Breed of the Week: The Lancashire Heeler

Welcome to today’s short-form podcast, starting this week and with the new year we will start to do a Breed of the Week episode. Each Monday we will dive into one dog breed and talk all about their genetics, and what to expect with their training and personality when getting one. If there is a breed you’d love for us to do an episode on reach out to us on any of our socials. I’m your host Nicole Forto and today we are talking about a new breed very recently recognized by the American Kennel Club. Today we are talking about the Lancashire Heeler.

The AKC announced last Wednesday that this rare herding breed is now eligible to compete in any U.S dog show including the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. This heeler breed is linked back as far as the seventeenth century. They are historically known as farm helpers, like most heeler variations they have been used to drive cattle and with the Lancashire’s small stature they are great for routing rats. Their exact geographical origination is unknown but it is believed that some type of Welsh Corgi was used to drive livestock towards the Lancashire Market. Small black and tan dogs are associated near the Ormskirk area of Lancashire and are thought to be a long-line combination of the Welsh Corgi and Manchester Terrier. The United Kingdom first recognized the Lancashire Heeler as a breed in 1981, over the years this heeler has gained immense popularity in the United States, Sweden, The Netherlands, and Australia. They have gradually moved away from farm work and are seen participating in obedience, rally, agility, and show-style herding events like barn hunts.

The standard coloring is a solid black back and head with tan feet, belly, part of their snout and specked along their chest there have been cases of liver and tan Lancashire Heeler’s but they are rarer but still qualified in AKC judging. They are very small in stature ranging from ten to twelve inches from ground to their shoulder height. Typically not weighing more than seventeen pounds with a life expectancy up too fifteen years old. The Lancashire heeler has pointed erect ears, almond shaped dark colored eyes, and known to have what is referred to as a complete scissor bite. Meaning the top row of teeth align perfectly into the spaces of the bottom row of teeth set squarely along the jaw bone. They have a fine undercoat covered by a weather-resistant short flat top coat.

These heelers are deemed as a fairly healthy breed of dog but have had reports of primary lens luxation which is an inherited eye disease. With aggressive efforts from responsible breeders the Lancashire Heeler’s risk for the PLL eye disease has been greatly reduced. It’s very important that sire and dam of litters are tested for this eye disease and checked regularly.

The Lancashire Heeler is known to be happy, courageous, and affectionate towards their owners. Described by Mississippi breeder, Patricia Blankenship as “gritty little dogs, and they’re very intelligent,” also stated as “an enjoyable little breed to be around.” As with most heeler breeds the Lancashire is recognized to pull back it’s lips in a big grand smile. With their high intelligence they can excel in a wide variety of activities, sports, and trainings, including but not limited too; dock diving and scent work. They are a breed that needs a job, they are not meant for a lazy couch potato lifestyle. Even though they are small they are mighty in energy and intelligence and thrive from being challenged mentally on a regular basis. This can be dog sports or regular daily exercise like walks and playing fetch. According to the AKC only about 5,000 exist worldwide and Britain’s Kennel Club reports an average of 121 registered Lancashire Heelers registered annually. This is a wonderful dog that deserves more awareness of it’s existence. If you’re interested in a dog to do sports with or go on consistent adventures but need it to be smaller in stature this is the breed for you! For Dog Works Radio, I’m Nicole, we hoped you enjoyed our breed of the week episode and I’ll catch you guys in the next episode.



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