Lancashire Heeler Breed Questions

Questions about the Lancshire Heeler Breed and Breed Standard

Frequently asked questions about the Lancashire Heeler Breed
Are Lancashire Heelers good with children?

Picture :Line Engen (Kennel Mei Alucinor)

The Lancashire Heeler's 'loyalty to family' trait say's that the answer to this question is certainly yes but, as with all breeds there are caveats and ways to make sure you get the most suitable pet for your family.. 
1. Obtain your Lancashire Heeler from a reputable breeder who breeds with temperament as a consideration or from a Breed Rescue that evaluates dogs for re-homing responsibly.
2. Ensure that your puppy is well socialised and given adequate training.  Obedience / ring craft classes offer an ideal way for your Lancashire Heeler to socialise with people and dogs and for your puppy to learn how to behave and interact.
3. Ensure that your children are well trained and learn to treat your pet with respect!  Any animal will react sharply if they feel threatened and supervision is a must for any animal when interacting with young children who can tend to be unpredictable.
4. Remember that the Lancashire Heeler is a herding dog.  If he feels uncomfortable with unruly children he will simply try and show them the door.  He has been bred for herding cattle and will simply see children smaller cows on two legs to be rounded up and moved on!  It is important to train this out of the Heeler at the puppy stage.

In summary the Lancashire Heeler is certainly suitable for homes with children.  Spend time training the dog and family alike and your children will have a loyal and fun loving companion for many years.

on Sunday, November 25 2018

Lancashire Heelers are normally very outgoing and are friendly to people, but very occasionally if not socialised correctly some may show signs of nervousness.  As in all breeds they benefit greatly from early socialisation with people and dogs.
Training classes (obedience and/or ringcraft) are a great way for your Lancashire Heeler to be socialised and to learn basic manners.
Lancashire Heelers are ideal dogs for active people of any age who are able to give them the attention they require.  Country life or town life with open spaces nearby would be equally suitable, because they benefit from free running in safe areas such as parks and open countryside. 
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!

on Sunday, November 25 2018
Are Lancashire Heelers good with other dogs?

Picture :Line Engen (Kennel Mei Alucinor)

This all comes down to socialisation and training.  The Lancashire Heeler is a fearless soul and will coexist happily with other dogs, even very large ones.  After all he isn’t worried by a herd of large cows! Invest time as a puppy socialising with other dogs at shows or training classes or go along to one of the Heeler walks organised by the Lancashire Heeler Association. 

It is also never too late to learn. I have known an adult Lancashire Heeler, who had lived far from other doggy company for more than 10 years, very quickly adjust to playing with other dogs after a very short time with a little training to reinforce that mixing with other dogs is a positive experience. 

on Monday, November 26 2018
Are Lancashire Heeler good with cats?

Picture: Poppy & Charlie courtesy Jan Gillam

Lancashire Heelers can do anything you and they can put their mind to.  The trick is convincing your Lancashire Heeler it's a good idea!  It is, of course, much easier if the cat is in situ when your Lancashire Heeler arrives, however, I have had an 11 year old Heeler with no liking for cats become best friends with an adult cat and all that took was patience.  Certainly Poppy and Charlie do much more than co-exist having now become co-conspirators!

Poppy and Charlie are now co-conspirators!

on Monday, November 26 2018
As always, a Lancashire Heeler's behaviour is dependent upon temperament, socialisation and training.A Lancashire puppy obtained from a reputable breeder and giver adequate socialisation (puppy classes, obedience / ringcraft training etc) will certainly learn good manners.  Careful introduction to other animals in the family will soon allow the dog to learn acceptable behaviour in mixed company and many Lancashire Heelers behave impeccably with other animals.
on Monday, November 26 2018
Ganseblume Hokkus Pokkus demonstarted Lancashire Heeler ability to be trained

Picture and video of Ganseblume Hokkus Pokkus copyright Iida Lähdekorpi‎

The Lancashire Heeler in a very intelligent dog and therefore easy to train if you have patience (and treats!) Train using short sessions to avoid the dog becoming bored or resentful.  Learning should be fun!
Most Lancashire Heelers are quite food oriented or will respond to getting a treat of a different nature such as playing with a favourite toy - kept for the purpose of training.


on Monday, November 26 2018
Lancashire Heelers are naturally protective animals, inquisitive and can be bossy! They certainly can, if allowed, express themselves vocally as can most dogs.  It is important to recognise that dogs do bark and there is usually a reason for the behaviour.  A dog left outside in a garden to bark at the neighbours unchecked cannot be blamed for alerting you to something he thinks should be reported to you.  It is important to train your Heeler to stop.  Obedience classes can certainly help with this where a common method is first to teach the dog to bark on command and then to stop.  Curiously this is very effective!
on Monday, November 26 2018
The Lancashire Heeler is a small dog.  It is the smallest herding dog, being the same height as the Pembroke Welsh Corgi.  According to the Kennel Club Breed Standard the ideal size for a Lancashire Heeler dog is 10 inches (25cm)  to 12 inches (30cm) and these tend to be average measurements rather than definitive.  In general a Lancashire Heeler bitch will be at the lower end of the scale and a dog at the higher.  The length of a Lancashire Heeler is approximately  1 inch (2.5 cm) longer than height at withers. (Measured from withers to set on of tail).
on Monday, November 26 2018

