Introducing the Lancashire heeler, acknowledged as the newest breed by the American Kennel Club. The organization recently declared this rare herding breed eligible for numerous US dog shows, including the renowned Westminster Kennel Club show.
Described as small yet highly active, with a distinctive “smile,” these solidly built dogs, resembling downsized Corgis, stand around 1ft at the shoulder, weighing up to 17lbs. Historically, farm helpers engaged in cattle driving and rat chasing, and today, they excel in various canine sports.
Breeders like Patricia Blankenship from Flora, Mississippi, emphasize their grit and intelligence, making them enjoyable companions. With a centuries-old presence in Britain, Lancashire heelers are now considered a “vulnerable native breed.”
Despite concerns, the AKC, founded in 1884, recognizes and promotes responsible breeding, ensuring dogs have specific skills and predictable characteristics. Only recognized breeds compete for “best in show” trophies, requiring at least 300 pedigreed dogs in 20 states to gain recognition.
While animal rights activists raise concerns about breeding practices, the AKC supports responsible breeding for function, contributing millions to canine health research since 1995.