The Imperial Heeler is a rather striking dog, standing at about 1.10 - 2.3 feet at its shoulder, and weighing in around 75 - 95 pounds. They are considered to be a medium to large breed of dog, and have relatively wolfish features. Their lifespan is around 10 - 14 years of age.
The Imperial Heeler had a humble start as a herding dog, used largely to bring in herds of horses and cattle for farmers. The name 'heeler' comes from the fact that they will nip at the heels of the animals they are herding to drive them where they want to, and this sometimes translates over to their owners when they are feeling playful. The name 'Imperial' was not added until much later in the breed's development.
Imperial Heelers are broad chested and have long bodies, as well as narrow snouts and pricked ears. Their shape is considerably wolfish, something that is entirely intentional, though their behavior is nothing like a wolf, or wolf-hybrid, as they are very eager to please and easy to train. Puppies are born with almost entirely black coats and flopped ears, and the coats will often lighten as they grow, and their ears will stand up, which is another feature that hearkens back to their wolf ancestors.
They have a rather wide range of colors, such as black, black and red, black and tan, liver, sable, and white, though the most popular color is black and tan. Solid colors such as black and white are less desirably due to the fact that the animals can be mistaken for wolves, and mistakenly killed, though it's not uncommon to see these animals at the sides of nobles rather than out in the fields.
They are most known for their speed over short distances; they have stamina, but only at a moderate pace, and when at full speed, they can easily overtake a fleeing horse, and certainly, a fleeing person. They are also capable of turning on a dime due to their long, narrow tails that act as a rudder when they are sprinting.
They are found throughout temperate areas, usually on the farms of settlers where their instinctual herding is needed, or within more noble and military inhabited grounds in the area. They are quite common, though there are two variants of the breed, one of which is much less common than the other.
The original variant, known simply as the herding-type, is most commonly seen on farms and in the homes of commoners. These dogs are more wolfish in appearance, and are far more varied in their color schemes, though black and tan is still a popular color for these dogs. They are largely used for herding and guarding livestock, and sometimes the owner's home as well. These dogs are highly territorial, though they won't attack people unless provoked. Wild animals, however, are pursued on sight by these dogs, so as to protect the livestock they've been trained to herd and protect. These dogs are also sometimes kept as house pets when not working, as they are highly sociable, and bond very closely with their owners.
The second type is known as a the noble-type, and they are the type most often pictured when the name 'Imperial Heeler' is spoken. They tend to have longer tails, and bodies to give them more speed, and a more agile, regal look, and taller, sharper ears. They also tend to be somewhat larger and on the heavier side. This type is most often seen at the side of nobles, and those who are high in the military chain of command. They are a status symbol, as well as a working dog; these dogs often see action on the streets of the various cities with their main use being to intimidate people who may be causing trouble, or apprehended criminals, as their teeth are long and they have loud barks, often showing their teeth when they bark, even when not acting aggressively. The dogs will often lunge to the end of their leads, or feint if not on a lead, but attacking is something they are not trained for, nor do they have the instinct for.
Noble-type dogs that are owned by high nobles rarely see action, however; they are more of a status symbol, and considered to be house pets. These dogs are usually much more mellow in temperament, though still highly wary of strangers, and sometimes will protect their masters if provoked.
The Imperial Heeler is an eager-to-please type of dog, and is very easy to train. Their herding instincts are bred into them, and can be easily channeled to where they are needed, whether that's for collecting herds of animals, or rounding up criminals. They are, however, very wary of strangers, and will threaten them with bared teeth and growls to warn them off. They will not attack unless violently provoked, but they will bark and growl relentlessly until their master comes to help, or the person is scared off. This can be circumvented by introducing a puppy to a lot of strangers to get them used to seeing new people often.
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