On Friday 19th October 2018, 3-year old Cocker Spaniel Ellie had spent the day in a garden in Towcaster, opposite the race course in Northampton whilst dad, Iain was working there. Ellie very rarely left his side so this was a very normal day for them both.
At home time, Iain put Ellie in his van and went back to pack up his tools. In the 15 minutes it took for him to do that and return, someone had stolen Ellie from his Renault van.
This was the beginning of the family’s nightmare, something sadly they are reliving every day.
Ellie’s heartbroken mum says “Ellie’s theft has made me feel numb. It has effected me massively and the pain still isn’t getting any better.
Ellie’s bowls are still in the same place they were on the day of her disappearance, her dog bed still lies in the same place with her favourite toy on top. I am keeping them exactly where they are in hope that we will be reunited one day”
Northamptonshire Police were informed of Ellie’s theft immediately and all potential leads have been forwarded onto them to investigate. The Northamptonshire Police have also made other police forces aware.
The family have ensured their local community are aware of Ellie’s case and have printed hundreds of posters which have been distributed as far as possible, including to all local vets and Ellie’s microchip has been updated to reflect she has been stolen.
Ellie also has a Facebook page dedicated to her. Her family know that one share, one lead, one person could be the potential link that will bring their beloved Ellie back home where she belongs.
Iain says “If you have any information that may help us in the search for Ellie, I urge you to please come forward and help us.
And if you have Ellie, please do the right thing and hand Ellie back to us. She has a loving home where she is missed hugely.”
The response the family has already had regarding Ellie’s disappearance has been overwhelming and has made the awful time that little bit easier but they still need that one bit of information that will bring Ellie home.
Ellie celebrated her 3rd birthday without her family, so please help raise awareness so that Ellie spends her 4th birthday with the people that love her most in the world. And please, if you know something, say something.
If you have any information relating to Ellie’s theft or you know where she is, please contact DogLost directly on 0844 800 3220. There’s a substantial reward for Ellie’s safe return to her family.
Big or small, young or old – all dogs need exercise, not just for their physical and mental health but also to help develop and maintain social skills.
However, it can be difficult to work out how long or how far we should be walking our four-legged friends. In fact, one of the most commonly asked questions by dog owners is, “how much exercise does my dog need?”
Siobhan Griffin (pictured above) at Lintbells, manufacturers of the popular YuMOVE supplement, says the appropriate level of activity for your dog should be considered at every stage of their life – right from when a pup enters your home through to their senior years.
In this article, Siobhan shares some advice on recommended exercise routines, particularly in these two stages of our dog’s lives.
Puppies have a lot of energy, but they tire out quickly and do not need as much exercise as an adult dog. In fact, over exercising your puppy can affect their joints and overall joint health in the long term.
It is therefore important that a puppy’s exercise routine is focused on training and socialisation, and not focused on getting an energetic exercise routine in every day. It is usually recommended that owners allow five minutes of exercise per month of age for your puppy, up to twice a day. For instance, if your puppy is four months old, then 20 minutes of exercise, up to twice a day, should be enough to keep them happy and healthy.
At this stage in your dog’s life, it is also important to make sure their bodies and minds are stimulated in the right way. Allowing your dog to explore your back garden is a good start but is not enough to keep them mentally stimulated. New spaces and open environments like parks and woods are favourable as your puppy will be able to explore new sounds and smells whilst also learning to socialise with other dogs. In these instances, owners should always make sure to keep their pups on a lead until they have been taught a sound recall.
It is important to remember that older dogs still need exercise and, much like people, they stay happier and healthier if they exercise regularly. Keep an eye on your dog’s general fitness and consider changing your daily walking routine to more frequent but shorter, easier strolls.
You may also need to alter your walking habits altogether. To make sure you are not tiring your dog out too much, consider cutting down the amount of time you allow your dog to run around off the lead and play games such as fetch. Remember that wearing them out too much may cause discomfort the following day.
Hydrotherapy and swimming sessions are good alternatives to give your older dog exercise. The buoyancy of the water will reduce stress on your dog’s joints while still exercising their muscles.
As your dog gets older, and less able to cope with the exercise they once did, try to exercise their minds instead. Games that engage their brains such as hide and seek are a great way to mentally stimulate your dog with reduced physical exercise.
