31 Endangered Dog Breeds at Risk of Disappearing

In the heart of our homes lie our furry friends, radiating irreplaceable warmth and companionship. Yet, lurking beneath the surface of dog ownership is a grave concern — some of our beloved breeds are on the edge of disappearance.

With fewer than 300 registrations annually in the UK and Ireland, native dogs are already under threat ¹. Let’s get into the stories of these vulnerable breeds, shedding light on their histories, struggles, and what makes them unique.

1. Bearded Collie

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The Bearded Collie, with its joyful demeanor and signature shaggy coat, is more than just a pretty face. Traditionally bred for herding, its keen intelligence and agile nature make it an excellent companion.

Unfortunately, the breed’s popularity has diminished, with many choosing more fashionable breeds.

2. Bloodhound

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They are known for their unmatched sense of smell and snooping abilities. Their kind nature and distinctive appearance have made them beloved by many throughout history. However, despite their contributions to search and rescue efforts, Bloodhounds are facing a significant decrease in population.

3. Bull Terrier (Miniature)

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The Miniature Bull Terrier, a smaller version of the standard Bull Terrier, packs a lot of personality into a compact frame. They are recognized for their egg-shaped head and muscular build.

These spirited dogs are affectionate and enjoy being around their human counterparts. Sadly, their numbers are decreasing, underscoring the need for dedicated breedings.

4. Collie (Smooth)

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While its rough-coated sibling enjoys fame, the Smooth Collie is facing uncertainty. Esteemed for their quick reflexes and protective instincts, Smooth Collies make exceptional family pets and working dogs.

The decline in their population is alarming, as it hints at the loss of a breed known for its intelligence and versatility.

5. Dandie Dinmont Terrier

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This small but hardy terrier, with its distinctive “top-knot” of hair, boasts a confident and independent character. The Dandie Dinmont Terrier, named after a character in Sir Walter Scott’s novel, has a rich heritage but faces a dangerous future.

6. Deerhound

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The majestic Deerhound, once revered for its hunting prowess, is a breed of gentle giants known for their dignified demeanor. Their kindness and compatibility with children make them wonderful family pets.

Despite this, the demand for Deerhounds has lessened, leading to a worryingly low number of these noble dogs.

7. English Setter

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With their elegant build and speckled coats, English Setters are graceful athletes and affectionate companions. Historically bred for bird setting, they possess a mild temperament that endears them to many. However, this hasn’t prevented their slide towards vulnerability.

8. English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan)

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A breed steeped in history, the English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan) is recognizable by its shiny black coat with distinct tan markings. Favored for their lively spirit and compact size, they’re perfect urban pets. Their numbers, however, are critically low, making them one of the most endangered native breeds.

9. Fox Terrier (Smooth)

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Once a popular hunting companion, the Smooth Fox Terrier is recognized for its keen intellect and lively disposition. Traditionally used for fox bolting during hunts, their energy and manageable size also make them great pets.

Regrettably, trend shifts towards other breeds have led to their reduced popularity.

10. Glen of Imaal Terrier

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The Glen of Imaal Terrier hails from Ireland and is valued for its rarity and robust nature. They’re dependable and surprisingly strong dogs with a history of working in harsh environments. Despite these admirable traits, their numbers remain low, risking their continuity.

11. Gordon Setter

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They are known for their striking black and tan coats. Gordon Setters are confident hunters and affectionate family members. Although they are excellent in both the field and the home, their popularity has been overshadowed by more prevalent breeds.

12. Harrier

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Harriers, with their pack-hound mentality and friendly nature, are excellent as hunting dogs and family pets. Surprisingly, despite their adaptability and temperament, Harriers are rarely seen, even in their native lands.

13. Irish Red & White Setter

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Often overshadowed by their more famous cousins, the Irish Setters, the Irish Red & White Setters are just as charismatic and capable. Known for their beautiful red and white coats, they bring elegance and poise to any setting.

With their decreasing numbers, it becomes increasingly important to highlight their distinctiveness and hunting prowess to a wider audience.

14. Irish Wolfhound

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The Irish Wolfhound, known for its impressive size and gentle nature, is a breed steeped in history. Once used to hunt wolves, today they are more often found as gentle companions.

Despite their commanding presence, the breed faces challenges in maintaining its population. Making conservation efforts crucial for their survival.

15. King Charles Spaniel

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Distinct from the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the King Charles Spaniel (also known as the English Toy Spaniel) is a lovable and compact companion.

Their rich history includes being favored by British royalty. However, their numbers are in decline, primarily due to overshadowing by their Cavalier relatives.

