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Critical: One of Britain’s oldest native breeds of dog close to extinction

Black and white pointer © Pixabay

The UK Kennel Club’s release of its 20 most popular dogs shows a worrying decline in number of the country’s oldest native breed. Read on to find out which…

By Nick Whittle, 26 Nov 2019

The publication of the KC’s quarterly chart of the most popular breeds makes for interesting reading. Near the top of the pile - where they have been for a few years now - are the Labradors and the French Bulldogs, each vying year on year for the top spot. This year so far, however, it is the Staffy that sits proudly on top.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Cecilia Jonsson (@workingstaffies_) on

But at the bottom of the list changes herald a swerve of nationwide tastes. In particular, this year is marred by the serious decline in popularity of the Pointer, a native British dog that is said to have first been bred in the 1650s.

The Pointer

Historically deployed to hunt game, the Pointer has never been the most popular dog in the world. However, it had (and still has) its followers. They are dogs that love exercise (sometimes called a galloping breed) and are congenial and loving.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Assaad Akl (@pointerclub) on

But today, writes Country Living, the Pointer is in danger of being put on the KC’s Watch List.

According to the research,” says Bill Lambert, a spokesperson for the Kennel Club, “the breed could see only 436 registrations by the end of the year if its rate of decline continues."

Reasons for the decline

A popularity slump is hard to pinpoint. But according to Mr Lambert, European dogs and dogs that feature in movies or successful TV programs are on the up.

People simply forget there are so many different dog breeds,” Lambert told Country Living, “with different personalities and characteristics, and it’s not just the popular, well-known ones that make a great match for our varying lifestyles.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Sunny & Cotton The Pointers (@i_point_i_am) on

These latest figures show that whilst some historic native breeds like the Corgi are having a revival, others continue to fall rapidly in popularity and are genuinely at risk of disappearing.

While we're lucky to have such diversity amongst our canine companions, it is worrying that old favourites like the Pointer and Parson Russell Terrier are dropping in numbers to historical lows.”