Small Dogs Rising In Popularity And Demand For Large Breeds In Decline, Says Kennel Club

The Kennel Club is the UK’s main body for pedigree dog breed recognition and registration, and the Kennel Club is the umbrella organisation in the UK that monitors the development of both existing and up and coming dog breeds on our shores. They also carry out a great number of other roles as well, including monitoring pedigree dog health and health testing, organising and hosting formal dog shows (including Crufts) and much more.

However, the Kennel Club’s best-known role for pedigree dog owners is to serve as the governing body for pedigree dog registration, and unless a dog is a recognised pedigree with the appropriate provenance and paperwork to prove this, they cannot be registered with the Kennel Club and so, cannot be sold as a pedigree nor entered in pedigree dog shows.

This means that the Kennel Club holds a huge amount of data on pedigree dog breeds in the UK, and notably, how many new puppies of every pedigree breed are registered with the Kennel Club each year. This in turn allows the Kennel Club to identify the UK’s most popular dog breeds based on new puppy registration statistics over the past year – and also, to identify breeds that are rising and falling in popularity too.

2018 saw the French bulldog dog breed finally overtake the Labrador retriever to take the number one spot in terms of the number of new puppy registrations during the year, a position that the Labrador retriever had previously held unchallenged since 1992.

The Kennel Club has also recently published information on their registration statistics from 2018 that indicate that small dog breeds as a whole are increasing in popularity in the UK – whilst large breeds are on the wane.

In this article we will look at the dog breeds and types that have reached new heights of popularity in the last year and those that may be falling out of favour, based on Kennel Club registration data from the last year and beyond. Read on to learn more.

Dog breeds that are on the up

Out of the ten dog breeds that have risen the most in the popularity rankings in 2018, seven of them are small or small-to-medium sized breeds, with the breed topping the list in terms of an increase in popularity being the schnauzer.

The smaller schnauzer variants have increased in popularity by a huge 47% in 2018, which means almost half as many new registrations again were made in 2018 compared to the same period of 2017.

The next dog in the list to make a steep jump in the popularity stakes is the Chow Chow, which has increased in popularity by 43%, followed by the Longhaired Dachshund with a 26% increase, and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, at 25%.

The Pembroke Welsh corgi has actually been gaining popularity now for some time – seeing a 39% increased in popularity across 2013-2017, which in fact resulted in this breed being removed from the Kennel Club’s “at watch” list for potentially vulnerable native dog breeds as determined by new puppy registration numbers.

Dog breeds that are in decline

When it comes to the dog breeds that have fallen in popularity as measured by new puppy registration numbers in 2018, large and medium-to-large breeds top the list, and represent most of the other breeds within the list too.

Of the dog breeds that have fallen in popularity the most this year, the Alaskan Malamute tops the list with a 34% decline in registration numbers, followed by the Bearded Collie with a 30% drop.

Next comes the Giant Schnauzer with a 21% decline in registration numbers (whilst the smaller schnauzer variants are in their turn rising in popularity, as outlined above), and the Welsh Springer Spaniel dog breed has fallen in registration numbers by 18% during 2018 too.

Dog breeds that are gaining and falling in popularity over a longer time period

Looking at a slightly longer timeframe to get a more stable picture of what breeds are changing in popularity, the Kennel Club has also examined the five years from 2013-2017 to identify the breeds that are becoming more and less popular in the long term.

Nine out of the ten breeds that have been gaining popularity year on year since 2013 are small dog breeds, with the French bulldog being far and away the biggest winner, with a 342% increase in puppy registration numbers between 2013-2017. However, the French bulldog isn’t on the list of breeds that have risen the most prolifically this year alone, which indicates that whilst the breed’s popularity is still growing and rising, the speed of its increase has begun to level out somewhat.

The other top dog breeds that have increased in popularity since 2013 are the Smooth Dachshund with a 292% increase, the Sealyham Terrier with a 146% increase, and the Havanese with a 111% increase.

Once more, large breeds make up the dogs on the list of longer term registration declines, with the Japanese Akita falling 57% since 2013, as the Great Dane fell 24% and the Boxer by 16%.


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