THE NUMBER of puppies registered by the Kennel Club during 2012 was six per cent lower than the previous year.
The total is 229,230, compared with 243,841, and is the lowest since 2002 when 226,318 were registered. Only two out of the last 20 years had lower totals.
As usual the top breed is the Labrador Retriever, though its numbers are declining. In all, 36,487 Labradors were registered last year, compared with 39,964 in 2011.
They are followed by Cocker Spaniels, English Springer Spaniels and German Shepherd Dogs. Pugs rise from ninth to fifth position, while Golden Retrievers are down one to sixth. Border Terriers remain at seventh and Staffordshire Bull Terriers at eighth but Cavaliers have dropped two spots to ninth.
Miniature Schnauzers stay in tenth place with Bulldogs up two to eleventh.
The most remarkable feature of the table is the dramatic rise to prominence of the French Bulldog which appears in the top 20 for the first time in twelfth spot. Their registrations totalled 4,648, including a large number of imports from Eastern Europe, This compares with 2,771 in 2011 and just 692 in 2007.
Remaining breeds in the top 20 are Boxers (down two positions), Shih Tzu (down two), Lhasa Apsos, West Highland White Terriers (down two), Smooth Chihuahuas (down one), Whippets (down one), Miniature Smooth Dachshunds (up one) and Beagles who join the list. Yorkshire Terriers and Dogues de Bordeaux drop from the top 20.
Totals for the groups are: hound 14,351 (15,057 in 2011), gundog 90,529 (95,979), terrier 25,976 (28,764), utility 35,519 (the only group to show an increase, from 34,954), working 18,102 (20,745), pastoral 15,573 (17,848) and toy 29,180 (30,494).
Bill Lambert, manager of the KC Assured Breeder Scheme, said: "Throughout the 140 year history of the KC, the number of registrations has varied year on year, so the six per cent fluctuation is no great cause for concern. There are many reasons why registrations can rise and fall and we are particularly mindful of the hard economic times at the moment and the decisions that breeders are making to delay breeding puppies. Our Find a Puppy statistics indicate that there is still an incredibly strong interest in KC registered puppies and we want to ensure that there are puppies available from responsible breeders if their search turns into a decision to buy.
"The KC is continually ensuring that it takes steps to make its registration system more robust, for example only registering litters from people who have a local authority license if they breed five or more litters. We are also pleased to see that the percentage of puppies born to Assured Breeders is growing year on year, with 13.13 per cent of litters now coming from Assured Breeders, up from 12.68 per cent in 2011.”
Meanwhile the vulnerable native breeds have experienced mixed fortunes. The English Setter has come off the KC’s list of such breeds after registrations increased by 25 per cent in 2012.
The breed dropped to fewer than 300 registrations in 2011, which is the point at which the KC deems a breed to be vulnerable. In 2012 the breed increased from 234 to 314 registrations, which means that it is now moved onto the KC’s At Watch list, which is for those with between 300 and 450 registrations and whose progress is monitored by the KC.
The Old English Sheepdog, which entered the KC’s At Watch List in 2011, has seen a seven percent increase, taking it to 429 registrations.
The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, which originated in Ireland, has come out of the At Watch list for the first time after its registrations went from 433 to 455 in 2012, meaning that the future should now be bright for the breed, according to the KC.
KC secretary Caroline Kisko said: "Everybody is talking about the post Olympic baby boom but perhaps the celebration of our British heritage in 2012 has helped lead to a revival of some of our native breeds.
"Fashion and profile have the most influential impact on dog choice and we are pleased to see there is still a place in people’s hearts and homes for our British vulnerable breeds. Many of the breeds are still at risk but there has been significant improvement in some.
"People need to make sure that any dog that they choose is a good fit for their lifestyle but we hope that by highlighting these lesser known breeds people will do their research thoroughly before they buy to see if these dogs might be for them.”
Fran Grimsdell, a KC Assured Breeder of English Setters, said: "The number of people enquiring about English Setters, who would never have previously considered the breed, has increased in the last year.
