Lancashire Heeler

Written by: Jamie
Updated: April 7, 2020

In today’s guide, we talk about the Lancashire Heeler. Is it good with kids? Why is it a vulnerable UK breed? Find out all the answers below!

Lancashire Heeler standing on path

Height: 25-30cm at the withers
Weight: 3-6kg
Lifespan: 9-15 years
Pedigree Breed?: Yes

Positives and Negatives of the Breed


  • Loving and trustworthy nature
  • Generally a healthy breed
  • Intelligent and easy to train
  • Low maintenance grooming


  • Often suffer from separation anxiety
  • High prey drive
  • They bark a lot
  • Can be strong-willed and need a lot of training

Lancashire Heeler looking up


The Lancashire Heeler is a type of Lancashire terrier that is on the Kennel Club’s list of vulnerable UK native breeds.

Once popular companions and working dogs, these active, people-friendly and intelligent dogs were best known for their hunting ability and loyalty.

Lancashire Heelers, despite being small in stature, are very energetic and need to be kept busy. They also love being part of the family.

More often found these days as a Lancashire Heeler cross Jack Russell, this Lancashire dog is especially good with older kids, enjoying interactive games that makes them a fun-filled family pet.

Thanks to their kind, amenable and loyal nature in the home, they are also excellent companion dogs.


Lancashire Heeler dogs have origins that are shrouded in mystery. Some people think that the Lancashire Heeler dog came about through a cross of Manchester Terriers and Corgis, although there isn’t enough evidence to confirm this belief.

It is known, however, that these little stocky dogs have been found in Lancashire since the 17th century. Originally used for herding and driving cattle, the Lancashire Heeler is also an adept hunter that can catch rabbits and control vermin.

This made them highly prized as farming dogs, and their versatility in the fields earned them the name “Nip and Tuck dogs”.

This breed were so well thought of by their owners that they became part of their family, even when they were working dogs.

In 1970, the Lancashire Heeler Club was set up, with enthusiasts starting to promote the breed to prevent it from disappearing altogether.

In 1981, the breed was finally recognised by the Kennel Club, but it has not yet returned to its full popularity and therefore they are now on the vulnerable native breeds list.

It can, therefore, be quite difficult to acquire a Lancashire Heeler puppy. You would need to find and contact a specialist breeder in order to find out more.

For this reason, you can also expect the Lancashire Heeler price to be quite high.


The Lancashire Heeler is an intelligent little dog that loves to please. With the right handling and training, they are fairly easy to train, but that training must begin at an early stage, and puppies must be properly socialised if they are to grow into obedient dogs.

Heelers are very energetic for such a small breed, and therefore need a lot of mental and physical stimulation. When left alone for extended periods they can become very destructive as they find ways to amuse themselves.

It’s also important to note that whenever Lancashire Heelers become over-excited they may nip things. This is something you need to be aware of when these dogs are around children.

That said, they’re not biters, but driving is in their nature, and they naturally do it even when in a home environment.

Heelers are great watchdogs. They like to tell their owners whenever strangers are nearby, but they are rarely aggressive.

These dogs are very tough and rarely show distress, even if they’re unwell. This is something that needs to remembered by owners, particularly as their pet reaches old age.

If you’re a first-time dog owner, a Heeler could be a good choice for you. This breed is people-oriented and amenable, as well as very good with older kids.

It does have a high prey drive, though, so you’ll need to take care when this dog is off the lead if wildlife and livestock are nearby.

The Lancashire Heeler is very playful and can be mischievous. It’s also a very adaptable breed, so it can just as easily live in a town apartment as in a country farmhouse.

They do sometimes develop separation anxiety, though, due to the strong bond they form with their owners, so they are best suited to households where someone is at home for most of the day.

The Heeler has a tendency to bark excessively and this can be prevented by having someone around to nip it in the bud.

It’s important to note that, while the Lancashire Heeler is a people-oriented dog that gets on with children well, it isn’t very good around young children and toddlers.

