American Pit Bull Terrier vs Australian Red Heeler - Breed Comparison

American Pit Bull Terrier is originated from United States but Australian Red Heeler is originated from Australia. Both American Pit Bull Terrier and Australian Red Heeler are having almost same height. American Pit Bull Terrier may weigh 14 kg / 31 pounds more than Australian Red Heeler. Both American Pit Bull Terrier and Australian Red Heeler has same life span. American Pit Bull Terrier may have more litter size than Australian Red Heeler. American Pit Bull Terrier requires Low maintenance. But Australian Red Heeler requires Moderate maintenance

Basic Information

Group:
Terrier dog
Herding dogs
Origin:
United States
Australia
Height Male:
43 - 56 cm
16 - 23 inches
46 - 51 cm
18 - 21 inches
Height Female:
40 - 53 cm
15 - 21 inches
43 - 48 cm
16 - 19 inches
Weight Male:
16 - 30 kg
35 - 67 pounds
15 - 16 kg
33 - 36 pounds
Weight Female:
14 - 27 kg
30 - 60 pounds
14 - 16 kg
30 - 36 pounds
Life Span:
8 - 15 Years
13 - 15 Years
Litter Size:
5 - 10
3 - 7
Size:
Medium dog
Medium dog
Other Names:
Staffordshire Fighting Dog, Pit Terrier, Pitbull, Pit, Half and Half, Bull Baiter Dogs, Old Family Dog - the Irish name, Yankee Terrier - the Northern name, Rebel Terrier - the Southern name
Australian Cattle dog, Queensland Heelers
Colors Available:
Red, Black, Fawn or Bucksjin
Red and blue mostly. Other varieties include chocolate, cream, blue mottled, brindle and some with white markings
Coat:
Smooth, Shiny, Short, Single layer
short and dense
Shedding:
Minimal
Moderate, Seasonal
Temperament:
Affectionate, Courageous, Energetic, Friendly, Gentle, Intelligent, Loving, Loyal, Playful, Stubborn
Affectionate, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Energetic, Friendly, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Responsive, Social, Stubborn
Grooming:
Low maintenance
Moderate maintenance
Trainability:
Easy
Easy
Hypoallergenic:
No
No
Kids Friendly:
Yes
Yes
New Owners Friendly:
No
No

History

The history of the American Pit Bull Terrier might be a confusing one to some dog lovers and certainly to the general public that tends to lump all the “bully” breeds into a category called “pit bull”. This is because of the negative reputation this group of breeds has acquired over the past 30-50 years due to misuse and mis-breeding by the dog fighting industry. This categorization includes the American Pit Bull Terrier, The American Staffordshire Terrier, the Bull Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

There is major confusion and disagreement on the difference between the American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier. The AKC does not recognize the American Pit Bull Terrier as a separate breed, but its founder and the UKC, ADBA do so. In the 1930’s the American Pit Bull Terrier was a recognized breed and in response to the negativity of pit-fighting, they renamed it as the American Staffordshire Terrier.

The American Pit Bull Terrier was developed to be a little larger in size than the Staffordshire in both height and weight. This breed comes from crossing various Bull and Terrier breed to get a working dog. The Amstaff for the most part is bred to be a show dog and is not usually a “street dog” used in dog fighting rings. The direct ancestors of the APBT are the Old English Bulldogs and the Old English Terriers. These dogs are great family dogs, gentle beyond comparison unless raised to fight. They make great therapy dogs as well as police dogs. They are not by nature cruel, aggressive or attack dogs.

Both professional confirmation breeders and street fight breeds have developed new strains of the American Pit Bull Terrier. A few are worth mentioning here.

Old Family Red Nose

One of the oldest strains of the American Pit Bull Terrier they are red in color and that red is a very unique tone. They have a copper colored coat and nose with red nails, red lips and amber or red eyes. These dogs were originally from Ireland and when they came to America they had the red nose. Originally bred for gameness, it is the red color that is sought after now.

Colby Pit Bulls

These are another old breed, but they have black noses and were initially bred by John P. Colby in the late 1800s. These dogs were known to be indominable fighting dogs and were bred into almost every line of American Pit Bull Terriers that exist today. The line is still maintained by the Colby family.

When George Hall arrived in the New South Wales Colony in 1802 he set about ‘creating’ a tough working- or herding dog. By crossing Australia’s native Dingoes with Collies as well as with other herding dogs, the robust Red Heeler, also known as the Australian Cattle Dog came into being. Today he is a thick-set dog, ideally suited to working livestock.

Ranchers, particularly, were impressed with the breed’s toughness and they were sought after on cattle stations. The name actually comes from them when the dogs are herding animals, they nip at their heels to get them moving.

The Blue Heeler and the Red Heeler breed are the exact same dog, but just different colors. These Australian cattle dogs originated in Australia in the mid-1800s and adapted well to the harsh desert environment of the outback.

Description

True to their reputation as fighters, the American Pit Bull Terrier looks like one – powerful, strong and well built. This belies their gentle disposition but too often they are judged by their looks. With a broad, brick shaped head, thick neck and deep chest, they are stocky, muscular and agile. They usually have cropped ears, but the tails are not docked. Their legs are strong and hindquarters especially muscular. These dogs are much stronger than they look. Round soulful eyes are one of the traits that people who keep these dogs as companion animals love about them. They have a scissor bite and one of the strongest jaws of all domesticated canines.

The Muscular Body

The Red Heeler or Australian Cattle Dog is a sturdy, muscular dog with ears that are pricked and with dark, alert eyes. The tail is long. The neck, shoulders and legs of the Red Heeler are strong and muscular. The dog is longer than tall – the length of the body is greater than the height at the withers. A well fed, well exercised, well cared for Red Heeler will weight roughly 15–22 kilograms.

