English Setter 'risking extinction'
Published 25/01/2012 | 09:28
The English Setter, one of Britain's oldest breeds of dog, risks extinction as owners emulate celebrities and opt for the more exotic Chihuahua, the Kennel Club has said.
Only 234 English Setter puppies were registered last year - a drop of 33% on 2010 - and numbers have declined by almost two thirds in the past decade.
The figures were revealed as it emerged an endangered Corgi breed saw a 130% surge in popularity - attributed largely to the Royal Wedding.
A breed is deemed to be at risk of extinction when it numbers less than 300 puppy registrations each year.
Falling significantly below this number, the English Setter is now one of 25 species on the Kennel Club's Native Vulnerable Breeds list.
In stark contrast, more than 6,000 long and short-coated Chihuahuas were registered by the Kennel Club last year - up by more than a quarter on 2010 - as owners aped the likes of Paris Hilton who is frequently pictured with her "handbag dog" Tinkerbell.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club secretary, said: "Celebrities, popular culture and fashion play a big part in today's society and unfortunately, dogs are not immune from our fickle tastes.
"The latest victim is the English Setter, a wonderful and loyal breed, while the number of Siberian Huskies have more than trebled in this county in the last 10 years.
"This unfortunately is reflected in the growing number of exotic breeds seen coming into our breed rescue societies, as people realise that they can't give them the exercise, grooming or other care that they need."
However it was good news for the Cardigan Welsh Corgi which experienced a massive increase in puppy registrations - up 134% in 2011.