March 1st, 2015Articles
Last week, 52 Dandie Dinmont Terriers and their human enthusiasts gathered in Selkirk on the Scottish Borders to participate in a one of a kind event. They were there to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Sir Walter Scott’s novel Guy Mannering, the book which introduced the Dandie Dinmont to the world.
Three Scottish mansions vital to the history and development of the breed opened their doors so the breed’s heritage could be celebrated over three days; Abbotsford, Bowhill and The Haining. The event has attracted significant media coverage, which we have attempted to collate for posterity below.
The Telegraph – Desperate fight to stop Dandies disappearing
BBC (w video) – Rare Dandie Dinmont terriers celebrated
Aberdeen Press & Journal – Prepare yourself for cuteness: 50 Scottish terriers return to ancestral roots
The Southern Reporter – Endangered breed comes home to Selkirk
Selkirk Weekend Advertiser – The Haining welcomes £13,000 Dandie Dinmonts art donation
Herald Scotland – Dandie Dinmont breed returns to Borders home in fight for survival
ITV (w video) – Dandie Dinmonts descend on the Borders
Want to learn more about the Dandie Dinmont? Visit their Discover Dogs stand or come find them in Hall 2, Ring 77 at Crufts 2015.Tags: Articles, VNB
Meet Bindi the Smooth Collie; the first of our 2015 ShowTails participants.
Bindi (Seanua Sans Souci) is entered in the Obreedience competition and will be handled by her owner, Sophie Harrison. (In fact, they’ll be competing against a 2014 ShowTails star, Kheva the Pyrenean Sheepdog, so now we’re conflicted as to who to cheer for!) This is the first time either Sophie or Bindi have competed at Crufts and they are hoping that their nerves don’t get the better of them. Both of them have previously competed in Rally and Agility, but never in front of such large crowds.
Stage fright aside, Sophie tells us that she is looking forward to promoting this little known breed to such a wide audience. Smooth Collies are one of the British Vulnerable Native Breeds, with just 33 puppies registered in 2014. “Smooths get so little publicity and are so vulnerable; it would be lovely to promote them. They make fantastic family pets and are versatile enough to turn their hands to a variety of disciplines,” she says.
Bindi is living proof of this fact; she’s clicker trained, gained all her Good Citizen awards before she was 13 months old, works as a registered PAT dog and raised £6,500 for charity last year by walking the 102 mile Cotswold Way in a week.
At home, Sophie describes her as easy to live with, though friends have nicknamed her “Princess” due to her fastidious ways. “She’s the dog who walks around puddles and refuses to take treats from strangers, though her passion for rolling in fox poo is hardly princess-like!” Bindi shares her home with a German Shepherd, a Schipperke and three very bossy cats.
Sophie, who has lived in both the UK and Australia, was attracted to this unusual breed for one of the reasons which it is so often overlooked: the Smooth coat. They may lack the glamour of the Rough Collie appearance, but they’re certainly less work! “I wanted a dog that would be intelligent and athletic, good natured and social, with a low maintenance coat,” she says. Health and temperament was a priority when picking a breeder, and Sophie prepared for 2 years before adding Bindi to the family. Bindi loved to carry things in her mouth, even as a tiny puppy, which was a desirable trait in a potential Obedience competitor and the reason why Sophie picked her out of the litter. “I wanted a dog who would want a job to do.”
Hopefully Bindi will be able to do the importent job of representing her rare breed at the world’s biggest dog show. “I hope that the scale of the event won’t intimidate her, and that we are both able to enjoy our day,” says Sophie.
She and Bindi will be competing in the Obedience ring on the Saturday, and we will of course let you know how they get on. In the meantime, please join us in wishing them (and the rest of the Smooth Collie team) the best of luck.
February 17th, 2015Articles
On February 24th, 75 Dandie Dinmont Terrier enthusiasts from 8 different countries, together with 50 dogs of this rare breed, will be joining Sir Walter Scott experts and VIP guests, at his former home – Abbotsford, near Melrose in the Scottish Borders to celebrate an important anniversary – 200 years since the publication of the novel – which through its immense success, inadvertently created the world’s first celebrity dog.
