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Pug Popularity Soars

Posted: March 3, 2011, 5 p.m., EDT

Pug Popularity SoarsFor the first time ever, the pug has made it into the Kennel Club’s official Top 10 most popular pedigree dog breeds in the U.K. The number of Chihuahuas has soared, too, confirming the general shift away from large breeds toward what are often described as "handbag” breeds.

The Kennel Club’s registration statistics for 2010, which have just been released, show that "handbag” dog breeds--so-called since celebrities popularized certain breeds by carrying them in their bags-- have rapidly increased, as shown by the examples below.

• Pug: 5,726 registrations in 2010, which is 20 percent more than last year and a 170 percent increase since 2005.
• Miniature smooth-haired dachshund: This breed made it into the top 20 for the first time with 2,802 registrations; 12 percent up on 2009 and 72 percent more than in 2005.
• The smooth-coated Chihuahua: 2,796 registrations in 2010, representing a 47 percent compared with the previous year and a staggering 350 percent up on 2005.
Pure-bred dog registrations last year in the U.K. are down slightly from 2005 numbers, but they have increased by 5 percent from the 2009 figure. In total, the Kennel Club registered 257,062 pedigree puppies during 2010.

The Kennel Club has warned that the influence of fashion and celebrity are causing the popularity of "handbag” dogs to increase, and as a result too many people who are eager to buy a puppy quickly are unknowingly turning to puppy farmers who are quick to cash in on the demand.

Meanwhile, many of the Kennel Club’s "Vulnerable Native Breeds,” which are endangered because they have less than 300 registrations a year, have continued to decline in numbers. This group includes the Cardigan Welsh corgi, which dropped by 42 percent to 46 registrations, and the Skye terrier which fell by 51 percent, with just 75 puppies being registered in this case.

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