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How Do The Uk’s Most Popular Dog Breeds Compare To Those In The Usa?

Most British dog lovers would stand a fair chance of naming at least a couple of the most popular dog breeds in the UK if put on the spot – because there are certain breeds and types of dogs that are much more common sights in the UK than most others.

There is also a reasonable amount of crossover in terms of the breeds that are the most popular in the UK and those that top the rankings in the USA – but some significant differences too, which reflects the way that tastes and lifestyles tend to differ on either side of the ocean.

In this article, we will compare the UK’s most popular dog breeds with those in the USA, and see how the top ten lists for each country differ.

We’re using data from Pets4Homes based on user adverts and searches to create our UK list, whilst the American top ten is taken from the American Kennel Club’s published information of their 2017 listing of dog breeds by popularity. Read on to learn more.

Number 1: French bulldog (UK) and Labrador retriever (USA)

In the UK, the most popular dog breed overall is the French bulldog – but in the USA it is the Labrador retriever. However, the Lab is also the UK’s most popular dog breed overall based on UK Kennel Club registrations alone – although The Kennel Club recently announced that the French bulldog is projected to overtake the Lab in their official registration figures too by the end of 2018.

Number 2: The Chihuahua (UK) and German shepherd (USA)

When it comes to the second place spot, the difference between the UK and the USA couldn’t really be much more pronounced – in the UK it is the tiny Chihuahua, while in the USA it is the tall, large German shepherd!

Interestingly, the Chihuahua doesn’t even make the top 10 list of American breeds at all, despite their relatively close geographical origins in Mexico.

Number 3: The Pug (UK) and Golden Retriever (USA)

The significant difference in breed popularity that we see in the first two positions continues into the third ranked spot; in the UK, the third most popular dog breed is the pug, while in the USA it is the golden retriever

The golden retriever’s UK ranking is way down the list in 24th place, and the pug doesn’t fall within the USA’s top ten list at all.

Number 4: The Cockapoo (UK) and the French bulldog (USA)

In the UK, the cockapoo – which is a dog type rather than a dog breed – takes fourth place, while in the USA it is the French bulldog, which tops the UK list.

However, because the American Kennel Club (which published the dog breeds by popularity list from which we gathered our information) doesn’t gather data on non-pedigree breeds like the cockapoo, much as the UK Kennel Club doesn’t, we can’t really know for sure just how popular the cockapoo actually is in the USA.

Number 5: The Cocker Spaniel (UK) and the English bulldog (USA)

The fifth placed dog in the UK is the cocker spaniel, which is the USA’s number one breed – and the USA’s fifth placed dog is one of our own native breeds, the English bulldog. Interestingly, this means that the English bulldog is actually more popular in the USA than it is right here in their country of origin, although they are also undeniably popular in the UK too.

As you can see, In the UK the cocker spaniel has actually been surpassed in popularity by a hybrid crossing with cocker origins, the cockapoo that we mentioned earlier.


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Number 6: The Labrador Retriever (UK) and the beagle (USA)

Sixth place in the UK goes to the Labrador retriever – and in the USA, the sixth placed dog is the beagle, which doesn’t even fall within the top 10 UK list at all.

The Labrador is much more popular in the USA and is still the Number one most popular dog.  The labrador used to be the UK's most popular dog for many years but has recently been overtaken my smaller dog breeds.

Number 7: The English bulldog (UK) and the poodle (USA)

Our own native English bulldog takes seventh place in UK popularity – a lower ranking than they achieve in the States! The USA’s seventh placed dog is the poodle, and in America this refers to all sizes of poodles, but in the UK we divide the poodle up into three categories – toy, miniature and standard respectively.

Number 8: The German Shepherd (UK) and the Rottweiler (USA)

The German shepherd, which is in second place in the USA, is the UK’s 8th most popular breed.  In the USA, the eighth placed dog is the Rottweiler, which is way down in 25th in the UK!

Number 9: The Shih Tzu (UK) and the Yorkshire terrier (USA)

Another favourite toy dog breed in the UK is the Shih tzu, and this is our Ninth most popular breed overall.The American 9th placed dog is the Yorkshire terrier – another native British breed that is actually more popular in America than it is here!

Number 10: The Staffordshire bull terrier (UK) and the German shorthaired pointer (USA)

The Staffordshire bull terrier has long been one of the UK’s most popular native dog breeds, and they just make it into out top 10 list at the very end. In the USA, the 10th most popular breed is the German shorthaired pointer – which is well down the UK rankings in 61st place.

Big differences near the top of the list

One of the most interesting differences between the most popular dog breeds in the UK versus the USA can be seen in the top three rankings – in the UK, our three favourites are all small/toy dog breeds, while in the USA, they are all large breed dogs.

A lot of the difference comes down to simple personal preference – but there may be more going on too when it comes to dog breed choices made on the basis of size.

In the USA as a whole, homes are larger, as are gardens and yards – even apartments tend to be more spacious like for like in the USA than the UK. This gives American dog owners rather more choice when it comes to picking a dog that is larger, and which might simply be too big to live comfortably in many UK homes.


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