The idea that somebody might steal our dog is one of the most frightening thoughts that can occur to any dog lover, and in the aftermath of a theft, never knowing what happened to your pet or if someone else is taking care of them can be virtually impossible to come to terms with.
Dog theft in the UK is a very real threat to pet owners, but it is less common than many people assume. Based on statistics collated by pet insurance companies over the years and on freedom of information requests to various police forces (interestingly, incidents of dog theft are not included in each force’s published crime statistics, which means getting the data itself can be challenging) five dogs per day are stolen in the UK on average.
This is obviously five dogs per day too many, but when you consider that this figure encompasses the whole of the UK, and that 17% of these dog eventually make their way back to their rightful owners, the figure is not as high as most people suspect.
Certain dog breeds and types are more at risk of being stolen than others too, either due to their popularity, value, or potentially, ease of removal, in terms of how cooperative or even portable the dog in question may be.
Whatever breed or type of dog you own, there are a number of things you can do to help to reduce the chances of your dog being one of the very small number of dogs targeted by thieves, including not leaving them tied up outside of shops, out in the garden unsupervised, or in the care of people you don’t really know.
If you’re wondering what dog breeds are the most commonly stolen in the UK and what breeds are most at risk from thieves, this article will tell you. Read on to lean the five most commonly stolen dog breeds in the UK.
The Staffordshire bull terrier is in fact the most commonly stolen dog breed in the UK, and in 2018 (the most recent complete year with collated data available) a total number of 88 Staffordshire bull terriers were reported stolen across the country overall.
TheStaffy is the UK’s 10th most popular dog breed overall, which makes their first-placed position as the most stolen dog something of an anomaly; with the breed’s average asking prices for puppies falling firmly within the all-breed averages too, so they’re not prohibitively costly to buy compared to other pedigree dogs.
One potential explanation for this is the Staffy appearance making them desirable to people whose reasons for wanting a dog might be best described as less than ideal, such as wanting a dog that looks fierce or to use for guarding, neither of which are traits at which the Staffy really excels.
It makes sense that crossbreed dogs hold a fairly high position on the theft list, as crossbreeds encompass in total probably a greater number of individual dogs than those within any one pedigree breed. The term “crossbreed” also encompasses all of the popular but non-pedigree hybrid dog types too like the Cockapoo, which are themselves highly desirable and in demand with puppy buyers and so, potentially thieves.
In 2018, 53 crossbreed dogs were reported stolen in the UK.
The Chihuahua is the UK’s second most popular dog breed, and so it makes sense that they’re also in demand among dog thieves. In 2018, a total number of 52 Chihuahuas were reported stolen in the UK, and this is objectively one of the more desirable and potentially easiest to steal dog breeds too.
The Chihuahua is a highly portable dog, which makes them easy to steal, but they also aren’t a breed that tends to be left loose or alone in public very commonly, which can reduce opportunistic theft. On the flipside, they do tend to accompany their owners to more places than larger dogs, potentially making them more available to would-be thieves.
The French bulldog is the most popular dog breed in the UK overall, and by a large margin. This makes it no surprise that they’re among the most commonly stolen dogs, and if anything, more of a surprise that they don’t fall higher on the list.
However, in 2018, a total number of 51 French bulldogs were reported stolen, and so there is only one dog’s difference between places 2, 3 and 4 in the list anyway.
French bulldogs are both rather expensive to buy and in continual demand, meaning that they’re a lucrative and potentially, easy to sell option for dog thieves.
The fifth-placed most commonly stolen dog breed in the UK is the Jack Russell, with 39 of them being reported stolen in 2018. This is the UK’s 11th most popular dog breed, and not one that is overly expensive to buy, and so their inclusion on the list might at first seem anomalous.
However, working Jack Russells are often in demand for hunting and pest control, and adept ratters are always highly prized, which mean that some dogs of the breed may be stolen for working roles rather than simply because they may make good pets.