The endangered native dog breeds – including the Manchester Terrier and the Otterhound

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The British public has always loved their pets, and none more so than dogs. Dogs come in all shapes and sizes and many unique breeds were first bred in Britain, many even taking their names from parts of the country.

But despite being the origin of so many breeds, many of the native dogs of Britain and Ireland may soon disappear from Britain altogether. The Kennel Club has been tracking Britain’s endangered native breeds in the hope that those with declining numbers could be re-popularized.

The endangered dog list includes a number of popular breeds, including the Old English Sheepdog, the Bearded Collie and the Welsh Springer Spaniel. But although they were once popular pets, their numbers have continued to decline.

In 2020 there were only 227 Old English Sheepdogs registered in the UK, along with 268 Bearded Collies and 205 Welser Springer Spaniels. Some dog breeds are even rarer.

The Manchester Terrier is one of the most vulnerable dog breeds in the UK, with just 155 registered in 2020. Also, only 92 Lancashire Heelers were registered with the Kennel Club. But the Otterhound is the most endangered native breed, with just seven recorded last year. That was less than 44 in 2019.

Endangered breeds are those with fewer than 300 registrations per year. There is also a list of “at watch” breeds with between 300 and 450 registrations per year which the Kennel Club also monitors.

The infographic below shows how many of each breed were registered in the UK in 2020, which are the most recent figures available. The smaller the circle, the fewer dogs were registered.

On its website, The Kennel Club states: “Vulnerable native breeds are dog breeds of British and Irish origin that are considered to be at risk due to their declining registration numbers. These breeds are in danger of disappearing from our parks and streets simply because people don’t know they exist or because they’re not considered fashionable.

“Some breeds are in such small numbers that they are completely unrecognizable to the British public, which is worrying because it means breeds that may be a perfect fit for people’s lifestyles are being overlooked in favor of other races that may not be , simply because they are not that well known.

“To give these dogs the opportunity they deserve it is important that when you are thinking about getting a dog that you consider the lesser known breeds. There are over 200 recognized dog breeds in the UK so there is a breed for everyone. We find that people tend to choose a breed from the pool of breeds they’ve heard of before, meaning the perfect breed for them and their lifestyle may be overlooked.”

The Endangered Native Breeds of Britain

Below is the Kennel Club’s list of endangered native dog breeds. The number of registered dogs is shown for each year between 2016 and 2020.

  • Otterhound: 40 (2016), 24 (2017), 39 (2018), 44 (2019), 7 (2020)
  • Skye Terriers: 28 (40), 40 (24), 50 (39), 59 (44), 27 (7)
  • Bloodhound: 53 (28), 88 (40), 62 (50), 91 (59), 32 (27)
  • Glen of Imaal Terriers: 76 (53), 48 (88), 48 (62), 85 (91), 36 (32)
  • Spaniels (Sussex): 49 (76), 56 (48), 34 (48), 52 (85), 44 (36)
  • Retrievers (Curly Coated): 83 (49), 53 (56), 70 (34), 68 (52), 55 (44)
  • King Charles Spaniel: 84 (83), 112 (53), 106 (70), 93 (68), 56 (55)
  • Spaniel (Irish Water): 116 (84), 69 (112), 111 (106), 69 (93), 57 (56)
  • Spaniel (field): 80 (116), 50 (69), 48 (111), 67 (69), 69 (57)
  • Collie (smooth): 89 (80), 60 (50), 77 (48), 75 (67), 72 (69)
  • English Toy Terrier (black & red): 102 (89), 84 (60), 126 (77), 98 (75), 75 (72)
  • Norwich Terriers: 145 (102), 91 (84), 81 (126), 128 (98), 81 (75)
  • Irish Red & White Setters: 63 (145), 70 (91), 51 (81), 39 (128), 83 (81)
  • Dandie Dinmont Terriers: 91 (63), 130 (70), 145 (51), 109 (39), 87 (83)
  • Lancashire Heelers: 90 (91), 119 (130), 112 (145), 140 (109), 92 (87)
  • Great Dane: 102 (90), 166 (119), 143 (112), 140 (140), 104 (92)
  • Fox Terrier (Smooth): 118 (102), 82 (166), 126 (143), 112 (140), 122 (104)
  • Welsh Corgi (cardigan): 218 (118), 141 (82), 147 (126), 126 (112), 132 (122)
  • English Setter: 285 (218), 261 (141), 290 (147), 267 (126), 140 (132)
  • Lakeland Terriers: 220 (285), 196 (261), 139 (290), 94 (267), 145 (140)
  • Sealyham Terriers: 113 (220), 167 (196), 107 (139), 131 (94), 153 (145)
  • Manchester Terriers: 191 (113), 160 (167), 172 (107), 243 (131), 155 (153)
  • Kerry Blue Terriers: 168 (191), 152 (160), 117 (172), 108 (243), 161 (155)
  • Bull Terrier (miniature): 172 (168), 189 (152), 221 (117), 200 (108), 185 (161)
  • Spaniels (Clumber): 171 (172), 265 (189), 280 (221), 175 (200), 188 (185)
  • Irish Wolfhound: 256 (171), 372 (265), 239 (280), 229 (175), 195 (188)
  • Spaniels (Welsh Springers): 299 (256), 362 (372), 330 (239), 243 (229), 205 (195)
  • Deerhound: 209 (299), 266 (362), 198 (330), 162 (243), 206 (205)
  • Old English Sheepdog: 424 (209), 384 (266), 318 (198), 317 (162), 227 (206)
  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers: 326 (424), 369 (384), 307 (318), 291 (317), 243 (227)
  • Bearded Collie: 284 (326), 420 (369), 274 (307), 307 (291), 268 (243)
  • Gordon Setters: 263 (284), 255 (420), 172 (274), 243 (307), 268 (268)


A Bloodhound puppy

The UK dog breeds that are on the alert

  • Bedlington Terriers: 411 (263), 483 (255), 307 (172), 333 (243), 364 (268)
  • Bullmastiff: 493 (411), 429 (483), 409 (307), 404 (333), 372 (364)
  • Cairn Terriers: 683 (493), 589 (429), 567 (409), 464 (404), 443 (372)
  • Irish Terrier: 326 (683), 362 (589), 384 (567), 338 (464), 389 (443)
  • Norfolk Terriers: 600 (326), 521 (362), 542 (384), 482 (338), 358 (389)
  • Parson Russell Terriers: 377 (600), 306 (521), 360 (542), 311 (482), 440 (358)
  • Welsh Terriers: 401 (377), 388 (306), 325 (360), 376 (311), 412 (440)

Do you own one of these rare dog breeds? What makes her your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.

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