A Labrador Retriever, the most popular dog breed, lying in long green grass

As of 2024, around 29% of UK adults own a dog; that’s around 11 million dogs! Let’s take a look at the top 7 most popular dogs breeds in the UK in 2024 (based on stats from The Kennel Club).

Top 7 Most Popular Dog Breeds

Labrador Retriever

Coming in at number one is the Labrador Retriever – a high energy, water-loving breed. Did you know that Labradors have webbed feet? It helps them swim, as does their rudder-like tail.

They are known for being friendly to both people and dogs, whilst also having high energy and being enthusiastic. Labradors are intelligent dogs, which is why they’re often used as service dogs. They have a dense short to medium length coat, with a wide head. Labradors have three primary coat colours – black, chocolate and yellow.

French Bulldog

The most popular small-breed dog is the French Bulldog, affectionately known as “Frenchie”, and is known for its bat-like ears. They are affectionate dogs and happily settle into life with singles, couples and families. Whilst they don’t bark much, they are alert to their surroundings. They don’t require lots of exercise so suit city living.

The French Bulldog has a compact, muscular body, covered in a short, smooth coat. They have large, square heads, with wrinkles over their very short nose. Their flat face means they are prone to snoring and snorting!

A tan french bulldog, the second most popular dog breed, stood head on

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is known to be a loving and affectionate dog, making them ideal family dogs. They are warm, gentle and patient, so are well-suited for life with children.

They are beautiful looking dogs, with large expressive eyes, long silky ears and a soft wavy coat. Whilst they enjoy a good walk, they appreciate quality time with their family over exercise, so will quite happily cuddle up to you on the sofa.

Dachshund

Dachshunds are known for their bold and courageous nature. Despite their small size, they have a strong hunting instinct and a fearless attitude, making them excellent watchdogs. They are affectionate and loyal, yet independent and stubborn. And that can make training a bit challenging.

Dachshunds are characterised by their low-slung bodies – an elongated body, short legs and deep chest. It makes them perfect for fitting into burrows and tunnels. They come in two sizes, standard and miniature, and there are three coat types – smooth, long-haired and wire-haired.

A black and tan miniature dachshund, the fourth most popular dog breed, on a sunny day at Greenwich Park

Bulldog

Bulldogs are known for being stubborn dogs that don’t need too much exercise. They are happy to take a leisurely stroll and have playtime indoors. They are often used as mascots because they’ve evolved into symbols of courage, tenacity and resilience.

Bulldogs have a distinctive appearance. They are known for their muscular build, wrinkled face, pushed in nose and underbite. Despite their appearance, which could be described as intimidating, they’re famously gentle and affectionate dogs, and love human companionship.

Golden Retriever

These highly intelligent dogs are known for being eager to learn and please their owners. They adapt well to their environment and enjoy being in the company of people and other dogs. They have a playful demeanour that they keep well into adulthood and enjoy a game of fetch, and swimming.

Golden Retrievers have a dense, water-repellent double coat that is typically golden or cream in colour. They have a broad head, with friendly and intelligent eyes, short ears and a straight muzzle.

A golden retriever, the sixth most popular dog breed, stood sideways, looking at the camera

German Shepherd

German Shepherds are intelligent, versatile and trainable dogs, who thrive on mental stimulation. They are often used as working dogs, including being used as police dogs due to their courageous and loyal personality. They also make great family dogs, being affectionate towards their owners and also protective.

German Shepherds have a strong muscular build, erect ears and intelligent expression. They typically have a double coat with a dense undercoat and straight or slightly wavy outer coat.

Final Words

These are just a few of the more than 200 dog breeds that are recognised in the UK. And it’s likely this list of popular dog breeds will change from year to year. Each breed has its own characteristics, be that in personality or appearance. And it’s important when you’re thinking of getting a dog that you properly research the breed and consider whether it will fit into your lifestyle. How much time do you have to train and exercise your dog? What size dog is right for your home? Do you have children?

There are so many resources out there that you can use to research dog breeds and I’d suggest that a good starting point would be The Kennel Club.

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