One of Britain’s Most Vulnerable Dog Breeds Bounces Back

(Kennel Club Press Release) 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 – saw one of the biggest increases in puppy registrations in the first quarter of 2014.

The Kennel Club Breed Registration Statistics show a ten-fold increase in puppy registrations in the breed, from just one puppy registration last year to 11 this year. This means that it saw the second largest increase out of 215 breeds, after the Hungarian Puli, which rose by 3000 percent.

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It is estimated that there are less than 400 Skye Terriers (pictured above) 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 Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

Other native vulnerable breeds which have done well so far this year include the Irish Red and White Setter, which increased by 104 percent, to 57 registrations and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi that increase by 89 percent to 34 registrations. This is a much needed boost for the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, which alongside its Pembroke Welsh Corgi cousin, are two of the ten breeds that have seen the greatest decline in the last five years.

However, this positive news for some of the vulnerable native breeds is set against a backdrop of ever declining numbers, as foreign breeds and small handbag dogs popularised by celebrities gain increasing popularity. The shift in fashion, from native to foreign breeds, can be seen in the Kennel Club’s top twenty registered breeds.

The French Bulldog, owned by the likes of Jonathan Ross, Reese Witherspoon and Hugh Jackman, has increased by 522 percent since 2008, with 6,990 registrations in 2013. In the first quarter of this year it was the third most popular breed.

Five of the top ten breeds in the UK, as measured in the first quarter of 2014, are now from overseas. The Portuguese Water Dog, owned by Barack Obama, is the eight fastest climber between 2008 and 2013, increasing by 129 percent. The other fastest climbing breeds in the last five years are the Entlebucher Mountain Dog, Bavarian Mountain Hound, Chihuahua (Smooth Coated), Boston Terrier and the Coton de Tulear.

There are now 138 breeds which have originated overseas since the Kennel Club opened its registers in 1874, when there were just 43 breeds. Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “We are extremely lucky to have such a rich variety of breeds, from so many different countries, so that people can always find a breed that will suit their lifestyle.

“It would however be very sad to see some of our oldest and historically most loved breeds disappearing from our streets and parks simply because they have been forgotten and lack the profile of other breeds. Celebrity culture and changing fashions play a greater role than ever before in people’s choice of dog but we urge puppy buyers to consider all of the 215 breeds and choose the one that is truly right for them.”

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