Most Popular Dog Breeds in the UK
The world’s largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers, Rover.com recently conducted a survey of over 20,000 pet owners in the UK to discover what dog is the most popular in 2020. You can find their article here - https://www.rover.com/blog/uk/most-popular-dog-breeds/
To anyone who takes their dog on regular walks, you can probably have a good guess at what breeds will be in the top 20, but where exactly is your favourite?
Don’t worry if you’re dog isn’t in this list; it doesn’t make them any less perfect.
2020’s most popular dog breeds in the UK:
- Mixed breed
- Labrador Retriever
- Cocker Spaniel
- Jack Russell Terrier
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- French Bulldog
- Border Collie
- Shih Tzu
- German Shepherd
- Golden Retriever
- Yorkshire Terrier
- English Springer Spaniel
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- West Highland White Terrier
- Bichon Frise
Are there any breeds on this list that you didn’t expect, or one that is missing?
1. Mixed Breed
A Mixed breed is a mix of three or more breeds and is often known as a mutt or a mongrel. They differ from a crossbreed, like a Cockapoo, because they haven’t been intentionally bred between two breeds.
Due to the very nature of their breeding, every mixed breed is unique in both looks and personality.
Surprisingly, mixed breeds are often healthier than pedigree breeds as they’re less prone to genetic health problems, meaning they’re often cheaper to insure.
When you’re looking for pet insurance for a mixed breed, you will usually need to know their weight as that’s how insurers classify them.
2. Labrador Retriever
The Labrador Retriever has long been a firm favourite amongst dog owners and pet lovers in the UK thanks to their loyalty, affection, and abundance of joyful energy.
The incredibly intelligent, loving, and enthusiastic Labrador not only makes a wonderful pet, but they’re also one of the best working dogs, particularly for assisting the handicapped and for use as sniffer dogs.
A Labrador is the perfect choice for those who live in a house with a garden, are looking for a playful but affectionate companion, and who can commit to providing at least an hour of exercise each day.
3. Cocker Spaniel
The Cocker Spaniel is undeniable one of the most handsome dog breeds which, coupled with their loving and joyful personality, has long made them one of the favourite dog breeds in the UK.
They may have started life as gun dogs, bred for hunting woodcock, but they have become a beloved companion breed who loves to spend every minute with their humans.
A Cocker Spaniel is a suitable choice for first time owners, as they’re relatively easy to train, and they can adapt to most living conditions, meaning they can thrive in any sized home.
The biggest commitments a Cocker Spaniel owner must make is to provide regular grooming, to keep their luxurious coat looking glamourous, and daily exercise to burn their abundance of energy.
4. Jack Russell Terrier
The Jack Russell Terrier is an old dog breed that dates back centuries to when they were bred as working terriers for hunting.
In the UK there are two official breed standards which are the Parson Russell Terrier, with longer legs, and the standard Jack Russell Terrier which is shorter legged. The difference in size is virtually the only variation as they share the same personality, coat, and health.
They’re an affectionate breed who are devoted to their human family but can be aggressive to other dogs, even if their opponent is three times their size.
The Jack Russell is generally one of the healthiest breeds around and therefore is often one of the cheapest to insure.
5. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, often known as a Staffie, was initially bred primarily for dog fighting, bull baiting and vermin control. This history has tainted their reputation slightly which is unfortunately because anyone who owns a Staffie will tell you they’re the most affectionate companion you could wish for.
Don’t let their muscular build fool you, they’re a big softy and make for a wonderful family pet that is intelligent, courageous and affectionate, particularly towards children.
Through recent years, their popularity has soured and they’re now one of the most regularly spotted pooches in the park.
Staffies can be difficult to train, so they require an experienced owner who can be consistent, confident, and firm, but is also loving. Any prospective owners must also be prepared to provide at least 1 to 2 hours exercise every day.
The cockapoo, a mix between the fun-loving Cocker Spaniel and the elegant Poodle, is one of the most popular crossbreeds available.
The cross between these two popular breeds created a dog of high intelligence with the spirit of a Poodle and the sturdiness, yet sweet temperament of a Cocker Spaniel; all traits that make them a perfect family pet.
As with all crossbreeds, you never know what you will get with a Cockapoo puppy. You may well have an active dog with an abundance of energy, or they might be a much more relaxed pup who just wants to snuggle all day. Whichever you get, they’re always packed full of love and seem to want nothing else but to live life to the full and spend every minute with their humans.
The Cockapoo is the perfect choice for first time owners as they’re fairly easy to train, only require 15 – 30 minute walks each day, and they don’t need a huge amount of grooming.
7. French Bulldog
The French Bulldog, or the Frenchie, are miniature, fun-loving bundles of fun and joy with an infectious personality and adorable love of life.
