The Lancashire Heeler once served as a livestock herder and vermin exterminator but presently it’s mostly acquired solely for companionship in its native Britain. This smart, impish and somewhat stubborn dog will win your heart with its unflinching loyalty and original pranks. Because of its rarity it’s barely possible to find its breeder anywhere outside its homeland.
The origin of the Lancashire Heeler is still wrapped in mystery although it’s known for sure that it was invented as early as in the XVII century. According to the prevailed theory the breed came to existence as the result of crossbreeding the Welsh Corgi with the Manchester Terrier. Some also believe that the Drover’s Cur, the Yorkshire Heeler, the Norfolk Heeler and the London Smithfield Collie are its immediate forebears because of striking resemblance of the dog to these now-extinct canine varieties.
Initially the Lancashire Heeler was valued strictly as a working dog whose main task was driving the livestock to markets and slaughterhouses. With its long agile body and short quick legs, this dog could effectively manage cattle and sheep by lightly biting their heels. Such actions didn’t do any harm to the animals and the dog was always dexterous enough to jump aside from their avenging kicks. The breed member was also frequently made responsible for eradication of rats and mice in the farmer’s house.
During the first half of the XX century the number of purebred Lancashire Heeler decreased in such a way that the breed appeared to be in the real danger of eventual extinction. Luckily, in the 60s the pitiful state of this old and revered dog was finally noticed by British canine lovers and the process of its revival began. As the result of these efforts, in 1978 the Lancashire Heeler Cub was established and in 1981 the dog attained recognition of the Rare Breed Register of the British Kennel Club.
Nowadays lots of Lancashire Heelers remain industrious helpers of farmers in the north-western England and thrive in this role. The popularity of this rare breed is constantly growing and the reasonable number of its specimens is kept as pets by canine fanciers of the United States, Norway, Sweden and Finland.
The Lancashire Heeler is a good-natured, fun-loving and very sociable breed that has all chances to become the children’s favourite. Thanks to its moderate size and calm behaviour indoors it can adapt to almost any living conditions and usually makes a great apartment dog. It shows essential care in the communication with very small kids and strives for always being beside its human masters. Be aware though that this dog possesses strong innate herding instinct and may try to herd family members and other pets by nipping at their feet. Nonetheless it can be broken out of this unwanted habit with basic obedience training.
In general, the Lancashire Heeler is ready to make friends with any person who demonstrates willingness to play with it. It got used to trust humans and therefore becomes an ineffective guardian. The owner can expect that his pet will passionately bark at an intruder while following him into the house. So it’s fair to say that this breed is well-suited for the role of a watcher.
The Lancashire Heeler has relatively good reputation with its counterparts. However it wants to dominate in the group of strange dogs and may instigate cruel fights to affirm its alpha status. This dog is a sturdy yet small animal and may not come out on top in such confrontations. That’s why the owner should let his pet off-leash in dog parks very cautiously. Basic early socialisation is essential if you plan to keep this dog together with non-canine pets. In this case it will treat a familiar cat as a potential playmate and will never harm it purposefully.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· eye problems;
· patella luxation.
The Lancashire Heeler is an easy-to-care for canine variety. The master should bush the dog’s coat two or three times every week and it will always remain neat and shiny. The breed is a heavy seasonal shedder, so be prepared to switch to daily brushing during several weeks in the fall and spring. This will help to prevent the dog’s hair from accumulating on your carpets, furniture and clothing.
In other respects it requires the standard set of grooming procedures including regular ear and teeth brushing, monthly nail trimming and rare bathing.
The training of the clever yet headstrong Lancashire Heeler requires average investment of time and energy. The best motivation for this breed is one or two pieces of tasty treats and verbal approval of its master. It’s highly important to initiate obedience training in the early age since the grown-up dog tends to be much more refractory and independent-minded than a happy and curious puppy.
Practise tolerance to occasional blunders of your pet and try to keep your lessons short but regular. As a rule too rude handling brings completely opposite results and makes the dog unresponsive to the commands.
In spite of its small size the Lancashire Heeler is a very vigorous dog that needs a great deal of outdoor exercises to stay fully satisfied with its existence. Give your pet a daily opportunity to frisk in a properly enclosed yard and it will always stay tranquil at home. This dog can adjust to the life in an apartment if the master devotes enough time to its activity level.
Remember that lots of stern behavioural deviations usually appear as the result of too sedentary lifestyle of your Lancashire Heeler. Without sufficient physical stimulation it can become absolutely unmanageable inside the house.