Labraheeler | Blue Heeler Lab Mix Breed Profile 

One of the more interesting designer dog breeds to surface in the last decade is the Labrador Retriever and Blue Heeler hybrid. This crossbreed has some unique characteristics that makes it a good choice for active families, farms and ranches.

This guide takes an in depth look at the Lab and Blue Heeler mix, followed by some information on both parent breeds.

If you are looking to add a Labraheeler to your pack, be sure to stay tuned for our decision guide, tucked in at the end of this page.


Blue Heeler Lab Mix | The Labraheeler

Temperament

The Labraheeler has been blessed with two parent breeds known for being intelligent and easy to train.

Likewise, both are known to become unruly and destructive if not given proper leadership as well as mental and physical stimulation.

This is a dog that will have high exercise needs. Since both dogs are athletic, dog sports such as agility, dock diving or dog parkour will keep this powerhouse fit and balanced. Outdoor rural living is another setting where this hybrid dog is sure to shine.

Families with small children might be best advised to pick a less high-strung breed. ACDs are not known for being particularly careful with kids, and in some cases, they have been known to try to aggressively herd children and pets alike.

This mix usually brings a good attitude to any adventure.

The Lab brings a little playfulness to the ACDs serious side, making for a designer dog more suited for family life that a pure bred Blue Heeler.


Size

There is a wide variation in size because of the difference between the Lab and ACD. An athletic build between 17-24” with a weight between 35-80 pounds is to be expected.


Coat and Appearance

The parent dogs of this designer dog look very different, down to coat, ears, eyes and tails. Many Blue Heeler Lab mixes are strikingly beautiful, however.

The blue speckled color of the ACD is often found in alternating patches with the solid colors typical of Labs: Black, Chocolate and Yellow. Striking eye patches are also common, and can really make for an expressive face.


Health and Life Expectancy

The average lifespan of this mix breed dog is around 14 years. However as low as 12 and as high as 16 can be expected. There are not many shared congenital issues, making hereditary problems less likely than in many purebred dogs.


Pros/Cons

PROS
  • Athletic and energetic, this is a breed that can work or play all day long.
  • Expect an intelligent dog that needs to be mentally challenged in order to stay balanced.
  • This is a breed that will learn fast with consistent training.
  • More relaxed than the Blue Heeler, the Labraheeler is likely to get along with people and dogs if properly socialized.
CONS
  • This mix can be headstrong, particularly if there is not strong and consistent leadership in the pack.
  • The Lab side of the mix means that everything will need the mouth test. If not kept busy, this can be an extremely destructive dog.
  • The strong drive to please is tied to a dog’s need for the validation and company of their pack. They are not well suited to be left alone during a long work day.

Blue Heeler | Australian Cattle Dog

The Blue Heeler is also known by several other names depending on the region. You may hear them called Australian Cattle Dogs (ACD), or Queensland Heelers.

In fact, when people say “Cattle Dog” most are referring to this breed. Some folks call the red color variations a Red Heeler, although technically this is still a Blue Heeler by breed type.


History

The roots of this breed are found in Australia during the early 1800’s.

Cattle farmers needed a dog that could help keep their herds in line over vast distances in the extreme climate of the Australian Outback.

The herding stock that settlers brought with them from the British Isles had good herding skills, but lacked the perfect combination of endurance and tenacity that these cattle farmers needed.

With the help of crossing with several breeds, the Blue Heeler was recognized as a breed with a fixed breed standard in 1903.

Such crossings over the course of nearly a century included wild Australian Dingos, Smithfields, Blue Smooth Highland Collies, Dalmatians, Bull Terriers and Black and Tan Kelpies.


Temperament

ACDs are well known for being extremely intelligent and trainable… as long as you have a strong and patient personality to match their sometimes stubborn dispositions.

After all, a dog bred to face down a steer weighing over a ton is going to need plenty of tenacity.

This can be a great family dog, although they are better placed in homes without small children since they can decide that “herding” children is their job, and for the Blue Heeler, herding means ankle biting. In addition, they can sometimes develop possessive tendencies and may not have a good attitude about sharing toys.

Hyper vigilant and energetic, ACDs are great companions for those that enjoy hiking, biking or other strenuous outdoor activities.

Another popular hobby with lovers of this breed are dog sports such as agility, and of course, herding trials.


Size

Adult males tend to be between 18-21” with females averaging between 17-19”. Typical weight is between 33-49 pounds, with males slightly heavier than females.


Coat and Appearance

The coat of the Australian Cattle Dog is water resistant.

A thick undercoat is topped with short, smooth and thick top coat. They come in several color variations including mottled blue, speckled blue, and speckled red. Tan “points” are common with the blue variations as well.

They are stockier and shorter than many other herding breeds, yet still quite athletic. Their distinctive coat and intense gaze make them striking to look at, another reason for the popularity of this breed.