16. Kerry Blue Terrier

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The Kerry Blue Terrier, originally from Ireland, is known for its unique blue-grey coat and versatile abilities, from herding to guarding. They’re also spirited companions and competitive show dogs.

Despite these traits, Kerry Blues are not as common as they once were, and boosting their visibility could help secure their future.

17. Lakeland Terrier

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Lakeland Terriers, named after the beautiful Lake District in England, are small but fearless dogs, once used for protecting sheep from predators. Their spirited nature makes them excellent companions, yet their presence is declining.

Celebrating their history and unique qualities may inspire more families to adopt this charming breed.

18. Lancashire Heeler

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The Lancashire Heeler is a small, robust dog known for its cattle herding skills and friendly temperament. Though once indispensable in rural England, today they are rarely seen even in their homeland.

19. Manchester Terrier

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Originally bred for ratting and coursing small game, the Manchester Terrier combines elegance with athleticism. Though capable and charming, their shiny appearance and vibrant personality have not prevented declining numbers.

20. Mastiff

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The Mastiff is one of the most ancient types of dogs, known for its impressive size and protective instincts. Despite their storied past and gentle giants’ demeanor, Mastiffs are seeing fewer and fewer new registrations. Their preservation is essential for maintaining breed diversity and continuing their legacy as noble companions.

21. Norwich Terrier

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This small, spirited breed is known for its fox-like ears and affectionate nature. Norwich Terriers are adaptable, fitting well in various homes, from apartments to large estates. However, their small size disproves their rarity, and fostering a greater understanding and appreciation for this breed could help secure their future.

22. Otterhound

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The Otterhound, with its distinct shaggy coat and amiable personality, is one of the rarest dog breeds. Originally used for hunting otters, today’s Otterhounds are delightful companions who enjoy outdoor activities.

Their critically low numbers are alarming. Raising awareness and ensuring their survival through dedicated breeding and advocacy is now crucial.

23. Sealyham Terrier

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The Sealyham Terrier is named after Sealyham House in Wales. They are once celebrated as a skillful hunter and a beloved companion. However, their distinctive white coats and spirited nature are less frequently seen today, leading to concerns about their declining population.

24. Skye Terrier

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Skye Terriers hold a special place in history, known for their elegant long coats and distinctive appearance. This breed, originating from the Isle of Skye in Scotland, is famed for its loyalty and tenacity. Despite their noble history, Skye Terriers are facing a battle against declining numbers.

25. Sussex Spaniel

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The Sussex Spaniel, with its rich golden liver hue and melodious bark, is a rare sight in modern times. Originally bred for hunting, Sussex Spaniels are now cherished for their calm demeanor and companionship. Highlighting their adaptability to various lifestyles and environments might revive interest in the breed.

26. Welsh Corgi (Cardigan)

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Cardigan Welsh Corgis are known for their distinctive blue merle coloring and long tails. They differ from their Pembroke cousins and boast over a thousand years of history. Despite their intelligence and versatility, Cardigan Welsh Corgis face challenges maintaining their numbers.

27. Welsh Terrier

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Distinguished by their black and tan coats, Welsh Terriers were bred for hunting but have evolved into playful and devoted companions. Their adventurous spirit and suitability for various dog sports and activities make them versatile pets. Yet, their popularity has diminished over time.

28. Field Spaniel

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Field Spaniels, with their glossy black coats and soulful eyes, were once popular among hunting enthusiasts for their agility and tracking abilities. Today, they are appreciated for their gentle nature and strong bond with families.

Efforts to recognize their dual value as companion and sporting dogs could revive their popularity.

29. Irish Terrier

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The Irish Terrier, known for its fiery red coat and spirited courage, has a history steeped in Irish culture. Originally bred for hunting and guarding. Their loyalty and playful disposition make them wonderful family companions.

30. Curly Coated Retriever

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The Curly Coated Retriever, distinguishable by its unique curly coat, is one of the oldest retriever breeds. It is known for its versatility in hunting and retrieving. Curly Coated Retrievers are not as commonly seen despite their intelligence and affability.

31. Clumber Spaniel

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With their distinctive white coat and affectionate, laid-back nature, Clumber Spaniels are excellent hunting dogs and companions. Despite their historical significance and prowess in scent work and retrieving.

The Clumber Spaniels face challenges in maintaining their numbers.


  1. https://www.lbc.co.uk/news/ten-british-dog-breeds-face-threat-extinction-some-types-seen-as-unfashionable/
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Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.