The Otterhound is now the country’s most at risk dog, as rare native breeds are being “forgotten”, the Kennel Club has warned.
The organisation said native pedigrees such as the Otterhound and the Glen of Imaal terrier have for so long been overlooked that even at Crufts, dog lovers fail to recognise some of the endangered breeds on show.
While there are 220 pedigree breeds in the UK, the top six – labrador, French bulldog, cocker spaniel, pug, English springer spaniel and bulldog – have more registrations between them than the other 214 breeds put together.
The Kennel Club’s campaign, Save the Forgotten Dog Breeds, highlights the 36 most vulnerable breeds which have seen their numbers decrease by almost 30 per cent in the last decade.
The Otterhound, a scent hound bred for hunting since the early 19th century, is most at risk, with just 24 puppies registered for 2017, a drop of 40 per cent from 2016. The Skye terrier had just 40 puppies registered.
The Glen of Imaal terrier, which originated during the reign of Elizabeth I when French and Hessian mercenaries settled in Ireland after being sent to put down a rebellion and bred their low-slung hounds with local terriers, almost died out in the early 20th century.
They were saved from extinction by Irish breeders but last year there were still only 48 puppies registered, a drop of 37 per cent.
Other at risk breeds include the field spaniel, curly coated retriever, Sussex spaniel and smooth collie.
The Kennel Club’s ‘At Watch’ list highlights the breeds that had 300-450 annual puppy registrations, while the vulnerable list highlights those with fewer than 300 registrations.
Meanwhile the French bulldog, which is currently Britain’s second favourite dog, continues to soar in popularity with its numbers going up 44 per cent last year to 30,887 registrations.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club secretary, said: “There are more than 200 pedigree dog breeds in this country and yet people are increasingly opting for the fashionable or obvious choices.
“Some breeds, such as the French bulldog, are experiencing phenomenal growth as a result.
“Whilst it can make a wonderful pet, as is true of all breeds, it isn’t suitable for everybody, and people must research its health and care needs to work out whether it’s actually right for them.
“Other dog breeds, including many of the UK’s oldest, are at risk of disappearing because they’re simply being forgotten about.
“Many of the breeds we consider to be at risk of disappearing due to their low numbers are largely in this position because of the fact they are unrecognisable to the British public and are therefore completely overlooked.
“We see thousands of people meeting these breeds at events such as Crufts and the general feedback is that visitors have never heard of or seen them before.
“We have launched this awareness campaign because we need to keep the rich diversity of breeds, with all of their unique characteristics, so that people can get a dog that is truly right for them.
“We would strongly encourage anyone thinking about getting a dog to consider the lesser known breeds and come to Crufts in Birmingham in March as we have a dedicated Discover Dogs zone where people can meet these breeds first hand and talk to experts about what they are like to live with.”
As part of the campaign a special Vulnerable Native British and Irish Breeds competition is being held at Crufts this year.
Dog lovers can meet the at risk breeds at the annual dog show in Birmingham in March.
Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/02/28/britains-endangered-dog-revealed-experts-say-native-breeds-overlooked/