The Coat

There are 2 coat colours of the Reeler – red and blue, but there are are lesser varieties such as chocolate, cream, blue mottled, brindle and some with white markings. It is interesting to note that with both the Red- and the Blue Heeler, puppies are generally born white, with the coat turning to red as they mature.

These Australian Cattle Dogs display patches of solid colour, and you might well find masks over one or both eyes and a white tip to the tail. Both the Red and Blue Heeler can have a white star on the forehead which is referred to as the Bentley Mark. The Heelers have a double coat - short, straight outer hairs while the undercoat is short, fine and dense. Despite their short coat, they shed a lot.

Health Problems

Though the American Pit Bull Terrier is healthier than most large dogs, they do have an issue with hip dysplasia. Breeders have been working to breed this out of the APBT and their work in this area has helped with the other issues with the patella, heart and thyroid. The APBT can have skin allergies and Demodex Mange. This condition can be either deadly or just a localized skin issue. Immunizations and testing is essential for this breed. When not immunized, American Pit Bull Terrier puppies have a greater incidence of parvovirus than other breeds. They also might have cataracts and congenital heart disease.

Eye Problems

The Australian Cattle Dog is quite often affected by progressive retinal atrophy, an eye condition where the rods and cones in the retina of the eye deteriorate later in life, and it could lead to blindness. This eye illness is an autosomal recessive trait, and even if the dog doesn’t develop the condition himself, he can be a carrier of the affected gene.

Fractures

The Heeler is just bursting with personality and energy and a study of dogs diagnosed at veterinary colleges described fractures and ligament tears as one of the most common conditions treated with the Australian Red Heeler.

General Health

You love your Australian Red Heeler and you want to take good care of him. Check with your vet because at 8 weeks he should be starting with his first puppy vaccinations.

To keep your best friend healthy and happy, watch his diet, ensure he gets plenty of exercise, brush his teeth regularly to remove plaque build-up, and always call your veterinarian when you see he is ill and isn’t his usual boisterous self.

Caring The Pet

Feeding

How you feed your American Pit Bull Terrier puppy is important to her health as an adult and long life. The adult dog should be fed one and a half to two and a half cups of high quality food twice a day. Puppies should be fed more often as they grow. DO not feed your APBT soft or canned dog food. Their food should be dry. Be careful not to feed too much as you do not want an obese American Pit Bull Terrier.

Health issues

As previously mentioned this is a healthy breed with problems with:

Cataracts

These are usually inherited, and the pup may show signs early, or they could be developed later in life. They can be removed.

Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia as in many larger, stronger breeds this can be a major problem. Breeds should test for it and APBT breeders are attempting to breed it out of the APBT.

Congenital Heart Failure

This is a congenital issue that breeders are also breeding against and if they have it your American Bit Bull Terrier was likely born with it.

Allergies

Many APBT are allergic to grasses or out outside allergens. Shots or medication can deal with these.

Exercise and games

This is an athletic, joyful breed that loves to play, love sports and loves any activity that bonds it with its family. Some of the many sports the American Pit Bull Terrier likes to participate in include: agility, obedience competition, weight pulling, lure coursing and fly ball. He also needs backyard exercise and daily walks.

When walking your American Pit Bull Terrier, make sure she is on a leash as the breed has a tendency to be aggressive with other dogs coming into their space. The APBT loves to work. They are good therapy dogs, search and rescue dogs, even service dogs.

Grooming

The Australian Red Heeler is a low maintenance dog. He does shed quite a bit so you’ll need to brush his coat at least twice a week to remove loose hairs and to keep his coat lustrous. When your dog has been in a particularly dusty area, you you wipe his coat down with a damp cloth. As with all dogs, you’ll want to check his teeth, ears, eyes and nails regularly to avoid health problems.

Training

If you care for your working- and herding dog you’ll train him to that he becomes a good family dog and companion. The Red Heeler has plenty of energy and stamina and if he grows up untrained and un-socialized, you could see him becoming aggressive towards other animals and even your own children. He certainly becomes over-protective of his territory if not socialized. Train him as he is an intelligent breed and responds well to training.

Diet

Any vet will tell you of the critical importance of a proper diet and exercise routine for your dog. He’s an active, smart dog with loads of energy and you want to keep his diet consistent with this energy. Speak to your vet about what food would suit your pet best, because a high quality diet appropriate to his age, his body size and his energy levels will be important. Along with high quality foods which include a good intake of raw meat, your dog must always have access to a bowl of fresh, cool water.

Characteristics

For those who live with the American Pit Bull Terrier there is no better dog. The APBT loves people and loves children. They think they are lap dogs, and they certainly are watch dogs. They love their people but their barks at strangers at home are not because they are protecting their people but rather they are greeting the strangers into their home. Unfortunately, they will not greet another dog in the same way. However, when their people are seriously threatened they will give their lives to defend them.

These are strong, confident dogs who want to please their people. They love children and make great family dogs but require a strong owner and a strong pack leader. The need to be under control around other dogs and because of their strength, need a strong owner. It is their aggression towards other animals that must be controlled.

Your Australian Red Heeler needs plenty of exercise but also plenty of companionship too from his human family. He is an affectionate, playful pet but is reserved with people he doesn’t know. When socialized he is patient with children in the home but he does still have the tendency to herd them and nip at their heels. The dog builds up a strong bond with his human family, and is protective toward them, being happy to be close to his owner’s side.

Take Time out to Play

Red Heelers need activities and lots of room to play, and they therefore won’t adapt to apartment living. If you don’t live on a farm, don’t neglect your working dog as he will need lots of rough and tumble games and activities to keep him from boredom. Treat your Australian Red Heeler with the love, patience and kindness and you’ll bring out the very best from this active, loyal fur-friend of yours.

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