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The native dog breeds that are in danger of dying out – including the Manchester Terrier and the Otterhound

The British public has always loved its pets and none more so than dogs. Dogs come in all shapes and sizes and many unique breeds were first bred in the UK, with many even taking their names from parts of the country.

But despite being the origin of so many breeds, many of Britain and Ireland’s native dogs could soon disappear from the UK altogether. The Kennel Club has been tracking the UK’s vulnerable native breeds in the hope that those with declining numbers could be popularized once again.

The list of vulnerable dogs includes a number of well-loved breeds including the old English sheepdog, the bearded collie, and the Welsh springer spaniel. But despite eleven being popular pets, their numbers have continued to dwindle.

In 2020 there were only 227 old English sheepdogs registered in the UK, along with 268 bearded collies, and 205 Wels springer spaniels. Some dog breeds are even rarer.

The Manchester terrier is one of the most vulnerable dog breeds in the UK, with only 155 registered in 2020. There were also only 92 Lancashire heelers registered with the Kennel Club. But the otterhound is the most vulnerable native breed, as there were just seven registered last year. That was down on 44 in 2019.

Vulnerable breeds are those with less than 300 registrations each year. There is also a list of ‘at watch’ breeds which have between 300 and 450 registrations a year, which The Kennel Club also monitors.

The infographic below shows how many of each breed were registered in the UK in 2020, which are the most up to date figures available. The smaller the circle, the fewer the number of dogs that were registered.

On its website, The Kennel Club states: “Vulnerable native breeds are dog breeds of British and Irish origin that are considered to be vulnerable due to their declining registration numbers. These breeds are at risk of disappearing from our parks and streets, simply because people don’t know they exist or because they aren’t considered fashionable.

“Some breeds have such low numbers that they are completely unrecognizable to the British public, which is a concern because it means that breeds that might be the perfect fit for people’s lifestyles are being overlooked in favor of other breeds that might not be, simply because they are not as well known.

“To give these dogs the chance they deserve, it is important that if you’re thinking about getting a dog you consider the lesser-known breeds. There are over 200 breeds of dog recognized in the UK so there is a breed for everyone. We find that people tend to choose a breed from the pool of breeds they have heard of before, which means that the perfect breed for them and their lifestyle might be overlooked.”

The UK’s vulnerable native breeds

Below is The Kennel Club’s list of vulnerable native dog breeds. The number of dogs registered is shown for each year between 2016 and 2020.

  • Otterhound: 40 (2016), 24 (2017), 39 (2018), 44 (2019), 7 (2020)
  • Skye Terrier: 28 (40), 40 (24), 50 (39), 59 (44), 27 (7)
  • Bloodhound: 53 (28), 88 (40), 62 (50), 91 (59), 32 (27)
  • Glen of Imaal Terrier: 76 (53), 48 (88), 48 (62), 85 (91), 36 (32)
  • Spaniel (Sussex): 49 (76), 56 (48), 34 (48), 52 (85), 44 (36)
  • Retriever (Curly Coated): 83 (49), 53 (56), 70 (34), 68(52), 55 (44)
  • King Charles Spaniel: 84 (83), 112 (53), 106 (70), 93 (68), 56 (55)
  • Spaniel (Irish Water): 116 (84), 69 (112), 111 (106), 69(93), 57 (56)
  • Spaniel (Field): 80 (116), 50 (69), 48 (111), 67 (69), 69 (57)
  • Collie (Smooth): 89 (80), 60 (50), 77 (48), 75 (67), 72 (69)
  • English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan): 102 (89), 84 (60), 126 (77), 98(75), 75 (72)
  • Norwich Terrier: 145 (102), 91 (84), 81 (126), 128 (98), 81 (75)
  • Irish Red & White Setter: 63 (145), 70 (91), 51 (81), 39 (128), 83 (81)
  • Dandie Dinmont Terrier: 91 (63), 130 (70), 145 (51), 109 (39), 87 (83)
  • Lancashire Heelers: 90 (91), 119 (130), 112 (145), 140 (109), 92 (87)
  • Mastiff: 102 (90), 166 (119), 143 (112), 140 (140), 104 (92)
  • Fox Terrier (Smooth): 118 (102), 82 (166), 126 (143), 112 (140), 122 (104)
  • Welsh Corgi (Cardigan): 218 (118), 141 (82), 147 (126), 126 (112), 132 (122)
  • English Setters: 285 (218), 261 (141), 290 (147), 267 (126), 140 (132)
  • Lakeland Terrier: 220 (285), 196 (261), 139 (290), 94 (267), 145 (140)
  • Sealyham Terrier: 113 (220), 167 (196), 107 (139), 131 (94), 153 (145)
  • Manchester Terrier: 191 (113), 160 (167), 172 (107), 243 (131), 155 (153)
  • Kerry Blue Terrier: 168 (191), 152 (160), 117 (172), 108 (243), 161 (155)
  • Bull Terrier (Miniature): 172 (168), 189 (152), 221 (117), 200 (108), 185 (161)
  • Spaniel (Clumber): 171 (172), 265 (189), 280 (221), 175 (200), 188 (185)
  • Irish Wolfhound: 256 (171), 372 (265), 239 (280), 229 (175), 195 (188)
  • Spaniel (Welsh Springer): 299 (256), 362 (372), 330 (239), 243 (229), 205 (195)
  • Deerhound: 209 (299), 266 (362), 198 (330), 162 (243), 206 (205)
  • Old English Sheepdog: 424 (209), 384 (266), 318 (198), 317 (162), 227 (206)
  • Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier: 326 (424), 369 (384), 307 (318), 291 (317), 243 (227)
  • Bearded Collies: 284 (326), 420 (369), 274 (307), 307 (291), 268 (243)
  • Gordon Setter: 263 (284), 255 (420), 172 (274), 243 (307), 268 (268)


A bloodhound puppy

The UK’s ‘at watch’ dog breeds

  • Bedlington Terriers: 411 (263), 483 (255), 307 (172), 333 (243), 364 (268)
  • Bullmastiffs: 493 (411), 429 (483), 409 (307), 404 (333), 372 (364)
  • Cairn Terrier: 683 (493), 589 (429), 567 (409), 464 (404), 443 (372)
  • Irish Terrier: 326 (683), 362 (589), 384 (567), 338 (464), 389 (443)
  • Norfolk Terrier: 600 (326), 521 (362), 542 (384), 482 (338), 358 (389)
  • Parson Russell Terrier: 377 (600), 306 (521), 360 (542), 311 (482), 440 (358)
  • Welsh Terrier: 401 (377), 388 (306), 325 (360), 376 (311), 412 (440)

Do you have one of these rare dog breeds? What makes them your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.

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