The Labrador takes the throne as the UK’s top dog, Jack Russells are on the rise, and Corgis make a comeback as the Kennel Club reveals new data about the nation’s favourite breeds.
Old favourites appear to be taking the lead as Britain’s top dogs. Among the top ten fastest breeds to gain popularity from 2018 to 2019 are an ancient Scottish breed, the Gordon Setter, which increased in popularity by 41 per cent; the historic Jack Russell Terrier, which increased by 30 per cent; and the Queen’s favourite, the Corgi, which saw a surge of 38 per cent, coinciding with the return of Netflix series The Crown.
Of the top ten breeds ‘going down’ during the same period include the previously fashionable and celebrity-favourite Chihuahua (-26 per cent), the Pug (-31), and the exotic Siberian Husky (-37 per cent).
An old favourite, the Labrador, has reclaimed the throne as Britain’s top dog following the short reign of the French Bulldog.
Bill Lambert, Senior Health and Welfare Manager at the Kennel Club, said, “High profile owners and popular culture can have a huge impact on the popularity of certain breeds, though we’d urge people to always do their research rather than follow a trend.
“The Jack Russell for example has certainly seen a surge of interest since rescue dog Dilyn first put his paws through the door of Downing Street in September, and at Crufts 2020 there will be more Jack Russells than ever before competing for the silver Best in Show trophy. We’ll have to wait and see if this dog has its day!”
However, not all native breeds are benefiting from this resurgence. The Irish Red and White Setter has become the most vulnerable of all Britain’s native breeds, with just 39 puppy registrations in 2019 – the breed’s lowest figure in 30 years. It’s also not looking good for one of Britain’s most iconic dog breeds, the Old English Sheepdog, whose numbers reached historic lows in 2019 with just 317 puppies registered.
The historic Dandie Dinmont Terrier is decreasing too, and since 2018 puppy registrations have dropped by 24 per cent. The breed is experiencing no such decline in popularity in the show ring however, as its entries have gone up for Crufts 2020 compared to 2019.
Organisers hope that Crufts will shine a light on ‘forgotten’ native breeds, and raise their profile with the public via the special Vulnerable Breed Competition as well as breed booths for visitors to meet and greet these dogs which are now so rare.
Bill Lambert added, “The six most popular breeds in the UK account for more registrations between them than the remaining 216 breeds of dog combined, with people simply overlooking the less obvious choices, and many of our much-loved historic breeds.
“Some 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. 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 and research all 222 breeds, and come to Crufts next month where 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.”