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Movie legend Lassie could vanish from Britain as the number of rough collie dogs plunges to an all-time low.
Experts have warned the famous breed – who have rescued their human pals on telly for more than 80 years – now need saving themselves.
The number of new puppies registered has plummeted by 94% in four decades.
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The Kennel Club recorded just 500 births in 2022, compared to 8,000 in 1979 – the year after The Magic of Lassie film was released.
Spokesman Bill Lambert said: “The rough collie is such an historic and recognisable breed and it’s troubling to see that their numbers are dwindling.”
Owners have blamed changing fashions for the trend, as well as the fact more people are renting homes unsuitable for large dogs.
If it continues, the rough collie will be placed on the Kennel Club’s list of vulnerable native breeds.
Bill added: “We urge the British public to find out more about the lesser-known breeds, especially those who are at risk of disappearing.
“We have such a rich diversity of breeds, but if people don’t look beyond the most popular choices then there is a real danger we could lose them forever, leaving puppy owners with less choice, and therefore unlikely to find their perfect match in the future.”
Rough collie Lassie was created by author Eric Knight for his 1940 novel Lassie Come Home.
The bestseller went on to spawn 12 films and a TV series that ran for 591 episodes over 19 years from 1954.
The Scottish sheepdog is now one of 221 pedigree breeds now considered at risk in the UK.
English setters, Irish wolfhounds, greyhounds and King Charles spaniels could all disappear within the next decade.
Almost a third of British dogs now come from just ten breeds, including the Labrador, French bulldog and dachshund.
Last year 34 were added to the vulnerable list, with the bearded collie and miniature bull terrier among the best-known.
Breeds are placed on the Kennel Club’s ‘at watch’ list if fewer than 450 puppies are registered in a year, or the vulnerable list if there are fewer than 300 recorded.
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