UK dog breeds see jump in popularity in run-up to Brexit

16 February 2020, 20:44

Jack Russell terriers and Corgis have seen a surge in popularity
Jack Russell terriers and Corgis have seen a surge in popularity. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Dog breeds native to the UK have seen a surge in popularity in the run up to Brexit, the Kennel Club has said.

New figures have revealed that half of the top ten breeds to gain traction in the past year were native to Britain.

The Jack Russell terrier - a breed owned by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his girlfriend Carrie Symonds - which leapt by 30 per cent from 2018 to 2019.

Last year, the pair adopted the Downing Street dog Dilyn, who has since been seen at his owners side on multiple occasions.

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi - a breed famously loved by the Royals - also saw their popularity surge in popularity by 38 per cent.

But it was the humble Norwich terrier which saw the largest rise in popularity, increasing by 58 per cent between 2018 and 2019, followed by the ancient Scottish breed, the Gordon Setter, which increased by 41 per cent.

Corgis - a favourite breed of the Queen - jumped 38 per cent in popularity last year
Corgis - a favourite breed of the Queen - jumped 38 per cent in popularity last year. Picture: PA
Jack Russells, like Boris Johnson's dog Dilyn, also saw a spike
Jack Russells, like Boris Johnson's dog Dilyn, also saw a spike. Picture: PA

Overall, the Labrador is Britain's most popular dog breed - a position previously held by the French bulldog, the charity said.

Of the top 10 breeds that decreased in popularity during the same period, eight originated from overseas.

They include the Siberian husky, which fell by 37 per cent, and the Chihuahua - believed to originate from Mexico - which dropped by 26 per cent.

However, it was the Clumber spaniel - a breed developed in the UK - which saw the biggest decline in popularity, falling by 38 per cent.

Kennel Club spokesman Bill Lambert said: "High-profile owners and popular culture can have a huge impact on the popularity of certain breeds, though we'd urge people to always do their research rather than follow a trend.

Cumber Spaniels fell in popularity
Clumber Spaniels fell in popularity. Picture: PA

"The Jack Russell for example has certainly seen a surge of interest since [Mr Johnson's] rescue dog Dilyn first put his paws through the door of Downing Street in September, and at Crufts 2020 there will be more Jack Russells than ever before competing for the silver Best In Show trophy."

The Kennel Club said the Irish red and white setter had become the most vulnerable of all Britain's native breeds, with 39 puppy registrations in 2019 - the breed's lowest figures in 30 years.

The old English sheepdog also recorded its lowest number of registrations in 2019, with 317 puppies registered.

The charity said it hoped the Crufts dog show, which runs from March 5 to 8 at the NEC in Birmingham, will "shine a light on forgotten" native breeds.

It said the popularity tables exclude dog breeds that received fewer than 100 registrations between 2018 and 2019.

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