Lancashire Heeler: Small And Rare Dog

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
The Lancashire Heeler is a small size dog with a dynamic personality. This is a sturdy little dog with a big personality. Read on to discover more about this breed.
Dog Breed Group:
Herding Dogs
10 to 12 inches tall at the shoulder
13 to 15 pounds
Life Span:
9 to 14 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Lancashire Heeler is a lively and intelligent cattle dog with strong terrier instincts.

Often described as affectionate and versatile, this breed is today a full-time home pet with still strong herding instincts.

Small and powerful, this breed was designed to be an energetic worker and deal with rabbits and rats daily.

Due to their unusual smile-like face, they are named the Heeler Smile – when this dog is happy he loves to draw back their lips in an effort that emulates a human smile.

This breed is also extremely rare.

In fact, they are so rare that The Kennel Club, U.K put Lancashire Heeler in 2003 on their list of Endangered Breeds list. The reason for this move is the small number of dogs composing the gene pool and the high risk of several inherited diseases.

Quick Facts

Real name: Lancashire Heeler
Other names: Ormskirk Heeler, Ormskirk Terrier
Origin: England
Breed type: Miscellaneous class of dogs
Weight: 9-17 pounds
Height: 10-12 inches
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Litter Size: 2-5 puppies
Color: Black and tan or liver and tan
Coat: Short, hard, and weather resistant coat

Lancashire Heeler History

The Lancashire Heeler’s history goes back to the 17th century. Still, the breed’s exact origin is still a big mystery, although it’s accepted that a type of Welsh Corgi was involved in making this breed.

At the time, Corgies were used to drive livestock to the northwest of England from Wales, while this small and tan dog was common in the Ormskirk area of West Lancashire.

Another possible ancestor for this breed, besides the Welsh Corgi, was Manchester Terrier. Overall, the Lancashire Heelers were bred as a cattle herder and a rather.

From there they went on to become wonderful family dogs.

The breed was recognized by the Kennel Club in the U.K. in 1981, only to become eventually a vulnerable native breed.

Luckily, there is a growing interest in this dog today, to participate in a dog sport such as agility, and herding events, so we can hope that the breed will reach a higher number.

Another positive side is that the Lancashire Heeler has gained popularity in the U.S, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Australia.

Lancashire Heeler Physical Appearance

The Lancashire Heeler is a small and powerful dog, with a head in proportion to the body.

Eyes are almond-shaped, lips are firm, while the jaw is strong with a perfect scissor bite.

The neck is moderate in length and well laid into shoulders. The tail is left natural, while the body is well sprung and firm. Hindquarters are muscular and never bandy.

Cost is short and weather-resistant thanks to a strong undercoat that keeps them warm during the winter, and dry during the rainy days.

A long or wavy coat is highly undesirable. Coat color is usually black and tan or liver and tan with pigment.

Lancashire Heeler Personality

The Lancashire Heeler is a small, but powerful dog. This is a terrier-type working dog, with a longer body and a medium-to-high energy level. Thanks to his short and water-proof coat you might expect long walks even on a rainy day.

This is an intelligent, alert, and affectionate dog. He loves spending time in the house, next to his owners, or playing outside with his favorite human.

When outdoors, keep this brewed on a leash all the time because they have a strogn instinct to seek out and hunt – seeing a squirrel when on leash can be a real disaster.

This is the main reason why they get along better with bigger animlas, opposite to small pets. They can be stubborn from time to time and have a mind of their own, but that can be fixed if addressed right with training.

Use only positive reinforcement training. They can be suspicious of strangers and answer with barking when needed, which makes them good watchdogs.

They can accept cats only when raised with them, but should never be left supervised with smaller animals.

Lancashire Heelers may do well with cats when raised together from an early age, so adress that issues carefully. They are great with children but should be supervised just like with any other dog breed.

Make sure that your children know how to behave around dogs, understand why they should respect their space, and never disturb them while they are eating and drinking water, or merely chilling in their crate or bed.

