Blue-Tzu Heeler (Blue Heeler & Shih-Tzu Mix)
|Height:||10 – 18 inches|
|Weight:||10 – 35 pounds|
|Lifespan:||10 – 14 years|
|Colors:||White, blue, black|
|Suitable for:||Active families, or active individuals who work from home, experienced dog owners|
|Temperament:||Protective, Loyal, Affectionate, Stubborn, Playful, Energetic|
There’s no question, the Blue-Tzu Heeler is an interesting mix that most people would never conceive of. But someone did, and the result is a protective but playful dog that’s loyal to a fault and as loving as any pet owner could hope for.
If you’ve never heard of the Blue-Tzu Heeler before, you’re not alone. This rare designer breed is pretty new to the scene, so it hasn’t had time to become very well-known, but their popularity is growing quickly.
The Blue-Tzu Heeler is a mix between the Blue Heeler, which is an Australian Cattle Dog, and the Shih-Tzu; about as unlikely of a match as you’re likely to see. But surprisingly, it’s a great combination that produces puppies with an adorable look and a loving demeanor.
What results most often is a dog with the face of a Shih-Tzu, but the athletic body of a Cattle Dog, albeit, in a more compact package. They generally have the coloration of a Blue Heeler and inherit that breed’s protective instincts and desire to please. But that’s tempered with the Shih-Tzu’s playful and affectionate personality, which leaves the Blue-Tzu Heeler with a constant desire for its human’s attention.
Blue-Tzu Heeler Puppies – Before You Get One…
What’s the Price of Blue-Tzu Heeler Puppies?
Because the Blue-Tzu Heeler is such a new breed, there’s a lot of inconsistency in the pricing of these puppies. Both parents are also very popular breeds, so there’s a lot of incentive to continue breeding them as purebreds instead of crossbreeding them. Still, some breeders are producing Blue-Tzu Heelers and you can find them for purchase.
Blue Heelers tend to sell for about $800 to $1,500 from reputable sources. Shih-Tzus are a bit less expensive, generally falling the range of about $500-$1,000. Occasionally, you’ll see Shih-Tzus selling for more, but it’s rare.
Because the pricing of Blue-Tzu Heelers isn’t fully established yet, you can expect to pay anywhere from $500-$1,500 for a puppy. Most of them will fall in the $600-$1,000 range, but some breeders will capitalize on the rarity of the breed and charge a premium.
When purchasing from a breeder, make sure to do your research. Check if the breeder has a good reputation for producing healthy puppies devoid of health concerns. Also, check the conditions of the facility when you get there. Make sure everything is clean and the puppies are well cared for.
Since Blue-Tzu Heelers are a new and somewhat hard to find breed, it’s unlikely that you’ll find one up for adoption in a local shelter.
3 Little-Known Facts About the Blue-Tzu Heeler
1. Its Parents Were Bred For Very Different Purposes
Cattle Dogs are working dogs that were bred for herding cattle, as their name suggests. They’re incredibly intelligent, hard-working, and very athletic.
Shih-Tzus are much smaller dogs that were bred as a companion breed for royalty in Tibet, all the way back in the 17th century. They’ve long been used in dog shows but were never intended as any sort of working dog.
It took quite a long time for these two dogs to be joined into a single breed, which makes sense since they were originally bred with such different intentions.
2. They Have A Natural Protective Instinct
Cattle Dogs have a very strong protective instinct. They naturally take on the role of guardian and will fight to protect their family and loved ones. It’s a well-known trait within the breed.
Though the Blue-Tzu Heeler may be much smaller in stature, they still tend to be just as naturally protective as their Blue Heeler parents. They are always alert and will let you know if there’s ever a threat or danger. Should such a situation arise, your Blue Heeler mix dog won’t take a back seat. They’ll be right at the front of the pack, ready to fight to protect their family.
3. Blue-Tzu Heelers Are Stubborn Like Their Parents
Though Blue Heelers and Shih-Tzus may not seem like they have much in common, there is one trait they both share — stubbornness. Both breeds are known for their stubborn streak and independence.
A stubborn dog may not seem like such a big deal, but it can make them quite difficult to train. Because of this, they’re not always the best bet for an inexperienced dog owner. They need a firm hand to properly train them, and training is accepted best when started early in the dog’s life.
Temperament & Intelligence of the Blue-Tzu Heeler
Blue-Tzu Heelers are gaining popularity rapidly due to their cute looks and loving personalities. They’re very affectionate dogs that crave human interaction. Your Blue-Tzu Heeler won’t want to be left alone for long periods, instead, preferring to accompany you on every outing.
These are also highly intelligent pups that have a strong desire to please. They can learn quickly, though their stubborn streak may sometimes get in the way. But they’re very capable of learning and their intelligence is blatant.
Like Cattle Dogs, Blue-Tzu Heelers are full of energy. They seem to rarely run out of playful energy to expend! Playtime is all the time for these dogs, so be sure that you have plenty of energy of your own to devote to playing with your Blue-Tzu Heeler. They don’t need too much space since they’re pretty small dogs, but they do need lots of attention and exercise.
Are These Dogs Good for Families?