200 years ago, Sir Walter Scott’s introduced us to this adorable breed in his second historical novel, Guy Mannering which, became an unprecedented publishing success, selling out its first edition in just 24 hours. It was in this book, that the character ‘Dandie Dinmont’ was first mentioned, described as a local farmer who always appeared with his unique Mustard and Pepper Terriers, the character ‘Dandie Dinmont’ and his Terriers became celebrities overnight and following the instant success of the book, royalty, nobility, and the rich and the famous flocked to the Scottish Borders in search of “Dandie Dinmont’s Terriers” and a breed was born!
Sadly the fortunes of this most engaging and historic of breeds has declined so much in recent times that the UK only produces about 100 puppies a year whilst only around 300 are born annually world-wide and the Kennel Club have listed it as being a “Vulnerable Native Breed”
But Dandie Dinmont Terrier enthusiasts are a dedicated bunch and for three days, building up to this unique bicentenary, international breed enthusiasts of the endearing little Terrier, will gather in Selkirk in the Scottish Borders area to pay tribute to the origins of the breed and to draw attention to its current fight for survival.
During the three days, the group will visit three historic houses that have all played an important part in the creation of the modern day Dandie Dinmont Terrier – Abbotsford, the historic home of Sir Walter Scott, that will privately open its doors, out of season, to welcome the loyal enthusiasts; Bowhill, the seat of The Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, (The Duke is also Patron of the Abbotsford Trust) who will welcome the breed home to the Borders; and The Haining, Selkirk – a Palladian mansion now in the hands of a Charitable Trust where the father of the current day breed is recorded to have been born. More than 50 Dandie Dinmont Terriers will also attend, which believed to be the largest ever informal gathering of these little dogs in Scotland.
Although the breed has existed since the 1700’s, it became the first type of Terrier to be given a specific breed name, it has played it part in the foundation of several other breeds including the Bedlington and Sealyham Terriers and to this day remains the only breed of dog to be named after a character from fiction.
Paul Keevil, UK Coordinator of the celebrations said: “We feel privileged that, in 1815 Sir Walter Scott brought the Dandie Dinmont Terrier to prominence, and today 200 years later, we are extracting his help once again to create awareness of this lovely little dog and hopefully, save it from possible extinction.”
He added, “Abbotsford is now one of the Scotland’s most vibrant tourist attractions and we are most grateful to the team at the Abbotsford Trust for embracing the spirit of our celebratory visits, and opening up for us and our Terriers in the off season, specifically so we could bring the Dandie Dinmont Terrier back home to its roots in the Border Counties of Scotland. We also thank the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, at Bowhill, and The Trustees of The Haining in Selkirk for their kind support in highlighting the current plight of the breed.”Tags: VNB
February 15th, 2015Articles
In a bid to help the survival of the breed, a group of 75 Dandie Dinmont Terrier enthusiasts from 8 different countries, along with 50 dogs of this rare breed, will be joining Sir Walter Scott fans on 24th February, 2015, at his former home – Abbotsford House, near Selkirk in the Scottish Borders, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Sir Walter Scott’s historical novel, Guy Mannering – the book that first introduced the Terriers to the world.
The novel was an unprecedented success, selling out its first edition in just 24 hours, and it was in this book, that the Dandie Dinmont Terrier first rose to fame. Described as a local farmer who always appeared with his unique Mustard and Pepper Terriers, the character called “Dandie Dinmont” and his Terriers became celebrities and following the instant success of the book at that time, Royalty, nobility, and the rich and the famous flocked to the Scottish Borders in search of “Dandie Dinmont’s Terriers” and a breed was born!
Sadly the fortunes of this most engaging of breeds has declined so much in recent times that for the last 10 years The Kennel Club has listed the Dandie Dinmont as a “Vulnerable Native Breed”. Britain produces about 100 puppies a year whilst only around 300 are born annually world-wide.
