Australian cattle dogs and dachshunds are at entirely different ends of the spectrum of dog breeds. One is more commonly a cuddly lap dog; the other is a hyper working dog out in the fields. But what happens when you mix these two very different breeds?
The mix between an Australian cattle dog and a dachshund is called a doxie heeler. The name originates from the common nicknames of the two dogs: blue heelers and doxies. Doxie heelers can have any mix of traits from either breed. They are not always bred 50% heeler and 50% doxie, but they often have the dachshund’s shorter legs.
Keep reading to find out where the doxie heeler came from and the different traits they can inherit from the two parent breeds.
Doxie Heeler or Australian Cattle Dog-Dachshund Mix
When you mix an Australian cattle dog with a dachshund, the resultant offspring is the doxie heeler. The name is derived from the common nicknames of either breed — an Australian cattle dog is a “heeler,” and the dachshund’s common nickname is a “doxie.”
The doxie heeler mix is not a very common breed, but the combination makes for very sweet, beautiful dogs, much loved by anyone who has one! As a mixed breed, you won’t find doxie heelers listed by the American Kennel Club as a stand-alone breed.
The mixed breed is seldomly a perfect 50/50 mix of two purebreds either. Doxie heeler puppies often inherit a varying mix of both breeds, with some puppies taking on more traits from the mother and some taking on more traits from the father.
Doxie heeler dogs are also bred with other doxie heelers in an effort to get more consistent-looking offspring instead of mixing the two separate breeds of heeler and doxie directly.
When this happens, the two parents may have varying amounts of the two main breeds present in their genetics already. Mixing the two mixed breeds only leaves more room for differences between puppies and less of a balance between the two original breeds.
Common Australian Cattle Dog Traits
The Australian cattle dog, or ACD, is an alert breed with a curious and kind temperament. They are medium- to large-sized dogs originally bred to herd livestock (source)
The Australian Cattle Dog Appearance
The ACD’s coat is the breed’s most distinctive trait, with beautifully speckled coats in either blue or red. Puppies are born white but speckle as they mature. Their hair is short to medium length and generally quite coarse.
Their coats often have solid patches of color, and, most of the time, they have solid markings of color on their faces as well.
The ACD is a relatively stocky dog with stocky legs. They have a muscular build and are highly agile.
The breed is very athletic and requires a lot of physical activity, such as runs. Along with physical activity, they also need mental stimulation, like dog training exercises, to stay happy and healthy.
The Australian Cattle Dog Temperament
When it comes to intelligence, the Australian cattle dog will outsmart us all. This breed is known for its intelligence, fast reflexes, and loyalty to their owners.
The ACD has a naturally suspicious nature when it comes to strangers and requires early socialization to avoid problems. They are a courageous breed with a strong willingness to do work.
Their gentle side originates from creating the modern version of the breed, where Dalmatians were bred with ACD’s to acquire their faithfulness and ease with horses.
For another interesting cattle dog mix, read our article on the husky-cattle dog mix.
Common Dachshund Traits
Dachshunds are much loved and very well-known all around the world. Commonly referred to as doxies or sausage dogs, this breed is a very popular pet breed bred initially to assist in hunting badgers.
The Dachshund Appearance
The appearance of a dachshund is well-known, with a long, straight body and short legs. Their ears are big and flopping, and their snouts are long and pointy. Despite their unique build, dachshunds have good body carriage with well-built muscle tone (source).
The dachshund’s coat comes in three lengths — long fine hair, wire hair, or short hair. Their coats can display a wide variety of colors, including brown or ginger, black and tan, brindled, and grey.
Along with various coat lengths and colors, this breed has two sizes — standard size and miniature.
Traditionally, miniature dachshunds are predominantly short-haired with black and tan color. However, they can come in other colors and coat lengths as well. Mini’s are much more common as house pets for their convenient size.
