Sue Blackmore, from Bideford, is urging people to take an intrest in rare native breed before it is too late.

A Bideford dog breeder has raised fears for the future of a breed as rare as the giant panda.

Sue Blackmore is a Kennel Club assured breeder of Irish Red and White Setters, which is a now a vulnerable native breed.

The breed has seen a 70 per cent decrease since its peak in 1995, with only 63 puppies registered with the Kennel Club last year.

In the last three years the breed has seen a 40 per cent decrease, and numbers are now the lowest they have been since 1984.

Irish Red and White Setters. Picture: Sue BlackmoreIrish Red and White Setters. Picture: Sue Blackmore

Sue said: “We need to find ways that we can protect the breed or they won’t be around for future generations to enjoy.

“They are a friendly, affectionate and intelligent breed and we would implore people to consider them when choosing a dog, to help give them the future they deserve.

“We hope that interest in the breed picks up and gives one of our native British and Irish breeds a revival before it is too late.

“We would recommend that anyone thinking about getting a dog speaks to the breed club or to a Kennel Club Assured Breeder for the breed, to find out if it could be the perfect match for them.”

Sue believes the decline is because there is no public appetite for the breed, in the main because people simply do not know it exists.

If numbers continue to decline, it is anticipated that the breed could eventually disappear entirely in the UK – in as little as a few years’ time.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the breed and whether it might be the right one for their lifestyle should contact the Irish Red and White Setter Club of Great Britain.