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BBC Country File highlights the vulnerable breeds


The well known and much loved BBC 1 TV programme Country File will have a special feature about Vulnerable British and Irish dog breeds on Sunday 24th February starting at 11am. Organised by the British and Irish Dog Breeds Preservation Trust the BBC filmed a total of 15 different breeds, representing the bottom 15 on the list of Vulnerable Breeds.

Three breeds were selected to be specially featured: the Otterhounds doing man tracking, a group of Irish Water Spaniels retrieving from a lake and a team of working Glen of Imaal Terriers performing rat clearance barn work. The Glen of Imaal Terrier is officially Britain and Irelands' rarest breed for 2007 with just 36 puppies being registered at the UK Kennel Club and has been the subject of extensive media interest recently.

The item was filmed at Cotswold Farm Park, near Cheltenham, which is owned by Country File presenter Joe Henson. Back in 1973, Joe was the founder chairman of The Rare Breeds Survival Trust. The farm is famed for its many rare breeds of livestock, so was the perfect venue. The BBC presenter for the item is Miriam O'Reilly, whose credits include Farming Today, Costing the Earth, File on 4 and is a Country File regular.

Filming took place on Tuesday 12th February 2008 on a beautiful sunny winter's day and the breeds that were filmed by the BBC are as follows (2007 registration totals in brackets):
Glen of Imaal Terrier (36): Skye Terrier (37): Otterhound (41): Sussex Spaniel (61): Smooth Collie (63): Sealyham Terrier (65): Field Spaniel (67): Welsh Corgi (Cardigan) (68): Irish Red & White Setter (93): Manchester Terrier (113): Dandie Dinmont Terrier (124): Norwich Terrier (128): Lancashire Heeler (146 ): Irish Water Spaniel (162 ): Clumber Spaniel (223):

Paul Keevil, Press Officer for the Trust said: "The response from our vulnerable breeds when I requested volunteers was outstanding. The Irish Water Spaniels brought a team of 14 trained dogs and many owners came down the night before the filming having travelled hundreds of miles at their own expense to attend. I have nothing but praise for their commitment to the Vulnerable Breeds Project and, with such enthusiastic and dedicated owners, the future looks bright. What I find so exciting about this BBC project is that the programme is aimed fairly and squarely at country folk and the working abilities of our traditional breeds was stressed and demonstrated, along with the fact that we are adapting our dog breeds to life in the 21st century."

If you miss the show or live overseas, this programme will be available for the next seven days following the broadcast, on the BBC website from their new "i player" service:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/