Now, to save this unique breed, as Sir Walter did 200 years before, they must once again draw the attention of the world. Where better to do it than at the very house that helped create this canine icon?
Paul Keevil, UK Coordinator of the celebrations said: “200 years ago Sir Walter Scott brought the Dandie Dinmont Terrier to prominence, and today 200 years later, we are extracting his help once again to create awareness of this lovely little dog and hopefully, save it from possible extinction.”
He added, “We are grateful to the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, at Bowhill, The Trustees of The Haining and the team at Abbotsford House for embracing our celebratory visits, and opening up in off season, specifically so we could bring the Dandie Dinmont Terrier back to its roots.”
Dandie Dinmonts have a dedicated band of international followers and for three days, building up to their unique bicentenary, the enthusiasts for this endearing little terrier, will gather in Selkirk in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland to pay tribute to the origins of the breed and to draw attention to its current fight for survival.
During the three days, the group will visit three historic houses that are known to have played their part in the creation of the modern day Dandie Dinmont Terrier. Bowhill, the seat of The Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch; The Haining, Selkirk – a Palladian mansion now in the hands of a Charitable Trust; and Abbotsford House, the historic home of Sir Walter Scott, will privately open their doors to welcome the enthusiasts. More than 50 Dandie Dinmont Terriers will also attend, believed to be the largest ever informal gathering of these little dogs in Scotland.
Although the breed has existed since the 1700’s, it became the first type of Terrier to be given a specific breed name and to this day remains the only breed of dog to be named after a character from fiction.Tags: VNB
February 9th, 2015Articles
You may have seen the recent Kennel Club press release regarding the decline in the numbers of Pembroke Welsh Corgis. Just 214 Pembroke puppies were registered with them in 2014, which is apparently cause for alarm. And, on the surface, when you look at the trend since 2003 (below), their slide into the ‘Vulnerable‘ category does look somewhat worrying.
But what do the figures really mean? Well, for comparison, there were 34,715 Labradors registered with the UK KC during the same period. So 274 Corgi pups looks like a small figure. Compare that, though with other breeds which have been on the Vulnerable Native Breeds list since the very beginning – just 22 Otterhound puppies were born in 2014, along with 33 Smooth Collies and 67 Sussex Spaniels. On that scale, 274 begins to look like a much less apocalyptic figure.
More importantly, compare the Pembroke registrations against those of their Cardigan Welsh Corgi cousins, who have also been on the list from the day it was conceived. You will begin to wonder why the Kennel Club chose to focus their annual media flurry on the Pembrokes alone:
The Cardigan once registered just 46 puppies. It then experienced a bounce in popularity following the Royal Wedding in 2011, and Royal Jubliee and London Olympics in 2012 (odd in itself, given that the Royal Family have always owned Pembroke Corgis, but that’s an entirely different article.) This year the Cardi registered a record 118 puppies, and you can see the clearly upward-heading trend line in that data. Why isn’t the Kennel Club focusing on this good news, rather than doom-mongering with headlines about the Pembroke’s decline?
The reality of the situation is further thrown into light when you look at the two data sets together. Yes, Pembroke numbers are dropping, and that’s something which the Kennel Club and responsible breeders should work together to change. However, they’re nowhere near the serious danger zone yet, and are hardly about to “disappear from our parks and streets”, as claimed by the Kennel Club.
People involved with the Vulnerable Native Breeds are becoming increasingly frustrated with the Kennel Club; they say that the organisation does little to support their cause beyond these sensationalist press releases prior to events like Crufts and Discover Dogs. And I can understand where they’re coming from.
Skye Terriers, last year dubbed “as rare as pandas” after registering just 17 puppies in 2013, bounced back this year with 63 registrations. No KC headline celebrating their success though. The English Setter, 2012’s chosen media darling, is back in safer figures, with 332 dogs registered in 2014 compared to the 234 which apparently meant they faced imminent extinction in 2011. The Sealyham, which was the headline grabber in 2011, following a disappointing 49 pups in 2010, reached a much more comfortable 97 this year. Where are the press releases sharing this good news?
