Native dog breeds such as the English Setter are being pushed towards extinction by the growing popularity of more exotic dogs such as huskies and Chihuahuas, new figures suggest.
The setter, once a popular working dog, is one of the country’s oldest breeds.
But statistics from the Kennel Club show a two thirds decline in puppy registrations over the last 10 years.
The Chihuahua, popularised by celebrity owners like Paris Hilton, saw a 25% increase in registrations last year.
Caroline Kisko, secretary of the Kennel Club said: “Celebrities, popular culture and fashion play a big part in today’s society and unfortunately, dogs are not immune from our fickle tastes.
“The latest victim is the English Setter, a wonderful and loyal breed, while the number of Siberian Huskies has more than trebled in this country in the last 10 years.”
Fran Grimsdell from Norfolk, who breeds English Setters, told BBC News: “The thing that saddens me is that we’re getting people buying puppies, but they’re nearly all people who have already owned English Setters.
“In the last two or three litters we’ve had – I’ve probably only sold one puppy out of about 15 to people who have never had the breed before.
“English Setters have got a fantastic nature… I would say that they are sensitive, terribly affectionate, loyal and wonderfully elegant in appearance. They are good with children. They can be a bit wilful… but I love that.”
Celebrity culture seems to be influencing the popularity of some breeds
The English Setter joins 24 other dogs considered to be at risk of extinction on the club’s list of Native Vulnerable Breeds.