Numbers of the iconic pet beloved by Presidents Franklin D Roosevelt and George W Bush, as well as being one of the playing pieces of the famous board game, are now being registered by the Kennel Club as having reached a worrying low. The breed has been put on the club’s “At Watch” list after a 38 percent decline in Scottish terrier puppies getting pedigree recognition over the last five years. Only 438 puppies were entered on the Kennel Club’s register last year, putting a question mark over the breed’s future along with a worrying number of other famous British dogs.
With the countdown to Crufts next week, the Kennel Club is issuing a sombre warning about the shifting profile of traditional domestic pedigree dogs winning our nation of animal lovers’ hearts.
While the famous Dulux Dog, the once popular Old English sheepdog, has hit an historic low in number of club registrations, the trendy French bulldog has become the country’s most popular breed, surpassing the Labrador after nearly 30 years as Britain’s top dog.
Two other well-known domestic breeds, the bearded collie and Irish wolfhound, have also re-entered the Kennel Club’s list of vulnerable breeds which face the risk of disappearing in future years.
Out of 57 different British pedigree breeds open to dog lovers looking for their perfect pet, 29 are today classed as vulnerable and a further nine have been placed on the At Watch list, leading to the Kennel Club launching a #savebritishdogbreeds campaign.
Scottie dogs are under threat according to the Kennel Club (Image: GETTY)
Clsssic profile of much-loved Scottie dog (Image: Kennel Club and Marc Henrie)
Handler Rebecca Cross with Scottie Knopa winning Crufts Best in Show 2015 (Image: GETTY)
What will surprise many pet lovers is the declining popularity of Scottie dogs. With a history that dates back to the 15th Century, the combination of short legs, compact body, perky ears and shaggy beard have seen the Scottie become one of the most distinctive dog breeds in the world. They come in a range of wiry coat colours from black through to white.
Parrots, according to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), are the nation’s fourth most popular pet; according to a 2012 survey conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), 3.1 percent of U.S. households owned birds. Some parrots can scream as loud as an ambulance siren. These birds are beautiful, but they’re difficult to care for and require lots of space, so the HSUS doesn’t recommend keeping them as pets at all.
Besides being a playing piece in Monopoly, Scotties are also the emblem of the Radley handbag range as well as appearing on bottles of famous Black and White Whisky. President Roosevelt’s faithful Fala appears alongside him on his Washington DC statue and President George W Bush’s two Scotties, Miss Beazley and Barney, were White House fixtures. A Scottish terrier called Knopa won Crufts in 2015.
Til Tovey, secretary of the Scottish Terrier Club of England, explained why a worrying spectre hovers over the much-loved breed.
She 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.”
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President George W Bush carries his dog Barney as First Lady Laura Bush holds Miss Beazley (Image: GETTY)
Scottie dog is a popular Monopoly playing piece (Image: GETTY)
As breeds such as Scotties cause concerns over their continuing decline in popularity, the rise of the French bulldog has created its own worries. New figures show the breed has seen a 3,483 per cent rise in a decade, soaring from 1,025 puppies registered in 2008 to 36,785 last year.
The Kennel Club says the Frencg bulldog is known as a brachycephalic dog, due to its short muzzle, and, along with other animal welfare organisations, the canine charity is raising awareness of the health issues they can experience.
Kennel Club Secretary Caroline Kisko 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.”
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