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Kennel Club Data Shows The Pug’s Popularity May Be On The Wane – But Is It?

The pug is the UK’s third most popular dog breed, and every year thousands of new puppy buyers make the commitment to choose a pug as their next pet.

However, as a brachycephalic dog breed, the pug breed as a whole has somewhat complex health, and those flat faces may also come accompanied by a number of serious and debilitating health problems for dogs that possess them, particularly those with highly exaggerated flat faces.

The sheer level of the pug’s popularity in the UK and demand for dogs of the breed among puppy buyers is something of a concern in itself too, as all too few pug buyers understand the implications of the breed’s conformation, and how it can cause health problems.

The Kennel Club, many animal welfare organisations and veterinary bodies alike have all taken steps to educate prospective pug buyers about the issues that can arise in pugs with exaggerated features – and the Kennel Club’s latest published figures on registration statistics for dogs of the breed indicate that this might just be paying off.

The Kennel Club recently announced that the number of pug puppies registered with them during the first six months of 2019 saw a marked drop compared to the same time period of 2018 – but this does only reflect pedigree pug puppy registrations, and not those that are non-pedigree or unregistered with the Kennel Club, which makes up a large proportion of the breed’s total population in the UK.

Here at Pets4Homes, we have exclusive access to perhaps the largest potential data set on pug numbers and popularity available in the UK, as the country’s largest pet classifieds website. We collate advert data for pug dogs and puppies for sale incorporating both pedigree and non-pedigree dogs, and whilst of course not every single pug for sale in the UK is advertised here, our total advert numbers annually exceed those of Kennel Club registrations by some margin.

We’ve used our own data to see if the pug really is falling in numbers and so, popularity in the UK this year compared to last year, in order to bear out or disprove the Kennel Club’s theory.

With this in mind, this article will share the Kennel Club’s published statistics, share our own pug statistics, and determine whether or not the pug is falling in popularity in the UK right now. Read on to learn more.

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

The Kennel Club’s figures for pug popularity represent the number of new pug puppies registered with them during the first six months of 2019, compared to the same time period in 2018.

Here are what the Kennel Club’s pug registration statistics for the stated time periods tell us:

  • During the first two quarters of 2018, a total number of 5,061 pug puppies were registered with the Kennel Club.
  • During the first two quarters of 2019, a total number of 3497 pug puppies were registered with the Kennel Club.
  • This is a difference of 1,564 fewer pug puppies registered in this year’s stated timeframe compared to last year.
  • This represents a drop in popularity during the like for like time periods of over 36%, which is a very large amount, if accurate!

What do Pets4Homes’ advert statistics say about the pug’s popularity change?

The data we’re working with here at Pets4Homes isn’t exactly the same as that of the Kennel Club of course, and so we’re not offering it up as a direct correlation, nor with claims to definitively fact check the Kennel Club’s own findings.

The data we hold encompasses many more dogs than the Kennel Club stats, as it includes non-pedigree pugs as well as pedigrees. Also, our figures are for advert numbers, not puppy numbers – as breeders tend to advertise a whole litter collectively within one ad, rather than writing individual ads for each pup.

So please bear in mind that our stats represent the number of ads placed, not the number of puppies themselves. However, the trend or direction our figures find will remain constant as this caveat is a constant in our calculations.

Additionally, the Kennel Club’s timeframe for data collation was the two respective six-month periods of the first two quarters of 2018 and 2019, whilst ours are the twelve months from 1st October 2017-30th September 2018, and 1st October 2018-30th September 2019 respectively.

Here are the findings of our own advert stat comparisons:

  • During the twelve-month period from October 2017 to September 2018, a total number of 11,136 adverts were placed for pug puppies and dogs for sale on Pets4Homes.
  • During the latest twelve-month time period, from October 2018 to September 2019, a total number of 9,416 adverts were placed for pug puppies and dogs for sale on Pets4Homes.
  • This is a difference of 1,720 fewer pug adverts placed in this latest twelve-month period compared to the one before.
  • This represents a drop in popularity of around 16.7%.

Do the Pets4Homes statistics support the Kennel Club’s findings?

Ultimately, both the Kennel Club’s own statistics and those of Pets4Homes agree that the pug has undergone a steep decline in popularity across the two comparative periods this year and last; but what our stats don’t agree on is quite the extent of this.

The Kennel Club’s figures represent a drop of some 36% whilst ours indicate the reality on the streets is nearer the 16-17% mark. This is still an incredibly acute change in a short period of time, but nowhere near as acute as the Kennel Club’s indicative results, which represent around a third of the total registration numbers from 2018 fewer occurring this year within the same window.

It is also worth noting that our own data sets are much larger than the Kennel Club’s and also the time periods that we compared longer, and so our own indicative results may be more stable. But on the flipside, the Kennel Club’s stats represent only pedigrees, and only puppies, which are the details that may be important to some people.

Whether or not the pug’s apparent falling popularity will continue to drop over the coming months and years and the exact reasons for this recent drop are topics that we will cover in another article!


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