Other Names: Ormskirk Heeler, Lancashire Terrier
The smallest dog in the pastoral group, heelers got their name from nipping at the cattle’s heels, without breaking the skin, as they drove the cattle to market or were rounding up the herd. They also used their hunting instincts to catch rats and rabbits.
The Lancashire Heeler is a small, sturdily built dog. They are slightly longer than they are tall and the front feet turn slightly outwards. The ears are relatively large and stand erect.
Coat: The coat is smooth with an undercoat which keeps the dog dry in all weathers and it may have a slight mane round the neck in winter. The dog is usually black and tan, but liver and tan is now recognised by the Kennel Club.
Weight: 3-6 kg
Height: 25 -30 cm
Average Lifespan: 15 years
A courageous, playful and affectionate breed of dog, Lancashire Heeler is a friendly little dog that gets on well with people and older children. Some can be a little nervous and somewhat intolerant of other dogs. Early socialisation with people and other pets is a must. They are ideal dogs for active families with older children but are not really recommended as a first dog for homes with babies and toddlers. As with other breeds from the pastoral group, Lancashire Heelers have strong herding instincts and may try to round up errant children or dogs with a well-aimed nip at the heels.
As a Breed Lancashire Heelers learn very quickly, however they are rather stubborn, owners need patient, consistent and firm handling.
High. Lancashire heelers may be small but long daily walks are required to keep this breed happy and healthy. A dog proof garden is important, if they are left unsupervised, as they are very good escapologists and can get out of the smallest hole and climb or jump over a low fence.
They are relatively easy to groom as their hair is rather short and smooth. A rubber grooming mitt and the occasional comb is all that is necessary to keep this dog tidy.
Lancashire Heeler Health Issues
Luxating Patella/Slipping knee joints (also referred to as luxating patellas, slipped stifles) are a common problem in small breeds. In this condition, the kneecap slips out of its groove and moves against the thighbone (femur) instead of along its natural groove. Although this has been found to be a heritable condition, small, active breeds are likely to aggravate it through the course of their natural activities (jumping up and down) around taller objects such as furniture.
Lancashire Heeler History
There is little known about the origin of this breed. It is printed in many publications that the Lancashire Heeler is a cross between the Manchester Terrier and the Welsh Corgi. The Lancashire Heeler is also known as the Ormskirk Heeler and they have been used as working dogs on farms in the Lancashire area for hundreds of years and though a little known breed they are still working on farms today.
The Lancashire Heeler was first recognised by the British Kennel Club in 1981. The breed was then placed on the Rare Breeds Register. The Lancashire Heeler is the smallest of all the Working and Herding Breeds.
1999 brought big changes for the breed in the show ring, the breed was moved into the newly formed Pastoral Group and was awarded CC’s for the first time. Also the Brown (Liver and Tan) Heeler received Kennel Club approval to be included in the breed standard.