The blue heeler (Australian cattle dog) is an energetic, intelligent and compact dog with a healthy disposition and, usually, a fierce loyalty toward its human. All of these traits make the Blue Heeler an exceptional athlete, suitable for a wide range of sports. Competition can help encourage the human/canine bond, improve training, and offer a fun hobby that promotes good health. Dozens of dog sports have achieved popularity throughout the United States and Europe, but here are the top five for which blue heelers are uniquely qualified.
Possibly the most popular competitive dog sport in the United States, agility attracts athletic dogs of all shapes and sizes. The blue heeler is an ideal competitor with the speed and agility to quickly master the jumps, catwalks, A-frames, tunnels and more that populate a typical agility course.
Put simply, flyball is the age-old game of fetch – on steroids. Dogs must run in relays over a series of hurdles on a 51-foot course, trigger the flyball box that sends a ball flying, catch the ball, and then come back over the hurdles. Heelers have the innate intelligence and single-mindedness to excel in this fast-growing sport. While Casper doesn’t have any flyball clubs as of March, 2013, it is well worth a trip to join Laramie’s fast-growing flyball team in their practices and tournaments.
Just like the name sounds, the sport of dock jumping involves racing down a dock and then leaping into water after a flying ball. Judges rate the competitors based on either the height or distance of their jump, and some competitions also include speed jumps. The blue heeler’s fearless disposition and compact, muscular body allow it to compete in either category.
Similar to dock jumping, disc dog challenges a dog to race after a flying object – in this case, a plastic or rubber flying disc – and catch it with the most speed and style. It has the advantage of allowing competitors to practice anywhere, and competitions don’t rely on water – a big plus for dry and land-locked Wyoming.
A literal translation of Schutzhund is “protection dog,” and that’s exactly what competitors learn to be. The Schutzhund dog learns virtually everything that a police dog learns, including threat neutralization, search and rescue, and more. The bold temperament and loyalty of a blue heeler combine with its athletic abilities to make it a frequent contender in this challenging sport.
Blue heelers must have a job, but their overall athleticism and versatility make them dream dogs for the right home. They excel in dog sports that play on their intelligence and trainability, and have the tenacity to tackle even the most challenging competitions.