Therefore, it’s best to put off getting a Lancashire Heeler puppy until your family are older and know how to behave appropriately around pets.

When it comes to spending time with other dogs, some Lancashire Heelers become quite stressed, and this is the main reason why early socialisation couldn’t be more important.

It’s also very important to take care when the Heeler is around small pets and animals since their hunting instinct could kick in. Heelers usually tolerate cats that they have grown up with, but will usually chase strange cats.


Like most other dog breeds, the Lancashire Heeler has a few known hereditary medical problems that you should be aware of if you’re planning to buy a puppy.

The most common conditions that are known to affect this breed in particular include:

Of course, there’s no guarantee that your pet will suffer from all or any of these issues, but it’s wise to know about them in advance so you can be well-prepared.

Recommended Next: Like all dogs, Goldador dogs must be socialized properly at an early age. They need to be exposed to lots of different sounds, sights, people and experiences from puppyhood. This will ensure that they grow up as a well-rounded, sociable dog.

Lancashire heeler running

Image Source: Gary Mann


The Lancashire Heeler is an active, high-energy breed that has to be kept both mentally and physically busy.

While these small dogs thrive in country environments, they can adapt to town living as long as they get plenty of daily exercise.

They could benefit greatly from having a back yard to run about in, but if you don’t have one, you’ll need to ensure that you take your pet out for at least two hours of walking every day.

If your dog will be going out into your yard alone, you’ll need to ensure that your fencing is extremely secure. Despite the Heeler’s small stature, they can easily find weaknesses in fences and will escape if they can.

Learn Here: The Estrela dog breed is large and therefore needs plenty of exercise to keep his weight at a normal level. They need around 30-60 minutes of walking every day along with a few active playing sessions and a few shorter walks thrown in.

Lancashire Heeler 2


This is a highly intelligent breed that is naturally willing and eager to please its family. However, it’s important to note that they also have quite a stubborn streak that makes them more challenging for first-time dog owners to train.

If you’re familiar with terrier breeds or other intelligent and active dog breeds, you should have no problems training your Lancashire Heeler puppy.

However, if you’re a new dog owner, you could certainly benefit from taking your new canine family member to a puppy training class to get some professional assistance in helping them to learn the basics.

Training any dog must begin at an early age, and this is equally important with Heelers. They need firmness and consistency, and they need to know that you are their alpha, giving them direction and guidance in all things.

Without sufficient socialisation and proper training, these dogs can display a dominant personality that can make them much harder to handle, even despite their small size.

Recommended: The Tosa breed can make a wonderful family pet, but only if it has been properly socialised from a very early age. Like any breed, it will only be aggressive and attack when it hasn’t been trained and handled properly.


If you’re looking for a low maintenance pet that requires very little grooming, the Lancashire Heeler is a good choice for you. Their coat is tight and short which means that keeping it clean and tidy is a breeze.

One brush per week and a quick wipe over their coat with a soft, damp cloth should be quite sufficient to make their coat smooth and shiny and to keep their skin in top condition.

Your dog will require bathing whenever necessary and should be rinsed immediately with fresh water after swimming.

Remember that you’ll also need to check your dog’s ears regularly and clean out the excess wax whenever necessary to prevent a painful and difficult to treat infection from setting in.

You’ll also need to keep your dog’s teeth clean. Cleaning bacteria and tartar build-up from your pet’s teeth at least once a week is essential to keep your dog healthy. Your vet will be able to advise you how best to do this.

Your dog’s claws will also require trimming at least once a month. If you can hear their nails clicking against a hard floor, it’s time to give them a trim. Again, you can do this yourself at home, or if you prefer, you can ask a groomer to do it for you.

Next Article: If you’re a first-time dog owner, a Kooikerhondje dog breed would be a good choice for you as long as you’re prepared to dedicate sufficient time to training this high-energy, intelligent breed.

About the Author

Hi, I'm Jamie! I've always been around dogs and now writing about them is an absolute joy.
Read more about my story here.
Reach me at or connect with me on LinkedIn below.

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