Scottie dogs face uncertain future as people shun breed

todayFebruary 25, 2024 4

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Scottie dogs face uncertain future as people shun breed

Once one of the most popular breeds in the country, there are worrying signs the Scottish terrier – that stalwart of the Monopoly board – has fallen out of favour among a nation of dog lovers and faces an uncertain future.

The small, distinctive Scottie, which is the adopted emblem of Walker’s shortbread and Radley handbags, has registered its lowest numbers since records began.

The Kennel Club has placed the breed on its “at watch” list after only 406 puppy births were logged by breeders in 2023.

It marks a dramatic drop from its last-century peak when there were more than 5,800 registrations in a single year.

The preferred breed of Queen Victoria, the terrier was originally bred to hunt foxes, badgers and other vermin in the Highlands.

At the other end of the popularity rankings, Bernese Mountain dogs and miniature long-haired dachshunds have enjoyed a surge, recording the biggest increases of 24% and 20% respectively.

Other fast “risers” were the English setter, Yorkshire terriers and Jack Russell terriers, which is the favoured breed of the King and Queen Camilla.

The Kennel Club has been monitoring breeds of British and Irish origin with fewer than 450 annual puppy registrations since 2004.

It is the second time the Scottie has been placed on the watch list for native breeds with between 300 and 450 registrations a year, first appearing in 2018.

Jack Russells are the favoured breed of the King. Pic: PA

Jack Russells are the favoured breed of the King. Pic: PA

While the Cairn terrier has also rejoined the category, three other breeds have entered it for the first time – the pointer, rough collie and wire fox terrier.

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The club’s “vulnerable” list, for native breeds with fewer than 300 puppy registrations, devised to highlight those which could be at risk of disappearing, includes Sussex spaniels, curly coated retrievers, otterhounds, Irish setters and King Charles spaniels.

Bernese Mountain dogs have enjoyed a surge in number. Pic: iStock

Bernese Mountain dogs have enjoyed a surge in numbers. Pic: iStock

There are now more breeds classed as at watch and vulnerable than ever before.

However, the list is not definitive because it relates to club registrations rather than actual births.

Bill Lambert, a spokesman for the Kennel Club, which recognises 222 breeds, said: “The Scottish terrier has been such an iconic and recognisable breed in the UK for decades, and means so much to so many different people, so these latest figures are really worrying.

“We are lucky to have an amazing 222 breeds of dog in this country, each with unique personalities and characteristics, but the vast majority of dogs that you will meet come from within the top ten breeds alone.

“People often opt for the well-known choices and simply forget to dig a little deeper, with the worrying knock-on effect that not only are some of our most iconic breeds in decline but also that people might not be getting the perfect match for them.”

Otterhound. Pic: iStock

Otterhounds are at risk of disappearing. Pic: iStock

He added: “People simply forget there are so many different dog breeds, with different personalities and characteristics, and it’s not just the well-known ones that could be a great match for our lifestyles.

“While we’re pleased that some of our native breeds saw their numbers increase last year, such as the English setter, others continue to fall rapidly in popularity and are in danger of disappearing forever.

“We are so lucky to have such diversity among our four-legged-friends, and we urge the British public to look beyond the most popular choices, and find out more about the many different breeds there are.”

Written by: Newsroom

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