Blimey! Queen's beloved Corgi breed may be deemed 'vulnerable'

Image: Queen Elizabeth II is pictured with one of her many Corgis in 1970.
Queen Elizabeth II is pictured with one of her many Corgis in 1970.Today

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By Rebecca Ruiz

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi, the type of dog favored by the Queen of England, is not just going out of style — it might become a “vulnerable” native breed for the first time ever, according to Britain’s Kennel Club.

The stout and sometimes toffee-colored canine has been placed on the organization’s watch list; only 239 such dogs have been registered this year. The Kennel Club doesn’t expect registrations to surpass 300 by the end of 2013, the threshold required to keep the dog off the list of vulnerable breeds.

In July 1936, 10-year-old Princess Elizabeth played with two Corgis at her home in London.Today

The Corgi is a royal mascot of sorts; Queen Elizabeth II has had one by her side for decades. Her father, King George, brought a Corgi named Dookie home from a local kennel in 1933, according to the website of the British Monarchy.

On her 18th birthday Elizabeth received a Corgi named Susan that eventually bred several other royal Corgis. The Queen currently has four pooches: Willow and Holly, both Corgis, and Candy and Vulcan, a mix of Corgi and dachshund known as a Dorgi.

If the Queen’s taste in pups is less trendy, the Kennel Club said celebrities and their pocket dogs of foreign origin may be to blame.

"Small dogs are becoming much more popular,” Kennel Club Secretary Caroline Kisko said in a statement, “and whilst in some cases this is because they may be a better fit for particular lifestyles, it is also because people are buying on impulse and going for the most obvious or fashionable choices.”

Take, for example, the French bulldog, which ranked in the Kennel Club’s list of top 10 breeds for the first time this year. The number of registrations rose by 50 percent in the first three quarters of 2013 compared with the same time period last year. With more than 4,800 registrations, the French bulldog is now the seventh most popular breed in the UK.

Queen Elizabeth II, left, arrives at King's Cross railway station in London with her four Corgi dogs on Oct. 15, 1969.Today

According to Kennel Club, the French bulldog’s surging popularity may have to do with star power: Reese Witherspoon and Hugh Jackman have reportedly owned the small, muscular breed.

Though the purse-sized smooth-coated Chihuahua and Boston terrier haven’t cracked the Kennel Club’s top 10 list yet, they are quickly rising through the ranks, while British breeds like the West Highland white terrier and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are falling out of favor.

Could things turn around for the Corgi? Possibly, based on past Kennel Club statistics.Today

But there may be hope yet for the Queen’s treasured Corgi. The registration numbers for breeds like the Old English Sheepdog and the English Setter went up in 2013 after decreasing in recent years.

The Kennel Club didn’t say whether either breed had been photographed walking alongside Hollywood royalty.

View images from the extraordinary life of Queen Elizabeth II.