Page last updated at 11:56 GMT, Thursday, 13 November 2008

Large litter boost for rare breed

Kyra and puppies: Pic SWNS
The puppies' tails are colour-coded to help the family keep track of them

One of the rarest breeds of dog in Britain has been given a welcome population boost with the arrival of a large litter of puppies.

Kyra the Komondor gave birth to nine puppies at her family's home in Newquay, Cornwall.

Until the new arrivals, there were only about 40 Komondors in the UK.

The breed is known as the world's hairiest with fur which grows in long dreadlocks. The rare puppies could fetch up to 1,000 each.

They would certainly not be suitable for a flat
Gareth Young

Gareth and Debi Young said they hoped to find homes locally for the pups.

Mr Young, 39, a boxing coach, said: "Ideally we would love to see most of them stay in Cornwall because there are very few in the South West, but whoever buys them must have good-sized gardens and they would certainly not be suitable for a flat.

"I wanted a Komondor for a long time after I heard about the breed and we have been delighted with Kyra.

"But they are not dogs people should consider owning unless they have had experience with dogs before and understand the character, size and demands of a Komondor."

Matted dreadlocks

There are understood to be about 10,000 of the dogs worldwide.

They originated in Hungary where they were used by Magyar farmers to protect sheep and cattle.

Their coat grows as matted dreadlocks by up to 6in (15cm) a year, normally hitting the ground by the time they reach the age of six.

Fully grown adults can weigh between 80lb and 130lb (36 to 59kg).

The breed is so rare, Kyra was taken from Cornwall to Manchester to find the right mate.

Mrs Young, 48, said they were astonished Kyra had so many pups as the normal litter size is four.

"They're all doing well though and are an adorable little rabble," she said.

In order to keep track of the identical looking puppies, the Youngs have colour-coded their tails.

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