The terrier dog group is one of the largest and most diverse of them all, with terriers coming in a wide range of shapes and sizes and historically, having been used for a wide range of different types of working roles.
Many terriers are small dogs, although there are some notable exceptions – and the original purpose that most terriers were bred for was hunting burrowing animals like foxes, rabbits, and badgers, and for pest control to manage populations of animals including mink and rodents.
Whilst few of today’s terriers are still kept for working roles, they remain hugely popular as pets, and the sheer range of different terrier breeds means there is a lot of choice out there for potential puppy buyers to choose between.
Whether you already own a terrier or are perhaps thinking of buying one, you may be wondering which terrier dog breeds are the most popular – and we’ll list the top five terrier breeds in the UK within this article, based on adverts and user searches performed here on Pets4Homes. Read on to learn more.
The West Highland terrier hails from Scotland, and they’re one of the UK’s oldest recognised dog breeds with a documented history going back to the 1500’s. They were originally used for hunting foxes and otters in their home country, and their white coats made them easy for their handlers to identify in the field!
The West Highland terrier is the 5th most popular terrier breed in the UK, and the 41st most popular breed overall. They are in great demand among puppy buyers, and their small size, lively natures and affectionate personalities mean that they are a great match for owners from all walks of life.
Sticking with the Scottish theme, the UK’s 4th most popular terrier breed – and the 33rd most popular overall – is the Border terrier. This small, plucky little dog hails from Northumberland on the Scottish borders, and they got their name due to their historical use within the Border Hunt of Northumberland.
Their stamina, determination, and superior tracking ability made them hugely useful for working alongside of hunts, and today’s Border terriers retain all of these traits – they are independent, fun-loving, and very tenacious when they set their minds to something!
They are also much in demand as pets and again, their small size makes them a good fit for homes ranging from huge country manors to urban apartments.
Heading a little further south (albeit not by much!) the 3rd most popular terrier breed in the UK is the Yorkshire terrier. This breed is also the 13th most popular dog breed overall. Up until 1990, the Yorkshire terrier was actually the nation’s favourite, with more new puppies of this breed being registered annually with The Kennel Club than any other.
The Yorkshire terrier is a small terrier breed that often has a very long and luxurious coat, which gives them a very distinguished appearance but that takes a lot of care and maintenance to keep it at its best.
They are lively, quirky, fun-loving and often very entertaining, as well as being very affectionate with their owners. They can also be quite vocal, and may be prone to barking a lot when people come to the door!
The Jack Russell is perhaps the dog that most people bring to mind when they think of a terrier, which helps to secure their place as the 2nd most popular terrier breed in the UK, and the 11th most popular dog breed overall.
Jack Russells can be found in a wide range of different coat colours, and the texture of their fur may be either smooth, rough, or broken – which means a mixture of rough and smooth together.
They are very bold little dogs that tend to be independent and tenacious – and these traits have garnered them a reputation as big dogs in little dog bodies! They are almost fearless and are incredibly plucky, holding their own in the dog park with much larger playmates with ease.
They can be very one track minded, particularly when it comes to hunting and digging, and some Jack Russell owners will tell you that you don’t so much give the dog commands, as make suggestions and hope that they agree with you!
The Staffordshire bull terrier is the UK’s most popular terrier breed overall, as well as being the 10th most popular breed of all. As well as being the most popular, they’re also the largest terrier breed in the top five list, with a medium height and a highly muscular and stocky build.
The Staffordshire bull terrier is a playful, highly affectionate dog that makes for a great family pet, and their owners often say that once you’ve owned a Staffy, you will never consider a dog of another breed again.
Their strength, tenacity and business-like appearance can be rather daunting for people that aren’t familiar with the breed, and they are often wrongly assumed to make for great guard dogs as a result of this. However, whilst they can be protective of their families, they also have lovely natures and are not prone to being aggressive or hard to manage.
They are perhaps one of the most wrongly maligned breeds in the UK in the public perception – but their popularity belies this, and indicates the versatility and excellent temperament that dogs of the breed usually possess.