New research has found that celebrities and social media may be driving these once-popular breeds into extinction, as new owners demand ‘fashionable’ breeds, inspired by famous owners, according to Direct Line Pet Insurance.

Sadly, with celebrity ownership boosting the popularity of French Bulldogs and Pugs, several once-loved breeds have drastically fallen in numbers, with several facing the worrying possibility of becoming extinct in the UK in the next 50 to 100 years.

Meet the three breeds most at risk of extinction

The Yorkshire Terrier

In 2008, there were just under 4,000 Yorkshire Terriers bred in the UK, yet in 2017 there were only 876 – a radical fall of 78.1%. If the numbers continue to fall at this rate, Yorkshire Terriers would disappear altogether by 2060.

The Bichon Frise

Bichon Frises have dropped by almost three quarters (72%) in the last ten years, from 2757 to just 769. If these trends continue, Bichon Frises may only be around until 2070.

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The Westie

In 2008, there were just over 7000 West Highland White Terriers bred, but by 2017, the number of Westies had reduced by 71%. Should this trend continue, the breed could disappear by 2080.

Other breeds that are also at risk of dying out include Bull Mastiffs, Siberian Huskies, Schnauzers and King Charles Spaniels, with breeders opting to breed more ‘in fashion’ breeds, sparking enormous rises in breeds, such as French Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Pugs and Miniature Dachshunds.

According to, more than half of dog shelters, believe celebrities and social media are driving sales of these ‘fashionable’ breeds.

Commenting on the research findings, Prit Powar, Head of Direct Line Pet Insurance, said, “It is sad to think that some of the dog breeds we are familiar with in the UK may not exist in the next 100 years, if the trends we are seeing continue. Celebrity ownership undoubtedly influences the desirability of breeds and those that are unfashionable appear to be paying the price.

Powar continued, “We would like to encourage prospective dog owners to consider one of these ‘at-risk’ breeds, in order to secure these loveable dogs’ futures. As always, owners should conduct thorough research into their preferred breed before committing, to ensure that the dog is compatible with their lifestyle and they can meet that breed’s needs.”

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