Corgis are now listed as a "vulnerable" breed in the United Kingdom, only a week after the Sunday Express newspaper reported Queen Elizabeth would no longer introduce more of the dogs in the royal household.
"Pembroke Welsh Corgis" are joining their cousins, the "Cardigan Welsh Corgis," and 28 other breeds on the list, which is updated each year by the Kennel Club, a British organization promoting the health and welfare of dogs.
Last year, registration numbers for Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppies were at 274, falling under the 300 threshold needed to stay off the list. They had been on a watch list for the past four years when the number fell under 450. While overall numbers of Corgis are estimated between 4,000 and 5,000 in the United Kingdom and Ireland, Caroline Kisko from the Kennel Club told ABC News there had been a 16 percent drop since 2013.
Why are the numbers declining? Because celebrities aren't buying Corgis, Kisko said. "It makes sense when you look at the increased popularity of exotic breeds: French bulldogs registrations have gone up from 350 in 2004 to 9,000 last year.”
“People are daft,” Kisko said, “because celebrity isn’t a good reason to buy a dog. Corgis are for everyone. They are fun, intelligent and active. We want people to do their research before buying a dog.”
Not everyone believes in the celebrity factor. Diana King, chairwoman of the Welsh Corgi League, told ABC News she believes the decline is due to a 2007 ban on tail-docking (the practice of cutting off the animal’s tail) in the U.K.
King said she also believes the lack of breeders in the U.K. is to blame.
"Fifty years ago there was a large choice of breeders,” said King, “but now we mostly have hobby breeders, who aren’t breeding properly. They’re not looking at the dog pedigree, and seem to be going for the cheap stud irrespective of whether it complements their female Corgi.”
For example, King said she has noticed that many Pembroke Corgis have to get caesarean sections, which is costly, and could be a result of breeding the dogs too low to the ground.
Britain’s favorite dog remains the Labrador, with more than 36,000 puppies born last year, according to the Kennel Club. Cocker spaniels and Springer spaniels came in second and third.