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How Do The Kennel Club’s Most Popular Registered Dog Breeds Compare To The Public’s Favourites?

The Kennel Club is the UK’s umbrella organisation for dog breeds and breeding, holding a centralised breed registry for all recognised dog breeds and mandating the requirements for formal breed registration.

This means that The Kennel Club also of course keeps information on trends across dog breeds, and which breeds are rising and falling in popularity – and so, keep records of which dog breeds are the most popular and common based on the number of new puppy registrations for each breed per year.

However, viewing only this information provided by The Kennel Club doesn’t actually give a complete and impartial picture of what breeds are the most popular in the UK, for a variety of reasons. Kennel Club data only indicates which breeds registered with them see the most puppies born and registered each year – which does not take into account unregistered dogs of any breed, nor of course, hybrid dog types that are not eligible for formal registration.

Here at Pets4Homes, we keep our own records of dog breeds and their popularity, based on the volume of adverts for dogs for sale and user searches for different breeds. As the largest and most popular pet classifieds and information website in the UK, we’ve got our finger on the pulse when it comes to dogs and dog breeds. This means that our statistics reflect what’s going on in the homes of dog owners across the country, by collating information on all dog types, including those that aren’t recognised as formal breeds, and other unregistered dogs – as well as registered pedigrees.

With this in mind, we’ve drawn up a comparison of the most commonly registered dog breeds recorded by The Kennel Club, versus the popularity across the board of the top-ranked breeds based on our own site data. Read on to learn more.

Why is there a difference?

As you will see by comparing The Kennel Club’s top six dogs versus our own, there are a lot of differences recorded. Our data is based on adverts placed here on Pets4Homes for dogs for sale, rather than based on the number of new puppies registered with The Kennel Club.

This enables us to view a more complete picture of which dogs are truly the most common and popular in the UK overall, rather than just those that are eligible for registration and have a lot of litters registered. Here are the ranking comparisons.

Number 6: The English bulldog (Kennel Club) and cocker spaniel (Pets4Homes)

The sixth most popular dog breed as measured by registrations with the Kennel Club is the English bulldog; whilst our own data places the cocker spaniel in sixth position.

Number 5: The English springer spaniel (Kennel Club) and the Labrador retriever (Pets4Homes)

The Kennel Club’s fifth most popular dog breed in terms of new puppy registrations in the last counted year is the English springer spaniel – versus the Labrador retriever at Pets4Homes.

Number 4: The pug (Kennel club) and the Cockapoo (Pets4Homes)

The reasons why the fourth-ranked dog is different when you compare Kennel Club statistics versus those that incorporate our data for all dog types is simple – the fourth most popular dog type on Pets4Homes isn’t a recognised pedigree dog breed, and so is not eligible for Kennel Club registration and recording. This is the Cockapoo – a hybrid dog type achieved from the crossing of a poodle with a cocker spaniel.

The Kennel Club’s own formally ranked fourth place dog breed is the pug.

Number 3: The cocker spaniel (Kennel Club) and the pug (Pets4Homes)

The cocker spaniel falls in third place on The Kennel Club’s list, but is rather less popular overall in the UK, falling in the previously-mentioned sixth place spot on Pets4Homes.

Pets4Homes’ own third-placed dog is the pug, which is fourth in the Kennel Club rankings.

Number 2: The French bulldog (Kennel Club) and the Chihuahua (Pets4Homes)

The Kennel Club’s second most popular dog breed by numbers of registered puppies is the French bulldog, while on Pets4Homes, it is the Chihuahua – a breed that doesn’t even rank on The Kennel Club’s top six list at all!

Number 1: The Labrador retriever (Kennel Club) and the French bulldog (Pets4Homes)

The most popular breed in the UK based on Kennel Club puppy registrations is the Labrador retriever – the breed that comes in fifth place on Pets4Homes.

Pets4Homes’ first placed dog is the French bulldog, which is the second-ranked dog in terms of Kennel Club registrations – although the Kennel Club announced in February 2017 that they expect this breed to climb to the top of their own rankings by the end of 2018 too.

Which list is the most accurate?

As you can see, whilst many of the same dog breeds are common to both Pets4Homes’ own list and that of The Kennel Club, there is also a lot of variation – and none of the rankings see an exact match in terms of agreement on any of the top six positions.

Essentially, The Kennel Club list and the Pets4Homes lists are drawn up by means of different criteria, and so a like for like comparison is unlikely to ever be fully accurate.

If you are solely interested in seeing the most popular dog breeds based on Kennel Club registrations of new puppies, then The Kennel Club’s own list is the one to watch. However, if you want to see the overall popularity and likely numbers of dogs ranked by breeds in the UK as a whole – including those for recognised breeds but without registration papers and dog types that are not recognised by The Kennel Club at all, the Pets4Homes list is the one that most closely correlates with the true story out on the streets and in the dog parks of the UK.


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