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Rise in ‘Handbag’ Dog Registrations in UK

Source – The Kennel Club
The Pug has made it into the Kennel Club‘s official top 10 most popular pedigree dog breeds in the UK for the very first time, while Chihuahua sales have soared, indicating a general shift that is seeing ‘handbag’ dog breeds increase rapidly in popularity.

The Kennel Club recently released registration statistics for 2010, which show that ‘handbag’ dog breeds – so-named since celebrities popularised certain breeds by carrying them in their bags as fashion accessories – have rapidly increased, including:

This bucks a general trend which saw dog registrations down by three percent on 2005, though they did climb by 5 percent from the figure in 2009. In total, the Kennel Club registered 257,062 pedigree puppies during 2010.

The Kennel Club is warning that with the increase in popularity of ‘handbag’ dogs, too many people, who are eager to buy a puppy quickly, are unknowingly turning to puppy farmers who are quick to cash in on the demand.

TV Vet and Kennel Club Veterinary Advisor, Marc Abraham, said that too many people view the dog as a commodity, which goes in and out of fashion and which can be bought on a whim. They not only fail to consider if a dog will fit into their lifestyle, but may also unknowingly buy from puppy farmers to secure a quick sale, he said.

Puppy farmers take advantage of the demand for fashionable dogs; they breed large numbers of these, often keeping puppies in appalling conditions. People are advised to use Kennel Club-accredited breeders if they want to ensure their puppy has been given the best start in life.

According to Kennel Club Secretary, Caroline Kisko, popularity peaks of dog breeds are largely determined by their profile, with that of toy dogs on the rise as a result of famous people owning them. This does not only apply to toy dogs; the popularity of the previously little-known Portuguese Water Dog has risen 34 percent since 2009, when President Obama brought the breed into the White House.

Lifestyle factors also play a part; toy breeds were bred purely as companion dogs and so tend to need less exercise and are cheaper to own than larger working breeds, making them better suited for some modern day lifestyles.

Nevertheless, as toy dogs still require plenty of love and attention and a daily walk, the Kennel Club is urging would-be owners to thoroughly research the different breeds and their needs before purchase and to always make use of a responsible breeder.

Meanwhile many of the Kennel Club’s Native Vulnerable Breeds, which are endangered because they have less than 300 registrations a year, have continued to decline. This includes the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, which dropped by 42 percent to 46 registrations and the Skye Terrier which dropped by 51 percent to 75 registrations.

The 210 breeds of pedigree dog are split into seven groups and small, portable dogs are generally drawn from the Toy Group which has seen a 20 percent rise in popularity since 2005. The Working Group, which includes the Boxer and Rottweiler and the Pastoral Group, which includes the Old English Sheepdog and Border Collie, and have seen a 32 percent and 16 percent decrease since 2005, respectively. Gundogs remain the most popular dog group and the Labrador Retriever the nation’s favourite breed with 44,099 registrations in 2010, almost 8 percent up on 2009. It is almost twice as popular as the second-placed breed, the Cocker Spaniel.

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