"The existence of the KC’s vulnerable breeds list has really helped to highlight their plight, and people are starting to think more deeply about their choice of dog, rather than going for the obvious choice. English Setters need company and cannot be left alone for long periods but they are marvellous with children and make such wonderful family pets.”
Other such breeds that have significantly increased in popularity include the English Toy Terrier which has seen a 25 per cent increase, to 126 registrations; the Sussex Spaniel which increased by 29 per cent to 74 and the Irish Water Spaniel which has gone up by 32 percent to 148.
However, the significant decline of the Smooth Fox Terrier by 46 per cent to just 94 registrations and of the Clumber Spaniel by 56 per cent to 151 means that the overall number of dogs within the 35 breeds on the Vulnerable and At Watch lists have increased by one per cent.
The registration figures for 2012 can be seen below. The complete registration tables can be viewed at www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/1128.
Hound – Afghan Hound, 162; Azawakh (Imp), 3; Basenji, 46; Basset Bleu de Gascogne (Imp), 0; Basset Fauve de Bretagne, 103; Basset Griffon Vendéen (Grand), 102; Basset Griffon Vendéen (Petit), 154; Basset Hound, 766; Bavarian Mountain Hound (Imp), 10; Beagle, 2,728; Bloodhound, 50; Borzoi, 122; Cirneco Dell’Etna (Imp), 3; Dachshund (Long-Haired), 138; Dachshund (Miniature Long-Haired), 911; Dachshund (Miniature Smooth-Haired), 2,854; Dachshund (Miniature Wire-Haired), 688; Dachshund (Smooth-Haired), 108; Dachshund (Wire-Haired), 321; Deerhound, 260; Finnish Spitz, 11; Foxhound, 0; Grand Bleu de Gascogne (Imp), 0; Greyhound, 30; HamiltonstÖvare, 6; Ibizan Hound, 19; Irish Wolfhound, 302; Norwegian Elkhound, 62; Otterhound, 37; Pharoah Hound, 14; Portugese Podengo, 23; Rhodesian Ridgeback, 1,070; Saluki, 150; Segugio Italiano (Imp), 0; Sloughi, 14; Whippet, 3,084.
Gundog – Bracco Italiano, 72; Brittany, 137; English Setter, 314; German Longhaired Pointer, 17; German Shorthaired Pointer, 1,255; German Wirehaired Pointer, 380; Gordon Setter, 252; Hungarian Vizsla, 1,607; Hungarian Wirehaired Vizsla, 368; Irish Red & White Setter, 89; Irish Setter, 924; Italian Spinone, 441; Kooikerhondje (Imp), 33; Korthals Griffon (Imp), 16; Lagotto Romagnolo, 46; Large Munsterlander, 96; Pointer, 687; Retriever (Chesapeake Bay), 76; Retriever (Curly Coated), 71; Retriever (Flat Coated), 1,184; Retriever (Golden),7,085; Retriever (Labrador), 36,487; Retriever (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling), 210; Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer (Imp), 43; Small Munsterlander (Imp), 1; Spaniel (American Cocker), 318; Spaniel (American Water) (Imp), 1; Spaniel (Clumber), 151; Spaniel (Cocker), 23,306; Spaniel (English Springer), 12,792; Spaniel (Field), 47; Spaniel (Irish Water), 148; Spaniel (Sussex), 74; Spaniel (Welsh Springer), 348; Spanish Water Dog, 146; Weimaraner, 1,307.
Terrier – Airedale Terrier, 600; Australian Terrier, 30; Bedlington Terrier, 506; Border Terrier, 6,577; Bull Terrier, 2,132; Bull Terrier (Miniature), 192; Cairn Terrier, 1,035; Cesky Terrier, 26; Dandie Dinmont Terrier, 120; Fox Terrier (Smooth), 94; Fox Terrier (Wire), 669; Glen of Imaal Terrier, 57; Irish Terrier, 57; Kerry Blue Terrier, 306; Lakeland Terrier, 210; Manchester Terrier, 124; Norfolk Terrier, 546; Norwich Terrier, 170; Parson Russell Terrier, 562; Scottish Terrier, 677; Sealyham Terrier, 76; Skye Terrier, 42; Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, 455; Staffordshire Bull Terrier, 6,235; Welsh Terrier, 352; West Highland White Terrier, 3,975.
