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Do Blue Heelers Like To Cuddle? [Are They An Affectionate Breed?]

Blue Heelers are energetic yet obedient dogs that are known to cautious and protective. But do they like to cuddle up with their owners? Does this come naturally to them and is this something you should expect in this breed? I decided to spend some time researching the average temperament of this breed and how they typically show affection.

So, do Blue Heelers like to cuddle? Blue Heelers are not the most enthusiastic around cuddling. This is mostly due to the fact that they are high-energy dogs that do not like to feel constrained. However, Blue Heelers are still very affectionate and are keen to show this through being attentive and alert to the calls and demands of their owners.

It may not be a cuddle, but a Blue Heeler will spend a lot of time with the people they care for. Sometimes they are even referred to as Velcro dogs.

And while they tend to show their affection in other ways, there are some strategies to try to get a Blue Heeler more open to cuddling.

All is not lost.

But they do have their preferences and its due to the fact that they are working dogs by nature.

Hence the name of Blue Heeler, or their more formal name – Australian Cattle Dogs.

The ‘Heeler’ comes from the fact that the breed would herd cattle by nipping at their heels.

Despite their heritage, they have become great companions for families due to a number of positive traits and characteristics that they tend to have.

While cuddling comes more naturally to some breeds of dog; the Blue Heeler does not appear to be one of them. This does not mean that they cannot be encouraged!

Let us now take a closer look at the breed, their average temperament and how they respond to this kind of attention.

Are Blue Heelers Affectionate?

Blue Heelers are extremely affectionate dogs, especially with their owners. They are also very friendly and loving companions.

Some Blue Heelers may be a little wary of strangers, but that’s not the case with people that they are familiar with, know and trust. They get along great with everyone in the family, including other dogs.

They are naturally, a high energy breed. They do require a lot of physical activity and mental stimulation. They are clever and active; with a little desire to sit around.

As a herding dog, it comes as no surprise to learn that Blue Heelers can develop closer bonds with one person. They can even become attached to that person; following them around everywhere they go.

This is how they have acquired the name, ‘velcro dogs’, for their propensity to stick and want to serve their owner closely.

Interestingly, they are also known for being very independent; not requiring as much affection as you would expect in other dogs. Cuddling is one such activity that, across the breed, they do not appear to be particularly fond of.

However, in a comfortable home environment, some Blue Heelers may enjoy a cuddle from time to time. Generally, when this occurs, it usually involves one particular person in the family, the one that they spend the most time with. 

Nonetheless, they do still require good treatment and appreciate positive interactions and feedback from other family members.

But we must respect their needs and unique ways. Just because a Blue Heeler is affectionate does not always mean we must or should cuddle our dogs.

Such is the case with Blue Heelers. While some dog breeds need to have a lot of human contact and cuddling, such as a Labrador Retriever, the same just cannot be said for the Blue Heeler. 

They can, in fact, do well without the cuddling.

The more affectionate Blue Heelers are generally those who are used to being around their owner most of the time and can enjoy some one on one time at the end of a busy day.

During the day, sometimes herding instincts even arise. They are known to even herd family members, and can even nip at the heels if they want to move somebody.

While not being barkers, they are protective. They are quite cautious and alert – which adds to their suitability of being a guard dog.

Why Do Blue Heelers Want To Cuddle?

While Blue Heelers typically do not seek out a cuddle, and some are averse to this form of affection entirely, there are some contexts where it is more likely to occur.

The main times you can expect an increase desire to cuddle is when they are cold, scared, want to protect or tired.

Dogs are pack animals and instinctively know that huddling together can keep them warm. It is what they have done for thousands of years for survival.

Equally, this pack mentality, has enabled them to feel more safe and overcome feelings of stress, anxiety or fear. Huddling together, strength in numbers. In this way, you as the owner are now part of their pack.

In addition to wanting to protect their owners, they also feel the safest when with them.

They can let their guard down more, and when they feel that they are in a safe environment, they will likely want to cuddle up more. This often coincides with the end of the day, when they are tired and winding down.

Single people who have a Blue Heeler tend to have a higher chance of cuddling their dog.

As Blue Heelers tend to be one-person dogs, even though they will get along with everyone in the family, having more one-on-one time will make them feel more comfortable. They will be more open to showing affection in this way.

Additionally, a single person household is much quieter than a family with a lot of kids running around. Your Blue Heeler is more apt to quiet down.

If kids are running around, your Blue Heeler will want to join them more than lay around cuddling. 

Why Would A Blue Heeler Not Like To Cuddle?

Blue Heelers are herding, working dogs by nature. A lot of these dogs would rather be up playing or working, than lying around and seeking attention.

And even then, it may even be that they are indifferent to cuddling. Or, just not yet familiar with it.

