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Registrations down... demand up dilemma


An Our Dogs special report:

THE KENNEL Club has announced that the number of people looking for a new puppy has continued to increase in 2009 but says that it fears puppy farmers could begin to profit from the demand.

This comes at a time when the first quarter registration figures illustrate a significant drop of over 10,000 puppies from the same period in 2008.

In the Gundog group alone, numbers are down over 3,000 dogs from over 23,000 registered in 2008 to less than 20,000 in 2009.

However, despite the recession, figures show that the number of searches on the Kennel Club’s Find a Puppy website have increased by 11 percent in the first three months of 2009, compared to the same period in 2008.

But the number of puppies being registered and made available on the online service has gone down, leading to fears that people may turn to irresponsible breeders, or puppy farmers, who would happily fulfil the increasing demand without asking the questions that determine a person’s suitability for dog ownership.

It has also been suggested by some that price is a factor in these tough financial times. Another school of thought is that the BBC programme and all that followed has sadly turned some people away from bona fide dog breeders following months of attacks and bad publicity, thus playing into the hands of the more unscrupulous breeders.

The Kennel Club in a press release issued this week goes on to say: ‘Thankfully, the number of puppies available from Kennel Club Accredited Breeders, who take the essential steps to ensure that the puppy has the best possible start in life and goes to a good home, has continued to increase in the first quarter of this year, compared to the same period in 2008 because of the increased membership of the scheme. This will help to meet the undoubted demand that exists for pedigree puppies but there are fears that this won’t be sufficient to fulfil the demands of potential owners and that people may unwittingly be turning to irresponsible breeders instead.’

Puppies still popular

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Communications Director, said: ‘The figures make it clear that people’s love of and demand for pedigree puppies have not declined, despite the testing financial times.
However, we are very concerned that it might not be responsible breeders who are fulfilling this demand but puppy farmers who breed purely for profit and do not care about the health and welfare of their dogs. Now more than ever, it is imperative that buyers go to responsible breeders, who will ensure that the buyer understands the financial responsibilities and time commitment that comes with dog ownership.

‘They will also be there to answer the owner’s questions and even take the puppy back into their care, should problems arise further down the line. By making sure that the puppies only move from responsible breeders to responsible owners from the outset, we can prevent the tragic situation where a dog is poorly bred, and later abandoned because it has been sold to an unsuitable home.’

The registration figures also have impacted on the so-called ‘vulnerable breeds’ and OUR DOGS have addressed this area in an article on page 2 of this week’s issue. Analysis of the figures in depth will appear in next week’s OUR DOGS but it is clear that the Sporting Group is hardest hit with over 6,000 less dogs being registered across Hounds, Gundogs and Terriers perhaps reflecting the changes in national legislation on the use of dogs in hunting etc. A summary of the groups is given on the following chart.

 


 


 

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