Annual KC registration figures bring little good news for Vulnerable Native Breeds1January 27th, 2017Articles
Well, the annual registration figures for 2016 have been published, and the Kennel Club have issued their usual press release analysing the figures. The seemingly unstoppable rise of the French Bulldog and the persisting popularity of the Labrador has dominated most of the headlines, but we here at Dogs In The News are more interested in how the native British breeds are faring.
The KC has published an official list of 25 breeds which are classed as “Vulnerable”, meaning they register less than 300 puppies each year, and seven which are “At Watch”, meaning they register between 300 and 500. If you look at the actual registration figures for 2016 using the same criteria, however, there should really be 30 native British breeds on the Vulnerable list and 9 on the At Watch list.
As to how they’re doing, the answer is: variable. 24 out of the 41 breeds’ registrations are down on 2015, while 17 breeds have increased their numbers. If you extrapolate that analysis out over the past 5 years, some trends begin to emerge.
The biggest losers are:
Irish Red and White Setters
King Charles Spaniels
Parson Russell Terriers
Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers
& Welsh Springer Spaniels
All of whom registered their lowest figures in five years in 2016. The Scottish Terrier has moved onto the At Watch list for the first time, despite the breed’s high profile win at Crufts 2015. The Bullmastiff is now also officially At Watch, while the Beardie and the Welsh Springer have moved from At Watch to Vulnerable.
The biggest winners were:
& both varieties of Welsh Corgi
Which all registered their highest figures in five years. Meanwhile, the Irish Terrier has moved off the Vulnerable list in 2015 to the At Watch list in 2016.
Altogether the Vulnerable and At Watch British breeds accounted for a total of 3.5% of KC registrations for 2016. (By comparison, Labradors alone made up 15%.)
British breeds in the Top 10 include Cocker Spaniels (2nd), English Springers (5th, down a place), Bulldogs (6th, up one) and Border Terriers (10th, down). Staffies, Cavaliers, Westies and Beagles are all in the top 20. Interestingly, the Westie also saw no spike in popularity following its 2016 Crufts win – in fact, Westie numbers have been rapidly declining since their 2004 high of 10,110.
Many other British breeds show worrying decline in their numbers, with the Norfolk Terrier and Wire Fox Terrier in particular very close to finding themselves on the Vulnerable list in the near future. What’s to be done?
The biggest problem facing purebred dogs, of ALL breeds, is the continued bashing of purebreds aimed at the general public. Also the HUGE numbers of non registered, and dangerous (Pit Bull) dogs that have been imported into England since rabies ban was lifted. The “adopt do not buy” and “rescue a dog, do something good!” have become part of the lexicon. This has to be changed through information, decimated on social media and other avenues of communication.
If you listen to the person describing purebred show winning dogs during group judging at Crufts, well, gee, probably would never want a purebred, as they have so many problems. What the heck is that? All the reasons a person wouldn’t want a particular breed. ” This breed is good down on the farm, but……..”
So, at your biggest, most prestigious show, the announcers are busy dinging purebred dogs. Why?