The popularity of the blue heeler is sky rocketing right now as well as the popularity of the various mixes such as the blue heeler kelpie mix and we are seeing more and more questions about keeping a blue heeler as a pet. Due to blue heelers being excellent options for a working dog, especially a herding dog, we have noticed a number of people being curious about using blue heelers as hunting dogs so wanted to publish this article on the topic.
Blue heelers can be trained to be decent hunting dogs but they tend to be better suited for other tasks with other breeds often being better for use as a hunting dog. As with most dogs with intelligence levels similar to that of a blue heeler, if you have the time to train your dog and remain consistent with the training, you should be able to turn out a great hunting dog but the training requirements for other breeds will usually be much lower to get the same results.
Depending on the type of game you plan to use your dog to hunt, labradors, pointers, beagles, spaniels, and most types of hound will be a better fit than a blue heeler when it comes to hunting. Still, due to their popularity as herding dogs, many people in rural areas where hunting with dogs is popular have easy access to blue heeler pups for cheap making them an increasingly popular hunting dog and we only expect this trend to continue in the coming years.
Why Are Blue Heelers Gaining In Popularity?
Blue heelers are seeing such a spike in their popularity right now due to their high intelligence levels, their work ethic, and loving nature making them excellent dogs for most people’s needs. With the breed becoming increasingly popular, there are also more breeders producing blue heeler pups helping to bring the price for a blue heeler dog further increasing the popularity of the breed.
The two main things that you are going to be wanting to take advantage of if you are looking to use your blue heeler as a working dog is its intelligence and work ethic. Both can be used to your advantage when using a blue heeler as a hunting dog as the breed really does love to work but the intelligence levels of the dog can hold them back as a hunter.
This is due to the breed not doing as well as other dog breeds during down time when they have nothing to do and the dog becoming frustrated in some situations. This can result in the dog making noise by rummaging around or barking potentially scaring whatever you are hunting away. The exact opposite is true when using a blue heeler as a herding dog though they are constantly working keeping them focused and avoiding this problem that can hold them back as a hunting dog.
Are Blue Heelers Hunting Dogs?
There are better suited dog breeds for hunting than a blue heeler but over the last couple of years, more and more people are switching over to using a blue heeler as a hunting dog. If you have experience training dogs, particularly hunting dogs then blue heelers may be a good fit for you but they do take consistent effort to train and use as a hunting dog.
The type of game you plan to hunt can also come into play when thinking of using a blue heeler as a hunting dog too. The breed tends to do well with smaller game such as quail, rabbits, and rats with this being one of the better uses for blue heelers as hunting dogs. The fact that blue heelers are courageous and tireless can work to your advantage when using them as a hunting dog though but they can be a little over confident with larger game that can fish back so using multiple blue heelers when hunting may be a better option or switching them out for a different breed of dog altogether.
As we touched on earlier in the article, blue heeler mix breeds are becoming increasingly popular as breeders try to merge the best traits of the blue heeler with the best traits of other species. There are a number of these breeds available with a blue heeler labrador mix being a strong option as a hunting dog but again, this will depend on what you will be hunting as a pedigree labrador can be a much better fit for some tasks than a blue heeler labrador mix.
Can You Train A Blue Heeler To Be A Hunting Dog?
The high intelligence levels of a blue heeler make them a good option for experienced dog trainers looking for a hunting dog that can also be used for other tasks such as herding. Consistency is key when training a blue heeler to be a hunting dog and with proper training, they can be used well in a number of different hunting scenarios with minimal issues when fully trained.
The blue heeler breed tend to do well with positive reinforcement and reward-based training when initially teaching your dog how to act in various hunting situations. Some decent doggy treats can make the training much easier as it can help keep your dog focused but be sure to let your dog get out and about to burn the energy off instead of trying to have it sit in one spot when training it.
You can usually work the exercise phase into the normal training of your blue heeler for the majority of types of hunting anyway so it can serve as a break from the mental training and help you practice various audible ques for your dog when training it. If you are after a gun dog to retrieve birds then this can work well due to it being a solid part of the end goal for your blue heeler when out hunting anyway.
That brings our article going over if blue heelers are good hunting dogs to an end. In our opinion, there are definitely better breeds out there that the majority of people will be able to use as a hunting dog but the blue heeler can work when correctly trained. One advantage of the blue heeler is that is can also perform well in other working dog roles in rural areas helping the breed be used as a multi task working dog if needed.