LABRADORS RETURN TO THE TOP SPOT AS THE UK’S MOST POPULAR DOG BREED

Protectivity has conducted research that reveals which dog breeds have seen the biggest rise and fall in registration numbers over the last two decades.

  • The Labrador takes the crown of the most popular dog breed with 35,347 registrations in newly released Kennel Club Club data, overtaking the French Bulldog.

  • When looking at breed types, utility breeds have seen the biggest increase in registrations, with a 163% rise since 1990.

  • The Dogue de Bordeaux is revealed to have had the largest increase in registrations, with a 22,217% rise, from just 6 registrations in 1990 to 1,339 in 2019.

  • Surprisingly, the Yorkshire Terrier has experienced the greatest fall in registration numbers with just 644 registrations in 2019 compared to a huge 24,015 in 1990, as owners are favouring continental breeds over the classic British breeds.

April 2020: Pet business insurance provider Protectivity has analysed data from The Kennel Club to reveal which dog breeds with strong bite are the most popular and which have seen the biggest rise and fall in registration numbers in the UK between 1990 and 2019. You can view the piece here.

As a nation of animal lovers, dogs are one of our most popular pets, and with over a quarter of adults owning one, we all have our own favourite breeds. Traditionally, we’ve seen Spaniels, Labradors and Terriers among the more commonly owned breeds, but in recent years we’ve also seen ‘designer’ dog breeds become much more popular, with these posh pups costing over £1000 to buy in some cases.

French Bulldogs lose their spot as the top dog

Looking at the number of registrations in the UK in 2019, the Labrador Retriever comes in as the top breed with 35,347 registrations, overtaking last year’s top breed the French Bulldog, which has had 33,661 registrations. The “Frenchie”, as it’s more affectionately known, has risen to popularity after becoming the breed of choice for celebrities such as the Beckhams, Lady Gaga and Holly Willoughby, amongst others. However, the spike in French Bulldog purchases has also caused the RSPCA to see a 236% increase in the number of this breed entering their care over the last seven years.

 

The top ten sees our old favourite breeds such as the Cocker Spaniel, Golden Retriever and Dachshund, but also includes a more surprising entry in the form of the Miniature Schnauzer. Ranked as one of the most ‘average’ dogs by the Royal Veterinary College, the lack of breed-related problems and tolerant nature make the Miniature Schnauzer a good option for any aspiring dog owners, with their smart mustachioed appearance also winning the hearts of many.

The top five most popular dog breeds are:

Rank

Breed

Registrations in 2019

1

Retriever (Labrador)

35,347

2

French Bulldog

33,661

3

Spaniel (Cocker)

21,663

4

Bulldog

9,922

5

Spaniel (English Springer)

8,638

 

Which breeds have seen the biggest rise and fall in registrations?

The nation’s trendiest dog since 1990 goes to the Dogue de Bordeaux. With a huge 22,217% increase in registrations, the breed has seen a massive surge in popularity, even placing above the French Bulldog which comes in second with a 13,639% increase. Despite having a long history of working roles including as a guard dog, these gentle giants make a brilliant dog to have around children, with their calm and affectionate nature making them a loyal family member.

However, it’s the biggest fallers that might be more surprising, with the Yorkshire Terrier having seen a 97% decrease in registrations. The number of registrations of the breed have been steadily declining year on year, highlighting how fewer litters are being produced. This decline may also in part be as a result of the overall increase in registrations for popular European breeds such as the French Bulldog, causing a saturation of more small breeds in the market.

The five breeds with the greatest increase in registrations are:

Rank

Breed

Difference in registrations from 1990 to 2019 (%)

1

Dogue de Bordeaux

22,217%

2

French Bulldog

13,639%

3

Bracco Italiano

5,850%

4

Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois)

2,183%

5

Retriever (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling)

2,125%

 

The five breeds with the greatest decrease in registrations are:

Rank

Breed

Difference in registrations from 1990 to 2019 (%)

1

Yorkshire Terrier

-97%

2

West Highland White Terrier

-92%

3

Pekingese

-91%

4

Polish Lowland Sheepdog

-88%

5

Cairn Terrier

-88%

 

Utility breeds see a surge in popularity

When looking at the wider breed types, the change in popularity of breeds can be seen further. With a 163% surge in popularity, Utility breeds have risen by quite some margin, while Pastoral, Toy and Terrier breeds have all experienced declines of over 50%. Within the Pastoral breed group, over 80% of the breeds analysed have experienced a decline, including larger breeds such as the Old English Sheepdog, Bearded Collie and Shetland Sheepdog. This downward trend in larger breeds may also be reflective of the increase in people living in city centre locations, where the urban lifestyle is much more suited to smaller dogs.

Sean Walsh, Marketing Manager from Protectivity Insurance comments: 

“Dogs are some of our most loved pets, as they become deeply embedded and irreplaceable members of the family. Each family or owner will have their own criteria when choosing a dog, in order to ensure that the needs of the breed are met with their lifestyle.

As a result, it’s interesting to see how our modern lifestyles have created a shift in popularity towards smaller dog breeds, rather than the larger Retrievers and German Shepherds which were once much more popular”