The Vulnerable Native Breeds list has been in effect from 2003, with some 37 breeds featured at various different points. Why are people still shocked when these stories appear in the Daily Mail? Why isn’t the Kennel Club doing more to raise awareness throughout the year? They used to host a Vulnerable Native Breeds parade in the Main Arena at Crufts – why was this stopped? They used to have a VNB specific booth at Discover Dogs – why was this taken away? Perhaps it’s not the decline in Corgis which should really concern us, but rather the decline in active support from the very organisation which claims it is campaigning to protect these wonderful native dogs.Tags: VNB
February 25th, 2014Articles
As Crufts approaches, the Kennel Club urges people to remember forgotten breeds.
New registration statistics released by the Kennel Club reveal that the Skye Terrier, which is one of the most vulnerable of Britain’s native dog breeds – and more rare than the Giant Panda – has fallen to a record low of just 17 puppy registrations in 2013, as foreign breeds continue to thrive.
The annual registration statistics for 2013, which have been released ahead of Crufts, where more than 200 pedigree breeds will be on show, has seen a 59 percent drop on 2012 registrations for the breed. It is estimated that there are less than 400 of the breed left in this country, making it the rarest of Britain’s vulnerable native breeds, alongside the Otterhound.
The Kennel Club’s list of vulnerable native breeds monitors those native dog breeds whose numbers are below 300 puppy registrations each year, which is thought to be a suitable level to sustain a population. An ‘at watch’ list monitors those between 300 and 450 registrations per annum that could be at risk if their numbers continue to fall.
In total there are 25 vulnerable native breeds, including the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Dandie Dinmont Terrier and Deerhound, and eight ‘at watch’ breeds, including the Irish Setter and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi.
Full registration statistics for all the VNBs can be found here.
Sue Breeze, a Kennel Club Assured Breeder of Skye Terriers, who won the Best in Group at Crufts last year, said: “As somebody who adores this breed, I am terrified by this new record low in their numbers. The simple reason that Skye Terriers are in decline is that people don’t know they exist. It’s that basic.
“We need to find ways that we can protect the breed or they won’t be around for future generations to enjoy. Winning Best in Group at Crufts last year led to a lot of enquires about the breed, but there weren’t many pups available and we’ve all been too scared to breed in recent years, for fear of the pups not having homes to go to.”
The shift in fashion, from native to foreign breeds, can be seen in the Kennel Club’s top ten registered breeds of 2013, with the French Bulldog knocking out long term British favourite, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Registrations of the French Bulldog, owned by the likes of Jonathan Ross, Reese Witherspoon and Hugh Jackman, have increased by 50 percent since 2012, with 6,990 registrations in 2013. This is an increase of over 1,000 percent in the last ten years. Four of the top ten breeds in the UK are now from overseas.
The increase in popularity of foreign breeds comes as the Kennel Club prepares to recognise the Hungarian Puli, Picardy Sheepdog and the Griffon Fauve de Bretagne for the first time, on its Imported Breeds register, taking the number of dog breeds recognised by the Kennel Club to 215. These are three of only five new breeds to be recognised in the past five years.
There are now 138 breeds which have originated overseas since the Kennel Club opened its registers in 1874, when there were just 43 breeds. There will also be two new breeds competing in their own classes at Crufts this year – the Eurasier and the Catalan Sheepdog, which have moved from the Import Register to the Breed Register and so become eligible.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “The Skye Terrier and other vulnerable breeds, which normally don’t register on people’s radars, will get much needed profile at Crufts, both in the show rings and the Discover Dogs area.
“Of course, there will be imported and foreign dog breeds celebrated at the event as well – including those that have only just come into the UK – but we want Crufts to help people to remember our forgotten breeds. We register 213 breeds of dog and not just the ten or twenty obvious ones, so people should do their research and find the breed that is truly right for their lifestyle.
