Lancashire Heeler

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    History & Overview

    The Lancashire Heeler is the world smallest pastoral breed. It is supposed by many that the breed origins go back to the 15th century England, the counties of Lancashire and Norfolk where the breed is also known as the Ormskirk Terrier or the Ormskirk Heeler.


    The Heeler was originally bred as a hunter of rats and other vermin. They were also used to round up cattle by barking and snapping at their heels without doing harm. The little dogs were also used to hurry the slow one back into the herd or flock.

    Over time, the black-and-tan short-legged dogs with pointed ears became popular with farmers all over Lancashire who took up the breed for general farm work, herding, rat catching, and rabbiting with nets. The breed was valued for its excellent working abilities, good disposition and loyalty to its family.

    The Kennel Club of Great Britain recognizes the Lancashire Heeler breed. In the United States, it can be registered through the AKC Foundation Stock Service.

    At A Glance


    Herding and Companion Dog


    FCI Classification: Group 1: Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs (except Swiss Cattle Dogs), Section 1: Sheepdogs. Without working trial.
    AKC Classification: Foundation Stock Services


    Small (10 – 12 inches at the shoulder)


    • Black and tan, with a small white marking on the chest
    • Liver and tan (brown)

    Litter Size:


    Life Span:

    9 – 14 years

    Grooming Requirements:

    The Lancashire Heeler is a natural dog and requires minimal grooming. Brushing once a day will help control shedding and maintain good condition of the coat.


    The Lancashire Heeler has a fine undercoat which is covered by weather resistant, short, thick, hard, flat topcoat. Shedding is seasonal (spring and autumn).


    Active, alert, curious, loyal and affectionate. They make good watchdogs but are friendly with everyone.

    Social skills:

    Gets along with other household animals, especially when raised with them. Although some heelers will try and herd household pets, they can be taught not to do that.

    Suitability for Children:

    Excellent with children, especially when raised with them from puppyhood.

    Exercise Needs:

    Loves to go for long walks, but are equally content staying at home or playing in the yard. They are fun-loving dogs and love to play with toys.

    Train Ability:

    Quick learner

    Health & Behavioral Issues:

    A hardy and healthy breed. A responsible breeder will test all puppies for the following diseases at around 6 – 8 weeks of age and make the results of the testing available to the prospective buyers. A few instances of:

    • Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA)
    • Choroidal Hypoplasia
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