Different dog breeds tend to fluctuate to some degree over time in terms of their popularity, but whilst a change of a couple of spaces in the popularity list over the course of any year is normal, more dramatic changes are less common. However, this very broad rule of thumb applies to a large extent to pedigree dogs only, and when it comes to hybrid dog types or unrecognised dog breeds, the level of fluctuation across the popularity list over time can be rather more acute.
There are a huge number of different hybrid dog types and unregistered breeds in the UK now, and some of them are really popular – but in many cases, this popularity can be short-lived, or reach a fairly early peak before going into a decline.
Even looking at data from as recently as 2015, the dogs that make up the top five hybrid and non-pedigree dog types list of today is quite different to that of only three years ago, with some new types coming up, and others going down.
In this article, we will compare the five most popular non-pedigree and hybrid dog types of 2018 to the five most popular types from 2015, to outline some of the most notable changes – and try to determine why these fluctuations are usually more acute than for pedigrees. Read on to learn more.
In 2015, the fifth most popular non-pedigree dog type in the UK was the Sprocker; a dog created from the crossing of a Springer spaniel and a cocker spaniel. However, by 2018 the Sprocker had dropped out of the top five list entirely, being replaced by the Old Tyme bulldog.
The Old Tyme bulldog didn’t even make the top five list at all in 2015 – and they were in fact relatively unheard of up until a few years ago. An Old Tyme bulldog is produced from crossing an English bulldog with other breeds to produce a less flat-faced and heavy-set appearance, or by selectively breeding English bulldogs who possess these traits rather than those now considered to be desirable within the breed standard.
The Cavachon – a dog created from crossing a Bichon frise with a Cavalier King Charles spaniel – was the fourth most popular hybrid dog type in the UK in 2015. However, like the Sprocker, they’ve fallen from the top five list entirely in 2018, and have again been replaced by another bulldog type – the American bulldog.
As was the case with the Old Tyme bulldog in 2015, the American bulldog likewise failed to make the top five list back then.
Once we get down into the top three positions in the popularity stakes, there is more similarity between the dogs featured in 2015 and 2018.
The third place position is held by the Labradoodle in 2018, when in 2015 it was the Cavapoo. The Labradoodle is a hybrid of a Labrador retriever and a poodle, while a Cavapoo is a hybrid of a Cavalier King Charles spaniel and a poodle.
The second-place ranking of 2015 compared to 2018 is simply a place switch between the aforementioned Labradoodle and Cavapoo, seeing the Cavapoo move up one step and pushing the Labradoodle down into third place.
Finally, the number one position of non-pedigree and hybrid dog types by popularity whas remained consistent across the last three years – and that position is held by the Cockapoo. A Cockapoo is a hybrid crossing of a cocker spaniel and a poodle, and they are far and away the most popular non-pedigree or hybrid dog type in the UK – being our 4th most popular dog of all!
There is a much greater degree of fluctuation from year to year in terms of the popularity of hybrid and non-pedigree dog types than there is across pedigree breeds, and there are several factors that go some way towards explaining why this is.
First of all, before a new British breed can be recognised as a pedigree and accepted for Kennel Club registration, a breed standard has to be set, and there has to be a large enough population of dogs within the breed standard in the UK to maintain a viable population. This takes a long time to establish, as does the process for formally recognising a breed – and means that populations of pedigree breeds tend to be well established and fluctuate more slowly than is the case with a new, unregistered or unknown breed.
When a new dog type starts to get some publicity and gain traction in the public consciousness, there is often a peak in interest in them and correlating rise in demand – which may endure and serve as the foundation for a population of dogs of that type, or may be a flash in the pan that does not become self-sustaining.
Additionally, prospective puppy buyers as a whole are more likely to consider choosing a deliberate hybrid dog type or non-pedigree today than was the case historically, which has both reinforced and perpetuated the willingness of breeders to try out hybrid crossings and sell non-pedigree dogs.
Something else that has certainly gone some way towards allowing the two mentioned bulldog types that are now in the top five list to gain traction is the ongoing controversy over the plight of the English bulldog in terms of its health and breed standards.
Today, many dog owners who love bulldogs don’t want to buy a dog with extreme exaggerations that may affect its health – which has paved the way for alternatives such as the Old Tyme bulldog and American bulldog to gain a foothold.
The Sprocker and the Cavachon, which fell from the top five list over the last three years are still pretty popular – and they have been pushed off the list more by the rising popularity of the two mentioned bulldog breeds rather than by a large decline in their own numbers.
These are just some of the numerous reasons that go some way to explaining fluctuations year-on-year in the non-pedigree dog popularity list – and why this degree of change is rarely seen in differences between registered pedigrees.