4 Endangered British Native Dog Breeds

Britain can boast some wonderful pedigree dogs but sadly many of these are less popular than ever before. More people prefer to own exotic creatures like huskies or Chihuahuas and even Afghan Hounds. One of the most vulnerable happens to be the gorgeous English Setter. For the first time last year the breed appeared on the UK Kennel Club's list of British breeds that may just fade away to extinction – sadly joining many other of our lovely and ancient native breeds.

1.  The Gorgeously Elegant English Setter

In the last ten years or so, figures suggest that puppy registrations have dropped by two thirds in the UK whereas Chihuahuas saw an amazing increase of 25% last year – all thanks to many celebrities owning one of these tiny dogs – namely Paris Hilton and others.

At the other end of the scale, the Cardigan Welsh corgi has never been so popular – this is thought to be due to its links to the Royal Family and of course the Queen. Since the Royal Wedding of Kate and William, the breed has gained a lot of popularity too!

Dog breeds it would seem, are affected by media, celebrities, fashion and suffer the consequences of peoples' often fickle tastes when it comes to trends. The English Setter is just one of the British breeds that has fallen out of favour, which is such a shame, because they are a very loyal breed with kind personalities and natures.

According to breeders, people who have already owned an English Setter are the only people who contact them when they are looking to buy a new puppy. Many  breeders believe this is because they know how kind the dogs are and how good they are with young children.

A Few Facts About The English Setter

  • English Setters have wonderful natures, they are very affectionate and extremely loyal dogs
  • The breed is one of the most elegant of all British breeds to look at
  • English Setters are great around children making them the perfect family pet
  • They are thought to be one of the very oldest breeds of native dogs – there is evidence of the breed as far back as 200 years ago when they were used for upland game bird hunting
  • They are pretty big dogs and need a lot of space and exercise to stay happy and healthy
  • The English Setter is now considered to at risk of extinction and has been placed on the Native Vulnerable Breeds list with the UK Kennel Club for the first time

2.  The Fabulous, Rough-coated Otterhound

The most endangered British breed is the gorgeous otterhound with only 38 puppies being registered with the UK Kennel Club last year. This figure is down by 33% on figures in previous years. This large and rough-coated breed is quite unique and has a loud call which sounds more like baying than barking. With the breed being so much in decline, there are only three breeders left in the UK and only 600 otterhounds in the entire world – and not all of them are really suitable to be used for breeding purposes.

Interesting Facts About Otterhounds

  • Otterhounds have long pendulous ears and thick rough coats that are waterproof
  • They were bred to help keep the numbers of otters down in rivers in order to preserve any trout living in them
  • They make great family pets and are inquisitive, bold, affectionate as well as independent and intelligent dogs – they are fun to be around
  • Otterhounds are fantastic swimmers – they have webbed feet and adore being in water for hours on end
  • The breed can live anything from 10 to 13 years if well looked after

The reason why the breed has fallen out of favour with people is thought to be because of their size. Trends and fashions dictate a lot when it comes to the popularity of a breed, but then so does the cost of feeding a larger dog. The otterhound is quite an expensive dog to keep.

3.  The Dandie Dinmont Terrier

This lovely native dog has lost its appeal with puppy registrations dropping to just 98 last year. The breed got its name form Sir Walter Scott's “Guy Mannering” and the fictional character Dandie Dinmont. The Dandie Dinmont Terrier breed may look small and quiet but when they want to they can move pretty fast. They are lovely intelligent little dogs although not the most obedient in the world. However, their saving grace is they adore being around children who adore the breeds' big, adoring eyes.

Interesting Facts About the Dandie Dinmont Terrier

  • The Dandie was originally bred in the 18th century for badger and otter hunting in Scotland and England
  • They have a double coat – the undercoat is soft and linty whereas the upper one is harder and more resilient
  • The Dandie makes a great family pet – they are lively, alert, very inquisitive and extremely loyal little characters
  • If well looked after, the Dandie can live anything between 12 to 14 years!

4.  The Lovely Skye Terrier

A lovely, native breed, this gorgeous terrier only saw 44 new puppy registrations last year – however this figure was up on the previous year which is a goodish sign. The breed became well known when it featured in the film Greyfriars Bobby – this is the story of a Skye Terrier that guarded his owners' grave in Edinburgh for 14 whole years during the 19th century. There is a statue to honour his loyalty.

Interesting Facts About Skye Terriers

  • The breed derives its name from an island in Scotland – the Isle of Skye where it originates from
  • Queen Victoria loved Skye Terriers
  • The breed was immortalised by the film Greyfriars Bobby
  • The breed was recognised by the American Kennel Club way back in 1887
  • Skye Terriers have very strong hunting instincts so need to be watched when around smaller animals – but they make fantastic family pets

Why Native Breeds Are Considered Endangered

The UK kennel club considers any breed to be at risk when puppy registrations fall below 300 in any one year. Last year, there were only 234 puppy registrations  of English Setters in the UK which saw them join 24 other native breeds considered at risk. On the other hand Chihuahuas and Huskies saw puppy registrations rise like never before with Chihuahuas having over 6,000 puppy registrations and Huskies have seen their numbers more than treble over the last ten years.


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