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The Most Popular Dog Breeds In The UK

Following on from my post about Lucy’s Law, I though this would be a great time to write about the most popular dog breeds in the UK.

Research from a leading company specialising in pet friendly holiday cottages conducted the research and found that Labradors are once again the most popular breed in the UK.

Over a tenth of dog owners have a Labrador, closely followed by Cockerpoos and then followed by Springer Spaniels.

The research conducted by Dogfriendlycottages.co.UK also looked into the holiday habits of over 2,000 dog owners and found that three quarters of people book holiday destinations based on the needs of their dogs.

That is certainly true in our family. Hudson and Nelly go pretty much everywhere with us.

So here are the top 10 most popular dog breeds in the UK.

10. West Highland Terrier

The West Highland White Terrier, commonly known as the Westie, is from Scotland with a distinctive white coat with a somewhat soft white undercoat. It is a medium-sized terrier, although with longer legs than other Scottish breeds of terrier. It has a white double coat of fur which fills out the dog’s face, giving it a rounded appearance.

West Highland Terrier
West Highland Terrier

The breed is intelligent, quick to learn, and can be good with children, but does not always tolerate rough handling. The Westie is an active and intelligent breed, and is social with a high prey drive, as they were once used to hunt rodents. Additionally, it is a hypoallergenic dog breed.

The modern breed is descended from a number of breeding programs of white terriers in Scotland before the 20th century. Cousin to the Cairn Terrier, the Westie was bred to hunt small rodents at places such as farms. Edward Donald Malcolm, 16th Laird of Poltalloch, is credited with the creation of the modern breed from his Poltalloch Terrier, but did not want to be known as such.

The breed remains very popular in the UK, with multiple wins at Cruft’s. It has been in the top third of all breeds in the US since the 1960s. Several breed-specific and nonspecific health issues appear in the breed, including a condition in young dogs nicknamed “westie jaw” which causes an overgrowth of bone in the jaw of the dog. It can also be prone to skin disorders, with a breed-specific condition called hyperplastic dermatosis occurring. They are a very energetic and boisterous breed, needing regular exercise of around one hour per day.

9. Lurcher

A Lurcher is normally a cross between a sighthound and a working dog breed. Collie crosses are popular, given the working instinct of a sheepdog when mated with a sighthound gives a dog of great intelligence plus speed—prerequisites for the hunter/poacher.

Lurcher Puppy
Lurcher Puppy

Temperament is also variable, dependent on parental influence. As could be expected, lurchers with dominant sighthound attributes have similar temperaments. As with all dogs, temperament will be modified by socialising the puppy. The modern lurcher has left behind its old image of disrepute, and is now regarded as an exceptional family dog and many groups have been founded to rehome lurchers as family pets.

8. Border Terrier

The Border Terrier is a small, rough-coated breed of dog in the terrier group. In 2008, the Border Terrier ranked 8th in number of registrations by the UK Kennel Club.

Border Terrier
Border Terrier

They were originally used for hunting in packs as they were exceptionally good at catching rabbits and any small animal. Now they are commonly seen as family pets. Sometimes stubborn and strong willed, border terriers are sound dogs. They are friendly and rarely aggressive. They are very good with children, but may chase cats and other small pets.

They take training for tasks very well, and are extremely trainable, and capable of learning tricks quickly and competently. The border in recent years has been bred to harbor a more subtle character so are more adaptable to apartment living if properly exercised.

Their love of people and even temperament make them fine therapy dogs, especially for children and the elderly, and they are occasionally used to aid the blind or deaf. From a young age they should be trained on command.

Borders can adapt to different environments and situations well, and are able to deal with temporary change well. They will get along well with cats that they have been raised with, but may chase other cats and small animals such as mice, birds, rabbits, squirrels, rats, and guinea pigs.

Borders are very independent and loyal. Some borders are known to be territorial and will protect their homes. They have a strong sense of smell and can tell when danger is near.

Borders love to sit and watch what is going on. Walks with Borders will often involve them sitting and lying in the grass to observe the environment around them. Borders are brilliant pets and lots of fun to own.