Health and Life Expectancy

  • 12-14 years.
  • About 14.5% of ACDs are deaf in one ear, 2.4% are deaf in both.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy is a hereditary problem that affects some Cattle Dogs.

Labrador Retriever

In 2017, to the surprise of no one, the Labrador Retriever ranked number one for the most popular dog breed in America by the AKC.

Oh…and this was the 26th consecutive year in a row the Lab has taken the honor! To say this is a popular dog is a serious understatement!


History

The history of the Labrador Retriever is relatively well documented, and we don’t want to get into too much detail here.

Instead, a few fun facts:

  • The breed was first officially recognized by the Kennel Club in England in 1903, although it was known commonly for at least three decades prior.
  • A chocolate Lab named Buddy joined the Clinton family at the White House in 1997.
  • 1899 marked the year that the very first Yellow Lab appeared, named Ben of Hyde.
  • It was not until the 1930’s that Chocolate Labs appeared on the scene.

Temperament

It is likely that their temperament, both as loyal and trainable sporting dogs and as family pets, is what keeps this breed at the top of popularity year after year.

Labs are friendly and outgoing. They are usually quite good with children and other dogs. They can be quite energetic, particularly until age 3, when many will at least find their “off switch” and learn to enjoy more couch cuddle time.

Intelligent, easy to train, and athletic makes the Lab one of the preferred breeds for dog sports such as agility, flyball and dock diving.

Most Labs adore the water, and of course, a vigorous game of catch. They are also great sniffers and many compete in scent trials or have been trained to detect drugs or bombs.

Some Labs can be quite talkative, and prone to bark at the slightest provocation.

Others, less so. Unless traumatized through neglect or abuse, most of these lighthearted dogs greet strangers with an open heart and wagging tails, making them poor guard dogs.


Size

The breed standard calls for dogs between 22 ½ - 24 ½” and bitches between 21 ½ - 22 ½“. Weight for confirming dogs should be between 65-80 lbs. with bitches coming in 55-70 lbs.

However, it is important to understand that due to the popularity of this breed, there is a much larger variation in size among Labs bred by those not necessarily concerned with confirmation.

In fact, some breeders go out of their way to breed labs that are heavier or shorter, according to regional tastes or to attract customers.


Coat and Appearance

There are only three official colors accepted by the AKC: Black, Chocolate and Yellow.

That being said, there are many breeders selectively breeding for designer colors such as brindle and champagne colored labs which are still technically possible from purebred lines!

Stocky build with a short and dense shiny coat are a few of the characteristic looks of Labrador Retrievers. Floppy ears, soft eyes and a medium muzzle help frame the face of the most popular dog face in America.


Health and Life Expectancy

One of the biggest downsides of Labs are their relatively short lifespans of 10-12 years.

The breed is rather plagued with hip and elbow dysplasia, although good breeding and medical screening can help mitigate the risks. Cataracts, Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Epilepsy are other conditions that can be hereditary for this breed.

A condition called Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia (TVD) is still rare but may be on the rise with Labrador Retrievers.

It is identifiable at birth, so consider having your puppy screened with an ultrasound before purchase or adoption.

Less acute health issues include dermatitis and ear infections, both of which are usually treatable.  


Labraheeler: Is a Blue Heeler and Labrador Mix Right for You?

If you are thinking about finding a Labraheeler to add to your life, consider the following tips before making your decision:

This is a
great dog for

  • Experienced dog trainers looking for a hard-working dog that is eager to please and a joy to play with 
  • Folks that have access to open land or secured outdoor areas for daily exercise. A daily walk around the block isn’t going to cut it! 
  • Ranchers and farmers looking for some help with livestock, but with a companion that is also affectionate and playful 
  • Folks looking for a high drive dog to compete in dog sports
  • Exercise junkies that want a running or cycling mate that can keep up 
  • Outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy fishing, camping, hunting and hiking

This is a poor choice
as a dog for

  • First time dog owners 
  • Apartment dwellers
  • Folks with a sedentary lifestyle looking for a fellow couch potato
  • People that are too soft spoken to correct a dog when necessary
  • Families with small children 
  • People that work long hours and need to leave their dog alone all day

Not quite the right fit? Check out these informative articles on other hybrid dogs with Blue Heeler blood:

We would love to hear from our readers who have a Blue Heeler Lab mix in the comments section below!

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Linda Hansen - April 27, 2018

I have a Labraheeler named Rocky. He’s going on 2 years old. I’ve had him since he was 7 weeks old. He’s always been calm, cool and collected though as he’s getting older he enjoys being outside more. A natural herder for certain! At age 4 1/2 months he herded chickens and roosters into the henhouse without making a sound! And, through a fence to boot! He’s definitely becoming more mouthy as he ages, giving me a quick bark letting me know that he wants out. His coloring is the blue speckle, and throughout his coat I kind of can see the tan color of the Keltie. Very intelligent boy. And has a MARVELOUS sense of humor!

