The Old English Sheepdog is facing extinction according to the British Kennel Club, and the number of puppies of the breed being born in 2019 is waning, concerning enthusiasts.
The Daily Mail reports that the organization, which started in 1873 runs the national breed registry and just 98 puppy registrations were submitted so far in 2019. The breed, best known in the U.K. as the Dulux dog, as an Old English Sheepdog appears on the cans of Dulux paint, and in the U.S. as The Shaggy Dog from the Disney movie, has been iconic for generations, but its popularity is dipping.
A spokesman for the Kennel Club said the breed, which used to be popular in television and film, is now on an “At Watch” list among breeds which have under 300 to 450 annual registrations. The next step would be to put the breed on the “Vulnerable Native Breeds” list, which would mean that Old English Sheepdogs have less than 300 puppy registration in a year.
The spokesman says the breed is down 16 percent this year.
“One of Britain’s most iconic dog breeds, the Old English Sheepdog, will enter the Kennel Club’s list of breeds that could face extinction, for the first ever time, if the current low rate of puppy registrations continues.”
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) June 16, 2019
In contrast, more “exotic and fashionable” breeds, like the Alaskan Malamute are on the rise, thanks in part to its wolflike appearance which is similar to Ghost, the dog on the series Game of Thrones. Kennel Club secretary Caroline Kisko says that the Alaskan Malamute was used to depict the “Dire Wolves.”
The favorite breed of Queen Elizabeth, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi has risen on the popularity list, as they are up 20% since the same time last year. The French Bulldog has also increased in popularity as the breed is featured on the Instagram accounts of a number of celebrities.
According to Kennel Club data, there are 29 Vulnerable Native Breeds in total and nine on the “At Watch” list, including the Scottish Terrier or Scottie Dog which has dropped by 17 percent for the same time last year. The Field Spaniel and the Manchester Terrier are also said to be at risk.
The Times reports that the Old English Sheepdog got a shot in the arm in the ’60s when the movie, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was released, but the large breed with its bountiful coat is often more dog than a lot of people can care for. But Caroline Kisko says that people should never choose a dog breed because they see them on television or in the movies.
“Nobody should buy a dog simply because they’ve seen them on TV. Thorough and responsible research should drive any decision to ensure that the breed is right for you.”