To help owners and their dogs, Lintbells has developed a new and exciting exercise calculator. This tool allows owners to input their dog’s name and breed to calculate the optimum amount of time and miles they should be walking with their dog. It also provides extra information if you have a younger or more senior dog but if you are concerned about your dog’s mobility it is best to always speak to you vet.
This March 20th, the world will be celebrating International Day of Happiness and whilst we’re all making sure that everyone around us is happy, be sure to give special tribute to your canine companion.
As a nation of dog lovers, Brits have been known to lead happier and healthier lives because of their four-legged friends, according to several Lintbells’ surveys. In fact, 40% of dog owners1 admitted that walking their dog reduced their stress levels and in turn, made them much happier. 86% of dog owners also believe having a pooch helped them bring stress levels down, with 28% going onto say they believe their mental health and well-being is above average – all because of their pet!2
So, this International Day of Happiness, why not give back to your canine best friend and give him a few extra reasons to smile? YuMOVE, the UK’s No.1 veterinary joint supplement3, has suggested a few ways you can make sure your pooch has the best day ever!
Training your dog has proven benefits for their wellbeing as the mental stimulation keeps them on their paws in a fun and engaging way. Dogs are instinctual and interactive animals and will look to you as their owner for opportunities to test their brain power. Try out some new tricks or commands and you’ll find that the bond between your pooch and you will continue to strengthen, making you both much happier.
Plenty of exercise
Just like in people, exercise will make your dog jovial. This could include anything from your usual daily walks to agility training. This International Day of Happiness perhaps try something different when exercising your pup. Go hiking or try an obstacle course out – your dog will be over the moon to try new activities and will in turn improve their fitness and mobility. And with dog owners walking an average of 870 miles a year1, walking with your dog will help keep your fitness levels up too.
If your dog sometimes struggles with their joints when exercising, or if you want to give them that extra boost, then Lintbells’ YuMOVE range is the perfect supplement to help. Proven to work within 6 weeks4, YuMOVE aids stiff joints and supports the mobility of dogs, with the help of ingredients such as the unique ActivEase® Green Lipped Mussel – containing four times more Omega 3 than standard versions.
Most dogs love meeting new people and other canines, so socialisation is a key element that can contribute towards your dog’s overall development and happiness. Taking your dog to a dog friendly park for a run-around gives them the opportunity to interact and meet other dogs, whilst also getting some exercise. With over 35% of people striking up to at least one conversation with another dog owner, dog walking can be a sociable experience for both you and your pet pooch.
For this International Day of Happiness, why not try and organise a meet up with all your friends’ pups? What better way to celebrate happiness, than with a room full of content dogs!
Playing with your dog is one of the most beneficial activities you and your pooch can do together. Whether it be a simple game of fetch or hide and seek, playing with your dog will strengthen the bond between the two of you and in turn act as a form of exercise. Playing games together will increase both your and your pooch’s happiness and will help build and reinforce a strong and positive relationship with your dog.
1 Lintbells 2019 survey
2 Lintbells 2017 survey
3 Kynetec VetTrak Sales Data, MAT values (January 2019)
4 Study conducted by Royal Veterinary College. Data on file.
A volunteer-run centre for rescue dogs has received a rather unusual offer of support from recycling experts, Scott Bros.
The Teesside-based family-run firm stepped in to provide a free skip service after learning that Maxi’s Mates was having difficulty disposing of its general waste.
The skip-aid offer came after the rescue and rehoming centre was left with piles of ruined dog bedding, after rainwater seeped through a storm-damaged roof.
Canine-loving Scott Bros. agreed to provide the service free of charge whenever the centre, at Carlin Howe Farm, between Guisborough and Redcar, requires it.
The offer is proving particularly useful as the centre’s band of 40-strong volunteers continue to clean up after the storm, as well as disposing of building waste created by ongoing work to expand and improve the kennel’s facilities.
It costs up to £4,000 per month to run Maxi’s Mates, with the majority of the money devoted to heating, dog food, veterinary care and rent.
During 2018, Maxi’s Mates, which also operates the stray dog contracts for Redcar & Cleveland and Hambleton councils, took in 261 strays, of which 146 were reunited with their owners and 107 were successfully rehomed. The eight remaining dogs are still being cared for by the centre.
