Over 26% of the entire population of adults in the UK own a dog, translating to over 10 million dogs living in the UK right now. Experts believe that because many dogs aren’t actually registered, the estimate could go as high as 11 million canines.
Our vet database is the largest collection of veterinarians in the UK and coupled with data from the UK’s leading kennels and registrars, and data from the kennel clubs from previous years, we have determined the 10 most popular dog breeds in the UK for 2020.
The Boxer is a large and muscular dog whose name comes from its box head shape, and its tendency to bob weave during play fighting. They are very active and love playing and exercising. The boxer is not only popular in the UK, but also worldwide.
The popularity of this breed dates all the way back to the 1930s. It is a recognized breed by the kennel club and is regularly seen in the dog show and athletics circuit. While it has declined from its number 5 spot back in 2001, it still remains one of the most popular dogs in the UK.
- Golden Retrievers
The Golden Retriever is one of the most recognizable dog breeds and makes its way to number 9 on this list. A water-loving dog that is still hugely popular in America, it has an amazing work ethic and temperament that makes it suitable as a service dog for various purposes, like seeing eye dogs and rescue operations.
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
Perhaps the most consistent item on this list is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Often called the “Cavvy,” it shares a lot of similarities with its cousins the Springer Spaniel and the Cocker Spaniel. While it has seen a decline in popularity in the 20th century, it’s still beloved across Europe, gaining acclaim as a dog breed all the way from Norway to Spain.
- Border Terriers
The Border Terrier is a smaller statured rough-coated dog from Scotland. The dog breed is hardy, energetic, and competitive—much like the inhabitants of its homeland. They rarely retreat from confrontation, but like every dog, enjoy the affection of a loving owner.
Known to be stubborn at times, Border Terriers are rarely aggressive by nature despite their instinct to stand their ground. They are known to be protective and interact well with children, which has contributed to the rise in their popularity throughout the UK.
- English Springer Spaniels
The English Springer Spaniel is a gun dog, which is hugely popular in the UK. Coming from tradition and heritage spanning centuries, these dogs have been bred to flush out and retrieve game birds for hunters. They are incredibly obedient and good-natured, and recent years have revealed them to be friendly with small children.
Perhaps one of the most popular dog breeds in the world, the tiny size and large personality of the pug rank it at number 5 on this list. Its signature short-muzzled face and curly tail give it a unique cuteness among dogs.
Although the ethicality of its breeding practices has come under scrutiny in the last few years, pugs still remain a popular companion in the UK home.
- Cocker Spaniels
Just shy of the top 3 spots, the Cocker Spaniel is agile, energetic, and incredibly intelligent. Having had seven victories at Crufts, the Cocker Spaniel still remains a clear leader in dog breeds today, edging out its other spaniel cousins.
- German Shepherds
The German Shepherd, also known as the Alsatian, has seen a large jump in ownership since the 1960s, and especially within the last 10 years. It sees heavy use in UK police forces and military, with their athletic builds, high energy, and intense loyalty.
While they can be a challenge to groom, they still remain a personal favorite all across the UK.
- Labrador Retrievers
Many dog lists declare that Labrador Retrievers are the most popular UK dog breed, our data has proven, rather controversially, that it is only at number 2. Nevertheless, it is still a popular gun dog, used by hunters across the UK and the world, and has remained in the top 3 UK dog breeds in the last four decades.
Its loyal and loving nature make it a popular pet, and it is unlikely to leave the top of these lists for years to come.
- Staffordshire Bull Terriers
Having beaten out Labrador Retrievers due to a large number of Staffordshire Bull Terriers that remain unregistered with the kennel club, this dog breed owes popularity to its fierce loyalty and muscular physique.
This breed originated from the cross-breeding of an English White Terrier and a Bulldog and was originally bred to be a fighting dog. Since the banning of dog fighting, the breed has been revealed to be friendly, loyal, and affectionate, despite the ill news of bad owners training them to be aggressive.
Whatever dog breed you might prefer, all dogs, given the right circumstances and proper care, are good. They are loyal and loving companions that can bring joy to any home.
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