The prestigious Vulnerable British and Irish Native Breeds competition have resumed, featuring heats that will lead to a grand final at Crufts 2025, following its successful run in previous years.

Created by The Kennel Club in 2015, the competition aims to raise awareness of vulnerable British and Irish native breeds while honouring individuals dedicated to their preservation and prosperity. In 2024, 35 breeds fall into this category, with a meagre 300 or fewer puppy registrations in the UK the previous year. Notably, the Irish Terrier has newly joined this list as a Vulnerable Breed with only 244 puppies registered last year.

Championship Show Qualifications

The competition has garnered significant popularity, with the grand final held at Crufts 2024 witnessing the triumph of two-year-old Irish Wolfhound, Brida Della Bassa Pavese, co-owned by Stefano Erea and Dr Francesca Agnoli from Milan, Italy. Judged by Gavin Robertson, the event celebrated the diversity and beauty of vulnerable breeds.

Following a similar format to 2023, only Best of Breed winners at designated championship shows this year will qualify for the final. The competition is open to vulnerable British and Irish breeds competing at select championship shows, including the United Kingdom Toydog Society, National Terrier Club, National Working and Pastoral Breeds Society, Hound Association, and National Gundog Association.

Encouraging Participation and Support

Tom Mather, Crufts Chairman, emphasised the importance of the competition in highlighting the uniqueness of vulnerable breeds. He stressed the need to support these lesser-known breeds, which may be perfect companions for certain lifestyles but often get overlooked due to lack of recognition.

“We hope that show societies collaborate with breed clubs of vulnerable British and Irish native breeds to inspire participation and promote the competition,” stated Tom Mather.

For more information about the competition and vulnerable breeds, interested individuals can visit The Kennel Club’s website. Finalists for Crufts 2025 will be contacted by The Kennel Club in December 2024, marking the culmination of this prestigious event.