Jane Galliford, who founded the charity in 2012 with Michelle Cooper, said the majority of its funding comes via donations and charity fundraisers.
She said: “The kind offers of help and support made by local companies and organisations, such as Scott Bros., is incredibly important as it means we can spend more of our budget on our number one priority, which is caring for and rehoming the dogs.”
David Scott Jr, a Director at Scott Bros., said: “I’m a dog owner myself and once you’ve visited Maxi’s Mates and see the work they do, it’s only natural to want to help.
“In fact, while I was delivering the skip, I completely fell for a beautiful six-month-old Cockapoo and, after undergoing all the necessary checks, I’ve adopted him and have named him Logan after the X-Men character!
“Maxi’s Mates never turns a stray away or puts a dog to sleep just because it’s difficult to rehome. It’s a really worthwhile cause which Scott Bros. is proud to support.”
Jane said that the skip-aid offer came at an opportune time, after a large number of quilts, blankets and towels donated for dog bedding were ruined by the storm damage.
The centre, which currently has 36 kennels, also receives offers of help from a variety of local businesses and organisations.
Most recently, trainees and tutors from the Teesside Skill Centre operated by training and education specialists, Learning Curve Group, volunteered to help build an isolation area for newly-arrived strays.
PC Dave Wardell, from Buntingford, Herefordshire and his dog Finn, have been announced as the winners of the Kennel Club Friends for Life competition at Crufts 2019.
Retired Police Dog (RPD) Finn was stabbed several times as he protected Dave from an armed attack in 2016, saving his life. Finn was badly injured and his fight for his life led the duo to launch the ‘Finns Law’ campaign, highlighting the value of all service animals and the injustice of their treatment in the law.
The campaign is driving a new Bill which aims to make attacking a service animal a specific criminal offence, which through sustained campaigning by Dave and Finn, is now in its final stages in the House of Lords.
Finn, owned by PC Dave Wardell, was one of five hero dogs shortlisted for the Friends for Life competition in February. The finalists shared their unique stories of the impact that each dog has made on their life, with the nation voting for their favourite finalist. The winner was announced in the Resorts World Arena on the final day of the world’s greatest dog show by hero soldier Ben Parkinson.
The proud owner and deserving dog were presented their award and a cheque for £5,000 from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust for a charity of their choice. The four other finalists also received £1,000 for their chosen dog charity for making it to the prestigious final.
Speaking about their win, Dave said: “I can’t believe it. I feel so emotional. Just by being here we had won already. It has been a culmination of years of campaigning to get Finn’s story heard.
“I am so grateful to the Kennel Club Charitable Trust for the prize money which we’re going to donate to German Shepherd Rescue Elite.”
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “We congratulate Dave and Finn on winning this year’s Friends for Life award; their story is incredibly moving and highlights what wonderfully loyal and brave companions our four-legged friends are. They are truly man’s best friend.
“Each and every one of the dogs in the final has helped to transform their owner’s lives, showing unwavering devotion and companionship. They are a great example of the positive difference that dogs can make. They are all winners and their bonds will last a lifetime.”
The five dogs which made the 2019 final were selected by a panel of judges from the Kennel Club, where they were chosen for the lifetime of love and loyalty they give to their owners and for the way that they have irrevocably changed their lives.
A story written by one of the UK’s leading meditation teachers from his home in County Durham is capturing the hearts and spiritual minds of dog lovers across the globe.
Gary Heads has been practising meditation for more than 30 years and has helped thousands of people find a sense of calm, from those struggling with mental health issues to people wanting to find a way to deal with stress
Now Gary is spreading his message even further with the launch of his characterful new book, ‘The Enlightened Spaniel: A Dog’s Quest to be a Buddhist’, which is told from the point of view of his own pets – Ella and Indi
The charming story of The Enlightened Spaniel unfolds as Indi, the narrator, and Ella set off on a journey to learn about the reason their ‘dad’ meditates. Gary has weaved all his considerable knowledge into a book, which, thanks to its Spaniel storytellers, is an easy to understand, joyful read.
Said Gary: “I’ve taught meditation for years and a lot of the literature around it can be very academic. I wanted to reach a wider audience but I also wanted to write a book that had humour. I didn’t write the book specifically to appeal to anyone with a Springer Spaniel but it naturally appeals to them.”