The amount of exercise a Lancashire Heeler needs very much depends on the age of the dog.  An adult Lancashire Heeler needs, on average, an hour to an hour and a half walking per day.  Clearly if the dog is getting unrestricted run, chasing a ball etc this provides a more intense workout so will need less walking - no different to us mere humans, if you're working out for an hour in the gym you don't need that cross country hike!  Heelers are versatile and adapt to your lifestyle.  I know many Heelers who love to go hiking with their owners for an hour or even 2 and then will come back and start tearing around the garden.  Equally, others are happy with 2 or 3 shorter walks per day.  If your Lancashire Heeler is overweight, getting up to mischief or tearing around at home it may be that insufficient exercise is a factor. 

Elderly dogs, especially those with arthritis will require less walking, however, it is important to walk your Lancashire Heeler sufficiently to maintain mobility and mental stimulation.  They love their walks.  Equally, puppies should not be over exercised in their first 6 months so as not to put unreasonable stress on their joints.  Learning to rest should be as much a part of their training as exercise and play.
Read about exercising your Lancashire Heeler Puppy.

on Monday, November 26 2018

Only 2 colour combinations are deemed acceptable in the Lancashire Heeler Breed Standard: Black and Tan, and Liver and Tan.

See also; Lancashire Heeler Colour variants

on Monday, November 26 2018
Tilly, Lancashire Heeler aged 18 years

Tilly, having a well deserved rest.  Picture copyright Isaac Mifflin

The typical answer to this question given in respect of Lancashire Heelers is 12 to 15 years, however, many live longer than this.  I personally have had a 17 year old and Tilly, pictured, is now 3 months shy of her 19th birthday!

on Monday, November 26 2018
Yes.  Playful, crafty, clever, full of guile.
on Monday, November 26 2018
Traqdean De Dotty Goes Dutch.  Dotty shows how it's done.

Picture Courtesy Astrid Van Zijl

Lancashire Heelers not only CAN herd cattle, they are extremely good at it and the Lancashire Heeler breed characteristics have evolved perfectly for it.  The muscular and compact build, being extremely fit and agile, enables the dog to nip heels and duck in and out of the cattle showing and cajoling the entire herd as he goes.  These physical qualities combined with the high intelligence and biddability of the breed made the Lancashire Heeler an obvious choice for driving cattle to market in the 19th and early 20th centuries.  Few Heelers actually perform the herding task in earnest today, although some have been trained to do so as can be seen in photos on this site.  Others have herded sheep and even chickens!

on Monday, November 26 2018

Views certainly vary on this and it seems to come down to personal experience and preference.  Lancashire Heelers have unique characters, one of the breed's most endearing qualities is just how different each Heeler's personality is and so it makes this question one of the most difficult to answer.  The main consideration for you is that a bitch will have a season for you to cope with every 6-9 months, a dog will have 'wanderlust' whenever a bitch in the near vicinity has a season!  It, therefore comes down to which you prefer to cope with.  Of course if not breeding / showing spaying and neutering, once your dog is fully grown, will mitigate these issues. 

The following are a few quotes from Lancashire Heeler owners / breeders with experience in this area:

Our first two Heelers were dogs and we now have a beautiful bitch, Rosie, and so far can see no difference!

Personally, if I wasn’t into breeding, I would have dogs not bitches, but that is just my personal opinion

I’ve got three bitches and one dog. The three bitches are all entirely different in personality and perhaps more hormonal then my dog. He seems happy go lucky and very affectionate however my real cuddle bunny is my youngest bitch. All three have been trained in obedience and other disciplines but the one who wants to work unstintingly until he drops is my dog.

I have two girls, I hate the ‘b’ word! They are complete opposites in every way. Lola is extremely loving but also doesn’t like to do as she’s told. She steals socks and other small things and parades around like she’s so very clever! Rosy is a tiny dog with a lot of love but she doesn’t want anyone but me. She’s very well behaved when it suits!

My last heeler was a girl! She was loving and very tolerant, very very loving and totally docile- lazy tbh! I have another female now, Ruby,if I was expecting a similar dog I would have been wrong- they could not be more different!! Ruby is a wild child, runs wild but very obedient( when she wants) we couldn’t ask for a more loving dog but she is vocal and shouts at everyone!! They have both proved to be very intelligent and loyal! Very different but both amazing, just in different ways! I would always go for a girl in all my pets, just a personal preference!

Dogs will work for you and bitches always expect a reward (food) ?

