So who is top dog?

Moss, a German Wirehaired Pointer.My partner in crime writing Julia, has a lovely puppy called Moss, who we featured on this blog a few months ago. Moss is a German Wirehaired Pointer. This is not a common breed and Julia is amazed at how often she is stopped in the street and asked what sort of dog Moss is.

Devon is a very doggy part of the world with it being such a great place to walk and also home to lots of farms where working dogs are used. You will find lots of collies – used to work both sheep and cattle and, of course, those wonderful feisty little characters, Jack Russells – used as ratters, rabbiters and general farm watchdogs. They also seem to be the regular driving companion to farmers in their tractors!

And so I started wondering about what the ten most popular breeds of dog in the UK were. The figures I came across are from The Kennel Club so don’t take into account non-pedigree and non-registered dogs so you won’t see a Labradoodle, a French Pug or a Cockapoo on the list! Generally, the most popularly owned and bred dogs in the UK stay fairly consistent year on year, with the same breeds of dogs appearing in the list over and over again. Today’s most popular dogs are:

Our late, beloved Wellington, a Cocker Spaniel.1. Labrador Retriever
The Labrador remains a firm favourite within the UK, and consistently appears near the top of the list every year. Bred as gundogs originally, they make loyal, loving and friendly family pets, great with children, intelligent and easy to train.

2. Cocker Spaniel (my favourite!)
The Cocker Spaniel is statistically the dog most likely to win the Best in Show title at Crufts. But the Cocker is not just a pretty face – like the Labrador, the Cocker achieved its popularity as a working gun dog, and got the ‘Cocker’ name due to its proficiency at hunting the Eurasian Woodcock. Did you know that… 

3. Springer Spaniel (English)
Gun dogs currently hold all of the top three rankings in the popularity stakes, with the English Springer Spaniel coming in third. Affectionate, fun loving and incredibly good natured, the Springer Spaniel loves to play, chase and run.

4. German Shepherd
The German Shepherd (or Alsatian) is a large dog of Germanic origins, and relatively young in dog terms, with the breed originating towards the end of the 19th century. It is prized for its fearlessness, loyalty and A feisty little Border Terrier.intelligence, and can often be found in working roles alongside of the police or military.

5. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier comes in at number five, but if you include non-registered Staffys and Staffy cross breeds, you might well find the Staffordshire Bull Terrier in the number one spot! Squat, muscular and businesslike, the Staffy is a loyal dog that forms close bonds with his family and makes the perfect companion for young and old alike.

6. Border Terrier
The Border Terrier is a small rough-coated terrier hailing from the Scottish borders, and they are comical, fun loving and lively little dogs that tend to be hardy and full of pluck! While the Border Terrier generally gets on well with children, they often don’t extend the same affection to cats and other smaller pets- except as a snack!

7. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is the third spaniel to make the list. Sharing the traits of loyalty, sunny dispositions and kind natures with the Springer and the Cocker it is one of the smaller spaniel breeds, and Zelda Zen, a friend’s gorgeous little Pug.often popular as a lap dog.

8. Golden Retriever
The Golden Retriever is a medium-sized and intelligent dog that loves water! They are also renowned for their loyalty and ability to work with people, and can be found in many working roles such as search and rescue, assistance for blind or deaf people, and as sniffer dogs.

9. Pug
The Pug is often referred to as the comedian of the canine world and is an intelligent, entertaining and good-natured dog. It would certainly be fair to say that their looks are unique and distinctive, with their short, squat bodies, curled tails and squashed faces!

Lennox, a beautiful retriever in training to become a Guide Dog.10. Boxer
The boxer dog, so named for the ‘boxing’ motions they make when fighting or play fighting, has fallen in popularity in recent years, with the incidences of newly registered puppies down 40% in 2010 compared to the 2001 census.

If you have had dogs as pets, what breed did you have, and why…?