Gary’s book has been illustrated by Toby Ward, who is widely known for his animated drawings commissioned to record events, such as President Clinton’s visit to Oxford and the work of the UN Peace Keeping Force in Bosnia. He also accompanied HRH The Prince of Wales on his tour of the Gulf States.
Gary has already sold thousands of copies in the UK and as far as America and is seeing his book stocked in major stores, such as Waterstones. He also has more than 4,000 followers on social media, most of them Spaniel lovers.
Added Gary: “I’ve written an academic book but I wanted this one to be fun and at the same time it teaches you about meditation, mindfulness and the teachings of the Buddha. I hope people smile when they read it and look to learn from it and incorporate meditation into their daily lives. Or maybe they’ll just go off and buy a Spaniel!”
Gary has set up his own publishing company, Right Nuisance Publishing, and is already working on a second book about The Enlightened Spaniel and a cat who thinks it only has one life left to lead
Gary will be signing copies of The Enlightened Spaniel at The Mindful Living Show in London on March 15 and 16.
The RSPCA has launched a campaign aimed at helping millions of dogs in the UK who could be struggling to cope when they’re left home alone.
The UK’s oldest and largest animal welfare charity is today (6 March) launching a nationwide campaign to help millions of dogs suffering in silence.
The RSPCA has launched #DogKind to help the 7m dogs who find being away from their owners difficult – a large number of which suffer in silence, without showing any clear signs that they’re struggling to cope, meaning owners don’t often realise there’s a problem. #DogKind aims to raise awareness of this often hidden issue and help owners ensure their dogs are the happiest pooch on the block
#DogKind campaign manager Daisy Hopson said: “We know that the love between owners and their dogs is unconditional – the centre of each other’s lives. So, when you leave your dog for any period of time, it can be incredibly difficult for them. It’s nothing to do with their age, breed or where they have come from, it’s because many dogs don’t know how to cope when their owner isn’t at home and are unhappy when left alone.
“Pioneering research suggested that 85% of dogs may be struggling to cope when left alone and with an estimated 9 million dogs in the UK and 26% of households** with a pet dog, it’s shocking to think that more than 7 million of our four-legged friends could be feeling frightened, lonely or sad when home alone. More worrying is the fact that many dogs won’t show signs that they are struggling (50% of dogs in the 2016 study showed no signs) so it’s easy for owners to miss. In fact, many owners may have no idea as 75% were unaware that their dogs were finding it hard to cope when on their own.”
A survey conducted by the RSPCA to coincide with the Chinese Year of the Dog (2018), found that 22% of owners left their dogs for four or more hours a day and 53% of dogs were left shut inside the house when their owners were out***
RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: “Some dogs who find it difficult to cope when on their own bark or destroy things to show their feelings, others will simply sit there suffering in silence – like people, dogs express their emotions in different ways, which means you may not always know if there is a problem.
“The good news is that you can help your dog learn that it is okay to be left alone; there are things to help your dog to feel calmer and happier when you are out. Even if you are unsure whether your dog is struggling, #DogKind will guide you through steps you can take to help discover if your dog is finding it difficult to cope and what you can do help.
“It’s a really important part of any dog’s training to teach them that being left alone isn’t scary, and so we also have lots of advice on how to teach your puppy or new dog that being on their own is not a bad thing..”
The RSPCA’s research also discovered:
87% of respondents agree or strongly agree that ‘dogs need and enjoy the company of people and dogs and don’t like being on their own’;
20% of people reported signs associated with separation related behaviour – but 45% of these people didn’t seek help, with 20% saying it was because ‘the behaviour doesn’t really bother me or my family’;
Only 62% of people think dogs can experience worry while 63% believe dogs can experience sadness;
But 74% think dogs can experience boredom;
25% of people agreed that ‘working hours make it difficult to care for my dog as I’d like’
Dr Gaines added: “There are lots of ways we can help our dogs if they’re struggling being home alone. If they need something to occupy them then it can be a great opportunity to provide enrichment and stimulation such as toys stuffed with treats or puzzle games.
“If your dog struggles without company or you are out for longer periods of time then you could ask a neighbour, friend or relative to spend time with your dog or take them out for a walk. If relying on friends and family isn’t an option, there are services like DogBuddy which help you find a dog sitter near you for boarding, day care or walking.
