Britain's oldest dog breeds are dying out as owners opt for more fashionable dogs from Europe, the Kennel Club has warned.
Several historic native British breeds including the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the Boxer and the Border Terrier have all been bumped from the UK's top 10 dogs in recent years, according to recent data released by the dog welfare organisation.
Numbers of the English Pointer have dropped to historic lows, leaving the classic pooch at risk of extinction.
Small breeds have grown in popularity because they are seen as easier to handle in a city environment, according to the Kennel Club.
However, the Labrador is still Britain’s most popular dog, followed by the French Bulldog.
Shifts over the last five years indicate that continental dog breeds are becoming a more popular choice with UK dog owners.
Of the 10 breeds that have risen the quickest in popularity since 2015, nine are of foreign origin.
Among the top breeds are the small dogs like the German Dachshund, the Miniature Schnauzer (both of German descent), the Pomeranian, the fluffy Chow Chow from China and the Japanese Shiba Inu.
Ten years ago, the UK’s favourite breeds were iconic British favourites such as the West Highland White Terrier, Boxer, Staffie and Border Terrier.
The Parsons Russell Terrier could also find itself on the Kennel Club’s Vulnerable Native Breeds list.
The British breed has seen a 23 per cent fall in registrations so far this year compared to the same period in 2018.
This list is maintained so that those breeds that number between 300 and 450 registrations annually, and are at risk of disappearing in the future, can be closely monitored.
In total, 16 vulnerable native breeds have declined so far this year, while 13 have increased.
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Bill Lambert, spokesperson for the Kennel Club, said: "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.
“We urge people to make sure they understand the breed and its characteristics before they make a decision to buy or rescue a dog, and to spend time researching the wide variety of breeds we are lucky to have in this country, to make sure they get the right one for them.”
The impact of celebrity may have had a positive effect on at least one vulnerable native breed, the Sussex Spaniel, which experienced a burst in popularity this year compared to the same period in 2018, with registrations increasing by 56%.
Last year it was the most vulnerable breed in the UK, with just 34 puppies registered with the Kennel Club.
It is thought the high profile of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who are known to be dog lovers, has seen a rise in demand for this breed.