Lancashire Heeler

Table of Contents

The Lancashire Heeler is a charming and compact breed that originated in Lancashire, England, primarily used for herding cattle and controlling vermin on farms. This breed’s herding instinct is particularly notable; they were known to herd cattle by nipping at their heels, a trait that contributed to their name. Though small in stature, standing around 10 to 12 inches at the shoulder, they are sturdy and robust, equipped to handle the demands of farm work. Their coat, typically black and tan or liver and tan, is smooth, dense, and weather-resistant, requiring minimal grooming.

In terms of temperament, the Lancashire Heeler is affectionate, loyal, and known for a playful, sometimes mischievous, character. These dogs are intelligent and generally responsive to training, though they may exhibit a streak of independence or stubbornness. Their moderate to high energy levels mean they thrive on regular exercise and mental stimulation, making them ideal companions for active individuals or families. Despite their working background, they adapt well to family life and are known for being good with children, often forming strong bonds with their owners.

Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:

12 to 15 years



Maintenance Level:


Shed Level


Best For

The Lancashire Heeler is best suited for active individuals or families who can provide regular exercise and mental stimulation. Their affectionate and playful nature makes them excellent companions, especially in environments where they can be actively involved in daily activities and receive plenty of attention. They adapt well to various living situations, including both rural and urban settings.

Lancashire Heeler Traits

Breed Characteristics

The Lancashire Heeler is a small, energetic, and affectionate breed, known for its herding ability, playful nature, and distinctive black and tan coat.


Exercise Needs
Health Issues
Barking Tendencies
Grooming Needs
Shedding Level
Training Needs
Good With Kids
Good With Cats
Good As A Service Dog
Good For Apartments & Small Homes
Biting Tendencies
Energy Level
Good With Other Dogs
Sensitive to Cold Weather
Sensitive to Warm Weather
Good For First Time Pet Parents

Breed Appearance

The Lancashire Heeler is a small, robust dog with a distinctive black and tan or liver and tan coat, an alert expression, and a compact, slightly elongated body.

1. Ears
Small, erect, and set wide apart, adding to their alert and attentive expression.
2. Eyes
Dark and almond-shaped, giving them an intelligent and lively look.
3. Nose
Typically black, complementing their distinct coat colors.
4. Height
Stands about 10 to 12 inches at the shoulder.
5. Coat Length
The coat is short, dense, and smooth, providing weather resistance.
6. Coat Color
Predominantly black and tan or liver and tan, with the tan markings over the eyes, on the muzzle, chest, and legs.
7. Tail
Set high and carried gaily, but not over the back.
8. Weight
Generally weighs between 6 to 13 pounds, fitting within the small breed category.

Lancashire Heeler Temperament

The Lancashire Heeler is known for its cheerful and affectionate temperament, making it an excellent companion for families and individuals alike. These dogs are full of energy and playfulness, often displaying a mischievous streak that adds to their charm. Their loyalty and affectionate nature mean they form strong bonds with their owners, thriving on interaction and attention. Despite their small size, they are bold and confident, true to their herding heritage, and can be quite assertive in their interactions.

Intelligent and eager to please, the Lancashire Heeler is generally responsive to training, although they can exhibit an independent streak typical of terriers. They enjoy mental challenges and benefit from engaging in training and play that stimulates their minds. Socialization from a young age is important to ensure they are well-rounded and behave well around other animals and people. Their alertness makes them good watchdogs, as they are quick to alert their owners to anything unusual in their environment.

How to Care for a Lancashire Heeler

Caring for a Lancashire Heeler involves providing daily exercise to meet their high energy levels and regular mental stimulation to keep them engaged. Additionally, consistent training, socialization, and basic grooming are essential to maintain their health and well-being.

Caring for the grooming needs of a Lancashire Heeler involves a thorough but manageable routine to keep them looking and feeling their best. Here’s an in-depth guide:

Coat Care

  • Regular Brushing: Brush their coat once or twice a week using a soft bristle brush or a grooming mitt to remove loose hair and distribute skin oils.
  • Bathing: Bathe your Lancashire Heeler every few months, or as needed, with a gentle dog-specific shampoo. Their short coat doesn’t trap dirt easily, so they don’t require frequent baths.

Nail Care

  • Nail Trimming: Regularly trim their nails, typically every month, to prevent overgrowth and cracking. Long nails can cause discomfort and affect their gait.

Ear Care

  • Ear Cleaning: Check their ears weekly for dirt, wax buildup, or signs of infection. Clean them using a vet-approved ear cleaner and a cotton ball or soft cloth.

Dental Hygiene

  • Teeth Brushing: Brush their teeth several times a week to prevent tartar buildup and dental disease. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings by a vet are also recommended.

Skin and Paw Care

  • Skin Checks: While brushing, check their skin for any signs of irritation or allergies.
  • Paw Care: Inspect their paws for cuts, sores, or debris, especially after walks. In winter, protect their paws from salt and ice, and in summer, from hot surfaces.

