A Breed In Crisis

The Dandie has been struggling to maintain its puppy registrations and is now classified by the Kennel Club as a Vulnerable Native Breed.

Paul Keevil takes a closer look at the figures and advises that the situation has reached crisis point.

The final issue of The Kennel Club's Breed Record Supplement for 2004 arrived recently covering the period October - December 2004.
There were a total of 20 puppies registered from 8 litters which broke down as:

Size of Litter Number of Litters
Table 1: Breakdown of litters for 2004
There were 13 dogs and 7 bitches continuing the recent trend of dog domination within litters.


There was one export pedigree granted, with Inzievar Silver Wing going to Mr and Mrs K Paust in Sweden. One new Champion was confirmed, this being Mishahda Cinnamon Crumble owned by Mr M and Mrs L Bromley.

The final quarter figures brings the total for 2004 for puppies registered to just 81, a further 10% drop on the already disastrous figures for 2003 of 90. For 3 of the last 4 years our registrations have dipped below the 100 mark.

The breed was first registered with the KC back in 1880, 125 years ago and a look back through the figures is enlightening. With the exception of a single year in the mid 1970's, when for some reason between years of registrations up in the 200's, a "freak" year of 46 occured in 1977*

Other than that we have to go back to WWII when the 1940/41/42 figures were lower. Indeed during the height of the war in 1943, 1944 and 1945 we still managed to register over 100 puppies a year, despite Adolf Hitler's best efforts.

We then have to go back to the after effects of WWI, when the years 1915-1920 produced lower regstrations. Even the very first 2 years the Dandie was registered, 1880 and 1881 produced 95 and 94 puppies respectively!. So I think I can safely say that with the exception of 1977, last years registrations were the lowest ever not to be affected by a World War. A total disaster

But when you look at the figures even more closely you learn that during 2004, 5 dogs were exported bringing our net gain for the year to just 76. Our breed has been in decline for many years and looking at the figures since 1988 they read as follows:


Puppies Registered
Table 2: Puppy registrations since 1988


This is a reduction of 68% during the last 17 years. You don't need a graph or a pie chart to see the pattern in these figures.
Ah, I hear you say, but all registrations have gone down recently. Well if we look at registrations for all breeds of Terrier for the same period, back in 1988 the total was 22,077, whilst last year the total had increased to 41,309, an increase of just over 87%.

Just think about those figures for a moment; Terrier registrations over a 17 year period INCREASE by 87%, whilst registrations for the Dandie Dinmont DECREASE by 68%. But still nothing seems to be happening within the breed clubs to face up to this disastrous plunge towards extinction

The figures are mirrored in the USA as in 2004 Dandie registrations slipped back to 69, a further reduction on the 203 figure of 76. This placed the breed at 147th out of 154 recognised breeds, slipping back from being "only" 143rd in 2003. I do not have access to the figures from our European friends, if any one out there can let me have the comparative figures from other countries, please let me have them so that I can put together a picture of how many Dandies were actually born last year.

The future doesn't look exactly rosy does it?

So what do we, as a breed have to do to move forward? There are a number of things we must do and quickly. First we have to stop this ridiculous over protective attitude which exists within some circles of our breed, the "Oh we don't want then to get into the wrong hands" or "We don't want to see them on ever street corner attitude, which I still come up against a lot of the time. I have even heard expressed a real fear that puppy farmers might get hold of the breed.

Get real here, make no mistake, this is a breed in absolute and total meltdown. We have 3 Breed Club AGM's coming up, this is your chance to speak up to the breed club committees about the terminal decline of our beloved breed. Don't just sit back, don't just wait to see what might happen in a year's time, stand up and ask questions and let's get things happening. The clock is ticking and for the Dandie Dinmont, time is running out!!!!!

*Paul writes: I have discovered why there was a freak year in 1977 - The registrations department were on strike for most of it!

First Published in the Our Dogs Dandie Dinmont Breed Notes on 25th Feb 2005 and reproduced with the permission of the author, Paul Keevil This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it