps. What’s good about this breed is that you don’t have to give them a bath unless they are really dirty.
Some grooming is required to keep them clean. They need to be brushed once in a while to get rid of dirt and to distribute oils. Mini Heelers need to be brushed more often when they shed to get rid of the dead hair. You also need to brush their teeth twice or thrice a week to eliminate tartar buildup. Daily brushing can help prevent bad breath and gum disease.
If they don’t wear down their nails naturally, you have to cut them once a month. Doing so will keep their feet in great shape. If you don’t know how to trim dog nails, it is best that you take your dog to a professional groomer.
You should also check his ears every week for bad odor or redness. Wipe their ears using a cotton ball dipped in gentle ear cleaner to prevent infections. Clean only the outer ear.
Grooming should be a positive experience for your mini Heeler. Praise him and give him rewards, so he will look forward to the grooming session. Don’t forget to check for rashes, sores, tenderness or other signs of infection in the mouth, eyes and nose. Their eyes should not have any discharge or redness.
Depending on his size, you have to give your pet 1.5 – 2.5 cups of food daily. His needs will depend on his body weight, activity level, age and the amount of calories that his food contains. Measure your mini Heeler’s food and divide it into 2 meals. You can also give him healthy snacks in between meals.
To check if your pet is overweight, you can give him the hands-on and eye test. When you look down at your pet, his waist should be visible. Put both of your hands on your dog’s back. Spread your fingers downward. Your thumbs should be placed along his spine.
If you cannot see your pet’s ribs without pressing hard, he needs more exercise and less food.
This breed is relatively healthy. They only have a couple of common genetic conditions such as progressive retinal atrophy, orthopedic problems and deafness. Orthopedic issues can include elbow or hip dysplasia and slipped kneecaps.
Mini Heeler Training
Mini Heelers are cautious, willful and smart. They will do well with an expert owner who can handle their high energy and activities. Knowing your pet will make training easier on your part.
He should know his name, so it will be easy for you to call him. He will also understand much more quickly that he’s being commanded. You can whistle or clap while calling his name. This breed performs well in agility classes and obedience rings.
You can start with the basic command “sit.” Say his name first and tell him to “sit” in a clear voice. Your tone should be demanding. Guide him by gently pushing his butt downwards. He will need some practice until he masters the command. Don’t teach him other commands until he masters “sit.”
You can now proceed to the “down” command. Show him that you’re holding a treat. Say the “sit” command and then put the treat in front of your pet. Say “down.” Again, guide your pet downward after saying the “down” command.
Remember that this breed is a herding dog, so you have to consider their natural instinct as well. They might nip at other people and pets. Make sure that your children are aware of your dog’s natural instinct to nip, so they won’t be surprised.
Teaching your dog the basic commands “sit,” “leave it,” “give me,” “stand down” will be useful when you’re training them not to nip. Don’t forget to reward your mini Heeler with praises, pats and treats to encourage good behavior.
Teaching your pet the word “no” is also important. When he hears this word, he should stop whatever bad behavior he is displaying. Don’t beat your dog because this will destroy your relationship with him. Start training your mini Heeler as early as possible because it’s easier to train a puppy than an adult dog.
You can take your pet to obedience classes. This is also a good way to socialize your pet. This breed is territorial by nature, so socializing your dog will help him accept other people and pets.