America’s Newest Dog Breed Has Been Recognized in the UK For Decades. Meet the Lancashire Heeler

Whether you consider January a month of resolutions or a month of rest and reflection, there’s no denying the changes that come along with a new year. In the world of dogs, one of the biggest changes this year is the recognition of a brand-new dog breed! The American Kennel Club officially welcomed their 201st breed on January 1st, 2024, and the Herding Group just got a little bit bigger. 

The Lancashire Heeler

The Lancashire Heeler: A Multi-talented Dog in a Small Body

Meet the Lancashire Heeler! This small dog makes a big impact wherever they go, from herding on the farm to competing in the dog show ring. At just 9 to 17 pounds when fully grown, these powerful pups have been known to compete in a number of canine contests. According to the AKC, Lancashire Heelers have been seen training in: 

  • herding,
  • agility,
  • obedience,
  • rally
  • FastCAT (100-yard dash for speed),
  • barn hunt (vermin hunting),
  • dock diving,
  • Disc Dog (frisbee),
  • tracking,
  • and therapy.

These pointy-eared dogs come in two different coat color combinations: black and tan or liver and tan. Their long bodies can be attributed to their Corgi ancestry, though passersby may mistake them for Miniature Pinschers or Manchester Terriers. 

The Lancashire Heeler
Image by Hans Benn from Pixabay

Lancashire Heelers, informally known as ‘Heelers’ in the UK, are extremely intelligent dogs with expressive eyes and energy to spare. They will need plenty of physical and mental stimulation to feel fulfilled, but they’ll be happy to settle in on your lap after a job well done. Heelers can be great with children who know how to respect dogs’ boundaries, but it’s not unheard of for them to attempt to herd the smaller members of the family. As the AKC explained, these dogs love their families, but they tend to be closest and most loyal to one special person. 

The AKC’s Newest Breed Has Actually Been Around for Decades

Even though the Lancashire Heeler was only officially recognized by the American Kennel Club on January 1, the breed has been around for decades, if not centuries. The popular belief is that this breed was the result of cross-breeding Welsh Corgis and the later addition of Manchester Terriers in the 17th century. They became well known as ‘butcher’s dogs’ in the West Lancashire area of England, and they became more popular as family pets in the following years. 

The Lancashire Heeler
Image from Karolina Grabowska on Pexels

In 1981, The Kennel Club in the UK became the first to officially recognize this dog breed, but by 2001, it became part of the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service. This service allows developing breeds to keep records with the AKC and compete in AKC Companion Events. However, there are a different set of standards for official AKC recognition. Among those, the breed needed “proof of a minimum of 20 litters bred with a three-generation pedigree” to ensure it was established and sustainable. Currently, there are about 400 Lancashire Heelers worldwide.

The Lancashire Heeler
Image from Karolina Grabowska on Pexels

The United States Lancashire Heeler Club (USLHC) helped the breed meet all standards to join the Miscellaneous Class in 2017. But in April 2023, the AKC announced that the breed would join the Herding Group the following year. 

The Lancashire Heeler
Image from Karolina Grabowska on Pexels

Clearly, it’s been a long endeavor for this breed to become fully recognized, but this next chapter of its story will be the most exciting yet. Congratulations to the USLHC and to everyone involved in the development of this small but mighty breed!

FAQs – Dog Breed Lancashire Heeler

What is a Lancashire Heeler?

The Lancashire Heeler is a small, sturdy dog breed known for its agility and friendly temperament. Originating from the United Kingdom, they were traditionally used for herding cattle.

How does the Lancashire Heeler differ from other dog breeds?

The Lancashire Heeler is unique with its distinct black and tan or liver and tan coat. It’s part of the herding group, recognized for its ability to drive cattle, similar to breeds like the Australian Cattle Dog.

What should I know before getting a Lancashire Heeler puppy?

When considering a Lancashire Heeler puppy, it’s important to understand their energetic nature and need for regular exercise. They are also known for their intelligence and loyalty.

Can you tell me about the Lancashire Heeler Chihuahua mix?

The Lancashire Heeler Chihuahua mix is a mixed breed dog combining traits from both breeds. They often inherit the Lancashire Heeler’s herding instincts and the Chihuahua’s small size.

What is the typical temperament of a Lancashire Heeler?

Lancashire Heelers are known for their friendly and alert temperament. They are loyal to their families and can be good with children, making them excellent companions.

Is there a Lancashire Heeler Club I can join?

Yes, there are Lancashire Heeler clubs, such as the Lancashire Heeler Club in the UK, which offer resources and support for owners and enthusiasts of the breed.

Where can I find reputable Lancashire Heeler breeders in the USA?

To find reputable Lancashire Heeler breeders in the USA, you can consult the American Kennel Club or local breed clubs for recommendations.

What are the options for Lancashire Heeler adoption?

For Lancashire Heeler adoption, you can check with local shelters or breed-specific rescues. Adoption is a great way to provide a loving home to a dog in need.

Are there Lancashire Heeler breeders in the UK?

Yes, there are several Lancashire Heeler breeders in the UK. It’s important to research and choose a breeder who follows ethical breeding practices and breed standards.

How does the Manchester Terrier compare to the Lancashire Heeler?

The Manchester Terrier and Lancashire Heeler are both small, agile breeds with a black and tan coat. However, the Manchester Terrier is more of a terrier breed, while the Lancashire Heeler is part of the herding group.

Is the Lancashire Heeler similar to the Welsh Corgi?

The Lancashire Heeler shares some similarities with the Welsh Corgi, such as size and herding instincts. Both breeds are known for their intelligence and ability to work with livestock.

What is the breed standard for a Lancashire Heeler?

The breed standard for a Lancashire Heeler includes characteristics like size (typically under 17 pounds), coat color (black and tan or liver and tan), and temperament (alert and friendly).

Are Lancashire Heelers recognized by the American Kennel Club?

Yes, as of Jan. 1 2024 the Lancashire Heeler is recognized by the American Kennel Club.

What health problems should I be aware of in Lancashire Heelers?

Like all breeds, Lancashire Heelers can have specific health problems. It’s important to consult with breeders about any genetic health testing and to keep up with regular veterinary care.

Can Lancashire Heelers participate in dog shows?

Yes, Lancashire Heelers can participate in dog shows, especially in events focused on agility and obedience, showcasing their intelligence and trainability.

How is Sheryl Bradbury connected to this breed?

Sheryl Bradbury is a notable figure in the world of Lancashire Heeler dogs. She has made significant contributions to the breed, particularly in the areas of breeding, showing, and preservation. Her work has been instrumental in maintaining the breed’s standards and promoting its popularity.

What is known about the Lancashire Heeler’s temperament?

The Lancashire Heeler is known for its playful and affectionate temperament. They are alert, intelligent, and can be a bit stubborn at times, but they are generally eager to please and bond closely with their families.

How does the temperament of the Lancashire Heeler affect its training?

Due to their intelligent and sometimes independent temperament, Lancashire Heelers may require consistent and positive training methods. Their eagerness to learn and please makes them responsive to training, but they also enjoy variety and challenges.

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