10 replies
  1. Rosemarie says:

    Dear Joanna, until recently I have had dogs all my life, ranging from your common crossbreed to German shepherds. boxers (completely nutty) and collies, but have to say if I were in position to have a dog again, it would be another Cavalier King Charles. They are so loving and gentle, and mine always sat and listened to me with her lovely head one one side. Happy or sad she was always there for me. I have a cat now, who I adore, but it is all on her terms, and certainly not the loyalty. I am very firmly of the opinion that all children should grow up around animals especially dogs. My Grandson is Autistic. and when our Collie was alive, if he had a bad day at school, or life was not going well he would curl up with the dog. He got great comfort from him and the dog followed him everywhere.

    Love Rosemarie xx

  2. Deirdre says:

    We had 2 Springer Spaniels and they were both such fun. That was when we were younger. Unfortunately our last Springer died just as we were retiring and my husband did not want the heartache of another dog. Since then we have shared a sweet natured rescue Staffie with my daughter ( we have the dog while she is at work and if she goes away) and now a rescue Lurcher cross who is lovely and soft but not keen on walking far – like me now. She just goes to sleep as long as she is in a room with people. I would not have believed how good this breed
    of dog is for older people as always thought that they would be very energetic. It is just lovely having dogs in my life. My other daughter has a lovely Staffie but she is so energetic I have to be careful that she does not send me flying!
    Love Deirdre

  3. Sylvie Ashton says:

    Love your post Joanna….We had Henry… he was what we called a 'Heinz baked bean' variety of dog Lol… but mainly he looked like a tall large Ceirn terrier – very shaggy.. he only ever looked well groomed just after having a bath and blow dry..then he used to love rolling in the dirt and mud!!! Hugs Sylvie xx

  4. sallyann says:

    Hi Joanna, I live in a seaside town….Bridlington, its pretty flat and is therefore favoured by the elderly..they have shitzu's and lasso appso's..please excuse spelling !…ive tried 5 times !, these little dogs are everywhere ! then there is the greyhound whippets..not because its, but because theres a rehoming place round here somewhere. Theres still yorkshire terriers about too, Behinde closed doors there are loads of chihuahuas..they are very popular here and we have excellent breeders…however people that buy one often buy another..and another..then you cannot take them out easily as they bully the shitzus ! I have chihuahuas…they are always bu your side and the ultimate lapdog..they would be happy carried round all day if you let them. i have 2 to keep each other company as one alone can cause problems..they hate being apart from you. They make great guard dogs and being small they are smaller than the average cat, do not not need tonnes of walking either. They are a handful as they are on the go most the time, but worth it for their character and devotion.. xx

  5. janet says:

    I love dogs and started with a shih tzu, but my health prevents another (too weak in the arms to brush the coat and I am not keen on 'shearing' them), then a greyhound was next, then a cavalier, then , briefly, sadly, a saluki and now we have whippets!! In all we've had 5 of them as we adopt older dogs so don't usually have them as long as if we'd had them from pups. The exception is my Polly, now 13 and a half, who Ihas owned me since she was 7 weeks old! Callie, the other dog we have now, is another rescue and is about 9. We've had her since she was about 18 months -the exception to our old dog policy as no-one would take her on and she was headed for death row if a home couldn't be found. She is now a loving and biddable companion. I would always go back to 'long dogs' as they are so loving and true comics -also accomplished thieves! They were bred for the miners to put into bed with their children (so I've read) and they have all loved to be in our beds in spite of comfy ones given to them! I can't imagine being wwwwwithout a dog and dread the day I can no longer cope with owning one.
    Joanna -isn't it time you looked for another furry companion -it would be a compliment to Welly that you can love another dog as he taught you.

  6. Tracy W says:

    I have a Newfoundland, they are like a big cuddly teddy bear. This breed is so affection and despite their size still think they are lapdogs! Creative Blessings, Tracy x

  7. mary says:

    Over our married life we have had a boxer Jenny, a German Shepherd Holly and an English Pointer Bryn, all were wonderful dogs in their own ways, although the Boxer and Pointer were real handfuls when they were younger. We recently lost our Otterhound Benson, he lived to 12 1/2. Otterhounds are one of the most rare breed of dogs in this country. Our grandchildren could do anything with him, being large he was often sat on. The most gentle, amazing character ever. We miss him so much. They definitely leave their paw prints on your heart !


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