Forgotten British Breeds

In February 2018, the British Kennel Club launched their “Save the Forgotten Dog Breeds” Campaign, an extension of the Vulnerable Native Breeds project. Having owned a Norwich Terrier for 15 years, I fully support this initiative to celebrate and promote the British dog breeds; I recognise their place in our history and the need to ensure that they have a future.

To that end, I plan to write a feature about each Forgotten British Breed here on my blog. With 62 to cover, it’s going to be quite a challenge!

These dogs represent all four countries within the United Kingdom, and seven out of seven dog show groups; their diversity in history and purpose is quite astonishing. They range in size from the gigantic Irish Wolfhound to the diminutive English Toy Terrier. Their numbers span from the incredibly vulnerable (see below) to the perennially popular, with nine out of the top 20 breeds in 2018 being of British origin.

The breeds are as follows:

English Breeds
  • Airedale Terrier
  • Beagle
  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Bloodhound
  • Bull Terrier
  • Bull Terrier (Miniature)
  • Bulldog
  • Bullmastiff
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • English Setter
  • English Toy Terrier
  • Fox Terrier (Smooth)
  • Fox Terrier (Wire)
  • Foxhound
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • King Charles Spaniel
  • Lakeland Terrier
  • Lancashire Heeler
  • Manchester Terrier
  • Mastiff
  • Norfolk Terrier
  • Norwich Terrier
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Otterhound
  • Parson Russell Terrier
  • Retriever (Curly Coated)
  • Retriever (Flat Coated)
  • Spaniel (Clumber)
  • Spaniel (Cocker)
  • Spaniel (English Springer)
  • Spaniel (Field)
  • Spaniel (Sussex)
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Whippet
  • Yorkshire Terrier
Irish Breeds
  • Glen of Imaal Terrier
  • Irish Red & White Setter
  • Irish Setter
  • Irish Terrier
  • Irish Wolfhound
  • Kerry Blue Terrier
  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Spaniel (Irish Water)
Scottish Breeds
  • Bearded Collie
  • Border Collie
  • Border Terrier
  • Cairn Terrier
  • Collie (Rough)
  • Collie (Smooth)
  • Dandie Dinmont Terrier
  • Deerhound
  • Gordon Setter
  • Retriever (Golden)
  • Scottish Terrier
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Skye Terrier
  • West Highland White Terrier
Welsh Breeds
  • Sealyham Terrier
  • Spaniel (Welsh Springer)
  • Welsh Corgi (Cardigan)
  • Welsh Corgi (Pembroke)
  • Welsh Terrier

According to the Kennel Club, which recognises over 220 different breeds, “As of 1st January 2019 there are 29 dog breeds considered vulnerable and 9 breeds considered at risk of becoming vulnerable.”

A breed is considered “Vulnerable” when it registers less than 300 puppies each year. So, the 2019 Vulnerable Native Breeds (with their 2018 registration figures) are:

Bearded Collie274
Bloodhound62
Bull Terrier (Miniature)221
Collie (Smooth)77
Dandie Dinmont Terrier145
Deerhound198
English Setter290
English Toy Terrier126
Fox Terrier (Smooth)126
Glen of Imaal Terrier48
Gordon Setter172
Irish Red & White Setter51
Irish Wolfhound239
Kerry Blue Terrier117
King Charles Spaniel106
Lakeland Terrier139
Lancashire Heeler112
Manchester Terrier172
Mastiff143
Norwich Terrier81
Otterhound39
Retriever (Curly Coated)70
Sealyham Terrier107
Skye Terrier50
Spaniel (Clumber)280
Spaniel (Field)48
Spaniel (Irish Water)111
Spaniel (Sussex)34
Welsh Corgi (Cardigan)147

While the At Risk breeds – which registered between 300 and 500 puppies in 2018 – are:

Bedlington Terrier307
Bullmastiff409
Irish Terrier384
Old English Sheepdog318
Parson Russell Terrier360
Scottish Terrier438
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier307
Spaniel (Welsh Springer)330
Welsh Terrier325

The nine most popular British breeds, by comparison, had registration numbers between 2,000 and 24,000 in 2018:

Beagle2,09420th
Whippet3,47514th
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel3,70113th
Staffordshire Bull Terrier4,85812th
Border Terrier5,24511th
Retriever (Golden)7,7947th
Spaniel (English Springer)10,1525th
Bulldog10,6654th
Spaniel (Cocker)23,9273rd