Alas, poor Lassie: film legend’s Rough Collie breed’s numbers plummet to all-time low as they fall out of favor with Britain’s pet owners
- Recently, the breed has fallen dramatically out of favor with British pet owners.
- Kennel Club recorded 8,000 registrations in the year Lassie came out in 1979
- But in 2022, only 500 were registered, putting the breed in a vulnerable position.
For more than 80 years, heroic collie Lassie has come to the rescue of her accident-prone human companions.
But now it’s the dog itself, or rather its breed, that might need to be saved, as Rough Collies have fallen dramatically out of favor with British pet owners.
Experts fear the breed will disappear from the UK as the number of new puppies registered has plummeted 94 per cent since 1979, a year after the film The Magic Of Lassie was released.
The Kennel Club logged around 8,000 registrations that year, up from just 500 in 2022. If that trend continues, the Rough Collie will be placed on the organization’s list of vulnerable native breeds.
The decline is thought to be due to fashion trends, including a lack of celebrity owners, and the fact that more people are living in rented urban housing, which is unsuitable for larger dogs.
Lassie was created by author Eric Knight for his 1940 novel Lassie Come Home, which spawned 12 films and a television series that ran for 591 episodes over 19 years from 1954.
The Kennel Club recorded around 8,000 registrations that year, compared to just 500 for the breed in 2022.
Originally bred to herd sheep in Scotland, the rough collie is not the only one of the country’s 221 pedigreed dog breeds considered at risk.
Last year, the Kennel Club registered more vulnerable landraces than ever before (34 in total), and both the Bearded Collie and the Miniature Bull Terrier made the list.
Three in ten dogs in the UK now come from just ten breeds, including the Labrador, French Bulldog and Dachshund.
Kennel Club spokesman Bill Lambert said: “The Rough Collie is such a historic and recognizable breed and it is worrying to see their numbers dwindling.”
‘We urge the British public to find out more about lesser known breeds, especially those that are at risk of extinction.
We have a great diversity of breeds, but if people don’t look beyond the most popular options, there is a real danger that we could lose them forever, leaving puppy owners with fewer options and therefore unlikely to find your perfect match. in the future.’
Breeds are placed on the Kennel Club’s ‘watch’ list if fewer than 450 puppies are registered in a year, or on the vulnerable list if there are fewer than 300 new registrations.
Other breeds considered vulnerable include the English setter, Irish wolfhound, King Charles spaniel, and greyhound.