The wire fox terrier, famously the breed of Tintin’s dog Snowy, could soon be added to The Kennel Club’s ‘At Watch’ list of native breeds considered at risk of disappearing.
Just 281 wire fox terrier puppies have been born so far in 2023, a 21 per cent decrease compared with the same period in 2022. Over the last five years, there has been a decline of almost 30 per cent in the number of registrations.
The breed used to be a favourite among dog owners and in popular culture, appearing in the successful Thin Man film series in the 1930s and starring in the Tintin comics by Hergé, first published in 1929.
Fox wire terriers birth numbers peaked in 1947, when more than 8,000 were registered in the UK.
A native breed qualifies for the ‘At Watch’ list if there are between 300 and 450 registrations a year. If the fox wire terrier is added to the list for the first time, it will join eight other breeds including the old English sheepdog and the Norfolk terrier. There are a further 34 breeds listed as vulnerable as they have fewer than 300 registrations a year.
Bill Lambert, spokesperson for The Kennel Club, said: “The wire fox terrier was the nation’s favourite breed a century ago, and it remained popular for decades, so it is very concerning to see such low numbers for a friendly and lively dog that was once beloved by royalty and families alike, and there is a real danger that we could lose them forever.
“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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