Lancashire Heeler vs Bisben - Breed Comparison | MyDogBreeds

Lancashire Heeler is originated from United Kingdom but Bisben is originated from India. Lancashire Heeler may grow 45 cm / 17 inches shorter than Bisben. Lancashire Heeler may weigh 49 kg / 108 pounds lesser than Bisben. Both Lancashire Heeler and Bisben has almost same life span. Lancashire Heeler may have less litter size than Bisben. Both Lancashire Heeler and Bisben requires Low maintenance.

Basic Information

Working dog
Working dog
United Kingdom
Height Male:
25 - 31 cm
9 - 13 inches
50 - 76 cm
19 - 30 inches
Height Female:
25 - 31 cm
9 - 13 inches
48 - 74 cm
18 - 30 inches
Weight Male:
2 - 6 kg
4 - 14 pounds
18 - 55 kg
39 - 122 pounds
Weight Female:
2 - 6 kg
4 - 14 pounds
16 - 52 kg
35 - 115 pounds
Life Span:
9 - 14 Years
12 - 15 Years
Litter Size:
2 - 5
4 - 10
Small dog
Giant dog
Other Names:
Ormskirk Heeler, Ormskirk Terrier
Bisben Sheepdog, Bisben Shepherd, Himalayan Bisben, Himalayan Bisben Sheepdog, Himalayan Bisben Shepherd, Himalayan Sheepdog, Himalayan Shepherd, Indian Sheepdog, and Indian Shepherd
Colors Available:
Black, liver-colored with tan markings
jet black, either solidly or with white markings on the feet and chest. Other commonly seen colors are tan, tricolor, and “wolf-color,” which probably means grey, brown, black, and/or various shades of sable.
Short and coarse
long, wiry, coarse, harsh
Affectionate, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Docile, Energetic, Friendly, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Responsive, Social, Stubborn, Territorial
Aggressive, Courageous, Energetic, Independent, Intelligent, Stubborn
Low maintenance
Low maintenance
Kids Friendly:
New Owners Friendly:


The Lancashire Heeler, known also as the Ormskirk Heeler or Ormskirk Terrier, hails from England and is looked upon as a vulnerable breed by the Kennel Club in the 21st century.

He was developed to be a cattle drover, but is essentially a companion dog today. Exact details of the origin of the Lancashire are unknown, but it is generally accepted that Welsh Corgis were used as well as a kind of black and tan terrier known as the Manchester Terrier.

In England, he has been known as a general working dog for more than a century.Gwen Mackintosh began breeding these dogs in the 1960s and the Lancashire Heeler Club was established in 1978. The dog was also placed on the Endangered Breeds in 2003.

There is a lot of mystery surrounding this large herding dog said to come out of the Himalaya Mountains of Asia. The belief is that sheepdogs were crossed with wolves toward the end of the 18th century, but his origin is basically unknown. They are both herding dogs and guard dogs. Others theorize that rather than a wolf, the breed arose from the Mastif family. Still others claim that the Bisben is not a breed at all but rather a “landrace”. A landrace is an animal group that is only found to exist in the local area or is bred locally for a specific reason, while a breed is developed intentionally and from a select purebred with pedigree. The Bisben may be a landrace since it is very popular in India but hardly known anywhere else. What is known is that the Brisben was in existence at the end of the 1700’s and its job was to protect and herd livestock. There are three main theories about the origin of the Bisben. They are, in no particular order:

1. The Bisben was developed by mixing several different Himalayan and Indian Sheepdogs with wolves. The wolf population in the Himalayas and in India live in very close proximity to dogs and people and this population is quite large. These Tibetan and Indian wolves are known to be smaller, more comfortable with people and less aggressive than wolves from other parts of the world.

2. The Bisben was developed by mixing local sheep herding dogs with the Tibetan Mastiff. This gave the breed its protective nature and its large size according to this theory.

3. The Bisben was developed by mixing local dogs with the ones the British, Portuguese and French imported to the India subcontinent.

There is a fourth theory as well and it combines all three of these, supposing that the Bisben is a product of crossing local dogs with wolves, Tibetan Mastiffs and European dogs.