“The plight of many of our native breeds is largely down to shifts in fashion and awareness. Some breeds, such as the French Bulldog and the Chihuahua, which have some very high profile owners, are thriving and the Labrador Retriever continues to maintain its top spot on our list of most popular breeds. But many of our oldest breeds simply do not have that profile. People need to ensure that the dog that they choose is right for them and that they go to a responsible breeder.”
If people are interested in Skye Terriers they should contact the Kennel Club or the Skye Terrier Breed Club.Tags: Articles, KC Press Release, VNB
April 23rd, 2013Dogs Of The World
Every November, The Kennel Club hosts Discover Dogs at Earls Court in London. This is an opportunity for dog lovers to attend seminars and demonstrations, socialise, do some shopping, and, most importantly, meet and greet over 200 different breeds of pedigree dog.
In association with his event, and the Discover Dogs stands at Crufts in March, Dogs In The News aims to give you a brief preview of some of the dogs you might meet with our “Dogs of the World” series. Today, English dogs get the spotlight:
England is one of the most prolific producers of dog breeds in the world: a total of 38 breeds can claim to be of English origin! (There are also 8 Irish breeds, 14 Scottish breeds and 5 Welsh breeds.)
Of those 38 English breeds, 47% are on the Vulnerable Native Breeds (VNB) list, which charts dog breeds which originated in The British Isles and which now regularly register less than 300 puppies a year. This is a shame, as many of them are lovely breeds which would make excellent family pets if given the chance.
There are also two English breeds on the Kennel Club’s ‘At Watch’ list, which is for British breeds which register more than 300 but less than 500 puppies a year. These are the Old English Sheepdog and the English Setter.
In the Gundog Group, there are a total of 9 English Breeds, 4 of which (Clumber Spaniel, Curly Coated Retriever, Field Spaniel and Sussex Spaniel) are VNBs.
The Terrier Group is also home to some of our VNBs; 5 in fact (Lakeland, Manchester, Miniature Bull, Norwich and Smooth Fox). In total, there are 14 English Terrier breeds! They make up more than half of the Terrier Group at championship shows.
In the Hound Group, we have 6 breeds, 4 of which (Bloodhound, Foxhound, Greyhound and Otterhound) are on the VNB list.
The Toy Group only has 4 English breeds to offer, but they are very different ends of the spectrum. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Yorkshire Terrier are two of the most consistently popular dog breeds worldwide, while the King Charles Spaniel and English Toy Terrier are on the VNB list and have number which are unfortunately in decline.
Finally, we have the Pastoral Group, which has two English 2 breeds, one Vulnerable (Lancashire Heeler) and one ‘At Watch’. The Working Group has two VNBs – the Bullmastiff and the (English) Mastiff – while the Utility Group has only one English breed, which is not Vulnerable, the classic English Bulldog.
We hope you have enjoyed our brief little tour of the dogs of England.
Remember you can visit all these breeds and over 162 more at Discover Dogs at Earls Court in November and at Crufts in March every year.Tags: Discover Dogs, VNB
January 30th, 2013Articles
Alan Titchmarsh is due to feature some of the Vulnerable Native British & Irish (VNB) breeds on his show this Thursday (31st Jan, at 3pm).
Long time VNB campaigner Paul Keevil reports that his Dandie Dinmont Terriers, along with some Old English Sheepdogs, Glen of Imaal Terriers, Cardigan Welsh Corgis and Otterhounds will all appear on the show, which will also be available via ITV Player.
This is part of an ongoing drive to raise awareness of the plight of our Vulnerable Native Breeds – classed as breeds which originated in the UK or Ireland and which now produce less than 300 puppies annually. There are currently 28 breeds on this list.
(There is also an ‘At Watch’ list which features native breeds which have between 300 and 450 puppies registered per year. 6 breeds are currently on ‘At Watch’ status.)
This publicity push comes after the Kennel Club announced their yearly registration stats, and revealed that, overall, it’s been a good year for the Vulnerable Native Breeds. One breed – the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier – was even removed from the ‘At Watch’ list, with 455 puppy registrations in 2012.
