American Kennel Club introduces new dog breed: Meet the Lancashire Heeler

January 5, 2024

The American Kennel Club is welcoming a small, but mighty, addition to the Herding Group with its 201st recognized breed, the Lancashire Heeler, reports ABC News.

The AKC announced that the “can-do spirited breed” would be moving forward with full recognition on Tuesday, January 2—sharing details about the long road to its classification.

“These small-but-sturdy dogs aren’t ones to lounge around all the time. They are energetic, and just as adept in Performance sports as they are in Conformation. You can find them competing in Herding, Agility, Obedience, Rally, Fast CAT, Barn Hunt, Dock Diving, Disc Dog, Tracking, and Therapy endeavors,” the AKC stated. “It’s a breed that will work hard all day and is happy to curl up at your side and watch the TV news at night.”

According to the AKC, Lancashire heelers have apparently raised questions from fellow breeders, dog show attendees, and even judges who con

Sheryl Bradbury, president of the United States Lancashire Heeler Club, “helped shepherd the breed to recognition since its entry in the AKC Foundation Stock Service” in 2001, the AKC stated.

The Lancashire heeler was first processed to join the “Miscellaneous Class” in 2017, but went on to find a home with the Herding Group in April 2023, with its eligibility to compete officially beginning this year.

The small breed first earned full recognition from The Kennel Club, United Kingdom, in 1981. Later, after joining the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service, The United States Lancashire Heeler Club was formed in 2007.

Jeff Kestner, one of the USLHC member-breeders who has been questioned about the dogs, said that Lancashire Heelers “have also been called [mini] Dobermans, Manchester Terrier mixes, and [even] some sort of Corgi.”

Despite some unknowingly misidentifying the breed, the Lancashire Heeler will become easier to recognize as education grows, and the more it’s seen in public.

Kestner has been adamant that the club refer to it as the “Heeler” when nicknaming it—the same name fanciers use in the U.K., where the dog originally was bred.

While the breed looks cute and sweet, and seems to be the perfect sized lap dog, Bradbury said that’s a misconception. “I always caution buyers to not let a puppy’s cuteness fool you,” she said. “The minute it is off your lap it may be chewing your shoes or nipping at your heels. Conversely, it will be your loyal best friend.”

And although it’s a highly loyal dog, she said loyalty is often directed at one household member,—adding that the breed is “great with children as long as the children understand how to respect the dog.”

The club breeders describe Lancashire Heelers as “smart, fast, sweet, loving, clever, mischievous, intelligent, energetic, loyal, attached, versatile, tenacious, robust, affectionate, and alert.”

According to the club, Bradbury “estimates there are about 400 Lancashire heelers nationwide.”

Research contact: @abcnews