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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

March 6, 2012

Iconic Setter Breed Faces the Threat of Extinction

By David Alderton


One of Britain’s oldest native dog breeds, the English setter, is now for the first time at risk of becoming extinct. The breed only numbered 234 registrations last year, according to the latest Kennel Club registration statistics, representing a fall of 33 percent, compared with 2010. There has been a decline of almost two-thirds in the number of English Setters registered today, compared with 10 years ago.

English Setter
English setters are in serious decline in their homeland. Photo by Alex White.
The English setter joins another 24 breeds on the Kennel Club’s Native Vulnerable Breeds list. A breed is deemed to be at risk of extinction when it numbers less than 300 puppy registrations in a year. The Irish terrier returned to the list after just tipping 300 registrations in 2010, but the breed declined by 22 percent last year.

Encouraging Support for Native Breeds
As Crufts approaches, the Kennel Club is seeking to encourage people to support Britain’s native breeds, compared with more exotic newcomers from abroad, whose requirements may be more demanding. They highlight the fact that only around 3,000 dogs were registered across all 25 Vulnerable Breeds, compared with 1,940 Siberian huskies.

People are also favoring celebrity dog breeds, such as the Chihuahua owned by the likes of Paris Hilton, over old British favorites. More than 6,000 long and short-coated Chihuahuas were registered by the Kennel Club in 2011, up by over a quarter compared with 2010.

“Celebrities, popular culture and fashion play a big part in today’s society and unfortunately, dogs are not immune from our fickle tastes,” said Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club secretary. “The latest victim is the English setter, a wonderful and loyal breed, while the number of Siberian huskies has more than trebled in this county in the last 10 years.

Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Cardigan Welsh corgis have become more popular again. Photo by Lenkadan.

“This unfortunately is reflected in the growing number of such breeds seen coming in to our breed rescue societies, as people realize that they can’t give them the exercise, grooming or other care that they may need,” she added.

Royal Impact?
The impact of celebrity may have had a positive effect on at least one native vulnerable breed though: the Cardigan Welsh corgi. The number registered shot up by 134 percent in 2011. It is thought that the ‘Royal Wedding effect’ and the breed’s close relation to the Pembroke Welsh corgi, owned by the Queen, may have had an impact.

“There has been a dramatic increase in the popularity of the Cardigan Welsh corgi,’ Kisko said. “We can only surmise that the increased interest in the royal family last year may have made people more aware of the Queen’s favorite dog, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, and had a knock on effect on the Cardigan Welsh corgi as well.”

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Iconic Setter Breed Faces the Threat of Extinction

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We love our English Setters and can't imagine a more wonderful breed of dog. I only hope people are not bothering to register them as they are beautiful, funloving and loyal companions.
Kara, Brewster, MA
Posted: 3/9/2012 5:03:20 PM
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