Eye Care

  • Regular Eye Checks: Look for any signs of irritation or unusual discharge. Gently wipe around their eyes with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or debris.

Regular grooming not only keeps your Lancashire Heeler looking neat but also provides an opportunity to check for any health issues and strengthen the bond between you and your pet.

Training a Lancashire Heeler, an intelligent and sometimes willful breed, can be both rewarding and challenging.

  • Recognize Independence: Be patient with their independent nature during training sessions.
  • Use Positive Reinforcement: Employ treats, praise, and play to encourage good behavior.
  • Consistency is Crucial: Maintain consistent commands and routines for effective learning.
  • Early Socialization: Expose them to various environments, people, and animals early on.
  • Focus on Basic Commands: Start with fundamental commands like ‘sit’, ‘stay’, and ‘come’.
  • Channel Their Energy: Incorporate their natural energy and enthusiasm into training.
  • Mind Their Herding Instincts: Be aware of their herding behavior, especially around other animals.
  • Keep Training Sessions Engaging: Make training fun and engaging to maintain their interest.
  • Short, Focused Sessions: Keep sessions brief and focused on one or two concepts at a time.
  • Regular Reinforcement: Continuously reinforce training to ensure lasting behaviors.
  • Patience and Perseverance: Stay patient and persistent, as progress may vary day by day.

Training a Lancashire Heeler is about balancing firmness with fun, using their intelligence and energy positively, and building a strong bond through consistent, positive reinforcement methods. Regular training enhances their behavior and strengthens the bond between you and your pet.


Caring for the diet and nutrition of a Lancashire Heeler involves several important considerations:

  • Balanced Diet: Provide a high-quality, balanced diet suitable for their size, age, and activity level. Small breed dog formulas can be a good choice.
  • Portion Control: Monitor their food intake to prevent obesity, a common issue among small breeds. Adhere to feeding guidelines and adjust portions based on their activity level.
  • Regular Feeding Schedule: Maintain a consistent feeding schedule, typically twice a day, to support their digestive health.
  • Fresh Water: Ensure constant access to clean, fresh water for hydration.
  • Healthy Treats: Use treats sparingly and opt for healthy options, especially during training.
  • Dietary Adjustments: Be prepared to adjust their diet according to changes in age, health, or activity levels.
  • Consult a Veterinarian: Regularly consult with a veterinarian for dietary advice and to address any specific nutritional needs or concerns.

Maintaining a well-balanced diet is key to the health and longevity of a Lancashire Heeler. Alongside a nutritious diet, regular check-ups with a veterinarian will ensure any dietary needs specific to your dog’s health or age are met. By carefully managing their diet and ensuring they get the right nutrients, you can help your Lancashire Heeler lead a happy, active, and healthy life.

Caring for the exercise needs of a Lancashire Heeler involves providing them with adequate physical activity to match their energy level and to keep them mentally stimulated. Here are some key points:

  • Daily Walks: Ensure they get at least one good walk every day. Lancashire Heelers enjoy brisk walks and exploring new environments.
  • Playtime: Incorporate play sessions that allow them to run, fetch, and engage in other interactive activities.
  • Mental Stimulation: Provide puzzle toys or engage in training exercises to keep their mind active, as they are an intelligent breed.
  • Safe Outdoor Access: If you have a yard, ensure it’s securely fenced as they might chase small animals due to their herding instincts.
  • Social Interaction: Allow them to interact with other dogs, if possible, for social stimulation, but supervise these interactions due to their strong personalities.

Regular exercise and mental stimulation are essential for a Lancashire Heeler’s well-being. Daily walks, interactive play, and mental challenges will keep them healthy and content, while strengthening the bond between you and your pet.

Caring for a Lancashire Heeler involves creating an environment that caters to their physical, mental, and social needs. Here’s a guide with specific headings:

Adequate Space for Activity

  • Room to Move: Provide enough space for them to move around and play, whether in a secure backyard or a spacious indoor area.

Safe and Stimulating Environment

  • Secure Outdoor Area: If you have a yard, ensure it’s securely fenced to prevent escapes, especially given their propensity to chase.
  • Indoor Comfort: Inside the home, create a comfortable and safe space with their own bed and toys.

Mental Stimulation

  • Interactive Toys: Offer toys that challenge their intelligence and satisfy their herding instincts.
  • Regular Training: Incorporate training exercises into their daily routine to keep their mind active.

Social Interaction

  • Family Involvement: Lancashire Heelers thrive on family interaction and should be included in household activities.
  • Opportunities for Socialization: Regularly socialize them with other dogs and people to foster well-rounded behavior.

Exercise and Outdoor Access

  • Daily Exercise: Ensure they receive daily walks and playtime to expend energy and maintain fitness.
  • Safe Exploration: Allow them to explore and sniff in a safe, controlled environment during walks and outdoor time.

