English setter on the brink of extinction
Michael McCarthy, formerly the Independent’s longstanding Environment Editor, now its Environment Columnist, is one of Britain’s leading writers on the environment and the natural world. He has won a string of awards for his work, including Environment Journalist of the Year (three times) and Specialist Writer of the Year in the British Press Awards in 2001. In 2007 he was awarded the Medal of the RSPB for “Outstanding Services to Conservation,” in 2010 he was awarded the Silver Medal of the Zoological Society of London, and in 2011 the Dilys Breeze Medal of the British Trust for Ornithology. In 2009 McCarthy published Say Goodbye To The Cuckoo (John Murray), a study of Britain’s declining migrant birds.
Wednesday 25 January 2012
The English setter, a dog breed which has survived for more than 400 years, is on the brink of extinction because of the fad for smaller dogs.
Only 234 English setter puppies were registered with the Kennel Club last year – a decline of 33 per cent on 2010 which took the breed below the 300-registrations threshold for being considered endangered. Registrations of the breed have fallen by almost two-thirds over the past decade.
The drop is a result of owners shunning less common, more traditional breeds for fashionable and exotic dogs, such as those owned by celebrities including Paris Hilton.
Numbers of native breeds are tumbling, with 25 regarded by the Kennel Club as in danger of extinction. They include the Sealyham, Dandie Dinmont and Kerry blue terriers, the King Charles spaniel and the deerhound. The most endangered breed appears to be the otterhound, with only 38 registrations in Britain in 2011.
Exotic breeds, on the other hand, are flourishing, with numbers of smooth and long-coated Chihuahuas rising from 5,397 in 2010 to 6,121 last year. Another "toy" dog, the pug, has risen from 5,726 registrations in 2010 to 6,221 last year, while the miniature Schnauzer is up from 5,651 to 5,924.
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