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Lancashire Heeler

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Lancashire Heeler
Lancashire Heeler at a dog show.
Other namesOrmskirk Heeler
Ormskirk Terrier
Kennel club standards
The Kennel Club standard
Fédération Cynologique Internationale standard
Dog (domestic dog)

The Lancashire Heeler is a small breed of dog developed for use as a drover and herder of cattle. The Lancashire Heeler is listed by the Kennel Club (UK) as an endangered breed. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2024.[1]

The Lancashire Heeler has an average life span of 15.4 years, the longest of any breed, according to a 2024 study reported in The New York Times. [2]



The coat is harsh and smooth with an undercoat which keeps the dog dry in all weathers. It may have a slight mane round the neck in winter. The dog is usually black and tan,[3] but liver and tan is now recognised by the Kennel Club. They are slightly longer than height at withers, usually measures between 10–12 inches (25–30 cm) at the shoulder and weighs 13–18 pounds (5.9–8.2 kg).[3] Ears can be tipped or erect.


It is alert, friendly, energetic, intelligent, playful and a pleasant companion. Personality can range from lazy and playful to energetic and talkative. It is generally a very strong dog that likes to participate in a variety of activities, and can carry a ball or object the size of itself.[citation needed] The Lancashire Heeler is friendly towards its owners and passers-by on the street but may be aggressive towards an unknown character on their territory.


The Lancashire Heeler has a life expectancy of 12–15 years or more. The three most common serious conditions that can affect Heelers are Collie eye anomaly, Primary lens luxation and Persistent pupillary membranes.[4] As well as these eye conditions, dogs of this breed may suffer from Patella luxation.[5]


The Welsh Corgi is thought to be one of the parent breeds of the Lancashire Heeler.

The origin of breed are unknown, however it is accepted that a type of Welsh Corgi was used to drive livestock to the north west of England from Wales.[6] In the Ormskirk area, a type of black and tan terrier called the Manchester Terrier was introduced which resulted in what is now known as the Lancashire Heeler.[3] The breed has been known in its home county for over a hundred and fifty years as a general purpose farm dog, capable of both ratting and herding cattle.[6]

Gwen Mackintosh began to breed Heelers in the early 1960s. Together with other enthusiasts, she established the Lancashire Heeler Club in 1978, with the club setting a breed standard and register. Recognition by The Kennel Club followed in 1981. Mackintosh would continue to serve as the club's president until her death in 1992.[6]

The breed was recognised as a vulnerable native breed by The Kennel Club in 2006, which means that annual registration figures are 300 or less for the breed.[7] In 2006, 173 Heelers were registered in the UK, in 2007 this had decreased further to 146.[8] In 2016, the FCI added the breed to the list of provisionally accepted breeds.[9] The Lancashire Heeler was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2024.[10]


Lancashire Heelers can compete in dog agility trials, obedience, Rally obedience, showmanship, flyball, and herding events. Herding instincts and trainability can be measured at noncompetitive herding tests. Lancashire Heelers exhibiting basic herding instincts can be trained to compete in herding trials.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Peltz, Jennifer (3 January 2024). "Meet the newest breed to join the American Kennel Club, a little dog with a big smile". AP News. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  2. ^ Anthes, Emily (1 February 2024). "The Dogs That Live Longest, by a Nose". The New York Times.
  3. ^ a b c Cunliffe, Juliette (2002). The Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. Bath: Paragon. p. 231.
  4. ^ "Health of the Lancashire Heeler". The United States Lancashire Heeler Club. Archived from the original on 30 June 2007. Retrieved 26 May 2010.
  5. ^ "Health of the Lancashire Heeler". Lancashire Heeler Community. Retrieved 26 May 2010.
  6. ^ a b c Cutler, Jackie (July 2007). "Lancashire Heeler Breed Feature". Dogs Monthly. The Lancashire Heeler Community. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  7. ^ "An Introduction to the Vulnerable Native Breeds". The Kennel Club. 20 December 2006. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  8. ^ "Registration statistics for all recognised dog breeds - 2006 and 2007". The Kennel Club. 27 March 2008. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  9. ^ Breeds recognised on a provisional basis. Federation Cynologique Internationale.
  10. ^ Peltz, Jennifer (3 January 2024). "Meet the newest breed to join the American Kennel Club, a little dog with a big smile". AP News. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  11. ^ Hartnagle-Taylor, Jeanne Joy; Taylor, Ty (2010). Stockdog Savvy. Alpine Publications. ISBN 978-1-57779-106-5.

External links[edit]