“However, if you’re concerned that your pet is displaying signs of separation related behaviour then we would strongly recommend speaking to your vet or a clinical animal behaviourist for some specialist advice tailored to his or her needs.”
One RSPCA rescue dog who has struggled with an extreme case of separation related behaviour is 12-year-old bearded collie cross, Tug.
He was rescued by RSPCA inspectors in September in a poor condition and taken in by the charity’s Coventry, Nuneaton & District branch. He was rehomed before Christmas but sadly returned to the centre when his new owners struggled to cope with his separation related behaviour
The aim of the #DogKind campaign is to help owners better understand their dogs’ emotional needs and raise awareness of separation related behaviour, especially the fact that it is preventable and treatable. This is so dogs like Tug can stay in their home, rather than be put up for adoption, as their owners discover how to help their dog overcome these issues in the comfort of their own home
Whether you think your dog is struggling or not, we’d love all owners to try at least one of our #DogKind methods and see if they can improve their dog’s experience of being home alone.
On the eve of Crufts 2019 (7th-10th March), a panel of leading pet experts, including TV vets and other influencers in the companion animal industry, has called for a championing of health over breeder-led ‘perfect looks’.
The six-strong ‘Dog Breed Standards Panel’, which is chaired by Lars B. Andersen, CEO of Arty Lobster, a company specialising in the creation of 3D pet sculptures, discussed two breed profiles for a Pug and a German Shepherd dog; one profile of each dog dated back 100 years or more, while the other was of the modern-day variety.
The experts, including TV vet and author Emma Goodman Milne, vet and Daily Telegraph’s pet commentator Pete Wedderburn, homeopathic vet Vince McNally, veterinary speaker and professional Mark Hedberg, ‘dog listener’ Tony Knight, unanimously condemned today’s unhealthy dog breed types that are still so beloved of dog breeders.
The panel discussed two photos of a Pug and slated the newer flat faced or brachycephalyic profile now in favour while the sloped back ‘frog-like’ appearance of today’s German Shepherd dog was condemned when compared with the healthier straight-backed profile of the older variation of the breed.
As Pete Wedderburn, author and influencer, explains, while examining a photo of a modern Pug next to the same breed from 100 years ago: “This (older-type) animal will clearly suffer from fewer health issues, for instance better breathing, no skin folds that get infected, no corneal ulcers due to bulging eyes, and better dentition due to a less crowded mouth.”
Holistic vet ‘Vince the Vet’ McNally, explained that the original Pug with a longer muzzle has “a much healthier upper respiratory tract (nares, nasal chambers, sinuses and nasopharynx / pharynx). Therefore, breathing will be easier and the respiratory system far less prone to infections and the signs and / or complications associated with Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome.”
Turning to the image of a German Shepherd dog from around a century ago, Pete Wedderburn says: “The posture is a far more natural position, with a straight back, vertical hind legs, and probably far healthier spine and hips.”
“Breeding for looks by definition puts health in second or third place.” – TV Vet Emma Goodman Milne
Vet Emma Goodman Milne, author and animal welfare campaigner, said: “While it is clear that some breeders are striving for health over looks there are very many breed standards that simply do not conform to health because of either closed gene pools with high levels of inherited disease or, more recently, more and more extreme conformation. Breeding for looks by definition puts health in second or third place.”
Echoing Emma, vet and veterinary speaker Mark Hedberg, says: “Current dog breeding standards still focus overwhelmingly on appearance, rather than health, and while it’s encouraging to see more requirements for health testing in at-risk breeds, people still prioritize looks over long term health, and even quality of life. As long as health is second to looks, this problem will persist.
“The ‘modern’ pug has thick folds of skin that can get inflamed and infected when wet, and the nasal passages are so constricted it’s constantly fighting to breath. The soft palate is squashed in the back of the throat as well, so many of the ‘modern’ dogs require surgery just to live a relatively quality life.
“Don’t believe me? Put two drinking straws in your mouth from a children’s drink box, and breath through those. You can just about manage that, can’t you? Now go for a walk, or a jog, or maybe even a walk up the stairs. No cheating now – all the air needs to come through those two tiny drinking straws. Let me know how long you can make it before your tongue turns the same faintly blue that you see on some ‘modern’ pugs!”
