The Lancashire Heeler is a healthy
little dog, which with proper care and attention will be your faithful
companion for many years.
The Herditary diseases mentioned on this website are for guidance only and
it is in no way intended to suppose that the puppy you buy will be affected
with any or all of these, as the breed is fairly small in number it is fair
to say that something, somewhere could be lying dormant in the genes.
Responsible breeders are already
voluntarily having their puppies eyes examined, (there is no ruling at the
present time to have this done) the examination is usually carried out at 6
weeks of age by a recognised canine eye specialist.
At this point I would like to add an
article I have received from Dick Koster about the eye problems within the
breed. I have always maintained that my website is totally unbiased and all
information given relating to the well being of the Lancashire Heeler will
be published, I have no reason to gloss over or colour facts to suit myself
I am a Lancashire Heeler owner and as a lover of the breed I give any true
and informative information available. It is up to you as a breeder or puppy
purchaser to form your own conclusions about any of the information given
though like it or not the facts speak for themselves. I do not
currently have any lists available, but as soon as these are compiled,
and with the Authors permission they will be published here.
the Lancashire Heeler by Dick Koster
noticed already on some mail that was passed on to me, it is emphasized that
no one can be blamed for PLL in a dog. However, the dogs in the past form an
important genetic burden for the dogs at present. It was my intention to
construct a formula which objectifies this burden, and hence objectifies the
risk that a dog has for one or two PLL-genes. Basis for this calculation was
the fact that known affected dogs have two affected genes and parents and
offspring automatically one. It must be emphasized that in this situation
potential carriers are NOT included. For example: offspring from a
combination of a carrier and a clear dog have a 50% chance of having the
gene. However, as none of the offspring can be identified for sure for being
a carrier, this is NOT taken into account. All these offspring dogs are
considered to be clear as long as there is no other proof (i.e. affected
offspring from themselves). Please note that the value only says something
about the burden from the ancestry, and nothing whether the dog is actually
a carrier or even affected. If there is enough data, there might in the end
emerge a correlation between the RTR value and the genotype.
said that, it shall be clear that a greatgreatgrandparent as carrier (in the
4th generation) has a completely different impact on the genetic
constitution than the direct parents.
In the formula every generation is corrected for this effect, the highest
weight being applied on the first, the lowest on the 4th generation. My
database can, with these parameters, calculate a value for the dog in
consideration. This is recalculated now (I changed this recently) into a
percentage of the maximum genetic burden from 4 generations. So a value 30
means 30% of the maximum burden The maximum burden consists of all dogs in 4
generations ancestry being affected.
Possibilities and limitations
resulting value has been named Relative Transmission Risk© or RTR©. It says
exactly what it is: it is a risk, a chance, so no certainty nor guarantee.
In addition it is relative so you can only compare dogs to each other. It
means that a dog with an RTR© of 5 is at a lower risk than a dog with an RTR©
50, however, with bad luck this RTR© 5 dog can still be a carrier or an
affected dog in the end. One limitation is, that it only takes into account
known carriers and affected dogs. But apparently this knowledge will be
extended by the growing notion that this information is vital to be able to
preserve the breed and the subsequent submission of names to the register.
Another limitation is that it doesn't say anything about the distribution in
a pedigree. A value of 50% can mean for example that all affected dogs are
cumulated in one branch of the pedigrees. The advantages of the system
however outweigh the limitations.
It offers an
• It takes away
all emotions one can feel about a certain dog (or owner/breeder).
it is anonymous. It is not important which dogs in the pedigree produce the
• This means
(and it already happened) that also information is offered that is not yet
public. So using this system on this database gives everyone equal
information on the risk of a certain dog.
• A major
advantage that it offers is that with this tool you can try to find a low
risk dog for for example a high risk bitch. Or if you consider two further
equivalent studs for your bitch, this value can help you to decide in a
rational way. For example you can say that you try not to exceed a certain
value of the RTR©-sum of the parents or to minimize the resulting RTR© of
should realise, that focussing on one feature almost automatically leads to
a certain loss in an other aspect. So, if a breeder focuses on PLL, he could
lose a bit on show quality, or on another health issue like CEA. This
illustrates the enormous responsibility our breeders have for the existence
of the breed. However, I think this system will buy us time to accept
certain losses in this regard, till the moment that there is a DNA-test.
This seems, despite my initial scepticism, nearer by than ever.
conclusion, the system uses every piece of information available to project
the risk forwardly. It is also dynamic, which means that one affected dog
can change the RTR© values of a whole series of dogs and every value is
therefore time dependent. In fact, data like the LHC and the SKK are
offering are extremely important but relatively static and not easy to
interprete for the individual breeder.
RTR©-system is going to be used more widely, it is essential that the
formula is applied to only one database, to ensure reliability and
consistency of the generated values. The data from the LHC and Swedish
Kennel Club should form the backbone of it. However maintenance is very
important and the values produced for dogs should probably be certified or
something like that. Maybe a kind of clearing house is needed.
hope, that this information is enough for people to consider the
situation and decide whether the system is something that they want to use
or not. I strongly believe that every breeder should carefully consider
whether this system offers him/her the guidance that he/she needs. It's up
to them. I think this system MIGHT help us through the next few years and
might limit the damage. The breed suffered enough from PLL till now and
can't have a lot more.
The data has
been compiled to the best of my ability and knowledge, based on information
received from numerous sources. However, one should bear in mind that
although checked and cross-checked, this information could be incomplete,
outdated or untrue. No rights or claims should ever be based on RTR
values: a low RTR value gives absolutely no guarantee against PLL, nor, in
reverse, does a high RTR value indicate a certain onset of PLL. The
application of RTR values is subject to one's own risk alone, and
consequently no claims pertaining to RTR can be made against the author.
Please note: Never use an RTR value
without simultaneously giving the date when it was generated.
Kuvasz and Lancashire Heeler
I believe it is better to know the facts than to hear the fiction.
The Lancashire Heeler has recently
been classified as an Endangered Breed by the British Kennel Club this is
not good and should never by used as a selling point by breeders for their
I believe that anything that can be
done to help secure the future of these wonderful little dogs should
be given the fullest cooperation of all concerned. Both breeders and owners
have a large part to play in securing the future of the Lancashire
Heeler, that many future generations can have their companionship and love.
The future does not look bright for the breed at the present time, but with
honesty and the help of people willing to give their time and expertise. I
am hopeful that the breed will pull through.
At this point I would
personally like to thank Dick Koster for all his research, along with all
the Veterinary Professionals who are working towards DNA testing for the
breed, they are putting so much hard work into their research, that
hopefully with more people like them, along with honest breeders and owners
who put the breed before profit and/or beauty, the breed will pull through .
further sections relating to the eye problems within the breed contain information from veterinarians about the
various causes and symptoms of each disease that have been found within the Lancashire Heeler breed.
Obviously your veterinarian
knows your Lancashire Heeler best, if anything worries you visit him/her if
only to put your mind at rest.