The most popular dog breeds in the UK – the the best dogs for walking

The last year of bans and restrictions has resulted in more people getting dogs.

In a time of crisis we needed man’s best friend like never before, and our puppy friends have been a great source of comfort and entertainment through long periods of stress, insecurity and boredom.

But which races are booming – and which have fallen out of favor? A look at the trends in dog ownership over the past year could help you decide what type of dog to choose.

New research by Millets’ outdoor expert has revealed which dog breeds are currently the most popular in the UK – and which are critically endangered.

Based on the analysis of the number of registrations of dogs with the Kennel Club, a significant increase in the number of new dogs compared to the previous year was found – by 7.8%. A total of 250,000 dogs were registered in 2020.

The The top dog has been identified as the Labrador Retriever, which has seen a 13% increase in registrations at The Kennel Club since 2019.

Second place went to the French Bulldog – a breed preferred by our own Lifeline’s Pete Wicks – who was the most popular dog in 2019, although demand for the breed has weakened over the past year.

Third is the Cocker Spaniel, these cute, friendly dogs have grown in popularity over the past year.

As the number of Frenchies registered has weakened, pedigree bulldogs are becoming increasingly popular. More than 11,000 were registered last year, an increase of 17% compared to 2019.

There are now more than double the number of Bulldogs in the UK than there were a decade ago and the upward trend shows no signs of an end.

It’s a similar story for the miniature smooth-haired dachshund. 10 years of steady growth mean there are now five times as many mini sausage dogs in the UK than there were in 2011.

The top 10 most popular dog breeds in the UK

1. Labrador Retriever

2. French bulldog

3. Cocker Spaniel

4. Bulldog

5. Dachshund (miniature straight hair)

6. Springer Spaniel

7. Golden Retriever

8. German Shepherd Dog

9. Pug

10. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

At the other end of the scale are the dog breeds, whose popularity is steadily falling.

Pugs have had 5,000 fewer registrations since 2017, after a period of incredible popularity, with 11,000 registrations four years ago to just 6,000 registrations in 2020.

German Shepherds have seen a much slower decline, with 30% fewer registrations in the last 10 years, from 10,000 in 2010 to 7,000 in 2020.

The English Springer Spaniel has also seen a 30% decline over the past 10 years, in a more gradual decline.

“It’s interesting to see how the popularity of certain dog breeds can change over time, for example the purebred bulldog and miniature smooth-haired dachshund have both grown in popularity since 2011,” said Kiera Baxter, director of marketing and adventurer at Millets.

“It is also a worrying trend that many native British dog breeds, like the King Charles, are now considered vulnerable due to the demand for fashionable breeds like the French Bulldog.

“More British breeds than ever are at risk as their popularity declines. It is important to raise awareness of this issue and encourage people to think about the wide variety of dog breeds in this country. “

So if you are looking for a new pup, think about the less popular breeds that are likely to find a loving home forever. It could be a perfect match.

The best breeds of dogs for long walks

The past 12 months have not only resulted in an increase in puppy ownership, but also in people becoming more appreciative of the outdoors – and owning a dog can certainly provide the much-needed inspiration for those country walks.

Check out some of Ordnance Survey’s Dog Walking Guides and browse our Top 50 Dog Walking Routes if you’re looking to take walkies to the next level.

Or, sign up for our Lifeline Challenge in Support of Medical Detection Dogs on Saturday October 2nd. There are even two distances to choose from, so you can either bring your dog with you or walk alone.

All you have to do is dust off your walking shoes and raise a minimum of £ 300 for charity.

Below you will find all the details to sign up and take part in our great adventure.


Join us in Oxfordshire on Saturday October 2nd, 2021 for a fun and feel-good walking adventure with celebrity supporters and fellow readers to raise money for the life-saving charity Medical Detection Dogs.

With two distances to choose from – 10k and 48k – family, friends and dogs are welcome. We only have 75 places available – so that you don’t miss out, register Here today.

If you’re looking for the perfect dog for your next big hike, here’s a guide to all the breeds that live for a long walk:


These guys were bred to be fast (Image: Getty / EyeEm)

Historically, beagles were bred as hunting dogs. They used to hunt rabbits and foxes – which meant that speed was crucial.

These lovable pups have maintained that speed and energy over the years. They also love to be around you and hang out so they will really enjoy a long walk.

Labrador Retriever

As you read above, the Labrador Retriever is one of the UK’s most popular dog breeds. And their love of running could be one of the reasons for that.

They were originally bred with the intention of keeping them outside for long periods of time, so they are designed for high energy and love for nature.

Siberian husky

Woman brushes her dog in the park

When they’re not sledding, huskies are great for walks (Image: Getty)

The Siberian Husky is famous for pulling sleds through the snow, so it’s no wonder they’re built for long, challenging hikes – even in harsher climates.

These gorgeous dogs have tons of energy, can stay outside for hours, and can be trained to be perfect companions for walks and many other outdoor activities.

Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a very sturdy puppy, it can weigh up to 110 pounds.

Despite their size, they are gentle giants and respond very well to exercise. They are also very loyal so they will stay by your side as you walk.

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Young man playing with her dog outside in the backyard

These muscular pups love a challenging hike (Image: Getty)

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are large dogs that can grow up to 75 pounds.

They can take long walks because they are incredibly muscular and stable. They’re also intelligent and loyal, so it’s easy to teach them not to pull or look for things they’re not supposed to.

Australian shepherd

The Australian Shepherd is known for its high energy levels and can run for hours.

This is because the dogs were originally bred to be shepherds, which also means they will listen to you and respond easily to commands – which makes for a calm and well-mannered gait.

More: Coronavirus

Before you take your dog for a long walk, don’t forget that your dog is fit, healthy, and properly warmed up.

You need to consider your dog’s weather and age, and make sure that you are using the correct equipment to keep your pet safe, happy, and injury-free.

Do you have a story to share?

Contact us by email at [email protected]

MORE: How to train yourself and your dog for a long hike

MORE: Register now for our Lifeline Challenge!

MORE: Why planning adventures again after lockdown is so important Lifeline 2021

This year our brilliant charity campaign returns: Lifeline.

Our goal is simple – with YOUR help to raise as much money as possible for charity.

For 2021 we have decided to support Medical Detection Dogs, an important organization that helps dogs detect serious illnesses such as cancer, type 1 diabetes, Parkinson’s and coronavirus.

In addition to sharing their story to raise awareness, readers, charity supporters and celebrities will also be able to take a 26-mile hike or dog-friendly 10-km hike through the Oxfordshire countryside on Saturday October 2, 2021, Companies.

Click here to learn more and to sign up.

To donate, click here.

The lifestyle email from

Get all the important lifestyle news and features straight to your inbox.

Unconvinced? Find out more

Comments are closed.