Utility – Akita, 732; Boston Terrier, 1,255; Bulldog, 4,782; Canaan Dog, 10; Chow Chow, 336; Dalmatian, 1,364; Eurasier (Imp), 90; French Bulldog, 4,648; German Spitz (Klein), 105; German Spitz (Mittel), 82; Japanese Akita Inu, 68; Japanese Shiba Inu, 238; Japanese Spitz, 151; Keeshond, 90, Korean Jindo (Imp), 14; Lhasa Apso, 4,449; Mexican Hairless (Intermediate) (Imp), 20; Mexican Hairless (Miniature) (Imp), 5; Mexican Hairless (Standard) (Imp), 2; Miniature Schnauzer, 5,797; Poodle (Miniature), 952; Poodle (Standard), 963; Poodle (Toy), 1,308; Schipperke, 39; Schnauzer, 272; Shar-Pei, 1,706; Shih Tzu, 4,565; Tibetan Spaniel, 193; Tibetan Terrier, 1,283.
Working – Alaskan Malamute, 1,053; Beauceron (Imp), 19; Bernese Mountain Dog, 494; Bouvier des Flandres, 57; Boxer, 4,622; Bullmastiff, 948; Canadian Eskimo Dog, 15; Dobermann, 1,346; Dogue de Bordeaux, 2,431; Entlebucher Mountain Dog (Imp), 11; German Pinscher, 13; Giant Schnauzer, 237; Great Dane, 1,281; Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (Imp), 22; Greenland Dog, 14; Hovawart, 11; Leonberger, 298; Mastiff, 140; Neopolitan Mastiff, 99; Newfoundland, 921; Portugese Water Dog, 125; Pyrenean Mastiff (Imp), 0; Rottweiler, 1,554; Russian Black Terrier, 75; Siberian Husky, 1,684; St Bernard, 557; Tibetan Mastiff, 75.
Pastoral – Anatolian Shepherd Dog, 44; Australian Cattle Dog, 65; Australian Shepherd, 124; Bearded Collie, 480; Belgian Shepherd Dog (Groenendael), 71; Belgian Shepherd Dog (Laekenois), 0; Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois), 111; Belgian Shepherd Dog (Tervueren), 112; Bergamasco (Imp), 14; Border Collie, 2,144; Briard, 126; Catalan Sheepdog (Imp), 32; Collie (Rough), 943; Collie (Smooth), 88; Estrela Mountain Dog, 11; Finnish Lapphund, 63; German Shepherd Dog, 8,502; Hungarian Kuvasz, 0; Hungarian Puli, 71; Komondor, 9; Lancashire Heeler, 104; Maremma Sheepdog, 25; Norwegian Buhund, 32; Old English Sheepdog, 429; Polish Lowland Sheepdog, 65; Pyrenean Mountain Dog, 105; Pyrenean Sheepdog (Longhaired), 12; Samoyed, 245; Shetland Sheepdog, 1,085; Swedish Lapphund (Imp), 1; Swedish Vallhund, 33; Welsh Corgi (Cardigan), 94; Welsh Corgi (Pembroke), 333.
Toy – Affenpinscher, 121; Australian Silky Terrier, 19; Bichon Frisé, 1,734; Bolognese, 131; Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, 5,970; Chihuahua (Long Coat), 2,560; Chihuahua (Smooth Coat), 3,518; Chinese Crested, 563; Coton de Tulear, 227; English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan), 126; Griffon Bruxellois, 148; Havanese, 232; Italian Greyhound, 208; Japanese Chin, 256; King Charles Spaniel, 217; Lowchen (Little Lion Dog), 111; Maltese, 1,085; Miniature Pinscher, 428; Papillon, 529; Pekingese, 457; Pomeranian, 676; Pug, 7,359; Yorkshire Terrier, 2,505.
I'd love to think this is because good breeders are being sensible and acknowledging the current economic situation, for one. However, I'd also love to know how many unregistered, untypical etc.etc. 'purebred' dogs are still being produced, regardless, giving a totally false impression of 'the current state of purebred dogs'!!