That dog don't hunt; House committee impounds bill to name blue heeler Idaho state dog

Rep. JoAn Wood, R-Rigby, brought a constituent from Challis to the House State Affairs Committee, who sang the praises of the cattle herding blue heeler.

Elise Fake of Challis said the Australian import is a "perfect choice" for Idaho: trustworthy, loyal, independent and brave. "The blue heeler is a common fixture on Idaho ranches, where it is said a blue heeler will do the work of three cowhands," Fake said.

But the committee voted 11-8 Monday against introducing the bill, amidst a revival of the old cattle vs. sheep rivalry that precedes statehood.

"I appreciate that the blue heeler is a good dog for cattle people, but it's not good for all breeds of livestock," said Rep. Ken Andrus, R-Lava Hot Springs, who ranches both cattle and sheep.

"I've had experience with blue heelers killing sheep," he continued. "I've lost thousands and thousands of dollars to dogs getting into my sheep and German shepherds, black labs and blue heelers are the worst. I certainly wouldn't want to enshrine the blue heeler as the state dog. If we want to have a state dog, we ought to have a nice gentle dog like Lassie."

Other lawmakers were uncomfortable picking a Top Dog.

"There's lots of dog lovers in the state and they have different dogs that they love," said Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise. "I hate to discriminate one over the other."

Three of the committee's four Democrats backed introducing the bill after Boise Democratic Rep. Phylis King quipped, "I think you should have a Democrat (as a co-sponsor) on this since this is a blue dog." Democrats Elfreda Higgins, D-Garden City and Cheri Buckner-Webb, D-Boise, voted with King to print the bill.

Rep. Elaine Smith, D-Pocatello, joined 10 Republicans in voting against introduction.

GOP Rep. Max Black, R-Boise, backed printing the bill. Black is working on a biography of Diamondfield Jack Davis, who was convicted of murder related to an 1890s dispute over grazing between Idaho cattlemen and sheepmen.

According to, the blue heeler was developed by Australian George Elliott in the 1840s, by mixing native Dingoes with Collies and other herding dogs. "Australian cattlemen and ranchers loved the breed’s toughness and work ethic, and the dogs quickly became popular as cattle herders," says Dogster. "They are also called Australian Heelers, Queensland Heelers and Australian Cattle Dogs.

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1329165427 That dog don't hunt; House committee impounds bill to name blue heeler Idaho state dog Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

thank goodness they are focused on the truly important work of

Idaho government.

I agree............

of all the IMPORTANT things they have to work on this year, WHY do they waste their time on these stupid bills??? Yeah I know............they're called "feel good bills" for a reason but give me a break. Personally I think the legislature is afraid to take on the serious bills because of the voter/media flack. And heaven knows they sure want to be re-elected again, even if they're idiots. Gotta keep the power or they'll fade from sight.


Excuse me...

...I need more work. How about focussing on the important tasks at hand. A bill to establish a state dog? GET REAL!!!!!

In the meantime

IJOBS 2, yet another round of JOBS PROPOSALS by Idaho DEMOCRATS, gets completely ignored by the GOP in the legislature for the second year in a row.

How much did this discussion cost the Idaho taxpayers?

Just curious how much this debate (legislative staff costs, paper, electricity, dog-poop scoopers) did this cost us?

I swear

I was thinking the same thing......hope this didn't cost any of MY dang tax dollars!


"If we want to have a state dog, we ought to have a nice gentle dog like Lassie."

I second the motion! Lassie rescued Timmy so many times, maybe she could rescue a bureaucrat!

Or, how about a Pomeranian? They never killed no sheep! And maybe we should give an "honorable mention" to the small-but-fierce Chihuahua, official dog of Canyon County.

Being the owner of an Australian Cattle Dog

I can easily understand why the legislature didn't want to get involved in this. The legislature is hesitant to deal with a breed of dog that is smarter than they are....Sunny...

How about a cross breed?

I think in honor of our (cough, cough) wonderful legislature... It would seem we need to nominate a dog that is a cross between a BullDog and a Shih-Tzu... We can call it a Bull-Shihtz.

We've got a Red Heeler..

and he is a delight to have. Wonderful, sweet, and smart. He barks at people in the front yard but little do people know that he is such a gentle dogs that he wouldn't hurt anyone.


I vote for the weiner dog


There's a whole lotta wrong going about this whole thing.

And so many great comments could be...

related to the Shih Tzu.

If Idaho were to adopt a heeler as the state dog

it probably wouldn't be a blue heeler who are notoriously "Liberal" and progressive in their thinking. On the other hand the red heeler is much more narrowminded and opposes all bills advocating equal rights for cats and funding for neutering and spaying

We already have a State dog...

It's called a wolf. It scares sheep, cattle, elk, ranchers, children waiting at the school bus stop wearing red name it. And, it is beloved by all environmentalists everywhere.


Meow, meow, meow, meow (how about a state cat?)

How about a state ECONOMY (and a GOOD ONE)?


It's still clunky and the writing is horrible as usual

PS The state cat was Steve Appleton.


It's still clunky and the writing is horrible as usual

What a waste of time(theirs and ours)...

...and waste of money(taxpayers)!

just when

you think you've seen/heard it all...and then this happens.

does anyone really care if we have a state dog?

And they are never going to agree on the type so it's just pointless.

Black labs are the worst? I didn't realize they were any worse than their yellow, chocolate, or silver brothers and sisters.

Only dark-haired senator Labs are problematic.


It's still clunky and the writing is horrible as usual

Rep. JoAn Wood, R-Rigby,

needs to concentrate on doing the job she was sent there to do, not dreaming up some useless and time and money wasting garbage bill like this!