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Don't look so cute - you don't exist!

Barred - the volpino puppies: Picture Gerry Warren
Barred - the volpino puppies: Picture Gerry Warren

These adorable pups don't know it, but they are at the centre of a battle between their owner and the Kennel Club.

Faith Whiteley bred the rare volpino italiano pups but is mystified and frustrated by the Kennel Club's refusal to recognise the breed, although they are registered abroad.

Mrs Whiteley, who lives in Littlebourne, near Canterbury, has five seven-week-old pups from parents Leo and Nuvola, which are the only volpinos in the country.

She fell in love with the breed after visiting Italy.

She said: “They are a super little dog with a great character and temperament. But I am facing a wall of bureaucracy from the Kennel Club.

“Its main objection to registering them seems to be that there are not enough of them. But if I can’t register the breed in the UK then I can’t breed with dogs abroad.

It’s a Catch 22 situation and doesn’t allow the breed to flourish.”

Kennel Club secretary Caroline Kisko said: “We do not recognise this breed.

An application for the volpino was made in late 2006, and turned down on the grounds that there were only 10 in the UK, the breed was not generally seen outside Italy, and few were exhibited there.

"Furthermore, those in the UK were uncle, niece and their offspring. Where there is a very small gene pool, this leads to concerns about the healthy development of the breed."

Now Mrs Whiteley has put the pups up for sale. Anyone interested can call her on 07843 618253.

More about the Volpino Italiano

A Volpino Italiano is a white, spitz-type breed of dog originally from Italy and a favourite of Italian royalty for centuries.

Despite its small size the dog was originally kept as a guard dog. Its job was to alert large mastiffs to an intruder. However, due to their temperament and intelligence they became popular as pets.

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