Creating an ideal environment for a Lancashire Heeler involves ensuring they have enough space to be active, opportunities for mental and social engagement, and a comfortable living space. This approach will help in keeping them happy, healthy, and well-adjusted.

Lancashire Heeler Health

The Lancashire Heeler is generally a robust and healthy breed, but like all breeds, they have certain health considerations to be aware of. Here’s an overview of their health profile:

  • Primary Lens Luxation (PLL): A genetic condition affecting the eyes, which can lead to blindness if not treated.
  • Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA): Another hereditary eye condition that can affect vision.
  • Patellar Luxation: A common issue in small breeds, where the kneecap slips out of place.
  • Hip Dysplasia: Although less common in smaller breeds, it can occur and lead to arthritis or mobility issues.
  • Dental Issues: Like many small breeds, they may be prone to dental problems, so regular dental care is important.
  • Obesity: Keeping an eye on their diet and exercise is key to preventing obesity, which can lead to other health issues.
  • Allergies: They may develop skin allergies, which require management through diet and care.
  • Regular Veterinary Check-ups: Routine health checks are vital for early detection and management of these and other potential health issues.

By being proactive about health care, including regular veterinary visits, a balanced diet, and adequate exercise, Lancashire Heelers can enjoy a good quality of life as a beloved family member.

Lancashire Heeler Breed Comparison and Consideration

When considering a Lancashire Heeler and comparing it to other breeds, it’s essential to understand their unique characteristics and how they might fit into your lifestyle. Here’s a comparison with other similar breeds and key considerations:

Comparison with Similar Breeds

Lancashire Heeler vs. Jack Russell Terrier:

  • Temperament: Jack Russells tend to be more high-energy and intense, while Lancashire Heelers are generally more laid-back but still playful.
  • Size: Both are small breeds, but Jack Russells may be slightly taller and leaner than the sturdier Lancashire Heeler.

Lancashire Heeler vs. Corgi:

  • Herding Instinct: Both breeds have strong herding backgrounds, but Corgis tend to be more popular and slightly larger.
  • Temperament: Corgis may be more outgoing and sociable, while Lancashire Heelers can be a bit more reserved.

Lancashire Heeler vs. Dachshund:

  • Build: Dachshunds have a longer, lower body shape compared to the more proportionate Lancashire Heeler.
  • Personality: Dachshunds can be more independent and stubborn, while Lancashire Heelers are often described as more adaptable and even-tempered.

Considerations Before Choosing a Lancashire Heeler

  • Exercise Needs: Suitable for owners who can provide regular but not overly intense exercise.
  • Grooming Requirements: Their short coat is low-maintenance, requiring minimal grooming.
  • Training and Socialization: Early and consistent training is recommended, along with socialization, as they can be reserved around strangers.
  • Living Environment: Adapts well to various living environments, including apartments, as long as their exercise needs are met.
  • Health Considerations: Awareness of breed-specific health issues like PLL and CEA is important.

Choosing a Lancashire Heeler means welcoming a playful, affectionate, and relatively easy-to-care-for companion into your home. They are best suited for those who appreciate a small, active dog with a manageable grooming routine and are willing to engage in regular training and exercise.


Yes, they can adapt well to apartment living as long as they receive adequate exercise and mental stimulation.

They generally get along with other dogs but may chase small animals due to their herding instinct, so early socialization is key.

Yes, they are considered a rare breed, especially outside of the UK.

They can be a good choice for first-time owners who are prepared to engage in regular training and exercise.

They require moderate exercise, including daily walks and playtime.

They are known for their cheerful demeanor and sometimes mischievous behavior, making them fun and entertaining companions.

Top Takeaways

The Lancashire Heeler, originating from Lancashire, England, is a small but sturdy breed known for its versatility, both as a former herding dog and a delightful companion animal. Characterized by their playful and affectionate nature, these dogs are well-suited to family life, thriving in environments where they can participate in daily activities and enjoy regular interaction with their owners. Standing about 10 to 12 inches at the shoulder and weighing 6 to 13 pounds, they are the perfect size for most living situations, including apartments, as long as their exercise needs are met.

Their short, dense coat, typically black and tan or liver and tan, is relatively low-maintenance, requiring only regular brushing and occasional baths. This makes them a good choice for those who prefer a dog with minimal grooming needs. Despite their small size, they are energetic and require moderate daily exercise to stay healthy and content. Lancashire Heelers are known for their intelligence and quick learning ability, but like many breeds with a working background, they benefit from early socialization and consistent training to channel their energy positively. Health-wise, they are generally robust, but being aware of specific breed-related health issues is important for preventative care.

In summary, the Lancashire Heeler is an adaptable, cheerful, and engaging breed, making them a great addition to a wide range of households. Their playful disposition, combined with their adaptability and relatively easy care, makes them particularly appealing to those looking for a small, yet active and affectionate canine companion.

Top Lancashire Heeler Names

These are the top Affenpinscher  names as chosen by Pawstray pet parents!

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