Blue-Tzu Heelers do tend to make great family pets. They can get along well with every family member and also tend to do well with children. Because this breed loves to play so much, having children around to provide constant playmates works well with Blue-Tzu Heelers.
But they may not do so well with kids who don’t know how to behave with a dog. If the kids tease or otherwise pester your Blue-Tzu Heeler, it won’t be so happy. But in general, they do well with children and make great family companions.
Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?
Blue-Tzu Heelers usually get along just fine with other pets. They do have a natural herding instinct, so it’s not uncommon for them to attempt to herd the other pets, and even sometimes children!
If your Blue-Tzu Heeler gets more genes from the Cattle Dog side of the family, it’s possible that it may have a pretty strong prey drive. This can make it less agreeable with other, smaller pets. But if you socialize your Blue-Tzu Heeler from an early age, you should be able to mitigate this issue and train it out of your dog.
Things to Know When Owning a Blue-Tzu Heeler
Food & Diet Requirements 🦴
Blue-Tzu Heelers are rather small dogs, topping out at about 35 pounds. Because of this, they don’t tend to need too much food. One to two cups of high-quality dry dog food each day should suffice.
Like many other smaller breeds of dog, Blue-Tzu Heelers can easily become overweight if given too much food. They’ll often eat whatever is given, so you’ll want to monitor how much you’re feeding your puppy to ensure you don’t let it get overweight. These are pretty active dogs so they’ll generally work the food right off, but they can still be prone to overeating if given the opportunity.
This is where the Blue-Tzu Heeler starts to be a bit high-maintenance. They’re very active dogs with tons of energy. All of that energy needs an outlet, so you’ll need to exercise your Blue-Tzu Heeler quite a lot.
Because they’re a smaller-sized dog, they don’t need excessively large yards to run around in. But they do need structured play and exercise each day, so 30-60 minutes of play and exercise should suffice.
There’s no question that Blue-Tzu Heelers are highly intelligent and can be trained very well. But they can be really stubborn, which can make the process much more difficult.
Because of how stubborn they are, a strong hand is needed when training these dogs. It’s best if you have some previous experience in dog training before attempting to train a Blue-Tzu Heeler.
Shih-Tzus have a coat that’s very similar to hair, and most Blue-Tzu heelers have inherited a similar coat. They tend to be easier on people with allergies, but they’re not hypoallergenic.
This breed does shed, so you’ll want to perform weekly grooming sessions to keep the loose hair and matting to a minimum. Moreover, this will help reduce shedding and keep your Blue-Tzu Heeler’s coat looking healthy.
You’ll also need to do some trimming of the coat around the ears, head, tail, and possibly feet. You can perform this yourself or take your dog to the groomer for an easier time.
Health and Conditions 🏥
One of the benefits of mixing different dog breeds is that you can minimize some of the health concerns that often plague a particular breed. But there are no guarantees about what health problems might affect a crossbred dog.
Overall, the Blue-Tzu Heeler tends to be a rather healthy breed, but there are still some health conditions that you should look out for. Cattle Dogs tend to be very hardy and not have many medical issues, but Shih-Tzus have quite a few common ailments and some of those may present themselves in your Blue-Tzu Heeler.
Progressive retinal atrophy: Abbreviated as PRA, progressive retinal atrophy is a series of similar eye issues that can plague many breeds of dog. It causes blindness, but slowly. First, you’ll notice that your dog can’t see at night any longer. Then, they’ll lose the ability to see in the light as well. There is no cure for PRA, but luckily, it’s not a painful disease.
Hip dysplasia: This is a condition that tends to affect larger dogs the most, but it can be passed down genetically even in smaller dog breeds. When a dog has hip dysplasia, their hip malformed so the top of their leg bone doesn’t fit in the hip socket properly. This causes the leg bone to rub on the hip uncomfortably, causing pain and limiting movement.
The symptoms get worse as the dog ages. Unfortunately, there is no way to cure hip dysplasia. But with treatment and proper care, you can help minimize the pain and a dog with this disease can still live a healthy and long life.
Ear infections: Ear infections are a relatively minor issue, but they’re much more common in dogs than in humans because of how their ear canals are shaped. In fact, as much as 20% of dogs have an ear disease of some type that causes ear infections. Luckily, these are treatable and won’t cause a loss of standard of living for your dog.
- Ear infections
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Hip dysplasia
Male vs Female
The biggest difference between male and female Blue-Tzu Heelers is their physical size. Males tend to be on the larger end of the spectrum; weighing as much as 35 pounds and reaching a maximum height of about 18 inches.
Females are a bit smaller, though. They’re usually 15 inches tall at the most, and less than 20 pounds.
Final Thoughts on the Blue-Tzu Heeler
Unique and hard to find, the Blue-Tzu Heeler is a newer breed with some very desirable personality traits. They’re incredibly loving and affectionate, loyal to a fault, and are naturally very protective of their family. Plus, they’re incredibly intelligent, full of energy, and as playful as a pup can be.
This breed has a good mix of intelligence and loyalty from the working dog side of their genetics, and the loving lapdog demeanor of their Shih-Tzu parents as well. It’s a great mix that might seem strange at first, but as soon as you meet one, you’ll be convinced of what a great breed they are as well.
Featured Image Credit: Liliya Fadeeva, Shutterstock