The Dachshund Temperament
Dachshunds have a very loud bark and are renowned for being incredible watchdogs. They are highly alert and have an excellent sense of smell.
This breed has a huge personality in a tiny package! They are cunning and brave, often too brave for their own good, and can be very stubborn.
Curious in nature, along with their sense of smell, dachshunds are notorious food thieves. As such, they are highly prone to obesity.
Common Doxie Heeler Traits
Doxie heelers are not bred very often, and very little is known about the breed combo. In many cases, each puppy in the litter is different. Their personality traits are a unique mix of the two parent breeds.
Doxie Heeler Appearance
While doxie heelers can show a mix of genetics from either parent, when it comes to appearance, there is a trend.
In general, doxie heelers inherit the well-known speckling from the Australian cattle dog and the shorter-legged, long-bodied structure of the dachshund. The breed is generally stocky in build and has good athletic ability, with tons of energy to match!
Doxie Heeler Temperament
With the combination of two working breeds, one a hunting dog, the other a herding dog, the doxie heeler is highly intelligent and does well with good training and lots of stimulation.
Typically, you can expect a doxie heeler to be well natured with a lot of personality. If you are able to meet the parents when adopting your doxie heeler, you can gain some insight into his or her expected traits.
Understanding both parent breeds can also help you to understand more about the possible personality traits your doxie heeler may have.
For example, suppose your dog is much closer to small in size, with dachshund ears, snout, and body, and the only trait he has from the Australian cattle dog is the speckles. In that case, he is most likely going to behave more like a dachshund than an Australian cattle dog.
Is a Doxie Heeler a Good Family Dog?
Neither of the two parent breeds is considered the best dog for a family environment. However, both breeds tend to do well with children and will most likely not be a bad choice for your family, depending on a few factors.
The main aspect to consider is whether your family is very active as both breeds benefit from a lot of stimulation, both physically and mentally.
Disease Risks of Doxie Heelers
Each dog breed has a list of diseases that are common to that particular breed. When you look into a breed that you would like to adopt, it is always a good idea to learn about the potential health risks your new dog may face and how to cope with them or avoid them.
When you consider the health of a mixed breed like the doxie heeler, it is best to learn about each parent breed’s potential health risks in the mix. When both breeds are prone to the same ailments, it is much more likely that these ailments will be present in your dog.
Breed Specific Ailments
The most common ailments ACD’s are prone to include hip and elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and deafness (source). Although the appearance of a dachshund is one of the main attractions to the breed, their long spines leave them at high risk for canine intervertebral disc disease (source).
Even a healthy dachshund can suffer spinal injuries. It is most important to take care when handling them as simple acts such as jumping up or off of high furniture can increase their risk of injury (source).
Other dachshund ailments commonly related to obesity include diabetes, joint issues, and decreased stamina. They’re also prone to hip dysplasia, eye problems, and canine Cushing’s disease.
Health Problems Shared by the Parent Breeds
Dachshunds and Australian cattle dogs do not have many health problems in common. However, both breeds are prone to joint problems, especially later in life, including hip dysplasia and elbow problems.
When other breeds are mixed with a dachshund, their offspring are highly likely to inherit the short legs and long spine almost every time (source). This tells us that, above all, a doxie heeler is most likely to have a high risk of spinal injuries, much like a purebred dachshund.
Make sure to take all the necessary precautions, including ensuring that your doxie heeler does not become overweight and is not allowed to jump up or off of high furniture.
Both parent breeds have very similar life expectancies, with dachshunds averaging around 15 years and ACD’s averaging around 14 years.
Having a doxie heeler join your household is bound to be a fun adventure filled with a lot of laughs. To make sure that you are a good match for the breed, consider whether you are an active person willing to put time into playing games and going for lots of walks and runs.
If this is the case, don’t hesitate to add this unique breed to your family. They don’t come around very often! Enjoy the ride and be prepared for a lot of spunk from your new doxie heeler pup.