If a Blue Heeler was abused, or was not socialized properly, chances are they will not be open to getting close to people altogether.

If a dog is not used to human contact, they will be extremely wary and will not have the trust required to cuddle.

Dogs, even domesticated family pets, still have instincts that are linked back to wolves and living in the wild. 

A dog sleeping and laying around would leave them in a vulnerable position. It therefore takes a lot of trust for a dog to feel safe enough with someone to curl up and cuddle with them.

Of course, in time as the bond develops between owner and dog, this seems to be less of an issue.

Blue Heelers do have a lot of energy and always want to be on the go.

Your Blue Heeler maybe just too active to want to quiet down and cuddle, especially when they are younger. You may find that this changes as they become more senior dogs but its not always guaranteed.

Lastly, they may be in pain or have an injury. Dogs have a strong desire to hide any vulnerabilities (also relating back to their days in the wild), so they may be keeping their distance from their owners.

If this is the case, it is important a veterinarian is contacted to run an examination. If somehting is found and treated, this may help revert a dog to a more sociable, affectionate, former self.

Ways To Get Your Blue Heeler To Enjoy Cuddling More

Some Blue Heelers will be more open to cuddling naturally. Some might not ever take to it. It does ultimately depend on the dog.

Nevertheless, if you want to be able to cuddle with your Blue Heeler, there are some proactive things you can do to encourage this activity:


When you first bring your Blue Heeler home, you will want to be very affectionate with them. This is especially true in young puppies.

Give them lots of attention, praise and be sure to routinely pet them. Also, get them used to human touch in areas that they they feel vulnerable – such as their paws, teeth, and ears. 

If your Blue Heeler receives cuddles early in their life, they will be more open to it and understand that this is normal. It also serves to help you bond closely with your dog so it is important for multiple reasons.

If you have other people living in your household, be sure to socialize your Blue Heeler with them too.

You want them to give equal attention, affection and petting as well. Do not be surprised, though, if your Blue Heeler only wants to be or show affection with you. 

They are typically one-person dogs. However, this is not the case 100% of the time and you can promote wider socialization. In doing so, your Blue Heeler may enjoy cuddling with the entire family.


Socialization for dogs, no matter the breed, is such a vital part of being a dog owner. Some breeds, such as Blue Heelers, require socialization more than others. 

Blue Heelers are herding dogs, and without the proper training and socialization, they will try to herd their family members, especially children. They have an independent streak and will try to rule the roost if they do not know their place.

Dogs also learn from other dogs, there are just some things that humans can’t teach dogs, and that’s because of the natural way they communicate with others.

Socializing your Blue Heeler will help teach them to be more dog-like and less-herder like as well.


Playing with your Blue Heeler is a great way to build trust with a dog. It helps them to feel more comfortable with you, which in turn results in a higher chance of them being open to cuddling with you.

There are several different ways to play with your Blue Heeler, all of which are encouraged.

You can play fetch, tug, wrestle, or give them specific toys and mine puzzles to solve. Each activity will also tire your dog and make them use up more of their energy; leading to a higher chance and desire to rest up.

What If Your Blue Heeler Is Not A Puppy?

If you do not get your Blue Heeler when they are are a puppy, it will be more of a challenge to promote cuddling. But do not to worry, it is still possible.

The hardest part will be to form a bond and trust between you and your Blue Heeler; especially if they have this in place with a former owner already.

You will need to show them that they are safe and loved. Never force them, and give them plenty of affection, care and praise. In time, they will likely come around to you as their new owner, even if it does take a while.

All of the above tips still pertain to Blue Heelers of any age; the biggest thing to keep in mind is that it will be a longer process.

In Summary

Blue Heelers do not need, or desire, as much cuddling as some dog breeds. However, they are quite affectionate, and some love to cuddle more than others.

In certain situations and contexts, it is also more likely. Thankfully, it can also be encouraged.

One of the biggest factors in why they may not want to cuddle is that they are extremely energetic herding dogs. They have a desire to remain on the go. They are far from being a lazy dog, usually only stopping to lay down for sleep.

One-person households tend to have a dog more open to cuddling. They develop closer bonds, and the environment is usually conducive to this level of affection. Its generally quieter, with less going on.

Getting your Blue Heeler socialized and used to touch at an early age is extremely important if you want them to show affection to you.

If you are unable to when they are young, perhaps you do not adopt them them until they are older, it is still possible. But it will take longer.

While Blue Heelers may not be naturally cuddly, but they are naturally affectionate dogs and generally get along with everyone in the household, including children and other dogs.

They may be wary of strangers but are not aggressive. The biggest issue with them is that they may attempt to herd people – especially kids and nip at their heels.

Nevertheless, these make an excellent dog to own; they are loyal and caring – even if they mostly show affection in other ways.

Other Blue Heeler guides you may want to read: