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PauloBarnesi
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Save us from the Chihahuas

Native dog breeds such as the English Setter are being pushed towards extinction by the growing popularity of more exotic dogs such as huskies and Chihuahuas, new figures suggest.

The setter, once a popular working dog, is one of the country's oldest breeds.

But statistics from the Kennel Club show a two thirds decline in puppy registrations over the last 10 years.

The Chihuahua, popularised by celebrity owners like Paris Hilton, saw a 25% increase in registrations last year.

Caroline Kisko, secretary of the Kennel Club 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 has more than trebled in this country in the last 10 years."

Fran Grimsdell from Norfolk, who breeds English Setters, told BBC News: "The thing that saddens me is that we're getting people buying puppies, but they're nearly all people who have already owned English Setters.

"In the last two or three litters we've had - I've probably only sold one puppy out of about 15 to people who have never had the breed before.

"English Setters have got a fantastic nature... I would say that they are sensitive, terribly affectionate, loyal and wonderfully elegant in appearance. They are good with children. They can be a bit wilful... but I love that."

Celebrity culture seems to be influencing the popularity of some breeds

The English Setter joins 24 other dogs considered to be at risk of extinction on the club's list of Native Vulnerable Breeds.

The history of the English Setter stretches back hundreds of years to dogs used for hunting upland game birds. The medium-sized breed - with its characteristic flecked coat - is regarded as a good family pet, but also requires a large home and lots of exercise.

Breeds are added to the list when puppy registrations drop below 300 in a year. Last year, some 3,000 dogs were registered across the 25 vulnerable breeds. Chihuahuas, meanwhile, saw more than 6,000 registrations in 2011.

Genetic concerns

The most endandered breed of all is the Otterhound, a large rough-coated dog with a loud, baying call. There were just 38 Otterhound registrations last year (a decline of 33% on 2010).

Pam Marston-Pollock, chair of the UK Otterhound Club, said there were now just three breeders in the UK. An estimated 600 of the dogs remain worldwide, but only a fraction are suitable for breeding.

"As far as the show world is concerned, we don't have many younger people [involved with] the breed. The established breeders who have been around for 30 years are either dying off or aren't keeping as many hounds," Ms Marston-Pollock told BBC News.

"It's a sign of the times generally that keeping substantially sized hounds is quite expensive."

She added: "We're obviously conscious that we've got a narrow gene pool... we've had a meeting to discuss the possibility of bringing in an outcross with [another breed] to broaden our gene pool."

Such approaches have been successful in the case of Dalmatians, which can be prone to kidney or bladder stones. By outbreeding with a German Pointer, one Dalmatian breeder was able to remove the trait responsible for this health problem.

Breed needs

Other vulnerable native dogs include the Dandie Dinmont terrier (98 registrations, down 35% on 2010) and the Skye terrier (44 registrations in 2011, up 19% on the previous year). Greyfriars Bobby, a 19th Century Edinburgh dog famous for guarding the grave of its former owner, whose story was turned into a novel and two films, was a Skye Terrier.

Ms Kisko said the needs of exotic breeds were poorly understood by many owners. As a result, she said, the Kennel Club had seen an increase in the number of exotic dogs coming in to breed rescue societies when owners realise they are unable to give them the exercise, grooming or other care that they need.

One example is the Afghan Hound, which requires about two hours exercise per day and daily grooming. In 2009-2010, 43% of all Afghan Hounds registered with the Kennel Club ended up in breed rescue centres.

The Kennel Club has been compiling a list of vulnerable native dogs since 2003.

Harvey Locke, a former president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) told BBC News: "There are more than 200 pedigree dogs.

"We want to do everything we can to encourage responsible dog breeding. We are obviously against unscrupulous ones who breed [only] for profit. Everybody suffers there: the people who buy the puppies suffer and the dogs suffer.

He urged some breeders to move away from selecting for extreme features and called on prospective dog owners to seek advice from veterinary surgeons.

