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.
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
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
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
"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.