7. Border Collie

The Border Collie is a working and herding dog breed developed in the Scottish borders for herding livestock, especially sheep. It was specifically bred for intelligence and obedience. It is very fetch-oriented.

Border Collie
Border Collie

Considered highly intelligent, extremely energetic, acrobatic and athletic, they frequently compete with great success in sheepdog trials and dog sports. They are often cited as the most intelligent of all domestic dogs. Border collies continue to be employed in their traditional work of herding livestock throughout the world and are kept as pets.

Border collies require considerably more daily physical exercise and mental stimulation than many other breeds. It is recommended that potential owners, before taking on the breed as a household pet, should be sure they can provide regular exercise commensurate with the collie’s high energy and huge stamina.

6. German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is a breed of medium to large-sized working dog that originated in Germany. In the English language, the breed’s officially recognized name is German Shepherd Dog (GSD). The breed was officially known as the Alsatian in the UK from after the First World War until 1977 when its name was changed back to German Shepherd. Despite its primitive, wolf-like appearance the German Shepherd is a relatively modern breed of dog, with their origin dating to 1899.

German Shepherd
German Shepherd

As a herding dog, German Shepherds are working dogs developed originally for herding sheep. Since that time, however, because of their strength, intelligence, trainability, and obedience, German Shepherds around the world are often the preferred breed for many types of work, including disability assistance, search-and-rescue, police and military roles and acting. The German Shepherd is the seventh-most registered breed by The Kennel Club in the United Kingdom.

German Shepherds are moderately active dogs and are described in breed standards as self assured. The breed is marked by a willingness to learn and an eagerness to have a purpose. They are curious, which makes them excellent guard dogs and suitable for search missions. They can become overprotective of their family and territory, especially if not socialized correctly. They are not inclined to become immediate friends with strangers. German Shepherds are highly intelligent and obedient, as well as protective of their owners.

5. Jack Russell

The Jack Russell Terrier is a small terrier that has its origins in fox hunting in England. It is principally white-bodied and smooth, rough or broken-coated and can be any colour. Each breed has different physical proportions according to the standards of their breed clubs. Jack Russells are an energetic breed that rely on a high level of exercise and stimulation. They are relatively free from any serious health complaints.  Jack Russells have appeared many times in film, television, and print – with several historical dogs of note.

Jack Russell
Jack Russell

It is not uncommon for these dogs to become moody or destructive if not properly stimulated and exercised, as they have a tendency to bore easily and will often create their own fun when left alone to entertain themselves.

Their high energy and drive make these dogs ideally suited to a number of different dog sports such as flyball or agility. Obedience classes are also recommended to potential owners, as Jack Russells can be stubborn at times and aggressive towards other animals and humans if not properly socialized. Despite their small size, these dogs are not recommended for apartment dwellers unless the owner is ready to take on the daunting task of providing the dog with the necessary amount of exercise and stimulation. They have a tremendous amount of energy for their size, a fact which can sometimes lead to trouble involving larger animals. They may never seem to tire and will still be energetic after their owner has called it a day. While socialised members of the breed are friendly towards children, they will not tolerate abuse.

4. Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniels are dogs belonging to two breeds of the spaniel dog type: the American Cocker Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel, both of which are commonly called simply Cocker Spaniel in their countries of origin. In the early 20th century, Cocker Spaniels also included small hunting spaniels.

Cocker Spaniel
Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniels were originally bred as hunting dogs in the United Kingdom, with the term “cocker” deriving from their use to hunt the Eurasian woodcock.

Cocker Spaniels have a sweet disposition and tend to be intelligent, making them a good pet for families in particular. This breed of dog is easy to train, but due to their sensitive nature, do not tend to respond well to harsh training methods. Training using positive reinforcement and encouragement is the best method for the Cocker Spaniel.

Cocker Spaniels can suffer from separation anxiety and best enjoy being in a household environment around people.

That said, the Cocker Spaniel was bred as a hunting dog and needs regular exercise outdoors. Up to an hour a day is usually enough.

