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.
25th February 2014
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Notes to editors
The Kennel Club
The Kennel Club is the largest organisation in the UK devoted to dog health, welfare and training. Its objective is to ensure that dogs live healthy, happy lives with responsible owners.
It runs the country’s largest registration database for both pedigree and crossbreed dogs and the Petlog database, which is the UK’s biggest reunification service for microchipped animals. The Kennel Club is accredited by UKAS to certify members of its Assured Breeder Scheme, which is the only scheme in the UK that monitors breeders in order to protect the welfare of puppies and breeding bitches. It also runs the UK’s largest dog training programme, the Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme and licenses shows and clubs across a wide range of activities, which help dog owners to bond and enjoy life with their dogs. The Kennel Club runs the world’s greatest dog show, Crufts, and the Discover Dogs event at Earls Court, London, which is a fun family day out that educates people about how to buy responsibly and care for their dog.
The Kennel Club invests in welfare campaigns, dog training and education programmes and the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, which supports research into dog diseases and dog welfare charities, including Kennel Club Breed Rescue organisations that re-home dogs throughout the UK. The Kennel Club jointly runs health screening schemes with the British Veterinary Association and through the Charitable Trust, funds the Kennel Club Genetics Centre at the Animal Health Trust, which is at the forefront of pioneering research into dog health. The new Kennel Club Cancer Centre at the Animal Health Trust will contribute to the AHT’s well-established cancer research programme, helping to further improve dog health.