Leicestershire litter boosts 'most vulnerable dog breed'

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Irish Red and White Setter puppiesImage source, Handout
Image caption,
The Kennel Club only registered 39 new Irish Red and White Setter dogs in the UK last year

A dog breed - believed to be Britain's most vulnerable - has been boosted by the arrival of 10 new puppies.

The litter of Irish Red and White Setters was born in Leicestershire in January to a breeder with more than 23 years of experience.

Only 39 of the gundogs were newly-registered with the Kennel Club in 2019 - fewer than any other breed.

The five boys and five girls are now eight weeks old and starting to head off to their new homes.

Breeder Ve Callaghan has been producing litters of Irish Red and White Setters at her home since 1997.

"They're a lovely family dog," she said. "I've got nine grandchildren and about four or five of them come here every day and they just love them."

She believes they have become vulnerable because "they're not a known breed".

While dog walking at the local country park, she often finds herself being questioned about the breed.

Image source, Handout
Image caption,
The Irish Red and White Setters puppies are now old enough to go to their new homes

Ms Callaghan said people wanting a gundog were more likely to choose a labrador, golden retriever or spaniel.

Despite this, she added she had no trouble finding homes for the new puppies.

This litter, the second born to six-year-old Tamzin, has already started heading off to new homes.

Image source, Other
Image caption,
The breeder said Irish Red and White Setters were "a lovely family dog"

Last year, The Kennel Club registered just 39 Irish Red and White Setters, the lowest among Britain's listed vulnerable breeds.

Spokesperson Bill Lambert said: "The hard work of those that love the breed is essential to help drive more awareness of the Irish Red and White Setter amongst the general public, to ensure their numbers grow to a sustainable level."

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