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Are The Number Of English Bulldogs Being Bred In The Uk Declining?

The English bulldog is a common sight on the streets and in the dog parks of the UK, as you might expect from one of our national mascots and home-grown British favourites! 

However, this is also a very high profile dog breed in terms of the breed’s health and breeding practices relating to the English bulldog’s build and appearance, and the direct correlations that can be made between the highly exaggerated English bulldog conformation that is very popular today, and a range of harmful and debilitating health issues within the breed.

Today’s English bulldogs tend to be heavier, shorter and stockier than they were historically and have much flatter faces, more wrinkling on their bodies, and often, a range of other traits that when extreme, can result in health issues such as BOAS, poor dentition, skin problems, and much more.

All of this means that a great many dog lovers and animal welfare organisations are greatly concerned about the direction the modern breed has taken, and have placed pressure on the Kennel Club to take steps to improve the breed’s health, penalise breeders who produce dogs with extreme exaggerations, and educate puppy buyers on choosing a healthy English bulldog.

The Kennel Club have published the steps they’re taking to do just this – and in their latest breed registration statistics for the English bulldog across the first two quarters of 2019, actually indicate that the breed’s popularity is falling, based on the number of new pups of the breed registered compared to the same period of time in 2018.

Here at Pets4Homes, we’ve compared the Kennel Club’s published data to our own findings on the popularity of the English bulldog in the UK across this year and last, based on the number of “for sale” adverts placed for dogs of the breed. Our dataset is larger than that of the Kennel Club and encompasses both pedigree and non-pedigree English bulldogs – so do our own findings support the Kennel Club’s claims that the English bulldog is losing popularity in the UK or not?

Read on to find out.

What do the Kennel Club’s registration statistics say about the English bulldog’s popularity change?

The Kennel Club’s breed registration figures for the English bulldog encompass the number of pups of the breed registered with them in the first six months of 2018 compared to the first six months of 2019. 

Here is how the numbers compare:

  • During the first two quarters of 2018, a total number of 5,054 English bulldog puppies were registered with the Kennel Club.
  • During the same time period in 2019, a total number of 4,719 English bulldog puppies were registered with the Kennel Club.
  • This is a difference of 335 fewer puppies registered in the given timeframe this year as opposed to last year.
  • This represents a drop in popularity of almost 7% over the comparable six month periods within 2018 and 2019.

What do Pets4Homes’ advert statistics say about the English bulldog’s popularity this year compared to last year?

Our data here at Pets4Homes is rather different to the Kennel Club’s, and so is not a like for like yes or no endorsement or critique of their findings. The data we have is based on advert numbers, not pups registered, and accounts for both pedigree and non-pedigree dogs and litters listed as English bulldogs for sale.

Our timescales for comparison are larger and slightly more up to date too, as we’re comparing the twelve months from October 2018 to September 2019 to the twelve months from October 2017 to September 2018 to draw up the figures.

Here are what our comparative time periods tell us about the English bulldog’s popularity in the UK this year compared to last year:

  • During the twelve months between October 2017 and September 2018, a total number of 9,476 English bulldog for sale adverts were placed here on Pets4Homs.
  • During the more recent twelve-month period between October 2018 and September 2019, a total number of 8,939 English bulldog for sale adverts were placed here on Pets4Homes.
  • That is a difference of 537 fewer English bulldog adverts placed here in the twelve months until the end of September 2019, compared to the same time period the year before.
  • That represents a percentage drop of almost 6%.

Is the English bulldog losing popularity in the UK, and by how much?

Our own data broadly agrees with that of the Kennel Club, specifically, that fewer English bulldogs have been bred and/or offered for sale this year compared to last.

Our comparative percentage figure drops are a reasonably close match too; the Kennel Club’s findings indicate that the breed’s numbers have dropped almost 7% between this year and last over the comparative time periods, whilst the Pets4Homes advert data represents a slightly lower level of decline, at 6%.

This might indicate that there is something of a divergence between the falling popularity of pedigree, registered English bulldogs, and that of non-pedigree or unregistered specimens, the latter of which might be declining at a somewhat lower rate.

However, it is important to bear in mind that whilst the statistics certainly bear monitoring, and we’ll offer up some suggestions for why the breed might be falling in popularity in a future article, this trend is still very early on, and could just be a minor and short-term anomaly.

We’ll circle back to compare the Kennel Club’s next set of breed popularity findings to draw a more comprehensive conclusion as and when they become available in the future.

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