Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Old English Sheep dogs deemed 'vulnerable'

 I felt a bit sad today to read the news that one of the UK’s most iconic dog breeds, the Old English Sheep Dog, has been deemed a “vulnerable” breed after a significant drop in new born puppies.
Only 316 puppies have been registered with the Kennel Club so far this year, a very small amount when compared to over 128,000 Labrador Retriever puppies that have been recorded (unsurprisingly, Britain’s most popular dog breed.)
The Club said that the popularity of “handbag dogs” such as the Pug or Chihuahua had seen other varieties shunned. Cesky Terrier’s and Field Spaniel’s are also said to be at threat of being wiped out in the UK.
The Old English Sheep Dog is an iconic breed in the UK, mainly because of its long standing association with Dulux Paint. I remember being a little boy watching the paint adverts and longing for my own ‘Dulux dog’. My local hardware shop even has a life-size model of the dog in the window, and I was forever whining at my mother to buy me one.
You see, I take offence at people who only have dogs as some kind of fashion accessory. Like the majority of young mums who seem to have kids just because their teenage friends have one, “handbag dogs” seem to be more fashionable then a Gucci handbag lately. But why? The majority of those dogs look repulsive and yap all the time, like a miniature Katie Price on a lead. Hardly fashionable.
If you’re going to get a dog, get a proper dog. One that you can look after properly, exercise with and spend time with. Yes, you might be able to do this with ‘Princess the Chihuahua’, but Princess will only last one season before you swap her for another designer accessory. A dog is for life remember, not just for Christmas.
I think the problem with society nowadays is that we just do not have time to look after our pets. Anyone who is seriously considering getting a dog needs to appreciate the time it takes to walk, feed, groom and look after your pooch. Ultimately, the Old English Sheep Dog falls foul to this problem. The dogs are so furry and need so much exercise that practically half the day is spent looking after them, whereas Princess can just be shoved in your handbag.
Maybe the decline in the Old English Sheep Dog has something to do with the decline in DIY? We’re painting less, so who cares about Dulux and their dog? Well I certainly do, and it would be a great shame to see an iconic English dog disappear, replaced by dogs which are about as useful as a false eyelash.
Picture courtesy of Wikipedia

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