3. English Springer Spaniel

The English Springer Spaniel is a breed of gun dog in the Spaniel family traditionally used for flushing and retrieving game. It is an affectionate, excitable breed with a typical lifespan of twelve to fourteen years. They are very similar to the Welsh Springer Spaniel and are descended from the Norfolk or Shropshire Spaniels of the mid-19th century; the breed has diverged into separate show and working lines. It is closely related to the Welsh Springer Spaniel and very closely to the English Cocker Spaniel; less than a century ago, springers and cockers would come from the same litter. They are used as sniffer dogs on a widespread basis. The term Springer comes from the historic hunting role, where the dog would flush (spring) birds into the air.

Springer Spaniel
Springer Spaniel

The typical Spaniel is friendly, eager to please, quick to learn and willing to obey. In the right circumstances, it can be an affectionate and easy-going family dog. Its alertness and attentiveness make it a good hunting companion. A typical Springer Spaniel will often choose one person in the family to be most loyal to and stick with that person as much as possible. It has exceptional stamina and needs moderate amounts of activity, to focus its mind and to provide exercise, although this is different for each dog. Its long-legged build makes it among the fastest of the spaniels.

It is a sociable breed that enjoys the company of children and handles the company of other pets well. The hunting breed may not get along well with cats, however. If left alone for too long, they can become destructive and mischievous through boredom. They love water and tend to get wet whenever they have the chance.

2. Cockapoo

A Cockapoo can be the result of mating either the American Cocker Spaniel or English Cocker Spaniel with a Poodle.

Cockapoo Puppy
Cockapoo Puppy

Purebred breed associations such as The Kennel Club, the American Kennel Club, the United Kennel Club, or the Canadian Kennel Club, do not recognize the Cockapoo.

Due to their fashionable status, Cockapoos are one of the mixed breed dogs most susceptible to be bred by puppy farms or unscrupulous amateur breeders looking to maximise profit. Potential owners should carefully research where they are purchasing their puppy from in order not to support this industry. Please see my post on Lucy’s Law.

Cockapoos have become popular because they generally combine the outgoing, loving personality of the Cocker spaniel with the low-shedding, low-dander qualities of the Poodle. Cockapoos are active, and thrive when they receive regular exercise. Cockapoos can be very agile, excelling at “retrieve” games and enjoying activities such as swimming. Cockapoos are frequently very needy dogs and as such are not suitable to be left alone for long periods as they frequently suffer from separation distress or anxiety.

Cockapoos, may inherit the characteristics of either or both their parent breeds. While some Cockapoos appear more similar to Cocker Spaniels, others will exhibit more Poodle traits, creating a variation in Cockapoo appearance and temperament.

1. Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever, Labrador or just Lab, is a medium-large breed of retriever-gun dog. The Labrador is the most popular breed of dog in many nations.

Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retriever

A favourite disability assistance breed in many countries, Labradors are frequently trained to aid those with blindness or autism, act as a therapy dog, or perform screening and detection work for law enforcement and other official agencies. The breed is best known for their obedience, loyalty, and playful composure. Additionally, they are prized as sporting and hunting dogs.

The Labrador’s temperament is a kind, pleasant, outgoing and docile nature. Labradors’ sense of smell allows them to home in on almost any scent and follow the path of its origin. They generally stay on the scent until they find it. Military forces and police forces use them as detection dogs to track down smugglers, thieves, terrorists and black marketers. They are known to have a very soft feel to the mouth as a result of being bred to retrieve game such as waterfowl. They are prone to chewing objects (though they can be trained to abandon this behaviour).

Labradors have a reputation as a very even-tempered breed and an excellent family dog. This includes a good reputation with children of all ages and other animals. Labradors mature at around three years of age; before this time they can have a significant degree of puppy-like energy, often mislabelled as being hyperactive. Because of their enthusiasm, lead-training early on is suggested to prevent pulling when full-grown. Labradors often enjoy retrieving a ball endlessly (often obsessively) and other forms of activity (such as agility, frisbee, or flyball).

Labradors are usually not noisy or territorial. They are often very easygoing and trusting with strangers and therefore are not usually suitable as guard dogs.

So there we have it, the most popular breeds of dogs in the UK. I hope you have enjoyed this article.

For further information on Dog Breeds please check out this Link

Please feel free to leave any comments below.

All the best for now

David

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