UK & World News

  • 23 December 2013, 5:50

Queen's Top Dogs Falling Out Of Public Favour

The Queen's favourite breed of dog is among a number of native kinds which could soon be at risk of disappearing in the UK in favour of small 'handbag' puppies from overseas.

The stubby-legged Pembroke Welsh corgi is currently on the Kennel Club's 'At Watch' list after a worrying drop in numbers.

A breed is considered endangered when it has fewer than 300 puppy registrations annually, and by early December this year, the Pembroke had 301.

Chairwoman of the Welsh Corgi League, Diana King, said the dogs are far from becoming extinct, but the fall in popularity could mean breeders will have to venture further afield for a solution.

"We're going to have to look at either bringing in frozen semen from abroad or bringing dogs in from say places like America and the Continent."

One of the suggested reasons over why corgis are losing favour is the craze for small, easy-to-carry foreign dogs, made fashionable by a number of celebrities including the likes of Paris Hilton and Dita Von Teese.

The socialite-friendly breeds like the French Bull Dog, the Smooth Coated Chihuahua, the Boston Terrier and the Pug saw their popularity rocket between 2003- 2012.

At the same time, the numbers of native canine pets like the West Highland Terrier and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel - which previously ranked in the top 10 favourite breeds, dropped by more than half.

However, the trusty Labrador Retriever - which is originally Canadian - has remained the UK's top dog.

It is thought the previous government's 2007 ban on tail-docking has also had an affect on how many people have chosen to bring home a Pembroke Welsh corgi.

Some breeders believe that with their full-length tails, Pembrokes are simply not as desirable anymore.

The Queen has owned more than 30 corgis over the years, but decided to stop breeding in 2009 because she didn't want them to suffer the pain of being orphaned if they outlived her.

In 2006, she told Sky News why she's so fond of them.

"They're very easy to keep clean and tidy. They don't mind being parked with other people. I mean you know, I've got a wonderful lady at Windsor who keeps them when I'm away. And they get terribly used to me not being around."

Royal Historian, Rafe Heydel-Mankoo, said the Pembroke's snappy temperament and ability to keep order may also have appealed to Her Majesty.

"Certainly various members of the Royal household - courtiers and clockwinders - have felt the Welsh teeth nipping at their heels, and even the Queen had stitches in her hand after trying to separate ten of her corgis which were fighting."

But he said the Duke of Cambridge has made it clear the corgis certainly will not be around when he's at Buckingham Palace since he finds "their yapping and barking far too much".

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