With Crufts 2005 getting under way tomorrow, concerns are being raised that man's best friend is being forced out of favour by the cat. Neil Connor heard about the Kennel Club's concerns...
As one of the nation's best known dog lovers, John Noakes would have hardly been able to get the words out if it had been an item on Blue Peter.
But Britain is now more of a nation of cat lovers than dog lovers, according to the Kennel Club, which organises Crufts.
There are currently eight million cats in the UK, compared to 6.3 million dogs.
But the Kennel Club is fighting back and the battle starts at the world's largest dog show, which is being staged at Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre this week.
In fact, the Kennel Club will be focusing its attention on vulnerable native dog breeds and is keen to point out that only people with the ability and time to look after dogs should help stem the decline in canine popularity.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club secretary, said she recognised that dogs had become less popular as potential owners spend more and more time at the office, which means less time to pamper their pooch.
She said: "People are being more sensible about having dogs. They do not automatically say 'we have got a family so now we have to get a dog'.
"People recognise that even though they have a family, they may not have the lifestyle for a dog. They are being responsible and that is a good thing.
"But this means that dog numbers are declining because people's lifestyles are changing.
"If you have a busy lifestyle then it is fine to leave the cat at home. The cat is happy curling up on its own in the corner of the room, but you cannot do that with a dog.
"The population of dogs and cats was about the same in the mid 1990s, but now more people have cats."
Although, things are not that bad for dogs ? because, apparently, more of us have time for them in later life.
Anyone considering doing their bit to increase the dog population, might fancy a look at the Discover Dogs area of Crufts, where handlers offer advice on the different breeds.
More than 120,000 people are expected to attend this year's show, which will run until Sunday. Over 24,000 dogs are expected to compete for the prestigious title of Best in Show.
During the show, the Kennel Club will be issuing a rallying cry to people considering buying a dog to look beyond traditional favourites, like the Labrador, and help arrest the decline in the country's rare breeds.
Ms Kisko added: "With over 200 breeds available to UK dog owners and nearly 180 breeds appearing at Crufts, dog lovers really are spoilt for choice, but we should not forget those well established breeds, as it would be a travesty if they became extinct from our shores."