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There's a New Dog in Town: UK's Most Popular Dog Breeds Revealed

This week official puppy registration figures for 2018 have been released. And the stats show there’s a new dog in town.

At Millets we love all things dogs and as such, we've taken a close look at the newly released pedigree registration statistics to find out what our favourite dog breeds are and how this has changed over the past 10 years. The results show the popularity of the 221 recognised pedigree breeds within the UK and might take you by surprise.

What is the UK's most common dog breed?

Records reveal the French Bulldog as the UK’s favourite dog breed for the first time ever. Following a steady period of decline for the Labrador Retriever and an exponential surge in popularity of the French Bulldog, the Frenchie has overtaken the Labrador as the UK’s most popular dog breed*.

The French Bulldog Is the UKs Most Popular Dog Breed

Against expectations from data registrars The Kennel Club, the Frenchie narrowly pipped the Labrador to the top spot with 36,785 versus 36,526 registrations in 2018.

Total Number of Dogs Registered in the UK By Year

Following a 14% decline in the overall number of registrations from 2010 (257,062) to 2015 (219,965), since 2016 the number of pedigree puppy registrations has risen sharply, reaching 250,611 in 2018.                                                        

Top 10 registered pedigree dog breeds in the UK 2009 to 2018

The most popular breed of 2018 was the French Bulldog, with 14.7% (36,785) of puppy registrations. The faithful Frenchie has surged in popularity following high profile celebrity ownerships and a trend for city lifestyles. For the first time on record, the so-called Andrex puppies with their playful nature and calm temperament have been beaten to the top spot, with 14.6% (36,526) of pups registered being Labrador Retrievers.

The Labrador Retriever Is Now The UK's Second Favourite Dog Breed

Also making the top five were Cocker Spaniels (9.5%), Bulldogs (4.3%) and English Springer Spaniels (4.1%). In contrast, amongst the rarest breeds registered in 2018 were Komondors, the Laekenois variety of the Belgian Shepherd Dog and the Hungarian Kuvasz – each with just one pup.

It seems that smaller breeds are generally increasing in popularity whilst larger breeds appear to be on the decline.

Breeds on the rise

Much like French Bulldogs, Bulldogs have seen a strong yet consistent rise in numbers over the past decade. From 4,217 (0.6%) in 2009, registrations have increased almost every year up to 10,665 (4.3%) in 2018.

The Miniature Smooth Haired Dachshund, which is now the ninth most popular dog in the country, has soared by over 173% in the past decade. And Pugs have also increased in numbers year on year, going from 4,769 (2%) in 2009 to 9,742 (3.9%) in 2018.

Bulldog Registrations in the UK By Year

Breeds on the decline

German Shepherds on the other hand have seen a small yet consistent decline in numbers since 2009. From 10,338 (4.2%) in this year, to 7,299 (2.9%) in 2018, it seems our previously favoured police dogs are slowly falling in popularity. Similarly, English Springer Spaniels have seen a steady decline over the past decade, from 12,700 (5.2%) in 2009 to 10,152 (4.1%) in 2018.

German Shepherd Registrations in the UK By Year

Vulnerable breeds

Some of our oldest and most historic native breeds are declining and a total of 29 breeds are on The Kennel Club’s list of native vulnerable breeds. Included in this list are the Deerhound, King Charles Spaniels and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi.

These breeds are at risk of disappearing from our streets and parks with less than 300 annual registrations, whilst a further 9 that number between 300 and 450 are on the ‘At Watch’ list. New to the ‘At Watch’ list this year is The Scottish Terrier, more famously known as the Scottie dog and as the face of famous brands such as Radley.

More native British breeds than ever before are at risk as their popularity declines in the face of ever-increasing demand for new breeds such as the French Bulldog.

Speaking about the data, Kennel Club Secretary Caroline Kisko said:

“There were just 24 vulnerable breeds and seven deemed at risk a decade ago. There are now another seven breeds either vulnerable or at risk and we could lose even more of our most iconic and historic native dog breeds if people don’t look beyond the most obvious choices, and start to explore the huge diversity of breeds we’re lucky enough to have in this country.”

The breeds are however experiencing no such decline in popularity in the show ring, thanks to a small group of enthusiastic people. Breeds such as the Deerhound and King Charles Spaniel are amongst the top ten breeds to increase in Crufts entry numbers this year. Furthermore, in the past decade two Best in Show winners have been from the vulnerable list – the Sealyham Terrier in 2009 and the Scottish Terrier in 2015 – and with a top winning dog in the Terrier Group this year being vulnerable, a Kerry Blue Terrier, there is hope that Crufts could shine a light on these breeds, which are disappearing from the public mind.

Caroline added:

“There are 221 breeds of dog and they are all very different, suited to different people and lifestyles. We encourage people to do their research and if they’re not sure people can meet nearly all the dog breeds in the Discover Dogs area of Crufts, taking place in March.”

Despite a surge in popularity of smaller breeds, at Millets we recognise spending time outdoors is important for both dogs and their owners regardless of size. It’s important for us to get outside regularly with our furry friends no matter the breed and we’re here help you find the right outdoor clothing and footwear to do so, in all weather.

Shop Dog Walking Clothes and Essentials

Need some dog walking inspiration? Check out our Top 5 Dog Walks in Wales

*The Kennel Club registers around 30% of puppies in the UK.

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