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    wileypup - April 27, 2018

    He sounds amazing Linda! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
Mark - May 6, 2018

I want one

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    Wanda Herrera - June 9, 2018

    I have puppies being born as we speak they will be ready for a new home soon

    Reply
      wileypup - June 12, 2018

      Hope they all make it to their forever homes.

      Reply
      Hootie - August 19, 2018

      Hi Wanda, we are looking for a labrahealer, is your littered all claimed? Going to have another one, or know someone else? I have had several labs in our home, we live on a small farm and think a labrahealer might be a great fit, thanks, Hootie

      Reply
Mark colinger - May 12, 2018

I need a cattle puppy

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Julie - May 14, 2018

Harley is not quite a year old. We adopted him fro the animal shelter at around 7 weeks old. He is white with brindle and brown spots.
Harley is very smart. He has a lot of everything….personality, energy and beauty. He absolutely loves the water, digging, chewing and playtime. He heards and retrieves. He can catch a ball in mid-air. He is such a cool dude. We are glad we adopted him.

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    wileypup - May 14, 2018

    Sounds like Harley’s got the best of both breeds. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Reply
Madie - June 5, 2018

I just rescued a 3 month old Labraheeler, Finn, and he is as sweet as can be! He wants to follow me everywhere, likes to herd our cat, and after only 3 days understands “sit” and “stay”! He really resists being crated at night and will cry out…hoping this will end as we establish a routine. Looking forward to many years of adventures with him!

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    wileypup - June 6, 2018

    Thanks very much for sharing Madie,

    They become a second shadow pretty quick dont they!

    Reply
Wendy - June 6, 2018

We rescued a 4 month old Labraheeler, Domino, last week. He is beautiful, smart, affectionate, and gets on well with our 2 other dogs. He is very active and we keep him as busy as we can. He is mostly blue Merle in coloring, with tan and white legs, floppy black ears, webbed feet, and black eye patches. He is an amazing dog in every way.

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    wileypup - June 12, 2018

    He sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing Wendy!

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Jessica - June 8, 2018

As a heeler owner… I don’t care what you mix it with, if you’ve never had a heeler before and you don’t live on a farm, you don’t want one ? they’re cute and smart and terrible lol.

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    wileypup - June 12, 2018

    All the emotions 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

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    Christian - August 12, 2018

    Jessica, after 2 months of having a labraheeler puppy, starting at 3 months of age, I couldn’t agree with you more. It doesn’t matter what they are mixed with. I have to say that he is a great addition to the family and he seems to be somewhat calmer as he ages.

    Reply
Bria - June 29, 2018

I have a blue heeler black lab mix named Ringo Star and he’s such a good dog. He does chew on pretty much everything, but we have him in a decent sized backyard so can play all day long with his toys without limitations. We used to crate him, but he was miserable, so we moved to a place with a backyard. He’s a very good listener and learned really fast as far as potty training, sit, stay, no, and drop. He still has accidents every now and then, but for the most part, he lets us know when he needs to go potty. He’s still only 3 mos old, so I’m hoping he’ll get better with time and more training!

He loves all other animals and kids, especially other dogs (Pitbulls are his favorite best friends), he just hasn’t learned not to nip and jump up on people, which is why I can see why they say don’t bring them around young kids. I do have 3 kids that love him though and he’s getting better every day!

He’s a great family animal with a lot of love and energy! He’s beautiful with his sleek black coat and little white spots on his belly and has the cutest little puppy eyes! This mix is a great pet and has so much love to give <3

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    wileypup - July 2, 2018

    How goods the name!

    Thanks for sharing Bria, Ringo sounds like a beautiful dog!

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Joanne - July 9, 2018

Rescued a 2mth old labaheeler she is white with gold strip down her back little pink on nose from a high kill shelter in GA. She’s going to be a year. Those ears that face smart. No crate.

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Lanae cherniske - August 17, 2018

We have a 3-4 year old black lab/blue heeler mix. She was an emotional support dog to an elderly couple who had to go into a nursing home and was re-homed with a family with a cat who terrorized her. We have had her for 8 months now for my children with autism ( I have 2 but the older we wanted her for). She is now basically his service dog. She sleeps with him, lays with him when he is upset, licks his face to interrupt self-harm, comes to me when kids are fighting, and runs after him to coax him home when he gets upset and runs off. She is very loyal- was anxious at 1st and definitely does not like to be alone. Thankfully my husband and I rotate hours st work and do community stuff with disabled kids so she joins us fine. We have only heard her bark maybe 3 x and only 1 bark each time. Never had accidents , very loyal and smart. Definitely likes treats. She seems to have some skin conditions we are trying to resolve and often clogged anal glands but other then that pretty healthy. We are feeding her grain free but not resolved yet. She will cuddle and relax a lot but also keep up on runs when kids go on bike rides.

