Meet the Newest AKC Dog Breed: Lancashire Heelers

The Lancashire heeler is now recognized as a new AKC breed, but this small and energetic cutie has been around for a while.

Updated January 14, 2024

Fans of the Lancashire heeler dog breed will be thrilled to hear that these lively little dogs are newly recognized as the 201st dog breed by the American Kennel Club (AKC). If you’re not familiar with Lancashire heelers, there’s a lot to love about them. From their herding roots to their loyal personalities, these dogs are as fascinating as they are rare. Meet the new kids on the block and see if this breed is right for your family.

Lancashire Heelers Are Small and Mighty

Lancashire heelers are small dogs that weigh between nine and 17 pounds when full-grown and stand about 10 to 12 inches high. Despite their small size, the Lancashire heeler isn’t like most other little breeds.

They’re powerful and sturdy, with a stocky body and legs that are fairly short relative to the rest of their body. This characteristic is reminiscent of the Lancashire’s cousin, the corgi.   

And Super-Smart Cookies

This new AKC breed is very intelligent. Because the Lancashire heeler is such a smart cookie, they’re often quick to learn commands and can easily pick up tricks. Other characteristics of the breed include a playful nature, curiosity, and an occasional stubborn streak.

Fast Fact

Lancashire heelers are known to smile, which is where they pull back their lips and show their teeth. Just look at the dog’s overall body language to make sure you know when they’re smiling versus snarling.  

And They Have a Dodgy History

The exact details of the Lancashire heeler’s origin are still a little fuzzy. We do know that the breed originated in Lancashire, England, and was believed to have been created by crossing Welsh corgis with Manchester terriers. Their general purpose was to be a farm dog, capable of both chasing vermin and herding cattle. 

Fast Fact

Even though the breed was recognized in the U.K. in 1981, they didn’t gain U.S. recognition until 2024. 

Lancashire Heelers Are Loyal Companions

Like most heelers, the Lancashire heeler creates very strong bonds with their people. They’re friendly, affectionate, and loyal – the epitome of a canine best friend.

That said, they can be a little aloof with strangers until they know them better. The Lancashire heeler isn’t known for being nippy like other heeler breeds, which makes them a good choice for families. 

RELATED: List of 30 Herding Dog Breeds (With Key Characteristics)

With Two Recognized Breed Colors

The Lancashire heeler is easily recognized by their coat color and markings. Their coat is a solid color with tan markings on the muzzle, cheeks, and above the eyes. These pups are found in only two color combinations:

  • Black and tan
  • Liver and tan
Fast Fact

Both color variations are officially recognized by the AKC.

Lancashire Heelers Are Moderate Shedders

The Lancashire’s fine undercoat is covered by a short, weather-resistant topcoat. These dogs are moderate shedders who tend to drop their coats a couple of times a year with the changing seasons.

Quick Tip

If you’re looking for a non-shedding or hypoallergenic dog, the Lancashire heeler isn’t ideal for you.

With Low-Maintenance Grooming Needs

Grooming these cuties is pretty easy. A weekly brushing and occasional baths every few months or as needed should be plenty, although they may need more frequent brushing during shedding seasons.

And High Exercise Needs

Don’t let their size fool you: this breed is very active. Most need at least an hour of exercise every day through walks, jogs, hikes, or supervised playtime.

If a Lancashire heeler isn’t able to burn off enough energy, they can become destructive. Barking, digging, and chewing are all signs that your dog isn’t getting enough physical or mental stimulation.

Quick Tip

Lancashire pet parents can consider dog sports to keep these energetic dogs busy, including agility, lure coursing, scent work, field sports, and herding trials. 

RELATED: 13 High-Energy Dog Breeds for Active Pet Parents

They're the Only Heeler in the AKC

You might be surprised to learn that the Lancashire heeler is the first AKC dog breed with the term “heeler” in their name. If you’re wondering, “What about the Queensland heeler, red heeler, and blue heeler?” these are all alternate names for the same breed whose official name is actually Australian cattle dog. So, for now, the Lancashire is the lone heeler of the breed world!

Lancashire Heeler's Lifespan is Long With Good Health

Lancashire heelers live an average of 12 to 15 years. This breed is generally healthy, and there are only a few breed-related conditions you should need to discuss with the vet.

Consider Adopting a Lancashire Heeler

Because the Lancashire heeler is still a very new AKC breed, there aren’t many established rescues that specialize in rehoming this breed. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t adopt one.

Take a look at national platforms like Petfinder and search for Lancashire heelers and mixes, or reach out to your local shelters and ask if they have any dogs with the criteria you’re looking for. As many as 25% of dogs in shelters are purebred, so chances are, if you can’t find a Lancashire heeler, you can find another breed that you have your heart set on.

Meet the Lancashire Heeler

It’s very exciting that the Lancashire heeler has been named the newest AKC dog breed because this cutie is definitely special. They’re one of the smallest working and herding breeds out there but are loaded with energy. If you have an active lifestyle and the time to keep this little heeler out of trouble, they may be the perfect fit for you.

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Meet the Newest AKC Dog Breed: Lancashire Heelers