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English Setters Risk Extinction in Favor of ‘Handbag Dogs’

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When Disney’s 101 Dalmations movie was released, the breeds popularity grew by a hundredfold. Likewise, when celebrities began the popular trend of toting adorable pups around in handbags, new dog owners opted to follow their lead and choose mini and toy breeds like Chihuahuas over larger, less handbag-sized dogs. As a result, once popular breeds, like English Setters, are at risk for extinction.

As reported in The Mirror, the English Setter, one of the oldest dog breeds in Britain, is being quickly replaced in popularity by smaller breeds. Registrations for the once thriving breed have dropped drastically in the past decade.

English Setters Risk Extinction in Favor of ‘Handbag Dogs’

One of Britain’s oldest breeds of dog is facing extinction as owners follow the celebrity “handbag dog” trend opting for the more exotic Chihuahua.

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 by the Kennel Club 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.

The rise of celebrity ‘handbag dogs’, such as Paris Hilton’s pet Tinkerbell, has been blamed for the decline in other breeds

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.”

But it was good news for the Cardigan Welsh Corgi which experienced a massive increase in puppy registrations – up 134% in 2011.

The nuptials of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the breed’s close relation to the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, owned by the Queen, are the most likely causes, the Kennel Club said.

“We can only surmise that the increased interest in the royal family last year may have made people more aware of the Queen’s favourite dog, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, and had a knock-on effect on the Cardigan Welsh Corgi as well,” Ms Kisko added.

The breed is described as alert, loyal, non aggressive and is said to make a good companion.

Last year around 3,000 dogs from “vulnerable” breeds were registered with the Kennel Club – compared with 1,940 Siberian Huskies.

The Irish Terrier returned to the list after just tipping 300 registrations in 2010, but it saw a 22% decline this year.

Read original article here. What do you think of English Setters and their risk of extinction in favor of handbag dogs, like Chihuahuas? Maybe the AKC should strike some sort of deal with Hollywood to feature the wonderful, loyal breed in a popular film? Share you comments with us below.

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  2. Avatar Of Ben Kendall

    Ben Kendall


    I never thought that lack of consumer demand might cause the extinction of a breed, but this article suggest that may be the case.

  3. Avatar Of Kathy H Kathy H says:

    Love your site! It’s totally full of helpful information.The content is amazing! Thanks for sharing.
    Kathy H

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