Rough Collie dog breed at risk of extinction as numbers hit record low ahead of Crufts 2023

With less than a week to go until Crufts, one of the world’s biggest dog shows, The Kennel Club has announced the Rough Collie dog breed is at risk of extinction

The Rough Collie, one of the most iconic dogs in the UK, could be at risk of extinction if more dog owners don’t choose the breed. It is now close to being classed as ‘at risk’ by The Kennel Club, which monitors breeds with declining numbers in the UK.

It’s also bad news for many other British breeds, with more declared vulnerable than ever before. The news comes ahead of Crufts 2023, which is one of the most well known  canine events in the world, first held in 1981.

Organisers are hopeful the upcoming dog show will raise the profile of ‘disappearing dogs’ and urges puppy buyers to consider all 222 breeds to find the right one for them. Crufts 2023 is being hosted in Birmingham from  Thursday (March 9) to Sunday, March 12.

Carole Smedley, Chairperson of the Rough Collie Breed Council who has owned the breed for over 50 years, said: “We are very concerned to see this wonderful and majestic breed fall in popularity. I’ve spent my life surrounded by Rough Collies who have enjoyed long, healthy lives and I can confirm their friendly, happy temperament, but each year their popularity is decreasing.

“Of course, no breed will suit everyone, but for the right owner, who can provide the right space and environment, they have so much love to give and they adore children. It is such a shame that some of our most native historic and recognisable breeds are continuing to drop in popularity, and we hope that more people will become aware of the range of breeds out there and responsibly select the right one for them.”

Bill Lambert, spokesperson for The Kennel Club said: “The Rough Collie is such a historic and recognisable breed and it’s troubling to see that their numbers are dwindling. Whilst they do require a lot of grooming and plenty of space, for the right owners they can be lovable family companions.

“We really encourage the public to come to Crufts in March, where they can meet all 222 breeds, including the Rough Collie. We have a dedicated Discover Dogs Zone, where potential puppy owners can not only discover more about the breeds, including those that are vulnerable and At Watch, but also talk to experts to find out if they are right for them.

“We urge the British public to find out more about the lesser-known breeds, especially those who are at risk of disappearing. We have such a rich diversity of breeds, but if people don’t look beyond the most popular choices then there is a real danger we could lose them forever, leaving puppy owners with less choice, and therefore are unlikely to find their perfect match in the future.”

Top 10 vulnerable native breeds

In order to monitor breeds considered at risk of disappearing, The Kennel Club created the vulnerable native British and Irish breeds list, detailing those with fewer than 300 registrations a year. These are the 10 most vulnerable:

  1. Bearded Collie
  2. Bloodhound
  3. Bull Terrier (Miniature)
  4. Collie (Smooth)
  5. Dandie Dinmont Terrier
  6. Deerhound
  7. English Setter
  8. English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan)
  9. Foxhound
  10. Fox Terrier (Smooth)