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Slightly off topic but I **** love dogs and it really posses me off at work when they get overlooked for charity things, once a month they have dress down days for £1 which goes towards some good cause or another but I refuse to pay to wear my own clothes, then I get moaned at when I say I would pay it if the money was going to some sort of animal charity

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Slightly off topic but I **** love dogs and it really posses me off at work when they get overlooked for charity things, once a month they have dress down days for £1 which goes towards some good cause or another but I refuse to pay to wear my own clothes, then I get moaned at when I say I would pay it if the money was going to some sort of animal charity
Sorry, but I would never, ever put any animal charity above ones for humans in need.

My missus used to work with a (childless, natch) "doggy woman", and during one of the major natural disasters (can't remember whether it was the tsunami or African famine), this woman said something like: "Why do people always go on about these things? Nobody ever thinks about the poor doggies..."

The result was some disgusted stares and her going: "What? WHAT???"

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As for the OP, what the hell is a "native breed". This is not like species in the wild being driven to extinction. Genetically, they are just dogs. All the weird shapes and sizes are just a human invention via selective breeding. They come and go, so what?

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I'd have an English Setter in a heatbeat - they are awesome.

In fact.... when I get home tonight, Mrs E is going to get one whether she wants one or not.

Why are they so awsome mate? Why do people think dogs are so ace in general?

This is definately one of the things ive never "got".

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I used to have one of these, a collie. A good size dog, very intelligent, very loyal but do need a lot of exercise and need to be kept stimulated. If they get bored they get depressed.

border_collie_42_7.jpg

Border Collie. Amazing dogs. 'Collie' is a generic term.

@hogso. No, I'd rather not have a dog than own one of them. I reckon I could score an 80 yard field goal if someone held it right.

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I'd have an English Setter in a heatbeat - they are awesome.

In fact.... when I get home tonight, Mrs E is going to get one whether she wants one or not.

Why are they so awsome mate? Why do people think dogs are so ace in general?

This is definately one of the things ive never "got".

It is an individual thing. You either like their company or you don't. If you don't like dogs then you don't like dogs. No-one will convince you otherwise. I love dogs (despite my previous post to hogso :P). I'll stop short of saying they 'inspire awe' like Eames says :)
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I'd have an English Setter in a heatbeat - they are awesome.

In fact.... when I get home tonight, Mrs E is going to get one whether she wants one or not.

Why are they so awsome mate? Why do people think dogs are so ace in general?

This is definately one of the things ive never "got".

Setters and Border Collies (my MIL has one) are awesome because they are **** lunatics. Just mad balls of energy.

They are also fiercesomely intelligent and a doddle to train. Just brilliant brilliant dogs.

Dogs generally are ace because they just are. Have you ever had a dog? You sort of need to have one to know.

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I'd have an English Setter in a heatbeat - they are awesome.

In fact.... when I get home tonight, Mrs E is going to get one whether she wants one or not.

Why are they so awsome mate? Why do people think dogs are so ace in general?

This is definately one of the things ive never "got".

Setters and Border Collies (my MIL has one) are awesome because they are **** lunatics. Just mad balls of energy.

They are also fiercesomely intelligent and a doddle to train. Just brilliant brilliant dogs.

Dogs generally are ace because they just are. Have you ever had a dog? You sort of need to have one to know.

Nope, never had one. Im not for 1 second saying i dislike dogs because i dont. My old queen and old boy have got a daschund who is pretty cool but would i ever have one myself? No. Apart from the allergy thing ive got nothing against dogs. Ive never seen the whole 'mans best friend' thing.

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Quite possibly the best dog picture I have ever seen

pomeranian%2Bdog.jpg

I refuse to believe a big dog could ever look this cool.

I have a German Shephard btw. It is too big. It is noisy, it gets in the way, it moults too much, and it smells. But she is cute ^___^

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I have a English Beagle from the abandoned doggie place.

He's a bit mental but everything has improved me in a variety of different ways.

Mentality, keeps me nice and stable. Not lost my temper in over 4 years since I had the dog + loads happier in general.

Health, I now walk 20 KM + per week minimum.

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