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Blue Heeler Vs. Labrador

A picture of a blue heeler and a picture of a chocolate lab meeting in the middle on the diagonal with the letters VS in the middle

Labrador Retriever has been the most popular breed in UK and America for the past 30 years. In 2002, a Lab named Endal was awarded the PDSA award for recovering his master from unconsciousness. His example shows that labs are the greatest service dogs. In terms of intellect, blue heelers are not far off. In fact, a Blue Heeler named Skidboot was once titled “the smartest dog in the world.” Keep reading to get a detailed comparison between these two incredible breeds (Blue Heeler and Labrador).

Blue Heeler

Blue Heelers, also known as Australian Cattle Dog, are herding dogs that originated when dogs brought to Australia from England were bred with the native Australian dingo. In May 1980, the breed was officially registered by AKC.

These dogs are sleek, long, and muscular. They have beefy legs, strong necks, projecting muzzles, and pointy ears. These dogs are bestowed with a thick weather-resistant coat. It helps them survive and work in harsh weather conditions. Blue, Blue Mottled, Blue Speckled, or red Speckled are general coat colors for this breed.

Are Labrador Retrievers the same as a Labrador? Read our article “Labrador Retriever vs Labrador” to learn more.


Yellow lab standing in a grass covered yard

Labrador retriever is a gundog retriever breed that originated in the 1830s when St. Johns Water dogs of Newfoundland were brought to England by ships trading between Canada and Poole. There these dogs were crossbred with British hunting dogs to produce Labradors.

Labradors have a ‘short coupled’ physique. Their bodies are thick and sturdy. Also, they have broad heads, webbed feet, and long otter-like tails. Grown-up labs weigh between 55 and 80 pounds and will grow 21.5-24.5 inches tall. These dogs come in black, chocolate, and yellow coats.

Differences Between a Blue Heeler and a Labrador

Some of the major differences between Blue Heeler and Labrador are mentioned in the table below.

CharacteristicsBlue HeelerLabrador Retriever
GroupHerding dogsGundogs/ Water Retrievers
Height17-20 inches21.5-24.5 inches
Weight30-50 pounds55-80 pounds
ColorsBlue, RedYellow, Chocolate, and Black
PlayfulnessNeed a moderate amount of playtimeNeed a lot of games and playtime
Exercise RequirementsLow-moderateVery high
Social NeedsKind of anti-socialNeeds a lot of social interaction
Tolerates being left aloneIt handles alone time wellHighly prone to separation anxiety
TerritorialYes, because they are guard dogs by instinctNot quite
Prey DriveHighLow-Average
Lifespan12-14 years10-12 years

Similarities Between a Blue Heeler and a Labrador

Yellow lab and Chocolate lab laying in the yard

The following are some of the most important similarities between these breeds.

Intelligence – Both breeds are renowned for their smartness and intellect. They are quick learners and have incredible working abilities.

Sensitivity – Both breeds are sensitive. They know when you are happy or angry and can easily get upset by a rude tone or lack of attention.  

Trainability – Due to their intellectual properties, both breeds can learn commands promptly. They are keen to please their owners and curious to learn new tricks.  

Exercise Requirements – Both breeds are filled with gusto. They require a lot of exercise to fulfill their physical and mental needs. On average, both breeds require 2 hours of high-intensity exercise daily.

Obesity – Both breeds overweigh quickly if the balance in diet and exercise isn’t maintained.

Hypoallergenicity – Both breeds are not hypoallergenic and will shed a lot of hair.

Grooming Requirements – These breeds require minimum grooming and a session or two of brushing (weekly) should be enough.

Apartment Life – Due to their high energy and exuberance, these breeds can’t dwell in apartments.

Unusual Litters – Labs can potentially have all three colors in their litter no matter what color of parents is. On the other hand, blue heeler puppies are all white when born and color changes with age.

Check out our post “Labrador VS Cocker Spaniel” to learn just how different these 2 pups are.

What is Better about a Blue Heeler?

Blue heeler sitting in a patch of dandilions

Blue heelers are comparatively calmer than labs. They aren’t prone to separation anxiety and can stay on their own for an adequate amount of time. These are excellent guard dogs or, watchdogs. They are wary of the intruders and always guard their pack. Blue heelers are immune to many health issues that other dogs have.

What is Better about a Labrador?

Man kneeling to pet and praise a yellow labrador

Labradors are highly sociable and loving. They behave well with strangers and get along well with other pets as well. They get along well with kids and love to play with them. These qualities make them great family dogs. They love traveling and taking part in talent contests. They adapt well to different lifestyles. Also, labs are great service dogs. They can serve as rescue dogs, guide dogs, and therapy dogs.

Who Should Get a Blue Heeler?

Blue heeler puppy sitting in grass on a hill with a goose feather

Blue heelers are tailor-made for working people, especially those who require a guard dog. They can be great partners if you work in the police or similar departments. Similarly, if you are a farmer who dwells in the countryside, blue heelers can assist you in herding your cattle. They are also a great choice for single working people who require a kind of independent pet. 

Who Should Get a Labrador?

Yellow lab puppy sitting in tall grass between shrubs

Labs are ideal for families that have broad social circles where they may encounter many strangers. They are best for aspiring dog fanciers who would love to contest their pooch in dog shows. Moreover, they can be great working companions for people who work in rescue departments and similar public services. They can also be great assistants for people with some physical disability owing to their ability as guide dogs.

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Please note: We are not veterinarians and you use our advice at your own discretion. We always recommend that you consult your veterinarian whenever you have health-related conditions your furbaby is facing. With that in mind, as pet parents ourselves, we wish nothing but the best for your pet and their healthy and happy lives.