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.
Amongst 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.
Amongst 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, Dobermann
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 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
"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 www.discoverdogs.org.uk