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“Miniature” Cattle Dogs Gaining In Popularity
“Miniature heeler cattle dogs have an advantage over larger cattle dogs in several ways,” says Cheer Webber of Prineville, Oregon. Webber has been raising old-style Australian cattle dogs since the 1960’s.

    “My first mini heeler was a super dog; I was about 12 or 13 years old when I got her and she worked every part of the cattle operation – trail drives, sorting, loading into trucks. She was light so her feet held up better than a heavy dog when we were on trail drives just poking along behind cattle. She could jump to the back of my horse and ride on the back of my saddle and rest a spell, while the large dogs couldn’t do that as well.

    “When working the chutes for doctoring and loading, she could stick her head under the bottom board on the chute and bite a heel and push cattle up the chute. The big dogs couldn’t do that because they couldn’t get through the gaps in boards.”

    Ranchway miniature heeler dogs are descendents of original Australian heeler dogs brought into the U.S. by Dr. Jack Woolsey, a California veterinarian and dog breeder. “When I started breeding dogs, I looked around for anyone who had the true heeler dogs that actually came down from the Woolsey blood lines,” Webber says. “It’s not easy to find unrelated stock to cross to, but we have several different bloodlines here, and we are able to cross back and forth to keep a wide gene pool. I’m always looking for new stock that’s suitable.”

    Webber says standard heeler dogs are 17 to 20 in. tall and weigh 30 to 50 lbs. “If they’re less than 16 in. tall and weigh less than 30 lbs., we consider them miniature.”

    Miniature heelers are good companion dogs, according to Webber, and do well in herding classes, agility, and most anything active. “They do well herding sheep, goats and poultry. They’re also popular with people who have had larger heelers and love the breed, but can no longer have a large dog.”

    The North American Purebred Registry added a separate category for miniatures in 2008, Webber says, and the American Stock Dog Registry now recognizes miniatures.

     Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Rightway Ranch, P.O. Box 1164, Prineville, Oregon 97754 (ph 541 280-1537; rightwayranch@hotmail.com;


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2016 - Volume #40, Issue #1