The popularity of the Frenchie is increasing year on year and it doesn’t show any sign of stopping. This is thanks to their comical personality, loving nature and unique appearance.
They love to be around humans, especially those they consider ‘their’ humans, but they can be very territorial with other pets.
One defining feature of the French Bulldog is their stubbornness; one minute they could be demanding your full attention and the next they will completely ignore your commands like you’re not even there.
Despite their stubbornness, their intelligence and eagerness to please does mean they can respond to training well, so long as you are consistent and keep it entertaining.
8. Border Collie
The Border Collie is an incredibly intelligent breed that was initially bred for herding livestock in the Scottish Borders, so if you’ve ever seen or imagined a sheep dog, chances are it was a Border Collie.
This heritage means they’re obedient and full of energy, so they require a huge amount of exercise; over 2 hours a day if possible. This will keep them stimulated and healthy.
Their affection and loyalty also make them a gorgeous addition to any family, even those with young children and other dogs. Owners must bear in mind though that they’re very sensitive and don’t like to live in a chaotic household.
They require an experienced owner who can give them the attention and exercise they require and they don’t react well to being left alone, so they shouldn’t be considered by anyone who must leave the house empty each day.
9. Shih Tzu
The Shih Tzu is a very affectionate companion breed that boasts a gorgeous coat and a playful attitude.
This loyal, loving dog is the perfect addition to any family and their comical antics will keep you entertained for hours until they’re ready to roll up on your lap.
The Shih Tzu is a good choice for novice owners, they can adapt to any home environment, and they’re not overly active, so they don’t require long daily walks.
Any prospective Shih Tzu owners should be aware that their gorgeous coat comes at the cost of regular grooming to keep it in good condition and looking adorable.
The chihuahua is one of the most unique looking dog breeds around and they're officially the smallest dog breed in the world, but they have one of the biggest personalities you will find in any animal.
Chihuahuas are full of charisma, charm, and energy, making them the perfect companion who loves to spend every second they can with their human.
Whilst they're incredibly loving to those they know, they're also suspicious of any they don't. They're also seemingly unaware of their size and will stand up to any dog, bringing real meaning to the saying 'It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog'.
They require minimal grooming or exercise and their intelligence makes them easy to train even for agility and obedience competitions. This makes them a fine choice for any first-time owners.
The Dachshund, affectionate known as sausage dogs, or doxies, are one of the most unusual dog breeds, with their long bodies, stumpy legs, and big ears. This unique look is both mildly comical and incredibly cute which, coupled with their infectious personality, has seen their popularity sour in recent years.
Everything about the Dachshund makes them the most efficient badger dog there is, which is exactly what Dachshund means in German. Whilst their use for badger hunting has waned in recent years, dog owners have come to love the Dachshund for their adorable personality which is full of pride, playfulness, and a touch of stubbornness.
Dachshunds come in three official varieties which are smooth haired (short haired), wire haired, and long haired. As well as these three types, they also come in two sizes which are standard and miniature. Each variety has a slightly different personality, with the smooth haired generally being the most energetic and playful, and the long haired being the calmest.
12. German Shepherd
The German Shepherd, sometimes known as the Alsatian, is one of the world’s most recognisable breeds, largely thanks to its inclusion in many TV shows and movies and its use as a working dog all over the world.
They’re one of the most intelligent, versatile, and loyal dog breeds around and they’re full of a seemingly endless supply of energy. All these traits make them one of the most successful working breeds for a whole host of jobs including the police service, guard dogs, guide dogs, assistance for the disabled, sniffer dogs, search and rescue services, and herding.
The German Shepherd is very affectionate, with an unwavering devotion to their owner and their family, but they can be standoffish to any strangers until they suss them out and learn to trust them.
German Shepherds are a large dog with a huge amount of energy, so they should live in a house with a large garden in which they can fool around in. Despite what movies tell you, they’re much better off inside your home, not chained up outside, away from the family.
13. Golden Retriever
The Golden Retriever has been a strong favourite in the UK for many years, thanks largely to their affectionate personality and their high intelligence.
They were initially bred as hunting dogs to retrieve game like duck and fowl, but are now more commonly either family pets, guide dogs for the blind, or therapy dogs in hospitals and care homes.
They’re friendly to everyone whether they’re human, dog or cat, and they are slow to mature which means they have a puppy like attitude often until late adulthood.
Golden Retrievers are very good with children, but you must be careful if you have them around young children. It would be very unusual for them to intentionally hurt a child, but they can get overly excited and accidentally knock them over.
