Industry News

UK’s former favourite breed falls out of favour

The Wire Fox Terrier, one of Britain’s most historic breeds, looks set to enter The Kennel Club’s list of dog breeds ‘At Watch’ for the first time.

Annual puppy numbers from the dog registration body shows a significant fall so far in 2023 for the breed, with just 281 Wire Fox Terrier puppies born, a 21% decrease in popularity compared with the same period in 2022.

The breed has already declined by nearly 30% in the past five years, and there has been a 94% drop since the breed’s peak in 1947, when more than 8,000 puppies were born.

The small and distinctive wiry-coated breed was historically a Royal Family favourite during the Edwardian era, with King Edward VII and Queen Victoria both reported to have owned one, and later was favoured by Agatha Christie.

The breed is best known as Snowy, the canine sidekick in The Adventures of Tintin comics, which were first published in 1929. At this time, the friendly and fearless terrier was the most popular dog in the UK, a trend which continued throughout the 1920s and into the 1930s.

Despite the falling numbers, the breed has been one of the most successful at Crufts, having won Best in Show on three occasions – in 1962, 1975 and 1978 – and being in the running to take the title a further 12 times, including as recently as Crufts 2023.

Bill Lambert, spokesperson for The Kennel Club, said: “There were just 27 vulnerable dog breeds a decade ago. There are now another eight breeds either vulnerable or at risk, with the Wire Fox Terrier sadly looking likely to join this growing list.

“We have such a rich diversity of breeds, so we urge the British public to find out more about the lesser-known breeds, especially those who are at risk of disappearing.”

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