If you are considering buying a pedigree dog or are just interested in dogs in general, you might have wondered what the most popular breeds of dog in the UK are- and why!
The obvious question when considering what breeds of dog are the most popular, is ‘how can you judge the popularity of a breed of dog?’ Surely there must be a more scientific way of going about it than simply asking people what type of dogs are their favourite, or what types of dogs they most commonly see being walked in the street!
The figures that make up our list are published by The Kennel Club, and demonstrate how many puppies of each pedigree breed that they recognise are born within a given timeframe. These figures do not take into account all of the existing older dogs of that breed that are still around! Also, of course, non-pedigree and non registered dogs are also omitted from the calculations; you won’t ever see a Labradoodle, a French Pug or a Cockapoo on the list! So the dogs that make up the list might not be fully representative of their true popularity against all of the other dogs in UK, but establishing the top ten most popular pedigree dog breeds by birth numbers is certainly a good place to start!
When we speak about the popularity of a dog in terms of their ranking on the ‘top ten’ list, we are not necessarily talking about the dogs that are held in the highest regard, liked by the most people, or that are the most sought after. We are solely referring to the amount of dogs of that breed registered in the UK comparatively to other breeds.
Generally, the most popularly owned and bred dogs in the UK stay fairly consistent year on year, with the same breeds of dogs appearing in the list over and over again.
The Kennel Club’s most recently published statistics on dog breed popularity came out in 2010, and showed a few changes in the list from previous years. The 2001 census looked rather different! Pugs made it from number 13 on the 2001 list into the number 9 position in 2010, while the Yorkshire Terrier and West Highland Terrier fell off the list altogether!
1. Labrador Retriever
The Labrador remains a firm favourite within the UK, and consistently appears near the top of the list every year. Originally bred as a gun dog, they are now also highly valued as loyal, loving and friendly family pets that are great with children as well as intelligent and easy to train, so it is no wonder that Labs are still in great demand!
2. Cocker Spaniel
The Cocker Spaniel is statistically the dog most likely to win the Best in Show title at Crufts, with the breed having taken the title seven times since its inception! But the Cocker is not just a pretty face- like the Labrador, the Cocker achieved its popularity as a working gun dog, and got the ‘Cocker’ name due to its proficiency at hunting the Eurasian Woodcock.
3. Springer Spaniel (English)
Gun dogs currently hold all of the top three rankings in the popularity stakes, with the English Springer Spaniel coming in third. Affectionate, fun loving and incredibly good natured, the Springer Spaniel loves to play, chase and run, and is the perfect companion for energetic children!
4. German Shepherd
The German Shepherd (also known as the Alsatian) is a large dog of Germanic origins, and relatively young in dog terms, with the breed originating towards the end of the 19th century. The German Shepherd dog is prized for its fearlessness, loyalty and intelligence, and can often be found in working roles alongside of the police or military.
5. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier comes in at number five, but if you include non-registered Staffys and Staffy cross breeds, you might well find the Staffordshire Bull Terrier in the number one spot! Squat, muscular and businesslike, the Staffy is a loyal dog that forms close bonds with his family and makes the perfect companion for young and old alike.
6. Border Terrier
The Border Terrier is a small rough-coated terrier hailing from the Scottish borders, and they are comical, fun loving and lively little dogs that tend to be hardy and full of pluck! While the Border Terrier generally gets on well with children, they often don’t extend the same affection to cats and other smaller pets- except as a snack!
7. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, or ‘Cavvy’ as they are often affectionately known, is the third spaniel to make the list. Sharing the traits of loyalty, sunny dispositions and kind natures with the Springer and the Cocker, the Cavvy is one of the smaller spaniel breeds, and often popular as a lap dog.
8. Golden Retriever
The Golden Retriever is a medium sized and intelligent dog that loves the water! They are also renowned for their loyalty and ability to work with people, and can be found in many working roles such as search and rescue, assistance for blind or deaf people, and as sniffer dogs.
The Pug is often referred to as the comedian of the canine world, and is an intelligent, entertaining and good-natured dog. It would certainly be fair to say that their looks are unique and distinctive, with their short, squat bodies, curled tails and squashed faces!
The boxer dog, so named for the ‘boxing’ motions they make when fighting or play fighting, has fallen in popularity in recent years, with the incidences of newly registered puppies down 40% in 2010 compared to the 2001 census. Nevertheless, the Boxer is holding on in the number ten position, and enjoys a large following of enthusiasts who value them for their willingness to please, receptiveness to training and loving natures.
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