Description of a Lancashire Heeler
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. Bitches are preferably about 10ins (25cms) high, the dogs being slightly larger up to a maximum of 12ins (30cms).
Working characteristics of the Lancashire Heeler
As well as working on farms, herding cattle and sheep, they were used in the past to drive cattle to the slaughter houses. They used their hunting instincts to catch rats and rabbits. They have become more common as pet dogs and, since being recognised by the Kennel Club, have become successful show dogs with several Champions being made since 1999.
A few have been trained to compete in Kennel Club agility tests, obedience competitions and working trials.
Temperament of the Lancashire Heeler
There are several Lancashire Heelers that have become "Pets As Therapy" dogs, giving pleasure to people in caring institutions such as nursing homes.
They enjoy sitting on laps and being stroked, emphasising their good temperament.
As with most breeds there is a wide variation in Lancashire Heeler breed types and temperaments. It is important to see several breeders to make sure that you buy the dog with the temperament and type that suits you.
As a Breed Lancashire Heelers learn very quickly, but owners are often foiled by a rather stubborn nature and a very inventive mind. If the owners persevere with kind, firm handling, they will find that their dog will respond.
Lancashire Heeler - suitability as a pet
Lancashire Heelers are normally very outgoing and are friendly to people, but very occasionally if not socialised correctly some may show signs of nervousness. They may be sharp with other dogs, especially when on the lead; as in all breeds they benefit greatly from early socialisation with people and dogs.
It is very important that they attend a training class (obedience and/or ringcraft) 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. They are suitable for families with older children, but they may not be suitable as a first dog for a family with babies or young toddlers. 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!
Chris Norman / Janice Jones