The golden Retriever is a very intelligent breed who is a regular entrant into any dog show that truly tests their skills including agility and obedience. This intelligence makes them very easy to train therefore they’re a good choice for first time owners.
14. Yorkshire Terrier
The Yorkshire Terrier, often known as the Yorkie, is one of, if not the most gorgeous dog breed around thanks to their long, silky coat that most could only dream of.
Their personality can range from a cuddly fur ball who simply wants nothing more than to curl up on your lap, to a mischievous, outgoing little rascal. You can never be sure what personality your Yorkie will have, but most likely it will possess a mixture of both.
They’re generally very affectionate towards their family, but they can be territorial towards strangers and will often loudly alert you of anyone approaching your home.
Like some other terriers, most Yorkies don’t seem to be aware of their tiny size and won’t think twice about standing up to any dog, no matter their size.
Yorkies are very intelligent and they love attention, so generally training them is easy however they can be difficult to house train.
Their luxurious coat does come with the cost of regular grooming; more so than you would require for most other breeds.
15. English Springer Spaniel
The English Springer Spaniel is an athletic, intelligent, and versatile dog breed that is always a firm favourite at dog shows such as agility, field trials, tracking and obedience trials.
They also make wonderful family companions, so long as they’re provided with proper, consistent training and regular exercise. They’re also a firm favourite for therapy dogs, used to bring smiles and love to those in hospitals and nursing homes.
They can be a suitable dog for novice owners, so long as they are provided with consistent training and at least 2 hours of exercise every day.
The Pug is one of the most recognisable dog breeds thanks to their very unique appearance; a round, wrinkly head, short nose, undershot jaw, and occasionally even ‘beauty spots’.
Their appearance is matched by their equally comical personality and their love loyalty towards their humans.
The pug has almost every personality trait you could wish for in a dog; they’re funny, mischievous, and energetic whilst also being affectionate, loyal and relaxed.
Whilst they’re intelligent, they are notoriously stubborn which can make them difficult to train, so they’re not necessarily the best option for a first-time owner.
They’re adaptable to any living environment, whether it’s a tiny flat in London or a large farmhouse in Somerset, thanks to their small size and their low exercise requirements.
Pugs get on very well with children, so they can be the perfect addition to a young family. Their small size does however make them quite delicate, so any young children must know to treat them with respect and only play gently with them.
17. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The incredibly gorgeous Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a wonderful family companion that will shower their owners with endless love, loyalty and happiness.
Their adorable look, personality and coat make them one of the most popular breeds for therapy dogs in hospitals and care homes.
You will have to learn to share your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel as they will show their love for anyone they meet whether they’re family, friends or strangers.
They’re generally very easy to train thanks to their intelligence, which they share with their Spaniel cousins, and their eagerness to please which makes them a good choice for first time owners.
The adorable Beagle is a very recognisable breed, thanks to their consistent popularity for many years through England’s history.
They’re an incredibly affectionate pocket rocket, packed full of energy and an abundance of love to share with anyone whether they’re human, canine or feline.
Their incredible nose is the reason they’ve been ever present throughout our recent history. With over 220 million scent receptors, their sense of smell is 44 times that of a human. This has made them the ultimate hunting dog, and made their ancestors a popular choice for key historical figures like William the Conqueror and Queen Elizabeth I.
The fun-loving Beagle is a wonderful family companion, but they’re well known for being stubborn and independent, which can make training difficult.
They require an experienced owner who can provide persistent, patient training and at least 1 to 2 hours exercise every day.
19. West Highland Terrier
The West Highland Terrier, often known as the Westie, is a terrier that was developed in Scotland for ratting and to hunt for foxes and badgers.
Nowadays, the Westie is used less for hunting and more as a companion or for entering obedience and agility competitions.
Their intelligence and affection also means they’re commonly used as therapy dogs for those in hospital or social care.
They’re a free spirit who is both loyal and affectionate, making them a wonderful family companion. They also brighten up any room with their silly antics and playful attitude.
20. Bichon Frise
The Bichon Frise is an adorable, cheerful, and tiny dog who's full of energy and love to share with everyone.
This little ball of fluff looks much like a cuddly teddy thanks to its pure white, fluffy coat and tiny black nose and eyes. Their cute appearance is coupled with a proud, confident stance thanks to their arched necks.
Their fun-loving attitude, happiness and endless affection make them the perfect addition to any family.
Despite their appearance, they're actually very intelligent and love to learn tricks which makes them easier to train than some other breeds.
Their gentle nature also makes them good therapy dogs in hospitals and care homes where they're sure to bring a smile to anyone's face.
This list only has 10 of the hundreds of types of dogs you can choose from, so making the right choice can seem difficult. That's why we've created individual guides for the most popular dogs which you can find in our Pet Advice column.