Interview with Sheryl Bradbury, Breeder of Mashury Lancashire Heelers
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Sheryl Bradbury: I live in Nebraska, outside of Omaha, on a large rural property. I have been in purebred dogs since I was five. My father raised German Shorthaired Pointers and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. I started breeding dogs in 1990.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Sheryl Bradbury: My Lancashire Heelers (LH) carry the kennel name Mashury.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Sheryl Bradbury: I started many years ago in Great Danes and started downsizing the past 10 years or so. When I joined the USLHC, I was the only person showing in Conformation. I owned the first LH Dog and Bitch to earn their CM and bred the many others that have also earned CMs. I am extremely proud that I have LH balancing titles in Conformation and Performance events. I have seven LH competing in Fast CAT and earning points toward their B and D CATS. I wanted to do Barn Hunt, but I am allergic to hay and straw.
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
Sheryl Bradbury: I have stud dogs that have or will impact the diversity of the breed, and my bitches have been placed in homes that are committed to breeding to the AKC Breed Standard and to breeding health-tested dogs.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Sheryl Bradbury: My puppies are whelped in my home. I sleep next to the whelping box for the first six weeks. My puppies are raised to have healthy mental development and, at two weeks, I start to imprint them starting with simple exposures to life: noise, taste, texture, smells, play, and advance to recall and tunnels, the whole while, allowing them to establish the pecking order. As they get older, at five weeks we go outside and for long walks on my property and learn where home is. They meet my property cats, squirrels, children, and a variety of people.
Am I working with my breed’s parent club to gain full AKC recognition for my breed?
Sheryl Bradbury: I was elected President of the United States Lancashire Heeler Club in 2017 and have made it my mission to lead the club through the process for the Lancashire Heeler to be fully recognized by the American Kennel Club. The finish line is in view and now the real work begins. I am saddened by the division of the club. Personal agendas, egos, and people with visions of grandeur have made the journey to full recognition of the breed difficult. There is also some outside the US who continue to try to intimidate and bully, but we have strong leaders in the club who all share the same vision—healthy, happy dogs and responsible breeders.
What is my “process” for selecting Show Puppies? Performance Puppies?
Sheryl Bradbury: The breed in the US is very young. The challenge for consistency in the litter is real. The breed needs to have serious, committed breeders who will work together to produce healthy dogs that represent the approved Standard. Health testing is a must, but it also requires the dogs to be structurally sound so that they could do what they were intended to do. Performance puppies have to be matched to the person who will train them. Every dog has its own personality, as does the buyer. It is important to establish a relationship with the buyer so that you can match that puppy to the person.
Do I compete in Companion Events? Performance Events?
Sheryl Bradbury: Yes and Yes.
How would I define “conditioning” as it relates to my breed?
Sheryl Bradbury: Conditioning in the body and the mind: The body needs exercise, and the mind needs socialization and exposure to everything else.
Are there any health-related concerns in my breed? Any special nutritional needs?
Sheryl Bradbury: DNA Testing is needed to ensure the dogs are clear of PLL and CEA, and the Patellas need to be graded. However, we are hearing about dogs that have recently been imported that we are finding evidence of Leggs Perthes, bite alignment issues, and now, missing teeth. The club can only encourage the breeder to spay the carriers and not bring any related dogs into the US, but this takes work; work to find the best representatives of the breed and not just breed what you have.
The USLHC has members who are veterinarians, genetic specialists, and canine health experts who will be supporting the leadership to protect the breed and the future of the breed’s development. Studying the pedigree, DNA testing to establish the COI, and identifying the assets of each dog are the best ways to preserve and protect the breed.
I feed a USDA commercial diet. I hear of some who proclaim to feed raw, but they have no nutritional education. Birth defects from unbalanced or over-supplementation, and digestive issues due to feeding poor-quality ingredients do not encourage healthy growth.
Do I think my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Sheryl Bradbury: There are many egos in every breed. The club needs members and breeders who can set their personal agendas aside and truly commit to supporting the breed. There is a parting of the club due to misinformation by one or two non-members here who have influenced those outside the US and the club. It seemed like a sport to find any error and publicly berate those who were working to develop the club and the breed. It is a shame that they profess that this is their beloved breed but do everything they can to create problems. I am told this is in every breed club.
Is my breed well suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Sheryl Bradbury: Yes and no. As long as the dog has the right stimulation mentally, gets plenty of exercise, and the children respect the dog, it can be an amazing member of the family. This breed is not designed to sit on the sofa and get fat. It needs a job. This breed can do anything and will do anything you ask it to, but you cannot force this breed to do anything that is harmful.
The breed’s versatility has been proven by the top three Agility dogs in the US, the dogs that run Fast Cat, and the dog that trained and was the first-titled Weight Pull Lancashire Heeler that also does Dock Diving, Barn Hunt, Obedience, and is a few points away from his Certificate of Merit. The abilities of this breed are only limited by the owner.
What is the biggest misconception about my breed? What is my breed’s best-kept secret?
Sheryl Bradbury: The biggest misconceptions are that they are cute and sweet, and just the right size to sit on our lap, and they have no grooming needs and don’t shed. Yes, they are cute—until they eat your shoes or herd you by nipping at your heels or murder the stuffed dog toys or scream at the UPS Guy (and are still convinced he is lurking outside). They need to be bathed at times, or when they roll in poo, and they do shed. Their best-kept secret is that they are your best friend who will ride in the car or on the ATV, and they love to sleep right next to you and will love you to the ends of the earth.
If I could share a comment or two with judges of my breed, what would I like to say to them?
Sheryl Bradbury: Please read the Breed Standard. Judge our breed’s assets. Size, fronts, rears, heads, and tails to start. Know that RIGHT NOW you are one of the most important pieces to the development of the breed. Just because the dog is showy doesn’t mean it is correct. The breed is young, so we need you to endorse correct specimens that represent the Standard.
Do I have any words of wisdom to pass along to newer breeders?
Sheryl Bradbury: Test, collaborate, set-aside the ego, be mentored by the USLHC breeder-members, ask for help when considering importing dogs (most of us know what is best for the breed), and don’t allow yourself to be used. The USLHC has some really great young, new breeder-members who are being mentored and have made an impact on the breed.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with one of my dogs?
Sheryl Bradbury: I have a female LH, Baaba Bananko, who enjoys throwing her toys in the air and then catching them. She can entertain herself for hours.
Are you looking for a Lancashire Heeler puppy?
The best way to ensure a long and happy relationship with a purebred dog is to purchase one from a responsible breeder. Not sure where to begin finding a breeder?
Contact the National Parent Club’s Breeder Referral person, which you can find on the AKC Breeder Referral Contacts page.
Want to help rescue and re-home a Lancashire Heeler dog?
Did you know nearly every recognized AKC purebred has a dedicated rescue group? Find your new best friend on the AKC Rescue Network Listing.
Lancashire Heeler Breed Magazine
Read and learn more about the Lancashire Heeler dog breed with articles and information in our Lancashire Heeler Breed Magazine.
Lancashire Heeler Breeder Magazine - Showsight