Celebrity Handbag Dog Registrations Soar as Pug makes Top Ten for the First Time

(Kennel Club Release) For the first time ever, the Pug has made it into the Kennel Club’s official top 10 most popular pedigree dog breeds in the UK and sales of the Chihuahua have soared, indicating a general shift that is seeing so called ‘handbag’ dog breeds increase rapidly in popularity.

The Pug
The Pug

The Kennel Club’s registration statistics for 2010, released today, show that ‘handbag’ dog breeds – so-called since celebrities popularised certain breeds by carrying them in their bags as fashion accessories – have rapidly increased, including:

• Pug – 5,726 registrations in 2010, 20 percent more than in 2009, and a 170 percent increase since 2005.
• Miniature Smooth-Haired Dachshund – made it into the top 20 for the first time with 2,802 registrations, 12 percent up on 2009 and 72 percent up on 2005.
• The Smooth Coat Chihuahua – 2,796 registrations in 2010, 47 percent more than in 2009 and a staggering 350 percent more than in 2005. 

This bucks a general trend which sees dog registrations down by three percent on 2005, though they did climb by 5 percent from the number in 2009.  In total, the Kennel Club registered 257,062 pedigree puppies during 2010.

The Kennel Club has warned that the influence of fashion and celebrity are causing the popularity of ‘handbag’ dogs to increase but that too many people, who are eager to buy a puppy quickly, are unknowingly turning to puppy farmers who are quick to cash in on the demand.

Marc Abraham, TV Vet and Kennel Club Veterinary Advisor, said: “Too many people see a dog as a commodity, which goes in and out of fashion and which can be bought on a whim.

“This not only means that people fail to think carefully enough about whether a dog will fit into their lifestyle but they may unknowingly buy from puppy farmers in order to get a quick sale. Puppy farmers thrive on the demand for fashionable dogs and will churn them out in their hundreds but keep their puppies in appalling conditions. A healthy puppy is worth waiting for and people should always go to a Kennel Club Accredited Breeder if they want to ensure their puppy has been given the best start in life.”

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “Dog breeds have popularity peaks which are largely determined by their profile. More and more famous people now own toy dogs and it is no coincidence that their popularity has simultaneously soared.

“It is not simply toy dogs whose popularity increases when their media profile gets a boost. The previously little known Portuguese Water Dog has risen 34 percent since 2009, when President Obama brought the breed into the White House.

“Lifestyle factors also play a part. Toy breeds were bred purely as companion dogs and so tend to need less exercise and are cheaper to own than larger working breeds, making them a better fit for some modern day lifestyles.

 “However, toy dogs still need plenty of love and attention and a daily walk so we urge people to thoroughly research the different breeds and their needs before they buy and to always, always go to a responsible breeder.”

Meanwhile many of the Kennel Club’s Native Vulnerable Breeds, which are endangered because they have less than 300 registrations a year, have continued to decline. This includes the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, which dropped by 42 percent to 46 registrations and the Skye Terrier which dropped by 51 percent to 75 registrations.

The 210 breeds of pedigree dog are split into seven groups and small, portable dogs are generally drawn from the Toy Group which has seen a 20 percent rise in popularity since 2005.

The Working Group, which includes the Boxer and Rottweiler and the Pastoral Group, which includes the Old English Sheepdog and Border Collie, and have seen a 32 percent and 16 percent decrease since 2005, respectively. 

Gundogs remain the most popular dog group and the Labrador Retriever the nation’s favourite breed with 44,099 registrations in 2010, almost 8 percent up on 2009. It is almost twice as popular as the second placed breed, the Cocker Spaniel.

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