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Last Updated: Wednesday January 30 2008 15:09 GMT

Dog breed rarer than giant pandas

The puppies

One of the rarest dog breeds in the world has been given a boost with the birth of a new litter of pups.

The cute Glen of Imaal terriers, which originated in Ireland, are so rare there are even fewer of them in the world than giant pandas.

The dogs' mum Edwina is one of just 25 Glen of Imaal terriers that can have puppies and experts are worried the breed may be wiped out within 10 years.

It's thought the terriers are unpopular as not many people know they exist.

Jane Withers, who bred the new pups at kennels in Berkshire, said Glens used to be very popular, but in recent years they'd been stuck near the top of the vulnerable breeds list.

"They are now number one and I imagine it is because people would rather have a little dog like Paris Hilton's chihuahua or a trendy labradoodle," she said.

World's rarest

Last year, just 36 Glen pups were registered with the Kennel Club, compared to a whopping 45,000 labrador puppies.

Paul Keevil, from the British and Irish Dog Breeds Preservation Trust, added: "It's not only the rarest (breed) in Britain, it is the rarest in the world."

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