One of the Queen’s favourite breeds of dog, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, is at risk of
disappearing from our streets and parks after being listed as a vulnerable dog breed
by the Kennel Club for the first time in the breed’s history.
In 2014 the Pembroke Welsh Corgi numbered just 274 registrations with the Kennel
Club, 16 percent lower than in 2013. The breed has been steadily declining since its
peak in 1960, when almost 9,000 dogs were registered. In the last ten years the
numbers have continued to decline with there being almost double the number of the
breed registered with the Kennel Club in 2006, compared to 2014.
The low point means that the breed is now officially on the Kennel Club Vulnerable
Native Breeds list, which includes those native dog breeds with 300 or fewer puppy
registrations annually, meaning they fall below the minimum number needed to
ensure that a breed’s population is sustained properly.
In total there are 29 breeds on the list, including the Dandie Dinmont Terrier, the Irish
Red and White Setter and the Sussex Spaniel. There are four breeds on the ‘At
Watch’ list, because they number between 300 and 450 registrations, including the
English Setter and the Old English Sheepdog. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi has been
on the At Watch list since 2009, when it first fell below 450 annual Kennel Club
Whilst many native breeds are declining in popularity, some foreign breeds are
reaching new heights. The French Bulldog (owned by the likes of Jonathan Ross,
Reese Witherspoon and Hugh Jackman) has continued to enjoy another
astronomical leap in popularity, with registrations of the breed increasing by 38
percent since 2013, making it the country’s fourth most popular breed. There has
been a staggering 1,724 percent increase in the breed since 2004, with registrations
increasing from 350 to more than 9,000.
Other breeds on the Vulnerable Native Breeds list fared better in 2014, with the
Dandie Dinmont Terrier increasing by 37 percent last year, to 144 registrations. The
breed will celebrate its 200th anniversary on 24 February 2015, when 50 Dandie Dinmont dogs from around the world will gather at Sir Walter Scott’s former home in
Abbotsford House, Scotland, to celebrate the day that the historical novel Guy
Mannering was published, the book that first introduced the breed to the world.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is one of
the country’s most iconic dog breeds and so it is worrying to see the breed dip to a
historic low and become one of our vulnerable breeds for the first time ever.
“We compile a list of Vulnerable Native Breeds in order to raise awareness of some
of our oldest, and historically best loved breeds of dog, that are struggling to
compete with newer breeds that are more fashionable.
“Crufts is coming up in March and this is a great opportunity for people to discover
the 215 breeds recognised in this country, as currently half of all dogs registered in
the UK are from the top ten breeds, with the other lesser known breeds sadly trailing
Mrs Debbie Richardson, a Kennel Club Assured Breeder of Pembroke Welsh Corgis
whose dog Bailey won Best Dog at Crufts last year, said; “Pembroke Welsh Corgis
are such fantastic all-round dogs that are intelligent, fun and incredibly loyal, but their
popularity is waning as we are simply failing to attract younger people to the breed’s
“Sadly, it is seen as an old person’s dog and young people aren’t buying or
responsibly breeding the dogs. My dogs have the most wonderful temperaments and
are perfect with my young twins. It would be incredibly sad to no longer be able to
see this charismatic, quintessentially British breed in our streets and parks, in a few
generations’ time. Fortunately people can meet the breed at Crufts and find out what
a fantastic dog the Corgi really is. ”