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Snowy’s Breed from TinTin, the Wire Fox Terrier, Faces Risk of Extinction

Last Updated: March 5, 2024
  • The Wire Fox Terrier, famously recognized as ‘Snowy’ from The Adventures of Tintin, is on the brink of being listed as an ‘at risk’ breed by The Kennel Club for the first time.
  • A century ago, this terrier breed topped the popularity charts in the UK, but its population has drastically declined since then.
  • Currently, there’s an unprecedented number of British dog breeds in danger, with over 40 breeds categorized as vulnerable or on the ‘at watch’ list.
Wire Fox Terrier running in the field

Once a symbol of royalty and a favorite among celebrities, the Wire Fox Terrier, known to many as Snowy from the beloved “The Adventures of Tintin” comics, is now facing the threat of extinction, according to the Kennel Club.

This decline in popularity, a staggering 94% since 1947, has raised concerns among dog enthusiasts and breeders.

The Kennel Club recently revealed these alarming statistics, highlighting the breed’s drastic fall from grace. Bill Lambert, a spokesperson for The Kennel Club, commented on the trend, noting the significant impact of popular culture and social media on breed popularity.

‘While the Wire Fox Terrier was once favored by royalty, and Snowy was a recognizable character in comics and on television, the public may be less familiar with them now they are no longer regularly seen in the media.”

Originally bred for traditional British fox hunts, the Wire Fox Terrier’s history is rich and storied. The breed emerged from a mix of Old English Terrier, smooth-coated Black and Tan terriers, Bull Terriers, Greyhounds, and Beagles, according to The Fox Terrier Club.

These dogs were integral in hunting, helping hunters locate foxes by barking and signaling their position.

The breed gained widespread recognition through the Tintin comics, first published in 1929, with Snowy as a prominent character. Despite Snowy’s white coat, the breed typically features a white and brown coat.

Notable figures such as Albert Einstein, Clint Eastwood, and Lucille Ball, along with members of the Royal Family like King Edward VII and Queen Victoria, have been known to own Wire Fox Terriers.

At its peak in 1947, the breed saw over 8,000 puppy registrations in the UK. However, these numbers have since dwindled significantly.

Despite their declining popularity, Wire Fox Terriers have remained successful in dog shows, including the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

In 2022, only 359 puppies were registered in the UK, a number that dropped by 21% this year to just 281. This decline may lead to the breed being added to The Kennel Club’s ‘At Watch’ list, which monitors breeds with 300-450 puppy births a year.

The Wire Fox Terrier is known to suffer from Small Dog Syndrome, a behavioral issue where the dog may become snappy or aggressive.

Despite this, Lambert emphasizes the breed’s historical popularity and friendly nature, expressing concern over the possibility of losing such a beloved breed.

Wire Fox Terrier Puppy

The Kennel Club urges the public to learn more about lesser-known breeds, especially those at risk of disappearing.

With 34 dog breeds already in the more vulnerable category of the Vulnerable Native Breed List, the Wire Fox Terrier’s addition to the ‘At Watch’ list is a call to action for potential dog owners to consider these breeds.

The Kennel Club plans to feature a Discover Dogs zone at Crufts, encouraging people to learn about over 200 breeds, including those vulnerable, and to consult experts to find the right breed for their lifestyle.

As the Wire Fox Terrier faces an uncertain future, efforts continue to raise awareness and preserve the diversity of dog breeds in the UK and beyond.

Making a Difference: How to Adopt a Vulnerable Native Breed

If you’re considering adopting a vulnerable native breed, it’s essential to choose a responsible breeder, like those in The Kennel Club Assured Breeders program, to ensure the health and well-being of your new pet.

Additionally, breed clubs for every type of dog can provide valuable insights and guidance for prospective owners.

Alternatively, adopting a rescue dog is a wonderful option, and The Kennel Club Breed Rescue offers breed-specific rescue services to help you find the perfect match for your home.

At World of Dogz, we always advocate for rescuing a dog over choosing a breeder, championing the joy and value of giving a rescue dog a loving home.

Sharon Waddington
Sharon Waddington is the founder of World of Dogz. With over 30 years of experience working with dogs, this former Police Officer has seen it all. But it’s her trusty German Shepherd, Willow, who steals the show as the inspiration behind this website. As Sharon’s constant companion Willow has played a pivotal role in shaping her passion for dogs. Recently, Sharon has become deeply passionate about the plight of rescue dogs and is an active advocate for dog rescue, striving to make a difference in the lives of dogs in need.

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