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The Kennel Club Says French Bulldogs Are Falling In Popularity In The Uk – But Are They?

The French bulldog is by far the most popular dog breed in the UK, outstripping their closest competitors by a significant percentage. This is also a breed that rose through the ranks very quickly to take the top spot, being a rather uncommon breed here up until around a decade ago.

In fact, the French bulldog’s popularity and sheer demand for dogs of the breed saw it overtake the previously first-placed Labrador retriever only back in 2018 to win the top spot in terms of the number of new pups of the breed registered with the Kennel Club during the prior year.

This is a position that had been held by the Labrador retriever since 1992.

However, the Kennel Club recently announced that the seemingly unstoppable rise and rise of the French bulldog might actually be on the wane; and that the number of new puppy registrations for Frenchies over the last year is actually lower than for last year, based on comparative figures for the first six months of 2018 versus the first six months of 2019.

This might well be as a result of many well-publicised campaigns highlighting concerns about the breed’s health finally paying off. Puppy buyers are theoretically better informed about the correlation between those French bulldog flat faces and a number of painful and debilitating health issues in a large number of the breed’s population – if the Kennel Club’s figures are indeed a true reflection of the current state of play. 

As well as the Kennel Club’s figures on how many puppies of the breed are registered with them each year, we here at Pets4Homes also collate statistics for how many adverts for dogs of each breed are placed here in the course of any given year too, which provides a second point of comparison.

Pets4Homes is the UK’s biggest and best pet classifieds website, and our advert numbers in many ways reflect a much close approximation of the true state of play for dog breed popularity in the UK, based on advert numbers placed here within any given year. Our figures factor in both pedigree, registered French bulldogs and also unregistered or non-pedigree dogs, of which there are often a significant number too.

With this in mind, we’ve reviewed our own advert numbers for the French bulldog from the last year to date and compared them to the prior twelve month period to try to determine if the French bulldog really is falling in numbers – and so, popularity – in the UK or not. Read on to find out.

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

The Kennel Club’s published figures comparing the first six months of 2019 to the first six months of 2018 represent data on the number of French bulldog puppies registered with the Kennel Club within those two respective six-month periods.

Here are the stats:

  • During the first two quarters of 2018, a total number of 17,061 French bulldog puppies were registered with the Kennel Club.
  • During the same time period in 2019, a total number of 15,785 French bulldog puppies were registered with the Kennel Club.
  • This is a difference of 1,276 fewer puppies registered in the given timeframe this year as opposed to last year.
  • This represents a drop in popularity of almost 8%.

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

As mentioned, Pets4Homes’ data is a little different to that of the Kennel Club, and so cannot be considered to be a like-for-like representation or fact checker for the Kennel Club’s own information. Our data incorporates non-pedigree dogs as well as pedigrees of the breed, and also, refers to the number of adverts placed, not the exact number of puppies and dogs offered for sale.

This is because most French bulldog breeders use just one advert for a whole litter, not individual ads for each pup – so the exact number of pups advertised in total would be rather higher in every statistic we will share than the number of ads themselves. However, as this is consistent across all of our calculations, the end result remains consistent too.

Also, we’re working with a different and rather larger and more up-to-date timeframe than the Kennel Club’s, which reflected six-month period of time comparatives only, ending at the end of June 2018 and end of June 2019 respectively.

The timeframe we’ve collated advert data for to compare is the twelve-month period running from the 1st October 2018 until the 30th September 2019 (so the most recent 12-month period) and the 1st October 2017 until the 30th September 2018 respectively.

Here are our advert stats:

  • During the twelve-month period of 1st October 2017-30th September 2018, a total number of 24,918 adverts were placed for French bulldog puppies and dogs for sale via Pets4Homes.
  • During the same time period for this most recent 12 months up to the end of September 2019, a total number of 22,649 adverts were placed for French bulldog puppies and dogs for sale via Pets4Homes.
  • This is a difference of 2,269 fewer French bulldog adverts placed in this last twelve-month period compared to the prior one.
  • This represents a drop in popularity of around 9.5%.

So, is the French bulldog really falling in popularity or not?

The Kennel Club’s statistics indicate that the French bulldog has indeed taken a significant hit in registration numbers during their comparative time periods, albeit these windows of time are comparatively short and it may be too early to tell if this is a one-off statistical anomaly or the start of a meaningful trend.

In terms of our own findings from Pets4Homes advert numbers, the Kennel Club’s claims are indeed borne out – and in fact, our own advert stats covering both longer (12-month) time periods and more up-to-date comparative time periods not only support the Kennel Clubs findings, but indicate that the breed’s numbers have fallen by over 1.5% more than the Kennel Club’s figures indicate.

Again, whether or not this decline will continue, and to what extent, remains to be seen; and as for why it has occurred, well, that’s a topic for another article, so watch this space!

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