The French Bulldog, a breed favoured by celebrities such as the Beckhams, Lady Gaga and Hugh Jackman, has overtaken the Labrador Retriever as the UK’s most popular breed of dog, according to statistics released by dog welfare organisation, the Kennel Club.
In the first quarter of 2018 there were 8,403 French Bulldog puppy registrations, compared to 7,409 for the Labrador.
This represents a 23 percent uplift on the first quarter of 2017, whereas Labrador numbers have only risen by seven percent in the same period.
This is the first time that the French Bulldog has topped Labrador registrations in any quarter and if the trend continues the Kennel Club forecasts that the breed will be the most popular dog breed in the UK by the end of 2018.
The popularity of the breed has seen an unprecedented rise in recent years, with a 44 percent increase from 2016 to 2017 alone and a 2,964 percent increase over the last ten years (2008 to 2017).
The Labrador has been the most popular dog breed in the UK since 1990 – the year it overtook the Yorkshire Terrier.
The Kennel Club is concerned that the dramatic increase in numbers of French Bulldogs is due to people choosing the breed because of how it looks and because it is considered to be a fashionable choice, rather than because it is the most suitable breed for their lifestyle.
Recent research by insurance comparison site, Finder.com, also discovered that the breed is the most expensive to own.
Furthermore, the charity’s registrations only account for around 30 percent of the total population of dogs in the UK, so this doesn’t factor in the undocumented and unregistered French Bulldogs.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club secretary, said: “We have never seen such a dramatic increase in breed popularity as we have with the French Bulldog and so far in 2018, it is the top dog in the UK for the first time.
“The French Bulldog is a wonderful breed for the right owners but people are often surprised to know there are actually 221 pedigree dog breeds, so we urge people to remember that it isn’t always the obvious and fashionable choice that is right for you.”
Sue Worrall, trustee of the French Bulldog Welfare Trust: “We are getting more and more French Bulldogs coming through our doors from people who haven’t thought through whether they are the right dog for their lifestyle. People need to be aware that French Bulldogs require lots of companionship and training and can suffer from serious health problems.”
The Kennel Club is urging anyone who wants to get a French Bulldog to consider the full range of breeds, including the official list of ‘Vulnerable Native and Irish Dog Breeds’, which are at risk of disappearing because their numbers are so low.
There are 27 breeds on the list, including the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Otterhound and the Irish Red and White Setter, whose numbers are below 300 annual puppy registrations. A further eight breeds, including the Old English Sheepdog, are ‘At Watch’ because they number 300-450 annual registrations.
More information on how to buy a French Bulldog – and other flat faced dog breeds – responsibly, can be found at thekennelclub.org.uk/flatfaceddoghealth.
French Bulldog registrations for the last 10 years
Kennel Club registrations of French Bulldogs
Kennel Club registrations of Labrador Retrievers
Top five breeds for Q1 of 2018
Kennel Club registrations