Pet owners help revive traditional dogs’ fortunes

Old English sheepdog
Old English sheepdog

TWO of Britain’s best-loved tail-waggers are making a come back in Wigan.

The Old English sheepdog - famous as the face of a certain paint company - has been reducing in popularity to such an extent that the breed had been considered to be “at risk” along with Her Majesty The Queen’s favourite canine companion in Buckingham Palace, the Pembroke (Welsh) Corgi.

A Corgi

A Corgi

But the latest pedigree registration data from The Kennel Club ahead of next month’s annual showpiece Crufts Show reveals that both breeds last year are now starting to make a comeback.

However the classic rabbiting Bedlington terrier, along with the Irish Terrier and English Setter, remain in decline.

The borough’s most popular pet pedigree dog, in terms of new kennel club, remains the Labrador retriever.

Both Corgis and the “Dulux dog” experienced a surge in popularity in 2015 and are no longer considered to be at risk of dying out.

The native British breeds were once at risk of disappearing from streets or bounding around our parks and open spaces around the UK after numbers fell so low that they were put on the Kennel Club’s Vulnerable Native Breeds and At Watch lists.

In 2014, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi was considered vulnerable, for the first time in the breed’s history, with only 274 puppy registrations.

The breed has since had a 34 per cent increase in registrations from 2014 to 2015 as, fittingly, her Majesty Queen Elizabeth celebrated becoming the country’s longest reigning Monarch.

And it has now been moved from the Vulnerable Native Breed list to the At Watch list.

The Old English Sheepdog, which was popularised by decades of the television adverts, has also seen a boost in numbers, up by 22 per cent from 405 puppy registrations in 2014 to 495 last year, meaning that it too is no longer included in the At Watch list.

While these two breeds are experiencing a revival, things are not looking good for the Bedlington Terrier, as the breed is now on the At Watch list for the first time in the breed’s history after registrations dropped to 395 new pups in 2015.

In addition to the Bedlington terrier, the English setter and Irish terrier are now officially on the Kennel Club Vulnerable Native Breeds list, which includes those native dog breeds with fewer than 300 national puppy registrations annually.

This means they fall below the minimum number needed to ensure that a breed’s population is sustainable.

In total there are 29 breeds on the Vulnerable Native Breeds list, including the Skye terrier, Kerry Blue terrier, Sussex spaniel and Field spaniel.

The Otterhound has the lowest registrations with only 34 registrations in total for 2015.

There are seven breeds on the At Watch list, because they number between 300 and 450 registrations a year, including the Soft Coated Wheaten terrier and the Bearded collie.