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450 — Lancashire Heelers: Scrappy, Smiling and Opinionated

Lancashire Heeler #2

Lancashire Heelers: Scrappy, Smiling and Opinionated

Sheryl Bradbury, President of the United States Lancashire Heeler Club, joins host Laura Reeves to share details about this little known, small-package dynamo aiming to join AKC’s herding group.

“They’re very exciting,” Bradbury said, “in (that) they’re scrappy, but so versatile and robust and rough and tumble and a lot of fun just to have as your best buddy.’

Recognized by The Kennel Club in 1981, breeders in the UK have been preserving the breed and working through any of the health issues it may have as well, Bradbury said.

“The Lancashire Heeler is native to the United Kingdom,” Bradbury noted. “It’s been used for hundreds of years as a working dog on farms of the Lancashire area. Although there is little known about the breed (historically) they are still working on some farms today.

“They’re a driver … they drive cattle and they do that through the biting and the nipping at the back of the hocks. Their bite’s a little too hard for sheep and certainly they would probably demolish any kind of fowl that they tried to move … because this is a very assertive little dog.

“Weighing at the most 20 pounds, they’re going to have to move how big of an animal into market, they’ve gotta have a heck of a snap of that jaw to get those animals moving. But they also need to be able to be small and compact so that they can move with and roll, duck, tuck… Cattle kind of kick differently. They kick out instead of up or down … even in play you can see some of these Lancashire’s that will drop and roll out of the way. It’s just amazing.

“They’re very opinionated and they know their job, but they do have to have a job as well.

“You’re looking for a high energy sort of family for these dogs. Families that have teenagers and those kids are busy and that dog is going to help keep them busy. At the end of the day, they also are happy to sit on your lap and snuggle.

There are approximately 250 Lancashire Heelers in the United States right now. In 2003, the breed was placed on the Endangered Breeds list of The Kennel Club due to the small number of dogs composing the gene pool.

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