Breed of HMV dog Nipper is on the 'brink of extinction', figures show
Breed of HMV dog Nipper is on the ‘brink of extinction’ with just 80 Smooth Fox Terriers born last year, Kennel Club figures show
- The HMV dog, Nipper, was believed to have been a Smooth Fox Terrier
- The dog breed used to be popular in the early 20th century following his death
- Now it faces the biggest decline in the Kennel Club’s history
The breed of the HMV dog Nipper is on the ‘brink of extinction’ as just 80 Smooth Fox Terriers were born last year, new figures by the Kennel Club show.
The famously known HMV dog, Nipper, was born in Bristol in the late 19th century and was owned by Mark Henry Barraud.
Nipper was later passed onto Mark’s brothers Philip and Francis following his death in 1887.
He earned his name from his tendency to ‘nip’ the back of people’s legs.
Nipper found fame three years after his death in 1898 when his final owner, Francis Barraud, painted a picture of Nipper next to a gramophone and called the painting ‘His Master’s Voice’.
Nipper found fame three years after his death in 1898 when his final owner, Francis Barraud, painted a picture of Nipper next to a gramophone and called the painting ‘His Master’s Voice’
Nipper was believed to have been a Smooth Fox Terrier, which is a breed suffering from a 97 per cent decline in its annual birth registrations since 1926
While the original painting had a black gramophone and was a wind-up Edison-Bell cylinder phonograph, it was changed to a brass gramophone of a Berliner disc design.
The painting was sold for £100 in 1899 before it was registered as a trademark by the Radio Corporation of America in 1929 where it became the first appearance of an RCA dog ‘mascot’.
In 1990, Nipper got a ‘son’, called Chipper, a puppy who resembles him.
Today, the painting is best known as the logo of entertainment retailer HMV.
He was believed to have been a Smooth Fox Terrier, which is a breed suffering from a 97 per cent decline in its annual birth registrations since 1926, according to data by the Kennel Club.
This is the biggest change in dog breed rates since the organisation first began 150 years ago, The Telegraph reported.
Nipper’s use in advertising following his death may have been the answer as to why the Smooth Fox Terrier became increasingly favoured in the early 20th century as it became the most popular dog in the UK during the 1900s.
The Kennel Club revealed that their peak for the breed was reached in 1926 when 2,840 puppies were registered that year.
Figures show that there was a substantial fall in Smooth Fox Terriers in 2022, as only 90 puppies were registered that year
The Smooth Fox Terrier remained in the top ten until 1945 but annual numbers steadily declined.
But as a result of the increasing popularity of other dog breeds, the amount of Smooth Fox Terriers soon began to decline in the second half of the 20th century and continued into the early 21st century.
Figures show that there was a substantial fall in Smooth Fox Terriers in 2022, as only 90 puppies were registered that year – making it a 97 per cent decline from the breed’s height of popularity almost a century ago.
However, despite the breed’s drop in numbers, Nipper’s ancestors will still be present at Crufts next week with 61 Smooth Fox Terriers set to compete for best in show.
Today, the famous painting is best known as the logo of entertainment retailer HMV
Bill Lambert, a spokesperson for Crufts and the Kennel Club, told The Telegraph: ‘The Fox Terrier (Smooth) is an ancient British breed and – due to the low numbers of puppies being born – is considered vulnerable in the UK, though it was once, at the start of the 20th century, the most popular breed in England.
‘The breed has a wonderful character with an expressive face and friendly character, but we recognise that the public is more easily influenced by the dogs that they commonly see on social media, with many other breeds getting overlooked or even forgotten.
‘We hope Crufts helps to raise their profile. 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.’
What is a Smooth Fox Terrier?
Having originated in the 18th century, the Kennel Club describes the Smooth Fox Terrier as ‘a lively, gregarious terrier with a devil-may-care attitude, originally developed for Britain’s traditional foxhunts.’
They were the first variety of Fox Terriers to have been recognised, with the early dogs often being brown, black or tan.
Used as working dogs, the terriers could run with hounds and were carried in saddle panniers by huntsmen.
Although they are mostly considered a sporting breed, the Smooth Fox Terrier is often seen as a pet and show dog nowadays.
The breed has a strong aptitude for learning tricks and throughout history have been shown around the world in performance troupes and circuses.
The small but mighty dog is said to have been built for speed and agility. They have short bodies but long sleek faces with ears that fold forward toward the cheeks.
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