Regardless of their origins, the Bisben grew into one of the most respected animals in the Southern Himalayas. Their assistance to the shepherds of the area was unquestioned and irreplaceable. They were touch enough to herd flocks of goats or sheep across several treacherous and unstable mountain passes. The environment in which these dogs worked when herding is one of the harshest environments on the face of the earth. Temperatures were dangerously cold, altitudes dangerously high and the terrain just plain dangerous. Many deadly large predators live there as well. This included tigers, Asiatic black bears, golden eagles, Himalayan brown bears, snow leopards, fox, dholes, wolves, and small cats. The Bisben had to be able to fight off all of these predators. In addition to these herding and protecting duties, the Bisben was also known throughout the region as an excellent hunting dog. They are capable to this day of hunting large prey such as antelope or deer. They are equally comfortable hunting alone or in a pack. He has grown into one of the most popular hunting dogs in all of India.

The Himalayas, being so rugged and treacherous, were inaccessible to most of India for many centuries and the Brisben was unknown as well. Through the British imperialist expansion across all of the Indian subcontinent, the lowlands people were connected to the highlands and mountain people for the first time. This also meant that the Brisben was no longer unknown. The entire country began to appreciate the dog for its protection and herding of livestock, as well as a companion animal who would protect its owner and family as well. As India continues to grow the popularity of the Brisben grows as well and its numbers increase regularly. The breed, if it is a breed, remains an Indian secret. They have migrated to the countries around India, but their number are small. It is only in India that they are revered and prosper. They are not present in any great numbers in Europe, North America, Japan, or most of Asia.

Whether or not the Bisben becomes a recognized breed depends upon those who own and fancy them. Most Bisbens are bred to only other Bisbens in an effort to purify the breed. However, few dogs have pedigrees and the practice of breeding the Brisben to other breeds and mixed breed to acquire specific characteristics continues to this day. It is unlikely that the Bisben will ever be a purebred dog. It is quite variable in how it looks depending upon what the breeding line of the individual dog actually is. Does it look like a wolf? Does it look like a larger version of a local or European dog? There will always be these questions around the Bisben. Is it a breed or a landrace?


As a small breed dog, the Lancashire Heeler stands at 25 – 31cm in height, both male and female, and the dog weighs in the region of 2 to 6kg.

Looking quite similar to a Corgi or a German Shepherd with short legs, the Heeler’s legs are meant to be fairly straight and not bandy-legged. He has a short, weather-proof coarse coat that can be black or liver-colored, with tan markings. The coat is regarded as low maintenance. The hair is slightly longer around his neck.

The ears are erect, the eyes brown and bright and the tail these days is left long with a slight curl.


Intelligent, stubborn, strong willed, playful and friendly, the Lancashire Heeler is capable of making you an excellent pet and companion.

This dog is smart and learns quickly. He is energetic and playful, strong and robust and more than willing to take part in all the activities that you’re taking part in.

With training and socialization he makes a splendid pet, but he doesn’t put up well to abuse and disrespect from younger children. He is willing to get along with other pets in the home too.

As mentioned in the previous section the appearance of the Brisban can vary greatly from one dog to another based on the individual dogs’ ancestry. Breed or landrace, the Brisban breeding line is not very pure. Therefore, appearance can vary greatly from what is described here and there is no standard by which to measure the Brisban. Most are distinctly large animals, being as tall as the European mountain dogs – the Newfoundland or the Bernese Mountain Dog, Swiss Mountain Dog. St. Bernard and Great Pyrenees. Reports are that it is perhaps the largest dog in India. At least it is one of the largest dogs in India. The Bisben is said by some to be a large, bulky, husky dog while others claim it to be tall and athletic, leaner than the Mastiff bred. Again, there is disagreement on the size and shape of the Bisben’s head with some claiming it is massively square like a Mastiff while others say the head is long and like that of a wolf not a Mastiff. The long hair of the Bisben and its confusing heritage may be the cause. They are most often black but might also be found to be tricolor, tan and “wolf-color” or brown, grey, shades of sable and black. No matter how it looks, this is a dog that was designed to work in the harshest conditions known and their physical appearance should make that abundantly clear.

Health Problems

Your Heeler can live to be 14, 15 or 16 years of age and live even longer than this with the right care. He is such a healthy breed, but one of the common dog illnesses to look out for are eye diseases.

Lens Luxation:

This is where the ligaments of the eye are weakened so that the lens actually loosened and then displaced, causing pain for the dog. This displacement can obstruct fluid drainage from the eye too and your vet may need to perform surgery.

Intervertebral Disc Disease:

The shock-absorbing intervertebral discs can have spinal compression and contribute to significant pain for your pet. Early signs will see your Lancashire Heeler being reluctant to jump on his chair like he may once have done. Preventing obesity is important for reducing pressure on the dog’s spine.