Lancashire Heeler Training

Training your Lancashire Heelers should be an easy and well-planned process.

Training should always be based on positive reinforcement techniques, and you should never harm your dog anyhow during the training process.

If you feel that training your puppy, or an adult dog, is too much for you or that you are caught up with puppy blues, ask for help.

No one was born with a firm knowledge of everyhting, so reach out to those who are professionals in the field.

With that in mind, puppy classes or a dog training school can do wonders for both you and your dog, and your overall connection.

This breed is very attentive and affectionate toward their owners, and they are eager to please, as long as you lead them right. Have treats on hand and create fun and short training sessions.

Dogs love to be mentally stimulated and when they are not, they get easily bored and may demonstrate some destructive behavior and issues.

Lancashire Heeler Exercise

The Lancashire Heeler is all about being active. This breed loves equally spending time outdoors and playing to be a real-life couch potato 24/7.

They thrive on human interaction, following basic commands every day and having a mental challenge from day to day.

Sometimes, they may seem lazy, but thats only until they hear you saying ‘walk’, ‘play’, or ‘fetch.’ This breed loves exercise and they would never say no ‘no’ to a playtime.

You can play in the backyard, go with dog toys to the dog park, or just provides several walks per day.

You should also think about indoor activities, or learning new tricks. Training your Lancashire Heeler dog sports like obedience can be a great way to give your dog enough exercise.

Lancashire Heeler Grooming

The Lancashire Heeler can easily be seen working into the fields and doing his best in the show ring. There should be regular brushing because their short coat with dense undercoat does shed.

Luckily, they don’t need brushing every day – two times per week should be enough.

Make sure that you have the right grooming tools on hand, because the best grooming tools can make brushing easier and faster.

If you need extra help with grooming, think about hiring a professional groomer. Check your Heeler’s teeth, eyes, and gums regularly for any signs of trouble.

Learn how to clean a dog’s ears and have nails trimmed regularly. The rest is regular grooming: bathing when needed and regular veterinarian check-ups.

Lancashire Heeler Health

The Lancashire Heelers are a healthy breed, but just like humans, they might be prone to certain health conditions. However, when dealing with responsible breeders you can be sure that you are getting a healthy Lancashire Heeler.

Responsible breeders will always present you radical documentation on the breed and let you meet the dog’s parents.

If you are not allowed to see where dogs sleep, meet parents and check other facilities, be sure that you are dealing with puppy mills, and you should walk away.

Taking your Lancashire Heelers to your veterinarian regularly can make your dog live longer and healthier.

Once you get a dog you are directly responsible for one of the most difficult health conditions dogs ever – obesity.

Obesity in pets is becoming a major problem across the States and you should keep your dog as fit as possible.

Recommended tests for the breed:

  • Primary Lens Luxation
  • Collie Eye Anomaly
  • Patellar Luxation

Lancashire Heeler Nutrition

The Lancashire Heeler will thrive on a proper good, specially created for his age. You don’t want to feed your puppy with food created for senior dogs. Any dog commercial food of better rank should do fine.

If you are thinking about feeding your dog raw food talk to your veterinarian about war food pros and cons because you want to avoid any possible health disturbances.

Soem dogs are prone to overweight, so monitor your dog’s weight, calories intake, and weight level. If you have any worries about your dog’s weight, talk to your veterinarian.

The Bottom Line

The Lancashire Heeler is for you if you want a loyal dog who is kind by nature.

If you have children and want a dog to make the house more lively, the Lancashire Heeler is a great choice, especially if you have older children.

This is a healthy breed as long as you provide regular veterinarian checkups and enough love and care. This Breed is prone to separation anxiety, so you shouldn’t be left alone for too long and too frequently.

If you don’t think that you can deal with high prey drive and separation anxiety, maybe you should think twice abotu getting this breed. Get a dog only when you are truly ready to commit.

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