Britain’s top dogs revealed: Labradors lead, Corgis come back and Jack Russells jump

The Kennel Club has announced that old favourites appear to be taking the lead as the UK’s top dogs.

Statistics released ahead of Crufts suggest old favourite breeds such as the Jack Russell and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi are soaring in popularity.

Of the top ten fastest breeds to gain popularity from 2018 to 2019 – as the Brexit deadline loomed – half are British native breeds, including the ancient Scottish breed, the Gordon Setter, which increased in popularity by 41%, the historic Jack Russell Terrier – a breed owned by Boris Johnson since last year and the four-legged hit film The Secret Life of Pets in 2016 – which increased by 30%.

The Queen’s favourite, the Corgi also saw a surge of 38%, coinciding with the return of Netflix series The Crown, and it’s much-anticipated third series.

Of the top ten breeds ‘going down’ during the same period, eight were breeds which originate from overseas including the previously fashionable and celebrity favourite Chihuahua (-26%), and the exotic Siberian Huskey (-37%).

In the same vein, old favourite, the Labrador, has reclaimed the throne as Britain’s top dog following the short reign of the a la mode French Bulldog.

Bill Lambert, Kennel Club spokesperson said: “High profile owners and popular culture can have a huge impact on the popularity of certain breeds, though we’d urge people to always do their research rather than follow a trend. Jack Russell for example has certainly seen a surge of interest since rescue dog Dilyn first put his paws through the door of Downing Street in September, and at Crufts 2020there will be more Jack Russells than ever before competing for the silver Best in Show trophy. We’ll have to wait and see if this dog has its day.”

However, not all native breeds are benefiting from this resurgence. The Irish Red and White Setter has become the most vulnerable of all Britain’s native breeds, with just 39 puppy registrations in 2019. This is the breed’s lowest figure in 30 years.

The Irish Red and White Setter is currently on the Kennel Club’s Vulnerable Native Breeds list, for dogs with fewer than 300 puppy registrations a year and are at risk of disappearing from our streets and parks.

Statistics show that it’s not looking good for one of Britain’s most iconic dog breeds, the Old English Sheepdog, which reached historic lows in 2019. There has been a steady decline in the popularity of the breed, popularly known as the ‘Dulux dog’, over the years and in 2019 it recorded its lowest number of registrations ever – with just 317 puppies registered. Registrations of the breed have decreased by 68% in the last 20 years.

Bill added: “The six most popular breeds in the UK account for more registrations between them than the remaining 216 breeds of dog combined, with people simply overlooking the less obvious choices, and many of our much-loved historic breeds.

“Some of the breeds we consider to be at risk of disappearing due to their low numbers are largely in this position because of the fact they are unrecognisable to the British public. We need to keep the rich diversity of breeds, with all of their unique characteristics, so that people can get a dog that is truly right for them.

“We would strongly encourage anyone thinking of getting a dog to consider and research all 222 breeds, and come to Crufts next month, where we have a dedicated Discover Dogs one where people can meet these breeds first hand, and talk to experts about what they are like to live with.”

Crufts runs from 5th-8th March at NEC Birmingham. Tickets are available at ww.crufts.org.uk and advice on finding the right dog breed can be found at the Kennel Club website www.thekennelclub.org.uk/find-a-breed.