Was musing the other day with some friends over why some breeds really take off and others never do. Doesn't seem to be anything to do with being easy to look after (lots of big, hairy, stubborn, very active etc breeds are popular) - or even beautiful (won't mention breeds here to avoid offence but there are some pretty ugly popular breeds!). Nor is it to do with how long they are about - some relatively recent breeds to the UK have really taken off - Aussies, DDB etc), others have been around years or are even native and never seem to get a look in. Not that popularity is necessarily a good thing of course - but rarity has real problems as well - as the current concerns in the dog press about some of our native breeds illustrates. So why for instance are Rough Collies really popular and Smooths aren't (when Smooths are a damn sight easier to look after!)? why so many Westies and so few Welsh? Why are Pyreneans pretty common and Maremmas almost dying out? What makes Pembroke Corgis so much more popular than Cardigan (think I know the answer to that one!). Would love to hear some of your replies!
It depends really, some people love big dogs and others don't, others like longhairs and others don't. I don't care what size they are, for instance I naturally am afraid of big dogs, and one of my faveourites is a Greyhound because of its gentle nature. But the breed i've seen most is German Shepherds, even oldies have them! So people are different in many ways, so people have different reasons for liking a certain breed of dog, like I do. WelshPuppy XxXxXxXx p.s. sorry if I wrote too much!
Regarding collies and german shepherd dogs, I think both of those go straight to Rin-Tin-Tin and Lassie. Smooth collies are rarer not only because the smooth gene is recessive, but because many people dn't even realize the 'smooth collie' exists, they are so used to seeing the rough ones. And German Shepherd dogs have such a reputation as rescue and police dogs, I think there'sa strong link to that for many people. Regarding Welsh terriers and west highland white terriers, sometimes things as simple as coat color may make a dog more popular. I also think the popularity of some breeds can be a closely monitored thing. If the community of dog owners of some breeds is very small, and the breeders are friends or know each other by name or reputation, it is very very easy to keep your dog breed a relative 'secret'. I remember when I was considering getting a Welsh Springer Spaniel before I decided on Newfoundland, I was speaking with a very well known WSS breeder and shower about this. Breeders of the rarer breeds don't sell puppies except on limited registration and on very very strict contracts. Anyone who doesn't follow through with spaying/neutering their dogs is in danger of being sued or getting their dog taken away from them and returned to the breeder. Unfortunately, the popularity of some breeds before spay/neuter contracts became popular has made this much much harder to control. That's why dog breeds that aren't that numerous tend to stay at about the same rate. Or that's my theory anyway.
i am glad that some breeds do not become popular. popularity seems to ruin the breed. once they are popular they are bred by anyone to make a quick buck. my breed will never become popular and i am glad. at least i know then when i get one it will resemble the breed standard and have a predictable temperament.
Another thing that can make a dog suddenly popular and sought after is movies. Take 101 Dalmations for example or Pugs because of Men in Black I and II. The sad part about this happening is a lot of people want "a dog just like the one in the movie" because it's cute. But then they get it home and didn't do enough research on the breed and it ends up in a sheltor. This is where responsible breeders come in. They need to be diligent in regards to with whom they place their puppies and do thorough screening.
Any time dog movies come out, our Kennel Club makes a point to be very stringent about breeder/buyer education. Like when the movie Good Boy came out, for example. There's not a lot more you can do. Lesser known breeds do have an advantage in that they are usually more 'regulated' as far as breeding and sellings go. It's not like you can go out and pick up your local newspaper and find rarer breeds like Welsh Springer Spaniels and Norfolk Terriers.