Because he is not a purebred and is probably a land range, there have not been a lot of health studies done and written up on the Brisban. It is believed that the Bisben is for all practical purposes a healthy working dog. As long as the breeding practices are not compromised it should remain a healthy line. It is bred for temperament and work not for appearance and showmanship. Some problems that plague large dogs have been noted in the Bisben. These conditions include hip and elbow dysplasia; optical issues such as Entropion, Ectropion and cataracts; ear infections; and Demadex and Demodectic mange. Most of these conditions can be tested for either in DNA or early in a pup’s life and should be tested for by the breeder before a puppy is sold

Caring The Pet


Known as a low maintenance dog, the Lancashire Heeler’s short coat will require little grooming, just a good brush twice a week.

If your Heeler doesn’t wear his nails down naturally, they will need to be clipped as part of the grooming process. Ears should also be checked regularly. Excess wax and dirt can build up which can lead to an ear infection. This can drive your dog mad with frustration. Teeth also need to be brushed regularly.

Remember, if you feel guilty for not getting to grooming your pet, there are professional groomers at your local vet or who work independently and they will do all of this for you.


Your Lancashire Heeler is such a social, active little dog who is always willing to be counted in to all your fun and games. If you’re lucky to have a fair sized garden, involve him in some ball games, or use a rope for him to tug on while you pull the other side. Whenever you go for a walk, he will be thrilled to join you as he loves picking up all those new scents outside his garden.


Nutritious food is important for longevity and health in a dog. Every dog has different dietary needs throughout their lives – when they’re puppies, when the female is pregnant, after they’ve been spayed or neutered, as a working dog, when they’re sick, when they’re old and so on.

There are some good dog brand foods to use, but you want to choose the best ones to ensure your dog gets all the vitamins and minerals needed as opposed to those that are packed with colorants, preservatives and fillers.

Home-made food is important too and some cooked chicken, cooked rice and raw or cooked vegetables can be added to his dry kibble from time to time. Don’t complicate your dog’s diet – just feed him plain, wholesome food like this with a little bit of raw meat added in occasionally. Simple, nutritious food will ensure he is energetic, bright eyed and happy. Make sure he always has fresh, cool water.

The Bisben is a large working dog that needs a lot of calories if you are keeping him busy. Do not let him get overweight. The Bisben should not be free fed but rather given two controlled portion meals per day.

Health issues

As previously mentioned, the Bison was developed with the harshest of conditions in mind and long hours of hard work. It is a healthy breed that is however prone to any of the issues that any large dog is prone to including dysplasia and mange and well as optical issues.

Exercise and games

The Bisben needs a lot of exercise as the breed is developed for hard work. Walks are essential but if you have more than one dog, pack walks are even better and pack time at the dog park or in a fenced yard is great. The Bison was bred to hunt in packs as well as alone and they love to play in packs. In any respect they need at least an hour of strong exercise daily. If they don’t get enough exercise, they can become aggressive, destructive and fearful. This could result in destructive activity, barking and excess excitability. They are not very happy in the city and thrive in the countryside.


As with any dog breed, there are wide variations in temperament. A dog essentially turns out the way it was brought up, similar to a child. Angry, harsh, aggressive, uncaring dog owners produce a dog that is both timid and aggressive, unsure, frustrated and with behavioral problems.

Make your dog part of your family, provide him with good food, exercise and love and he will make an awesome pet.

The Lancashire Heeler is such an amicable, social dog at heart, and treated well, he will turn out like is inherent characteristics. He is an outgoing, friendly dog, more so when he has been trained and socialized. He will adapt to city- or country life, so long as he is exercised each day.

The Heeler has a good, balanced temperament, and counted in as a loved family member, you’ll make sure he stays that way.

The Bisben was so important to the people of the Indian subcontinent because of her temperament. He is a loyal, productive and courageous worker who took care of her flocks, her family and her pack. They are devoted to their family and if raised with children will care for them as well. He is suspicious of strangers. They are territorial and great watchdogs. They can take on any large challenger if need be to protect what they consider to be theirs. They can be highly dog aggressive and must be socialized as a puppy. Do not mix them with strange, unknown animals as the Bisben might attempt to kill them. If he sees them as his “pack” he will love and protect them, but not if he does not know them. Take as much time as you need to introduce him to a new animal and do not leave them unsupervised. They are not easy to train as they are stubborn, intelligent, want to be dominant and is a problem solver. If he doesn’t want to learn something forget it – he won’t. You can still train them. It just takes time and patience.

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