Lancashire Heelers

Overview of Lancashire Heelers

  • The Lancashire Heeler dog breed is an endangered breed with approximately only 5,000 world-wide.  Probably the smallest of the herding breeds it’s very agile, very smart and has an inventive mind.  The breed is a good ratter, keeping your property free of these pests.  They have a loving personality and good sense of humor that lets them get along well with people and pets, but they can have a stubborn and an “alpha” side.  Early training and socialization is strongly recommended — just remember that this breed is very clever.  it’s a good family dog better suited to older children.  While it needs and enjoys exercise it also enjoys a nap or two.
  • Lancashire Heelers are known to piling on the pounds, so/however a diet that consists of biologically appropriate protein and healthy fats, ground bone and vegetables packed with the required vitamins and minerals is essential for optimum health and performance.
  • This dog breed is a healthy breed but does have some inherited diseases.  Three eye conditions are common, including Primary Lens Luxation (PLL), Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA), and persistent pupillary membrane.
  • The Lancashire Heeler is a small but sturdy, powerful and energetic working dog, either black and tan or liver and tan, with a weather resistant double coat and a natural tail that is carried in a slight curve.
  • These dogs hear best at 45,000 Hz to 65,000 Hz, while humans hear best at around 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. Only humans and Lancashire Heeler Dogs have prostates, But a dog doesn’t have an appendix.
  • Lancashire Heelers have three eyelids, a lower lid, an upper eyelid lid and a third lid, that is called a haw or nictitating membrane, this keeps the Lancashire Heeler Dogs eye protected and moist.
  • They are alert, friendly, energetic, intelligent, playfulfriendly towards its owners and passers-by on the street but may be aggressive towards an unknown character on their territory.
  • These dogs are quick to learn and highly intelligent.  They like to please, but they also have a mind of their own so patience and kind firmness will go a long way. 
  • This breed have historically been used for rounding up cattle and sheep on farms by sharply nipping the herd’s heels, as well as being prodigious ratters and rabbit hunters.
  • Originally bred on the farms in and around the Ormskirk area of Lancashire, which is where it’s other name of ‘The Ormskirk Terrier’ comes from.


The Lancashire Heeler dog breed was recognized as a susceptible native breed during 2006, meaning the yearly registration numbers are less than 300 for the Lancashire Heeler Dog breed. Facts about Lancashire Heeler Dog, “Scientific name for Lancashire Heeler Dog, or domestic canine, is Canis lupus familiaris”. Female dogs are pregnant for 60 days before they’re puppies are bornLancashire Heeler Dog’s nose prints can be used to identify them, their nose prints are like a humans finger print.


Although they are not typically recognized by the Kennel Clubs, some of these dogs may be born with tricolor, brindle, or sable colors.  The black and tan combination is the most commonly seen color for these dogs, and liver & tan is also a recognized color. The eyes are almond shaped and either dark or light brown to match their coat, and their ears are triangular and held erect. The Lancashire Heeler is both small and sturdy, with a soft undercoat which is completely covered by a layer of short, thick fur that lays flat against the body. The paws on the Lancashire are small and well-padded, and the tail is carried over the back with a slight curve, though it generally does not form a full ring. They have a mildly elongated body, similar to the Corgi that they are likely descended from, with slightly shortened legs that are typically straight and well-boned. They possess a proportional head with a tapering face, with an alert and energetic expression.


At least 2 hours of daily exercises are needed, in a nice back garden or the countryside. Do remember that most dogs are escape artists and the Lancashire Heeler is no exception so make sure that your back garden is well-fenced and secure. Provide this dog breed enough mental and physical stimulation to become happy and well-adjusted dogs. The Lancashire Heeler is a ball of energy and must be kept busy; else it will become destructive.


Health issues are not very common in Lancashire Heelers, but although there are few diseases which can affect the dog like primary lens luxation, patella luxation, persistent pupillary membranes and collie eye anomaly. It is advisable to visit the vet regularly to avoid any serious health conditions.


In short, it is easy to train. It can be an ideal dog breed for first-time owners as long as they are attentive enough to provide Lancashire Heelers with the proper socialisation and training.  Lancashire Heelers are friendly and lively dogs. They are a pleasant companion that are intelligent and playful. This dog breed is a people-pleaser and will perform well in training with the right owners or handlers.


Lancashire Heeler has a happy, lively and affectionate temperament. They are a happy dog who is very fond of their owner and are always keen to please. They are very suitable as a family pet and also for nursing home because they like to sit on a lap and being stroked.


As this dog is rather small, interactions with toddlers and young children should be closely monitored, for both the safety of the child and the safety of the dog. The Lancashire Heeler is both a loyal and courageous animal with a happy disposition, although they can tend towards mischievousness and stubbornness, particularly if training is delayed. These dogs are also escape artists, so any yard that they play in should be thoroughly examined for holes in the fence or loose boards. They can be wary of strangers, but they are devoted to their family and usually get along well with children. They can do well in smaller spaces and apartments provided they get enough exercise but thrive in an environment where they have room to run. They tend to get along fairly well with other cats and dogs in the household, although there is a tendency to try and herd them, but due to their Terrier instincts, they may not be safe around smaller animals.

History of Lancashire Heelers

  • In 1970, the Lancashire Heeler Club was set up, with enthusiasts starting to promote the breed to prevent it from disappearing altogether.
  • In 1981, it got recognized by the Kennel Club.
  • In 1982, Crufts included the breed in the ‘Not Separately Classified’ classes, and in 1999, Challenge Certificates were allocated for the breed.
  • In 1996, the Lancashire Heeler was recognised as a vulnerable breed with an annual registration of 300 a year in the UK.
  • In 2007 there were fewer than 150 Lancashire Heeler Dogs registered in the United Kingdom.
  • In 2007, this breed had decreased further to 146.