“Everybody is talking about the post Olympic baby boom but perhaps the celebration of our British heritage in 2012 has helped lead to a revival of some of our native breeds.”
Both the Old English Sheepdog and the English Setter, which only entered the VNB lists in 2011, saw increases in numbers by 7 and 25% respectively, which is hopeful news for both breeds.
Other breeds that have significantly increased in popularity include the English Toy Terrier which has seen a 25% increase; the Sussex Spaniel which increased by 29%; and the Irish Water Spaniel which has gone up by 32%.
However, the significant decline of the Smooth Fox Terrier by 46% to just 94 registrations and of the Clumber Spaniel by 56%, to 151 puppy registrations, means that there is still much work to do to promote and preserve our British Heritage breeds. Meanwhile, the Foxhound registered a total of zero pups in 2012, and only 9 in 2011.
Interestingly, the two Corgi breeds (Pembroke and Cardigan), which in recent years have been seeing a rise in registrations due to their association with the Royal Family, both experienced a drop in registrations this year.
It’s not all bad news for British Breeds though; 3 out of the top 20 most popular dog breeds in 2012 originated in Scotland, while a further 7 are English breeds.
“Fashion and profile have the most influential impact on dog choice and we are pleased to see there is still a place in people’s hearts and homes for our British breeds,” said Kennel Club Secretary Caroline Kisko.
Tune into The Alan Titchmarsh Show on Thursday to learn more about our fascinating Native Breeds, or follow the links below.
British native dog breeds stage comeback – BBC, Jan 2012
Classic British breeds at risk – DITN, Oct 2012
English Setter Joins List of Vulnerable Native Breeds – DITN, Jan 2012
Plight of the Sealyham Terriers – DITN, Oct 2011
Vulnerable Native Breeds Parade at Crufts 2008
Dogs of Scotland
Dogs of Ireland
British Heritage Breeds Website
October 29th, 2012Articles
One of the unfortunate realities of the purebred dog world is that some breeds are always going to be more fashionable and popular than others. Ahead of Discover Dogs this year, the Kennel Club has urged people to carefully consider breed attributes when selecting a puppy, to make sure they pick the right dog for their lifestyle.
“The reason the majority of dogs end up in rescue is because people haven’t researched their breed before they buy. People often go for the most obvious or fashionable dog choice, which isn’t necessarily the right one for them.”
“Of particular concern is the growth in popularity of the Siberian Husky, a beautiful dog which is notoriously willful and generally unsuitable for urban life.” Many people seek out the glamorous Husky due to its wolf-like appearance, without accepting that this is a breed which needs plenty of stimulation and exercise. As a result, rescue centres have reported a rise in the number of Huskies and Husky crosses coming through their doors.
‘Handbag’ dog numbers continue to thrive, with breeds like the Pug and the Chihuahua made popular by numerous celebrity owners and television appearances. The Smooth Coat Chihuahua, which originated in Mexico, has seen a 615 percent increase in numbers over ten years, while the Pug, from China, represents a 397 percent increase on the 1105 Pugs registered ten years ago.
Other dog breeds from abroad that are doing well include the Hungarian Puli and President Obama’s breed of choice, the Portuguese Water Dog, which numbered 93 registrations compared to 51 in the same period last year and just 38 in the whole of 2002.
But while this is good news for these breeds, their rise in numbers means a decrease in popularity for others.
The Old English Sheepdog, one of the most iconic British Breeds, has been added to the “At Watch” list for Native Breeds, with just 316 puppy registrations so far this year. This is compared to 28,787 Labrador Retrievers, the UK’s most popular dog.
“Despite the fact that Old English Sheepdogs have good temperaments and can make fantastic family pets their popularity is being eclipsed by more fashionable foreign breeds that can be much harder to train and care for.”
Also on the “At Watch” list – for breeds which register between 301 and 450 puppies annually – are the Welsh Terrier, Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier. There are thirty Vulnerable breeds – less than 300 puppies a year – in total and four on the “At Watch” list.
