The Old English Sheepdog is among seven dog breeds now at risk of extinction, with registration numbers of the famous breed falling to the lowest in 60 years.
One of Britain’s most recognizable breeds, the iconic “Dulux” dog has been classed as vulnerable for the first time ever by The Kennel Club, receiving just 227 puppy registrations in 2020. Despite puppy numbers booming last year, this is the lowest recorded number of annual puppy registrations for the breed since 1961.
“The Old English Sheepdog is such an historic and iconic breed, but they are rarely seen out and about over recent years, so the fact that they are now officially a vulnerable breed is very worrying,” Bill Lambert, spokesperson for The Kennel Club, said.
“It’s likely the numbers have dwindled over the years due to a result of lifestyle changes, as they require a lot of grooming and exercise and aren’t suitable for smaller living spaces. However it is a breed that is faithful and trustworthy with an even provision that can make lovable family pets for the right owners.”
Elsewhere in their research, the dog welfare charity found that native breeds also reached record lows in 2020, including the otterhound, skyeterrier, Bloodhound and English Setter. Sadly, both the norfolk-terrier and cairn terrierhave been added to the ‘At Watch’ list for the first time.
In some good news, the breeds on their way up include the Whippet, Cocker Spaniel, Bull Terrier, Weimaraner, German Wirehaired Pointer and the German Shorthaired Pointer, which entered the top 20 overall breeds. According to the charity, it’s thought these larger breeds rose in popularity due to more Brits swapping city life for country living.
“The nation has gone through a huge collective lifestyle change in the past year, and of course many have either become first-time dog owners or are currently looking to buy one soon,” Bill adds.
“With some people now deciding to move out of our cities towards more rural areas, there is hope for some of our larger and more vulnerable breeds yet. We have such a rich diversity of breeds in the United Kingdom, all with their own unique characteristics , so we really do urge the British public to find out more about the lesser-known breeds, especially those who are at risk of disappearing, in order to get a dog that is truly right for them.”
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