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Dog Breed More Rare Than The Giant Panda Falls To Record Low

25 February 2014    10:00
Skye Terrier - (c) Diane Pearce Collection/Kennel Club Picture Library
 

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 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.

ENDS


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