We have one of each. Rex is totally laid back and loving and tries his best to please us. Lizzy is the total opposite (A well used phrase in our house is “their not called bitches for nothing”). Having said that she is so loving and totally mad but in a very good way.

I don't have much experience with bitches. I have had dogs from the beginning and would actually always prefer a dog before a bitch. I feel that dogs are more owner focused and cuddly while bitches rather tend to do their thing ?

I've had both. At the moment I have 3 boys and I bitch, they are all different, bitches do tend to rule the roost and can be Diva ish all my present boys are very laid back but so much of it is in the breeding.

Males have always seemed more laid back to me, a bit more Tim Tim Nice But Dim in the best of ways ? They can be crazy but I've never found them to think much through, they don't plot... As much.
Bitches can live up to the name, they definitely plot, and often make sure the boys know they're in charge. BUT I adore them, they're hilarious and the Yin to the boys Yang.
I would go for either, their personalities will outshine their sex.


on Monday, November 26 2018
In hot summers more hair than usual may be shed from your Lancashire Heeler

Picture copyright Iida Lähdekorpi‎

In general terms a Lancashire Heeler does not shed too much hair, especially if they are of the very flat, smooth coated type.  Some Lancashire Heelers are a little 'fluffier' in that they have a thicker undercoat and this type of coat will yield more hair when brushing, especially at moult times.  Heelers usually moult twice a year although an extended and warm summer does seem to extend the shedding time.

 An unusually long and hot summer means an unusual amount of hair!

on Monday, November 26 2018

Lancashire Heelers are known as a 'get up and go' breed as far as grooming is concerned and really don't need much grooming at all. Regular walks on hard surfaces generally keep the nails in shape, although if they are prone to growing faster they should clearly be trimmed, as with any other dog breed.

A bath every couple of months is probably as much as is needed although if he decides to jump in a muddy puddle, or worse you may wish to wash him more regularly!

Brushing once a week is ample to save on the vacuuming and maintain a good shiny coat.  When moulting a daily brush is advisable and will keep your Lancashire Heeler more comfortable.

No complex clipping, no curling, no matting.  Lancashire Heelers just get up and go!

on Monday, November 26 2018

Contrary to popular myth most people with animal related allergies aren't allergic to pet hair but rather the pet dander - the skin that an animal sheds or the animal saliva.  This myth makes easy to dismiss a Lancashire Heeler as it is certainly not an any list of hypoallergenic dog breeds, if indeed there is such an animal!. It has also led to an increase in 'designer' mix sales at extortionate prices under an illusion that non shedding means allergy free!

Pet allergies take may forms, for example, chronic rhinitis (the typical hay fever like reaction) and allergy related asthma. These allergies for an individual may also be in respect of some breeds and not others.  If canine allergens are a concern and you are thinking of bringing a Lancashire Heeler or any other breed into your household invite one to visit and stay a while.  At least that way you can be sure.

 If you already have a dog try grooming the him regularly outside and bathing the dog monthly in warm water to minimise the shedding indoors as well as excluding the dog from human sleeping areas to minimise the impact.  A good vacuum with hypoallergenic filters also makes a big difference.

on Monday, November 26 2018
Do Lancashire Heelers make good hunting dogs?

Parabar Peat. Picture copyright Jenny Grant-Parkes (Parabar Lancashire Heelers)

The Lancashire Heeler is a herding dog, hence it is a member of the Pastoral group. Heelers are very intelligent dogs, as necessary to do the bidding of a herdsman! Lancashire Heelers are, however, also well known for their terrier like hunting instincts and make excellent mousers and rat catchers.  Historically they have also been known as 'poacher's dogs' as, it is said, they could be carried in their deep pockets and are very adept at catching rabbits. A number of Heelers have taken part in blood tracking sports and various hunting activities.  Their success in these activities is therefore driven by the terrier instinct and their intelligence rather than their dominant purpose and inclination which will always be that of a Heeler wanting to herd.

on Monday, November 26 2018

Costs depend on type of food offered  Typically -  £5 - £7 a week, for tinned meat/mixer, to complete food or raw.

on Saturday, December 15 2018
x ray of a 2 week old puppy showing gaps between joints

This picture is an X-ray of a 2 week old puppy.
Look at how far the bones have to grow before they become  proper bony joints!
This is why you should never let puppies jump, walk up/down stairs, over exercise or over train. Doing too much impact activity at a young age will cause serious issues later in life, or even at a young age as hip dysplasia and other orthopaedic conditions are rising in puppies!
Remember the puppy rule: For every month increase activity by 5 minutes!
For example an 8 week old puppy only needs 10 minutes physical activity a day - a 6 month old only needs 30 minutes a day of physical activity!!*
*physical activity includes - going for a walk, training, playing fetch, running, playing with other dogs etc.

Enjoy your new puppy but remember you wouldn't make a 6 month old baby run a mile a day so don't make your puppy do so either!

Credit to Lauren Murray who originally posted this.

on Wednesday, January 09 2019