So, what can be done?
Lars B Andersen, CEO of 3D pet sculpture company Arty Lobster, who is exhibiting at this year’s Crufts, says: “How can we stand by when some breeders are still putting perceived ‘good looks’ over health in their dogs? Whether it causes pain or leaves a dog literally struggling to breathe like a Pug or unable to give birth naturally like an English Bulldog, we all need to take a stand against irresponsible breeding practices. This can start at Crufts where the world looks on as the ‘ideal’ examples of dog breeds strut their stuff.”
Holistic vet Vince McNally ‘Vince the Vet’, says: “Excluding dogs who have ‘unhealthy’ characteristics from Shows, would be a step in the right direction. To work however this would require all judges to be willing to implement an agreed set of new standards, which would be quite an undertaking.”
Tony Knight says: “Making the new, healthier breed standards the benchmark for success in competitions is a quick way to encourage this change. People will soon make changes if it means their dog wins at the big shows.”
Mark Hedberg: “Give pugs their noses back, and don’t be afraid to breed Great Danes a little smaller. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are lovely dogs, and their hearts let them down far too soon. Let’s get some of those breed standards toughened up, or enforced – an unhealthy dog shouldn’t be illegal to own, but it certainly shouldn’t be winning any prizes!”
Arty Lobster has an exhibition stand with a large selection of 3D pet sculptures at Crufts 2019 – they are in Hall 2, Stand 1.
As a nation of pet lovers, it’s not uncommon to come across pets who look just like their owners, but what about their homes?
Sofa and carpet specialist, ScS, searched the country for the nation’s most camouflaged pets via a photo competition, and can reveal the 10 best pictures of furry friends disappearing into the furniture.Maddie, the nine-month-old cockapoo was crowned the competition winner after seamlessly blending in with the living room rug.
Maddie the Cockapoo from Nottingham
Maddie’s owner, Emma, comments: “Maddie is a playful dog who loves nothing more than playing in the ball pit and running around with her pals – oh and blending in with our living room rug! She’s very clever, although she often forgets her own name when there’s fun to be had!”
Having been crowned the winner of the Part of the Furniture competition, Emma and Maddie will receive a stay in a dog-friendly Best Western hotel.
ScS also revealed the runner-‘puppers’, including many chilled out pets blending in with rugs, like this crushed velvet look by Noodle.
2. Noodle the Cairn Terrier Poodle cross
3. Minnie the Maltese puppy, nicknamed ‘the albino Tasmanian devil’
As well as rugs, pets can also blend into the sofa, proving that pets on the furniture aren’t always a no-no. Like Barley the Italian Spinone who could be mistaken for a fluffy cushion!
4. Barley the Italian Spinone.
5. Waffles, the rescued stray cat now lives a classy life by the piano
6. Monty, a rescued stray who was found with a broken paw, is now king of the couch.
7. Two-year-old Peach, the Poodle cross Bichon Frise and her new best friend, Lou
8. Smudge, blending in to his favourite throw!
9. Elsa the Golden Retriever likes to make the carpet hers by depositing her matching hair onto it.
10. Sadie’s a Cockapoo whose hair colour has changed throughout the years
Carl Randle, Content Executive at ScS said: “These pictures prove that our furry friends can do a smashing job at blending in. I imagine some owners have to be extra careful when walking across the living room rug or sitting on the sofa. Not only are our beloved pets part of the family but it seems they are also part of the furniture!”
The Scottish Terrier, more famously known as the Scottie dog and as the face of famous brands such as Radley, has entered the Kennel Club’s list of dog breeds ‘At Watch’ because they number fewer than 450 annual puppy registrations.
The breed, chosen as one of the iconic Monopoly counter pieces, has declined by 38 percent in the last five years and only 438 dogs were registered with the Kennel Club in 2018, according to new registration statistics released by the dog welfare organisation.
More native British breeds than ever before are at risk as their popularity declines in the face of ever increasing demand for new breeds such as the French Bulldog, which is the inspiration behind the Kennel Club’s #savebritishdogbreeds campaign.
The campaign aims to remind people about the 221 breeds of pedigree dog in the country, including those historic native breeds that are at risk of disappearing, as they become forgotten.
British and Irish breeds with fewer than 300 puppy registrations per annum are entered onto the Vulnerable Breeds list and those with 300-450 are closely monitored and put on the At Watch list.
