It is a small dog with a big “smile.” And it is ready to compete with 200 other kinds of dogs, known as breeds.
Say hello to the Lancashire Heeler.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) announced Wednesday that the rare dog breed can now compete in thousands of dog shows across the United States. That includes the famous Westminster Kennel Club show.
The AKC describes the breed as “a medium to high energy dog.” The organization says the dogs are intelligent, friendly and quick to learn new tasks. They are happy, talkative and always ready for a walk.
Lancashire Heelers have long bodies and short coats of hair, or fur, in black and tan. The breed stands about 30 centimeters high and weighs up to 7.7 kilograms. Historically, they helped to drive farm animals and chase away rats. The breed can also perform several dog-related sports and activities.
“They’re gritty little dogs, and they’re very intelligent little dogs,” says Patricia Blankenship of Flora, Mississippi, who has bred them for many years. “It’s an enjoyable little breed to be around.”
The breed is often described as “courageous, happy, affectionate to owner.” And owners say they sometimes pull back their lips into a “smile.”
Lancashire Heeler Club President Sheryl Bradbury says the breed “has to have a job” or stay active with its owners. It is also helpful for them to meet different people and dogs.
Lancashire Heelers have lived in Britain for hundreds of years, but they are now at risk of dying out as a breed. Britain’s Kennel Club has added an average of just 121 Lancashire heelers yearly to its registry in recent years. The AKC says only about 5,000 exist worldwide.
Founded in 1884, the AKC is the United States’ oldest purebred dog registry. It also organizes dog shows where 201 recognized breeds compete for the traditional “best in show.” To get recognized, a breed must have an official breeding standard and there must be at least 300 of the animals in at least 20 states.
I’m Gena Bennett.
Jennifer Peltz reported this story for the Associated Press. Hai Do adapted it for VOA Learning English.
Words in This Story
gritty –adj. showing toughness or courage
courageous –adj. being brave or showing courage
affectionate –adj. showing love or good feeling
purebred –adj. having parents of the same breed
standard –n. a level of quality involving observance of certain rules
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