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How Many Dogs in the UK? Counting the Canines

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Author: Jacob Kay

Dogs are considered a man’s best friend and talking about the UK, you can encounter a dog every second house. The UK has the second-highest dog population in the European Union. Dogs are considered an essential part of daily life and are treated with respect as any other member of the family.

how many dogs in the uk

But have you wondered how many dogs are there in the UK? Let us look at what the statistics tell about the number of dogs in the UK and the reason for their popularity among the citizens of the UK.

How Many Dogs in the UK?

Dogs are very popular among the UK households. Among all the pets, dogs share the highest proportion. But, have you wondered how many could be there in total?

According to UKPetFood, previously PFMA (Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association), there are estimated 12 million dogs in the UK in 2023. That means about 31% of UK households own at least one dog.

Mostly, the number of dog owners has increased after the COVID wave as the lockdown and social distancing led people to seek companionship. And, dogs are proven to be loyal and lovable friends to humans which can alleviate their owner’s loneliness.

What Is the Most Popular Dog Breed in the UK?

Based on the number of registrations with The Kennel Club, the most popular breed in the UK is the Labrador Retriever. The breed counts up to 63000 dogs in the UK making it the top dog breed for the 31st consecutive year. Labradors have friendly, intelligent, and playful personalities, as well as their versatility as family pets, service dogs and working dogs.

popular dog in uk

The second most popular breed in the UK is the French Bulldog with 41000 registrations. They are small compacted animals and excellent companions for urban dwellers. With around 33,000 registrations, the Cocker Spaniel holds the third position among the most popular breeds in the UK. Cocker Spaniels are happy, affectionate, and energetic dogs that belong to the Gundog group.

Here, is the list of popular breeds in the UK:

RankBreedRegistration (approx)
1Labrador Retriever63000
2French Bulldog41000
3Cocker Spaniel33000
4Bulldog26000
5Miniature Dachshund26000
6English Springer Spaniel22000
7Golden Retriever21000
8German Shepherd20000
9Cockapoo19000
10Staffordshire Bull Terrier18000

Why Are Dogs So Popular in the UK?

With the UK being the second-largest dog-populated country in Europe, it must be obvious that dogs are very famous and prominent here. But, what might be the reason behind it? Why are dogs so popular in the UK?

Well, dogs make loving companions, which can stay with you even when people can’t. They offer unconditional love and emotional support that help stave off social isolation. A study discovered that dog ownership can reduce loneliness.[1]

benefit of having a dog

Apart from, alleviating loneliness, dogs help their owners stay fit and healthy. Getting a dog means satisfying their daily exercising needs like walking or playing in the backyard. This helps their parents to stay fit.

A national survey of pet owners and non-pet owners by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute found that 85% of respondents believe that interaction with pets reduces loneliness.

Moreover, they provide home and personal security. Dogs can act as deterrents to intruders and alert you to potential threats. They can also protect you from harm if necessary. Above all, they are cute and entertaining having unique personalities and quirks that make them fun to watch and interact with.

What Benefits Do Dogs Give Owners?

Now that we have understood why dogs are so popular in the UK, let us bring to light some of the benefits that dogs provide to their owners.

  • They reduce stress and anxiety

Dogs can help you cope with stressful situations and ease your worries. Multiple studies show that dogs and therapy dogs help relieve stress and anxiety.[2] Even just petting a familiar dog lowers blood pressure and heart rate, slows breathing, and relaxes tense muscles.

Other benefits include improved cardiovascular fitness, lower blood pressure, stronger muscles and bones (built up by walking regularly), and decreased stress, Better Health.

  • They improve mood and happiness

According to the University of New Mexico, dogs can boost your mood and make you feel happier by increasing the levels of serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters that are associated with pleasure and reward. Dogs can also help you cope with depression by providing companionship, unconditional love, and a sense of purpose.

  • They enhance social life and relationships

Dogs can help you meet new people and make friends by acting as social catalysts. They can initiate conversations, break the ice, and create common interests with other dog owners or dog lovers. A study found that dog owners are more likely to have stronger social networks and more frequent social interactions than non-dog owners.[3]

FAQs

  1. How many dogs are there in the UK in 2023?

    There are approximately 12 million dogs in the UK, which is the second highest in Europe. This is a higher proportion for dogs compared to February 2020, when 26% of UK adults owned a dog. Although there have been some fluctuations across the 13 years of data, the estimated dog population has risen overall from 8.3 million in 2011 to 12 million in 2023. That means about 31% of UK households own at least one dog.

  2. What percentage of the UK owns a dog?

    Twelve million or 31% of UK households share their space with a pooch. In families with children, at least 77% have a pet which is a 12% increase over 2021 based on the PFMA (Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association) survey. 12 million, 31% of UK households, own a dog, compared to 28% (8.2 million) owning a cat.

  3. What is the most owned dog UK?

    Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog in the UK. This British breed has been top of the list or thereabouts for decades now and was originally developed from fishing dogs originating in the Labrador region of Newfoundland in Canada.

  4. How much does a dog cost per month UK?

    While every dog is different, research shows that the average cost of owning a dog in the UK is approximately £1,800 per year or £150 per month. With the cost of living crisis in full swing, this average could have risen slightly. According to a survey, pet owner spends almost 10% of their salary on dog expenses.

Wrapping Up

Dogs are amazing animals that can enrich our lives in many ways. They are not only our best friends but also our health allies, security guards and our entertainers.

They make us feel less alone and stressed and more active, happy and social. No wonder they are the most popular pets in the UK! If you are a dog owner, feel grateful to own a pet that fills your life with love and happiness. 🐾🐶

References:

  1. Trending Now | Loneliness How Pets Can Help | RSPCA Queensland. (n.d.). RSPCA Queensland.
  2. Get Healthy, Get a Dog: The health benefits of canine companionship – Harvard Health. (n.d.). Harvard Health.
  3. Dog ownership and mental health – for better and worse – Articles – School of Life Sciences – University of Liverpool.
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About
Jacob Kay
Jacob Kay is a Veterinary Advisor and Editor at WWD. He’s also a dog lover and has two pet dogs of his own. He has extensive knowledge in the field of veterinary medicine and is always happy to share his insights with others.

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