Statistics from The Kennel Club reveal foreign miniature dogs are entering the top 10 most-owned list for the first time, pushing out native breeds such as the corgi and boxer.

Statistics from The Kennel Club (KC) have revealed small dog breeds of foreign origin are dramatically rising in popularity while native British breeds are rapidly declining.

A rise in popularity of so-called 'handbag' dogs has seen native breeds, such as the corgi, pushed out of the top ten list of most owned breeds for the first time.The shift has seen an “astronomical” rise in ownership of small, so-called “handbag” dogs of foreign origin – such as the French bulldog, which has made its way into the top 10 most-owned breeds for the first time following a 1,232% increase in registrations between 2003 and 2012. Other big risers are the Boston terrier, pug and the long coated Chihuahua.

The Queen’s favourite, the Pembroke Welsh corgi, is one of many native breeds in decline, said the club, and a further drop in 2013 is likely to see it placed on the KC’s vulnerable native breeds list for the first time. The boxer, West Highland White terrier and cavalier King Charles spaniel, which all frequently featured in the UK’s most popular breeds, have now dropped out of the top 10.

The Old English sheepdog has fallen by 41% over the past 10 years (numbering just 429 registrations in 2012), but has revived by 17% in the first three quarters of this year, compared to the same period last year, with 321 registrations. Registrations for the English setter – which went onto the vulnerable breeds list in 2011 and then, after a slow rise in numbers in 2012, went onto the “at watch” list – has also increased by 27% so far this year, compared to the same period in 2012, with 268 registrations.

French bulldogs have seen an astounding 1232 per cent increase in popularity between 2003 and 2012.Speaking ahead of the club’s Discover Dogs event at Earl’s Court on November 9-10, KC secretary Caroline Kisko said: “Small dogs are becoming much more popular and while in some cases this is because they may be a better fit for particular lifestyles, it is also because people are buying on impulse and going for the most obvious or fashionable choices.

“Discover Dogs is a unique event that lets people meet the wide spectrum of dog breeds, including those whose numbers are so low they could be at risk of disappearing, so they all get the chance of a look in. We particularly hope people will take the time to consider the Pembroke Welsh corgi as it looks set to become vulnerable by the end of the year.”

For more information, visit the Kennel Club’s website.

Images © The Kennel Club
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