Dog Breeds: Lancashire Heeler: Features & Care

side view of Lancashire heeler standing looking up and alert at a dog show

A tiny herding dog breed from England, the Lancashire heeler has a short, thick coat that is either black or liver with tan. This little puppy is strong and athletic despite its small. It has almond-shaped eyes and either upright or pointed ears. The dog also has a tendency to pull its lips back in what is known as a "heeler grin" when it is relaxed. The breed's demeanor reflects its outward friendliness. The Lancashire heeler is typically a cheerful, amusing, and sharp small dog.

Breed Overview


Height: 10 to 12 inches

Weight: 9 to 17 pounds

Coat: Short double coat

Coat Color: Black and tan or liver and tan

Life Span: 12 to 15 years

Temperament: Affectionate, playful, energetic

Hypoallergenic: No

Origin: England

Characteristics of the Lancashire Heeler

The Lancashire heeler is typically optimistic and vivacious. It enjoys having busy family time. This breed's disposition is shaped in part by its high intellect, and it often picks up new abilities and orders quickly.

Affection Level  High
Friendliness  High
Kid-Friendly  High
Pet-Friendly  High
Exercise Needs  High
Playfulness  High
Energy Level  High
Trainability High
Intelligence  High
Tendency to Bark  High
Amount of Shedding Medium

History of the Lancashire Heeler

Although the origin of the breed is unknown, it may be dated back to the 1600s. At that time, people drove animals to marketplaces with a variation of the Welsh corgi. In West Lancashire, little black-and-tan dogs were also prevalent. These canines, together with the Manchester terrier, are most likely the forebears of the modern Lancashire heeler.

Besides herding livestock, these little dogs also were used as vermin exterminators on farms. Plus, they were friendly and loving companion animals. 

In the 1900s, breeding grew more standardized, and the Lancashire heeler was recognized by the UK's Kennel Club in 1981. In 2001, it was included to the American Kennel Club's Foundation Stock Service, which aids in the oversight of breeding. Then, with a herding group classification, it was admitted into the AKC's Miscellaneous Class in 2018.

Lancashire Heeler Care

The Lancashire heeler requires a lot of daily activity despite its small size. Fortunately, it doesn't require much grooming. Additionally, it responds well to socialization and training, particularly when initiated at a young age.


This tiny athlete will require at least an hour of rigorous activity each day. You may assist your dog burn off some energy by taking him on quick walks, jogs, treks, and energetic games of fetch. In addition to physical exercise, this breed may succeed in dog sports like agility, which can stimulate the mind. It's excellent if you can let your dog run free in a secure enclosed space.


Every week, brush your dog's coat to get rid of any loose fur and debris. Additionally, expect times of increased shedding throughout the spring and fall weather changes, when you'll need to brush more regularly.

On its own, the coat has a tendency to keep rather clean. However, depending on how dirty your dog becomes, continue to budget for a bath every month or so. Additionally, examine its ears at least once every week to determine if they require cleaning. Additionally, strive to wash its teeth every day and trim its nails around once a month.


To avoid the formation of undesirable behaviors, start teaching and socializing your Lancashire heeler as soon as possible. This breed often responds well to its owner's orders and learns tricks rapidly. Use rewards and praise together with positive reinforcement training techniques at all times. In order to avoid boring this bright dog, make sure training sessions are enjoyable and diverse.

Additionally, when your dog is young, try to introduce it to other people and pets. When meeting new people, this breed might be a little reticent. However, gaining comfort and confidence may be greatly aided by having pleasant social encounters.

Common Health Problems

This breed is generally healthy and long-lived, but it can be prone to some hereditary health issues, including:

  • Primary lens luxation (an eye disease)

Diet and Nutrition

Keep fresh water readily available for your Lancashire heeler at all times. And feed it a premium canine diet that provides adequate nutrients, usually through two measured meals per day. You might want to think about feeding your dog a diet designed specifically for little breeds. But be sure to always go over the type of food and the quantity with your vet. Also, watch out for additional food and goodies. For a petite breed, even a little extra weight might be excessive.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Lancashire Heeler

It might be difficult to find Lancashire heelers at trustworthy breeders or rescue groups. Still, it's worthwhile to add your name to the breed wait list at your neighborhood rescue organizations. Expect to pay between $1,000 and $1,500 for a puppy from a reputable breeder. Depending on where you live, you might also need to wait a while and travel a considerable distance to get a dog.

For more information to help connect you with a Lancashire heeler, check out:

  • United States Lancashire Heeler Club
  • Lancashire Heeler Club Rescue

Lancashire Heeler Overview

  • Affectionate with family

  • Adaptable to different living situations

  • Generally friendly and outgoing

  • Can be vocal

  • Can be stubborn about training

  • Difficult breed to find

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

Verify that the Lancashire heeler is the ideal breed for your lifestyle by conducting in-depth study. To find out more, speak to breed owners, reputable breeders, rescue groups, and veterinary specialists. And if you can, try to spend some time with Lancashire heelers as well.

If you’re interested in similar breeds, check out:

There’s a whole world of potential out there—with a little research, you can find the right one to bring home!

  • Are Lancashire heelers good family dogs?

    Lancashire heelers that have had proper training and socialization usually get along well with kids. They may be beneficial for households with mature older children. However, they might not always put up with hard treatment and could try to corral rowdy young children.

  • Are Lancashire heelers good apartment dogs?

    Lancashire heelers can adapt well to apartment living, as long as their activity needs are met every day. However, they can be quite vocal, which might disturb nearby neighbors.

  • Are Lancashire heelers rare?

    A uncommon canine breed is the Lancashire heeler. It was classified as vulnerable by the Kennel Club of the United Kingdom in 2003, and there are only thought to be 5,000 Lancashire heelers in existence globally.


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