What is a Lancashire Heeler?

From the July Issue of ShowSight Magazine, which spotlights breeds from the Miscellaneous Class and Foundation Stock Service.

CLICK TO SUBSCRIBE. Photo courtesy of The United States Lancashire Heeler Club.

Lancashire Heelers are the smallest breed in the Herding Group, originally bred to move cattle around the markets of the northwest of England by nipping at their heels.

They are also good ratters, making them a general-purpose farm dog. They also make very good pets, as they are loyal and affectionate and ready to take on any job you can give them.

As well as being a general-purpose farm worker, they make great show dogs as well as taking part in agility, flyball, obedience, working trials, heelwork to music, rally O or any other job you can find for them to do and will readily learn lots of tricks.

They are definitely not ‘lap dogs’ but will happily sit with you on the sofa until you are ready to take them out. Then they will walk as far you wish to take them.

Most Heelers love water and will swim if given the chance. They do need plenty of regular exercise both physical and mental to keep them from finding their own entertainment and free running in a safe environment will keep them happy and healthy.

Health and Welfare

Heelers are generally a very healthy, long lived breed—often living well into their teens with very few ailments—not that you would know, as they are very hardy. There are a couple of eye conditions that need to be carefully screened for before breeding (PLL and CEA) and any reputable breeder would give you full information on these conditions.

Puppies should have had their eyes tested and we recommend adults are also done regularly to keep a check on any possible problems.

As with many small breeds, they
can sometimes suffer from a problem with their knees, causing them to hop and again breeders will explain about this and what they have done to avoid the condition.

Heelers are short-coated so grooming is easily done with a quick brush down especially when shedding (about twice a year) and the occasional bath may be necessary as they do like to roll in smelly stuff!

Feeding is very easy with a Heeler—very few are fussy about their food
and will readily eat whatever they
are given. Good exercise and watching their weight will keep them in
tip-top condition.

About the Breed

Heelers stand about 10 to 12 inches tall and weight between 15 and 20 pounds on average. They come in two colors, black and tan or liver and tan, which is less common. They should have no white on them. Ears can be tipped or erect. They are listed as a “vulnerable native breed” and there are only around 20 registered each year so you may have to wait for a puppy—they do not always come “off the shelf” and breeders often have a waiting list.

The average litter size is two to five puppies and the price is around $750-$1000. Contact Sheila0344@aol.com and she can put you in touch with a reputable breeders who are planning a litter.

The Lancashire Heeler has full registration in the United Kennel Club and can compete in conformation and performance events. In the Amercian Kennel Club, it is listed as FSS and can compete in conformation at Open shows and all performance events.

Is A Heeler The
Right Dog For Me?

Although a country environment is ideal, Heelers can live happily in a town provided they get sufficient regular exercise. They will get on fine with other animals if carefully introduced. They are good with children, provided the children are good with them! Older people find Heelers easy to cope with as they require very little attention other than good food, a regular walk and occasional grooming. They enjoy company and would prefer not to be a kennel dog, wanting to be with you everywhere you go. They also make very good foot warmers on a cold night!

Being small, they are easily carried if necessary and most travel well (best in a travel crate for safety).

Heelers are quite biddable, quick to learn and fun to have around—but be warned, one is never enough and many owners end up with a houseful of them!

Breeders love to keep in touch with their puppies and we have a very good Facebook group (Lancashire Heeler Friends in the U.S.) where owners can share photos and stories of their dogs. Below is the link to the club for the breed in America.

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