One of Britain’s most iconic dog breeds, the Old English Sheepdog plummeted to its lowest ever level in 2018, and with just 318 registrations – a decline of 17 percent since 2017. This means the breed, whose status is currently ‘At Watch’, is now 18 registrations away from entering the Vulnerable Breeds list.
Furthermore, two native dog breeds – the Bearded Collie and Irish Wolfhound – have re-entered the Kennel Club’s list of vulnerable breeds that risk disappearing in the future, after also hitting historic lows of 274 and 239 registrations respectively. The Bearded Collie had almost three times as many registrations when the Kennel Club first began the list in 2004. The Irish Red and White Setter is another breed that has reached its lowest level since the list began, with just 51 registrations, prompting the breed club to fear that they will die out.
These breeds are experiencing no such decline in popularity in the show ring however, thanks to a small group of enthusiastic people. Breeds such as the Deerhound and King Charles Spaniel, both on the vulnerable list, are amongst the top ten breeds to increase in Crufts entry numbers this year.
Furthermore, in the past decade two Best in Show winners have been from the vulnerable list – the Sealyham Terrier in 2009 and the Scottish Terrier in 2015 – and with a top winning dog in the Terrier Group this year being a vulnerable breed, the Kerry Blue Terrier, there is hope that Crufts could shine a light on these breeds, which are disappearing from the public mind. Vulnerable breeds will have their own booths at the event, where the public can meet and greet them and they will have their own dedicated competition in the main ring.
Til Tovey, Secretary of the Scottish Terrier Club of England, said: “It is so sad to see this wonderful and well-recognised breed, which is affectionate, loyal and intelligent, steadily decline in popularity as more fashionable choices take over. The Scottish Terrier is a great breed for those who want a small companion dog with plenty of character and an independent streak, and have time to train them consistently. Scotties are brimming with personality so sometimes can be a little stubborn!
“It would be very sad to no longer see this historic and much-loved breed in our streets and parks in a few generations’ time.”
There are now a record-breaking 29 native vulnerable breeds and nine that are At Watch, which totals more than half of the country’s 57 native dog breeds. One of the reasons that native breeds are thought to be in decline is because they are being pushed out of favour by more fashionable choices.
Breeds which have soared in popularity in recent years include the nation’s now most popular breed, the French Bulldog and the likes of the Dachshund. The new statistics show that the French Bulldog is now the most popular in the UK, surpassing the Labrador Retriever, which has been Britain’s favourite dog since 1990. The French Bulldog has increased by over 3483 per cent in a decade, from 1025 registrations in 2008 to 36,785 registrations last year. The Miniature Smooth Haired Dachshund, which is now the ninth most popular dog in the country has soared by over 173 per cent in the past decade
The French Bulldog is known as a brachycephalic dog breed, due to its short muzzle and the Kennel Club and other welfare organisations are trying to raise awareness of the health issues that this breed can experience.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “There were just 24 vulnerable breeds and seven at watch a decade ago. There are now another six breeds either vulnerable or At Watch and we could lose even more of our most iconic and historic native dog breeds if people don’t look beyond the most obvious choices – such as the increasingly popular French Bulldog – and start to explore the huge diversity of breeds we’re lucky enough to have in this country.
“There are 221 breeds of dog and they are all very different, suited to different people and lifestyles. We encourage people to do their research and if they’re not sure they can meet nearly all the dog breeds in the Discover Dogs area of Crufts, taking place in March.”
Alison Bloxham, Secretary of the Irish Red and White Setter Club of Great Britain, said: “Irish Red and White Setters are an ideal dog for an active family, and have a lot of love to give, but each year we see fewer registrations. It’s such a shame that some of our most historic breeds continue to drop in popularity and are at serious risk of dying out entirely.
“We hope that more people will become aware of the range of breeds out there and responsibly select the right one for them. It is the people who today discover and come to love our forgotten breeds, who will be the breeders of tomorrow, helping to protect these dogs for future generations to enjoy.”
“There are now a record-breaking 29 native vulnerable breeds and nine that are At Watch, which totals more than half of the country’s 57 native dog breeds. One of the reasons that native breeds are thought to be in decline is because they are being pushed out of favour by more fashionable choices.”