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UK's 10 Most Popular Dog Breeds

Dec 26, 2019

Man’s best friend has long been the most popular domesticated pet throughout the whole World, not just in the UK.

It goes without saying that most Britons adore pooches, but the ‘best’ dog breed has always been disputed. After all, isn’t your own dog the best good boy of all?

With hundreds of different breeds, all with their own traits and personalities, how could we possibly choose between them?

It seems the fairest way to rank them is to go only by their popularity, and that’s exactly what we will do.

According to a recent survey by ITV, here are the UK’s top 10 dog breeds

Brown and white Staffordshire Bull Terrier lying on grass and smiling with its tongue out 

1. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Wait, not the Labrador?

That’s right, for the first time in many years, Labradors have been knocked off first place by none other than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, more affectionately known as the Staffie.

The Staffie is a breed whose reputation precedes them, but it is mostly an unjustified one due to their history as a fighting dog.

Nowadays their reputation is changing to one of a pet who is a fine companion for the family. This change in reputation is thanks to their loyalty, affection, intelligence and love of children and has rocketed them to the position of Top Dog in the UK.

Find out more about Staffordshire Bull Terriers in their breed profile.

Cute white Cockapoo lying on grass and chewing on a stick

2. Cockapoo

In second place is the adorable, fun-loving cross between a Cocker Spaniel and Poodle – The Cockapoo.

It seems Poodle crosses are all the range these days with the likes of Labradoodles, Shihpoos and Goldendoodles, but it is the Cockapoo that is taking the UK by storm.

Intelligent and full of life, this cross breed is incredibly affectionate and generally just happy to be alive and they are a simply gorgeous addition to any family.

Find out more about Cockapoos in their breed profile.

Majestic looking Golden Labrador Retriever lying down on a rock with a mountainous background

3. Labrador Retriever

For decades, the Labrador has been the most popular dog breed in the UK. This year, they may have been knocked off that spot, but that’s by no fault of their own.

Their popularity is boosted by their high intelligence and stamina which makes them one of the first choices for working dogs. From guide dogs, to sniffer and search and rescue dogs, they can be trained to do almost any job, especially thriving in those that involve human interaction.

They are much more than a working dog though. For most people, they are a highly affectionate, loyal, friendly and slightly mischievous member of the family who will happily either snuggle or play, all the while with a big grin on their face.

Find out more about Labradors in their breed profile.

Brown and white Springer Spaniel standing up with its tongue pointing slightly out

4. Springer Spaniel

The Springer Spaniel is an incredibly intelligent breed who are full of energy, very playful, and incredibly affectionate with the family.

Their intelligence, coupled with their athletic ability also makes them a regular entrant in competitions testing agility, hunting, obedience and other skills.

First and foremost they are a wonderful family companion who craves attention from just about anyone, and their loving personality also makes them a popular therapy dogs for hospitals and care homes.

Find out more about Springer Spaniels in their breed profile.

Beautiful Golden Cocker Spaniel walking through a field

5. Cocker Spaniel

The Cocker Spaniel's popularity stems largely from their good looks and personality with their long flowing coat making them one of the most handsome breeds. Couple that with their captivating smile and you have a winner.

They’re not just handsome though, they're extremely affectionate and will seemingly do anything to make their family happy.

Find out more about Cocker Spaniels in their breed profile.

Brown and white Boxer dog standing in a field of long glass with its tongue handing out

6. Boxer

Boxers are relatively large, muscular dogs who can look somewhat imposing, but their looks are deceiving.

Look into their eyes and you see the real Boxer. They’re a playful breed who maintains their puppy like nature until they reach around 3 years old and they're typically an intelligent, fearless dog but very friendly and loyal, especially to their family.

Black and white border collie lying down on grass in front of a red agility tube 

7. Border Collie

The Border collie is the breed most people picture when they think of a sheep dog. This isn’t a coincidence as they were in fact initially bred specifically for herding livestock in Scotland and are still used for that purpose across the UK.

They have a high level of intelligence and obedience, stemming from their heritage. These attributes, along with their stamina and energy, has always made them the perfect working dog for farms.

They’re not just working dogs though, they are also a popular pet thanks to their loyalty, affection and exceptionally welcoming nature.

Find out more about Border Collies in their breed profile.

Brown and black German Shepherd lying down on glass with a big stick under its paw

8. German Shepherd

For most people, when they think of a guard dog, or a police dog, the first breed that comes to mind is a German Shepherd.

Also known as the Alsatian, the German Shepherd has gained Worldwide fame thanks largely for their portrayal in movies as fierce guard dogs.

The films aren't wrong as German Shepherd's intelligence, loyalty and versatility makes them the perfect choice for a whole range of jobs including guard dogs, police dogs, guide dogs and sniffer dogs.

It's important to recognise that they're not only a working dog, they are also very affectionate and loyal to those they know. Whilst maybe a little reserved or defensive at first, once they know you, they would literally give their life for you.

Find out more about German Shepherds in their breed profile.

Happy looking Golden Retriever lying down on grass with a smile on its face and eyes shut

9. Golden Retriever

Like most of the top breeds in the UK, the Golden Retriever is very intelligent and full of energy and stamina. This stems from their heritage as a hunting dog bred to retrieve ducks and fowl.

They’re the perfect family pet thanks to their playful personality, loving nature and high tolerance.

Not just content with being a loving dog, their intelligence, obedience and stamina means they thrive on training such as obedience training and agility classes.

Find out more about Golden Retrievers in their breed profile.

White Labradoodle standing in a field looking directly at the camera

10. Mixed Breed

New mixed breeds seem to be popping up left right and centre and are continually increasing the list of dog breeds.

The idea behind mixing breeds is to have a new breed that encompasses the positive traits of their parent breeds. For example, a Cockapoo is a mix of the Cocker Spaniel, for their playfulness and sweet temperament, and the Poodle for their intelligence and low shedding.

Some of the top mixed breeds include the Cockerpoo, Labradoodle (Labrador and Poodle) and the Pomsky (Pomeranian and Husky).

Their personality and appearance are much harder to predict than a pedigree breed as it is impossible to know what traits they will take from their parents. So you may well have two Cockerpoos that look very different but are still the same breed.

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.

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