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Traditional British dog breeds at risk

Jan. 23, 2008 at 2:12 PM

LONDON, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Fox terriers, greyhounds and field spaniels are among the dog breeds becoming rare in Britain as animal fanciers turn to exotic foreigners like Llasa Apsos.

Since 2003, the Kennel Club has released a list of breeds with fewer than 300 registrations during the year, The Scotsman reported Wednesday. Experts say that a breed needs at least that many to remain viable.

Some of the endangered breeds have had an important place in British life. Queen Elizabeth II is known for her devotion to her Welsh corgis, while Greyfriars Bobby, the dog that earned a statue in Edinburgh for its devotion to its master's grave, was a Skye terrier.

The otter hound dates back to the Middle Ages when it was bred as a hunting dog.

"It's essential that we do all we can to protect these breeds so that people can discover what great characters they are and to ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy their companionship," said Caroline Kisko, a Kennel Club spokeswoman.

One traditional breed has maintained its popularity. About 1,000 more bulldogs are registered now than two years ago.

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