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These are the most popular dog breeds in the UK – and the best dogs for long walks


The last year of lockdowns and restrictions has lead to more people getting dogs.

In a time of crisis, we have needed man’s best friend like never before, and our puppy pals have been a great source of comfort and entertainment through extended periods of stress, uncertainty and boredom.

But which breeds are booming in popularity – and which ones have fallen out of favour? Taking a look at the trends in dog-ownership over the last year could help you decide which type of dog you should go for.

New research from the outdoor expert at Millets has revealed the dog breeds that are currently the most popular in the UK – and the ones that are in danger of becoming extinct.

Using analysis from the number of registrations of dogs with The Kennel Club, there was a noted a marked increase of new dogs from the previous year – up 7.8%. In total, 250,000 dogs were registered in 2020.

The top dog was found to be the Labrador Retriever, which has seen a rise in 13% of registrations since 2019 with The Kennel Club.

Coming in second was the French Bulldog – a breed favoured by our very own Metro.co.uk Lifeline’s Pete Wicks – which was the most popular dog in 2019, although the demand for this breed has leveled off over the last year.

In third place is the Cocker Spaniel, these sweet, friendly dogs have seen a jump in popularity over the last year.

While the number of Frenchies registered has levelled off, pedigree Bulldogs continue to rise in popularity. More than 11,000 were registered last year, an increase of 17% compared to 2019.

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There are now more than twice as many Bulldogs in the UK than a decade ago and the upward trend shows no signs of stopping.

It’s a similar story for the Miniature Smooth Haired Dachshund. 10 years of steady increases means that the UK now has five times as many Mini Sausage Dogs as it did had back in 2011.



The top 10 most popular dog breeds in the UK

1. Labrador Retriever

2. French Bulldog

3. Cocker Spaniel

4. Bulldog

5. Dachshund (Miniature Smooth Haired)

6. Springer Spaniel

7. Golden Retriever

8. German Shepherd

9. Pug

10. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

At the other end of the scale are the dog breeds that are steadily declining in popularity.

Pugs have seen 5,000 less registrations since 2017, following a period of incredible popularity, with 11,000 registrations four years ago, to just 6,000 registrations in 2020.

German Shepherds have seen a much slower decline, with 30% fewer registrations over the last 10 years, down from 10,000 in 2010 to 7,000 in 2020.

The English Springer Spaniel has also seen a 30% decline in the last 10 years, in a more gradual decline.

‘It is interesting to see how the popularity of certain dog breeds can change over time, for example the pedigree Bulldog and the Miniature Smooth Haired Dachshund have both seen an increase in popularity since 2011,’ says Kiera Baxter, Millets marketing exec and adventurer.

‘It is also a worrying trend that many native British dog breeds, such as the King Charles, are now deemed as vulnerable due to the demand of fashionable breeds like the French Bulldog.

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‘More British breeds than ever are at risk as their popularity declines. It’s important to raise awareness of this issue and encourage people to consider the huge range of dog breeds there are in this country.’

So, if you’re in the market for a new pup, spare a thought for the less popular breeds that are probably looking for a loving forever home. It could be a perfect match.

The best dog breeds for long walks

The last 12 months has not only prompted a rise in pup ownership, it’s also spurred more people to appreciate the outdoors more – and owning a dog can certainly offer some much needed inspiration for those countryside walks.

Check out some of Ordnance Survey’s Dog Walking Guides and browse our Top 50 Dog Walking Routes if you want to take ‘walkies’ to the next level.

Or, you could sign up for our Metro.co.uk Lifeline challenge in support of Medical Detection Dogs, on Saturday 2 October. There’s even two distances to choose from, so you can either opt to bring your dog along or go it alone.

All you need to do is dust off your walking boots and fundraise a minimum of £300 for charity.

You can find all the details to sign up and join us on our big adventure below.



METRO.CO.UK LIFELINE NEEDS YOU!

If you’re looking for the perfect dog to accompany you on your next big hiking trip, here’s a guide to all the breeds that live for a long walk:

Beagle

These guys were bred to be fast (Picture: Getty/EyeEm)

Historically, Beagles were bred as hunting dogs. They used to hunt hares and foxes – meaning speed was of the element.

These lovable pups have kept that speed and energy through the years. They also love being close with you and hanging out, so they will really enjoy a long walk.

Labrador Retriever

As you’ll have read above, the Labrador Retriever is one of the UK’s most popular breed of dog. And their love of walking might be one of the reasons why.

Originally, they were bred with the intention of keeping them outside for long periods of time, so they’re wired to have high energy and a love of nature.

Siberian Husky

When they’re not sledding, Huskies are great on walks (Picture: Getty)

The Siberian Husky is famous for pulling sledges out in the snow, so it’s no wonder they are built for long, challenging walks – even in more harsh climates.

These gorgeous dogs have tonnes of energy, can stay outside for hours, and can be trained to become a perfect partner for walking – and lots of other kinds of outdoor activities.

Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a seriously hefty pup, they can weigh up to 110 pounds.

Despite their size, they are gentle giants and respond really well to training. They’re also really faithful, so they will stick by your side while walking.

Rhodesian Ridgeback

These muscular pups love a challenging hike (Picture: Getty)

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are large dogs that can grow up to 75 pounds.

They can handle long walks because they are incredibly muscular and steady. They are also intelligent and loyal, so it’s easy to train them not to pull or go after things they aren’t supposed to.

Australian Shepherd

The Australian Shepherd is known for having high energy and they can run for hours.

This is because the dogs were originally bred as herders, which also means they will listen to you and respond to commands easily – which makes for a calm and well-behaved walk.

Don’t forget, you need to make sure your dog is fit, healthy and properly warmed up before taking them on a big walk.

You’ll need to consider the weather, the age of your dog, and make sure you’re using the right equipment to keep your pet safe, happy and injury-free.

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.


MORE : How to train yourself and your dog for a long hike


MORE : Sign up to our Lifeline challenge now!


MORE : Why it’s so important to start planning adventures again after lockdown



Metro.co.uk Lifeline 2021

This year sees the return of our brilliant charity campaign: Metro.co.uk Lifeline.

Our aim is simple – to raise as much money as possible for charity with YOUR help.

For 2021 we have chosen to support Medical Detection Dogs, a vital organisation that helps train dogs to sniff out serious diseases such as cancer, Type 1 diabetes, Parkinson’s and coronavirus.

As well as sharing their story to help raise awareness, readers, charity supporters and celebrities will also be taking on a 26-mile trek or 10k dog-friendly hike across the Oxfordshire countryside on Saturday 2 Oct, 2021.

Click here to find out more and sign up.

To make a donation, click here.





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