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    wileypup - August 17, 2018

    Thanks very much for sharing Lanae.

    She sounds like an amazing dog, great addition to your family. Really highlights the positives of adopting a mature dog as well 🙂

    Reply
laura - September 11, 2018

Quick question, we adopted a labraheeler from the pound about a year ago. he is on the larger side of the breed “near 70 pounds” but I am concerned as his back end is nearly as thin as a grey hound, is this typical for their breed? Not used to a dog with a huge front body and such a thin side. Mostly thin near the lower intestine area around the belly portion

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    wileypup - September 11, 2018

    Hi Laura,

    It’s very hard to say with mix breeds, they can sometimes be a little bit disproportionate. Have your vet check him out next time you take him and see if they have any suggestions.
    Might be more swimming for your pup which I’m sure he’ll love 🙂

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    LAURA e GRIFFIN - September 21, 2018

    I have changed his diet to home cooked rice chicken carrots a peas plus some good dog food to see if he fills out more.like i said he is on the larger side closing in on the 70lb mark. I was concerned because he was asopted and returned as a puppy ti the pound due to he ate something and was looking at surgery but aftee being abonded back to the shelter he passed what ever it was. That has me concerned.

    I can without a doubt he is probably one of the most affectionate dogs I’ve ever had the pleasure of being directly involved with. He’s actually my first personal dog but I’m routinely amazed at how loving he is with me especially when it comes to night night time. You always find him curled up right next to me either with his back up against me curled up in a hug or his head buried up against me just so comforting. And the whole article about their energy is correct we adopted another dog and all they do is play fight day in and Day Out

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April - September 18, 2018

I have Blacklab blue heeler. I found him inside the woods were I just moved into my house in Country on 5 acres he just a puppy. I hard something at 3am by my window brake I told my mom we want outside pick him up brought home, freed, bath him.i took him to vet, ask them if belong to someone they said no. I took home, raised him so cute,loving dog. About a month later I was in a bad car accident on June 1st 2017 I was in the hospital for 8 months and ICU for 7 days they have pronounce me dead on June 1st 2017 in the morning I was on the news on TV and papers I was hit by a drunk driver he had everything on him but after I was in the hospital my mom and dad came up there with my kids and show me pictures of Flaco he’s very overprotective of my family and my my son and my mom and me when I came home he recognized me he came up to me and gave me a hug and kiss any miss me real bad I missed him he’s my best friend and I love you so much he’s there when I need somebody to talk to or to lean on or play with I’ve been in a wheelchair since I’ve been out of the hospital because I had nobody else but he always been there for me and for my family he’s overprotective of me you will not let nobody come near me or around me he’s very aggressive but he listens to me and my mom and my son if he does not know you you will growl at you and come at you that’s how much overprotective he is with us mostly mean I love him very much he’s my pride and joy he’s my best friend he’s only a year old we celebrate his birthday May 1st I’ve 2017 he’s a big black dog with healers on him he likes to hunt and fishing and playing and other things too now that he’s older is looking for another mate asking if anyone has another Blue Heeler mixed with lab I like to make puppies with him before I get him fixed thank you and God bless you

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    wileypup - September 18, 2018

    Hi April,

    Really sorry to hear about your accident and am happy you have an amazing 4 legged sidekick to help you with your recovery 🙂 He sounds like just what you need.

    Reply
Mandi - October 12, 2018

We are about to bring a 10 week old Black Lab/Blue Heeler mix home tomorrow! Our Son, Kai, just turned 1 year in AUG and since he is an only child, we wanted to get him a Buddy!

I have heard pros/cons regarding these mixes and young children, but we are ready to do what we need in regards to training – our puppy and our Son lol – to make this work!

If anyone has any previous experiences with this mix and young children, I would love to hear it -good and bad, if any.

We are excited to have him join our family, and have decided to call him Loki 🙂

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    Stephanie - November 1, 2018

    We have a 4 month old Labraheeler and a 17 month old toddler. The energy of the pup and his jumping and nipping (herding) is the only issue. But I’ve noticed a world of difference in the last month as far as him improving. I know he will be an absolutely amazing companion for us all. He loves us all so much, is stubborn as a mule, but sharp as a tack! He follows us all everywhere we go. He learned sit in 3 or 4 commands, lay down in 3 or 4 days, and shake in about 2 weeks. And that wasn’t constant training… I know if I had worked with him more, he would have learned faster! He definitely needs an hour of playtime, or he will destroy anything he gets his teeth into! Including, but not limited to, any and all of my toddler’s toys, our shoes, and will even dig up my tree in the backyard multiple times. Despite all this, he’s just a pup, and we love him so much! But patience, and consistent training is a definite must with this breed!

    Reply
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