Jan 3, 2024 - Business

Lancashire Heeler fetches a spot in the American Kennel Club

A black dog with some brown fur is walked on a leash on grass.

Lancashire Heeler in conformation at a dog show in New York. Photo: Kyle Reynolds/Getty Images

Energetic, agile and obedient, it hails from the United Kingdom and dates back to 17th century crossbreeding.

Driving the news: The Lancashire Heeler became the American Kennel Club's latest accepted dog breed on Wednesday.

  • The breed became eligible to start competing on Jan. 1.
  • The AKC recognizes 201 breeds, which can compete for "best in show" at events at Westminster and other events. Three breeds were recognized in 2022 — including the Russian Toy, Mudi and Bracco Italiano — one in 2021, and three in 2020.

By the numbers: There are about 400 Lancashire Heelers nationwide, per Sheryl Bradbury, president of the U.S. Lancashire Heeler Club (USLHC).

  • Getting recognized as a member of the Herding Group required proof of at least 20 litters bred with a three-generation pedigree.
  • They live between 12 and 15 years. The average litter has five puppies.

Details: Lancashire Heelers are small but sturdy, according to the AKC. As a herding breed, the dogs like having a mission.

  • They are strong when participating in herding, agility, obedience, rally, a 100-yard dash, barn hunt, dock diving, disc dog, tracking and therapy at dog shows and competitions.
  • "I always caution buyers to not let a puppy's cuteness fool you," Bradbury said, per the AKC. "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."

Flashback: The breed earned full recognition from the Kennel Club in the UK in 1981.

  • The U.S. club representing the breed was formed in 2007.

What's next: The breed is striving for public identity, per the AKC.

  • "Lancashire Heelers have also been called [mini] Dobermans, Manchester Terrier mixes, and [even] some sort of Corgi," said Jeff Kestner, a USLHC member-breeder.
  • With AKC recognition, breeders expect the dog to become more recognizable in the U.S.

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