American Kennel Club Adds New Herding Breed

Lancashire Heelers
Lancashire Heelers | Image by Vera Reva/Shutterstock

The sharp, friendly Lancashire Heeler was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club, allowing the breed to be registered and compete in U.S. dog shows.

Approximately 5,000 purebred Lancashire Heelers are estimated to exist worldwide, although they were previously employed on farms to herd cattle as well as hunt rodents. Characterized as being clever, high-energy, and very affectionate, today this breed excels in canine sports and with very active families.

“They’re gritty little dogs, and they’re very intelligent little dogs,” said Patricia Blankenship, a breeder in Mississippi, according to the Associated Press. “It’s an enjoyable little breed to be around.”

Shaped a bit like a Corgi, the Lancashire Heeler has upright ears, a short black and tan or liver and tan coat, and a turned-up tail. It typically weighs between 9 and 17 pounds and lives for up to 15 years. Like other heeler-type breeds, one of its endearing traits is its ability to smile like a human by pulling back its lips.

Smaller breeds appear to be appealing to Americans more and more, with the French Bulldog topping the Labrador Retriever, a longstanding favorite, as the top popular dog breed in the country based on AKC registrations in 2022, as covered in The Dallas Express.

While the AKC promotes responsible breeding, which is rooted in only producing dogs with favorable qualities and special skills, profit-motivated backyard breeding has helped fuel a nationwide animal shelter crisis. Moreover, with high inflation and a housing crisis, adoption rates are down while owner surrenders of family pets are up.

For instance, Dallas Animal Services is currently at 122% capacity with 365 dogs in its kennels, plus more being fostered. The dogs available for adoption range from German Shepherd types to hounds.

As recently reported in The Dallas Express, Garland Animal Services instituted a policy limiting daily owner surrenders in order to alleviate overcrowding issues. It has also been providing aid to struggling owners, such as low-cost vaccines and free food.

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