The biggest decline in numbers have been seen in the Clumber Spaniel, down by 37 percent to just 114 registrations, and the Irish Red and White Setter which has declined by 34 percent to just 73 registrations. The Foxhound has had no registrations so far this year.
However, it is not all bad news: the Norwich Terrier, though still considered Vulnerable, has had a 96 percent rise in registrations this year, from 108 to 202. This is likely partly due to the Group win at Crufts in March, but also because this breed is ideal for people who are looking for a small, apartment sized dog, which is well suited to a family lifestyle.*
The Otterhound has also increased by 57 percent, from 21 registrations to 33, and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi continues to grow in popularity due to its associations with the Royal Family.
Obviously breed enthusiasts will always wonder why the general public don’t love their breed of choice, but they are also often the first to admit that ‘this breed is not for everyone’. If you are considering getting a puppy, or a rescue dog, do please do your research first. Come to Discover Dogs at Earls’ Court in London on the 10th and 11th November 2012 – you can meet and greet over 200 breeds of dog, including the ones mentioned here, and discover exactly which one is right for you.
* Of course, we’re somewhat biased, having been the proud owners of an adorable Norwich since 2006! – EdTags: Articles, Discover Dogs, VNB
January 26th, 2012Articles
This week, the BBC and the UK Kennel Club announced that, for the first time, the English Setter had joined the list of Vulnerable Native Breeds, after a 33% drop in registrations from 2010. (A Vulnerable Native Breed is classified as a breed which originated in the UK and which now registers less than 300 puppies a year.)
The Kennel Club blamed this drop on “celebrity impacts on breed popularity”: more than 6,000 Long and Short coated Chihuahuas were registered by the Kennel Club in 2011, for example, compared to some 3,000 dogs across the 25 vulnerable British breeds. Pugs and Huskies have also shot up in popularity.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “Celebrities, popular culture and fashion play a big part in today’s society and unfortunately, dogs are not immune from our fickle tastes.”
As Crufts approaches, the Kennel Club warns against shunning our historic native breeds in favour of more exotic dogs that we fail to understand and for which we are unable to offer the right lifestyle. “We urge people to do their research before they buy.”
However, the celebrity culture has had a positive impact on the numbers of one former VNB, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, whose registrations shot up by 134% in 2011. This is thought to be due to the “Royal Wedding Effect”; numerous appearances of the breed in advertising and on television, and the breed’s close relation to the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, owned by the Queen, may have increased demand for these charming dogs.
There’s been good news for other breeds too. Interestingly, the Irish Red & White Setter (similar to the English Setter) registered 43% more puppies last year than in 2010. The Manchester Terrier and the Smooth Collie have also seen leaps in popularity of 42% and 38% respectively.
Plus, the Sealyham Terrier – famously dubbed as “rare as tigers” in a Country Life article this autumn, sparking a campaign to save the breed – actually registered 63 puppies last year (14 more than in 2010), so may not be as endangered as once thought.
Breeds which have left the list in the past due to a rise in numbers in the past include: the Gordon Setter, the Miniature Bull Terrier, the Bloodhound, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, and the Welsh Terrier.
The Irish Terrier was removed from the VNB list in 2010, after just barely making more than 300 registrations, but returns this year after another dip in numbers.
The most vulnerable breeds on the list at present are the Greyhound (numerous outside of the Kennel Club, but with just 14 pedigree pups registered with them in 2011), the Otterhound (38), the Skye Terrier (44), and the Field Spaniel (46).
You can see a full list of 25 the British breeds currently at risk of extinction here.
The KC have had a list of ‘endangered’ British breeds since 2003, and 29 breeds were on it at one point. They, and other organisations such as British Heritage Dog Breeds, have been working hard to preserve these breeds ever since. You can read a more detailed analysis of why these breeds are endangered, and find a list of links to further resources, here.
Do you own one of these breeds? What do you think can be done to save them?Tags: Articles, Current Affairs, VNB