UK Says “Goodbye” To Big Dogs And “Hi” To The Handbag Generation

(Kennel Club Press Release) Large dog breeds are rapidly in decline, including old favourites such as the face of the Dulux advert, the Old English Sheepdog, and the English Setter, as smaller breeds most liked by celebrities come into vogue.

New statistics released by the Kennel Club, ahead of its Discover Dogs event on 8-9 November, show that small dog breeds dominate the list of ‘top ten risers’ in the last five years and large to medium sized breeds almost entirely dominate those that have most declined.

Among those breeds that have declined in popularity are traditional breeds that are on the Kennel Club’s list of Native British and Irish Vulnerable Breeds, because they number less than 300 annual registrations per year, and risk disappearing from our streets and parks.

Among the top ten highest risers in the last five years are the French Bulldog, which has increased by 529 percent, the Smooth Coated Chihuahua, which has risen by 221 percent, the Boston Terrier, Coton de Tulear and the Pug – only four large dog breeds make the list.

And it is only the small dogs on the list that have continued on the upwards trend in the first three quarters of 2014, compared to the same period last year. By contrast, there are only two small breeds on the list of those that have decreased the most, which is dominated by the likes of the Boxer, Rottweiler, Doberman, and Field Spaniel.

Vulnerable native dog breeds that are faring badly include the Old English Sheepdog, which has declined by 27 percent and the English Setter (below) which has declined by 33 percent.


The change is largely down to changing lifestyles and celebrity culture. The Kennel Club’s Discover Dogs event at Earls Court enables people to meet and find out more about the nation’s 215 dog breeds, so that they pick the right one for their lifestyle.

Caroline Kisko, Secretary of the Kennel Club which runs the Discover Dogs event, said: “As small dog breeds such as the Chihuahua and the French Bulldog have soared in popularity, we have seen a steady decline in a number of our larger dog breeds, with many of them now on our vulnerable breeds list and at risk of disappearing from our streets and parks because their numbers are so low.

“Our Discover Dogs event in London enables people to meet breeds of dog that they would probably never come across on the street, or see in the arms of celebrities, but which might be a perfect fit for their lifestyle and which will help to ensure that some of our most iconic larger dog breeds don’t get forgotten.

Whilst a small dog breed might be the perfect choice for some people and a better fit for their lifestyle, if they live in a small property or in an urban area with less access to large open spaces, this might not be the case for everybody.”

The English Setter, which has seen a 32 percent decline in registrations, is one of the oldest breeds of Gundog dating back to the fourteenth century but is currently on the Kennel Club’s At Watch list (for those breeds with less than 300-450 registrations and at risk of becoming vulnerable).

Roz Croft, an English Setter breeder from Preston, said: ‘It would be such a pity if part of our heritage was allowed to die out due to short term fashion trends for the smaller breeds.”

The Kennel Club’s Discover Dogs event takes place at Earls Court on 8 and 9 November for info & tickets visit:

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