The shooting community’s love affair with the Labrador and spaniel means that, without action, some of our rarest gundog breeds could no longer be seen in the shooting line. The Kennel Club has recently released breed registration fi gures for 2007 and is keen to highlight the plight of native breeds such as the curlycoated retriever in order to raise awareness among gundog enthusiasts.

The Vulnerable Native Breeds list notes breeds with fewer than 300 puppies a year being registered — numbers so low that there is a real danger of them disappearing in the UK. Other gundog breeds at risk include Irish red-and-white setters, with only 93 puppies registered in 2007, and Sussex spaniels, with just 61 puppies recorded. Conversely, celebrity-endorsed breeds such as the pug, shih-tzu and Pomeranian are thriving.

The rest of this article appears in 31 January issue of Shooting Times.

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