Dogs in demand: A guide to the UK’s most popular breeds

Everyone knows the UK is a nation of dog lovers. An estimated nine million people across the country have a canine companion, which means roughly one-third of British households own a dog. But which are the most popular breeds?

We had a look at some of the UK’s favourite types of pooch to explore what makes them loved by dog owners from Devon to Dundee.




The Labrador Retriever regularly tops polls of the country’s most popular dog breeds. In 2015, BBC analysis of microchipping data revealed that more than 509,000 Labradors had been tagged across the UK over the last ten years.

Labradors are renowned for being good-natured and loyal, making them ideal as family pets and assistance dogs for people with disabilities. The adorable Labrador puppy of the Andrex television commercials, which first appeared in 1972, has also helped to endear this much-loved breed to the nation.


Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniel

This breed made the list when the first ever survey of the UK’s most popular breeds was carried out 100 years ago. Cocker Spaniels remain much loved in Britain today, with many dog owners enjoying their lively, intelligent nature.

Originally bred as working gundogs, Cocker Spaniels are generally very good at socialising with people and other pets. They require regular grooming to keep their long, flowing coat in good condition as well as plenty of exercise and play. A toy like the Automatic Ball Launcher could be a great way to keep them occupied!


English Springer Spaniel

 English Springer spaniel portrait

The English Springer Spaniel, a close relative of the Cocker Spaniel, is a relative newcomer to the list of Britain’s top dogs. It did not even appear among the 40 most popular breeds 100 years ago, but nowadays many owners love the Springer for its energy and enthusiasm.

Springer Spaniels certainly require an energetic owner, but they are generally obedient despite their excitable nature. This can make them a really fun family pet, as long as you have plenty of time for them to enjoy long walks, roam free off the lead and go swimming.


Golden Retriever

Portrait of beautiful Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are happy, amiable dogs with luxurious coats and a playful nature. It’s not hard to see why they’re one of the most popular breeds!

They’re also highly intelligent – the Golden Retriever was rated the fourth brightest dog breed (behind the Border Collie, Poodle and German Shepherd) in canine psychologist Stanley Coren’s influential book The Intelligence of Dogs. So make sure you can keep them entertained.


Staffordshire Bull Terrier

The watchful staffy

Another very popular breed, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a compact and muscular dog that can be very affectionate. Although this breed has a reputation for being tough, they make great people-friendly pets with the proper training and care.

Microchipping data has revealed that ‘Staffies’ are particularly popular among city dwellers, perhaps because their size means they’re happy to live in smaller homes. The Staffie was shown to be the most frequently microchipped dog in almost every area of London, as well as other major urban centres like Manchester and Birmingham.

If you’re thinking about bringing a new dog into your home, one of these popular breeds could make an ideal pet. For more help on choosing the right pooch for you and your family, check out our recent post Big dog or small dog – what’s best for me?


What’s your favourite kind of dog? Are there any breeds you think don’t get enough love? Let us know in the comments.







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How to find a lost cat

As fellow pet lovers and owners, we truly understand how upsetting it is if your cat goes missing. And your natural reaction is to panic. However it is far more important, and more useful, to make a search plan and start looking as soon as possible.

To cover all bases and exhaust your options, follow our pointers:

  • Search indoors
    Before doing anything else, search high and low in your house. Take a torch/flashlight and treats with you, moving from room to room and look in small spaces, cupboards and on top of furniture.
  • Stay calm
    Think like a cat. Have you just moved house or introduced another pet or a baby into the house? They may have found comfort somewhere they are familiar with.
  • Ask around
    If you can’t spot them within the house or surrounding ground, it’s time to reach a little further afield. Find any recent photos and visit neighbours, ask to check their outdoor spaces and leave a contact number in case they see anything.
  • Leave home comforts outside
    Whilst you’re out and about, leave food, water and a litter tray by the door for your wandering kitty to use in case they arrive back.
  • Make posters
    Create posters with a photo and description of unique markings and colours, where and when they were last seen and your contact details. Place the posters around your neighbourhood on main roads and in local shops. Take the below for example of a well presented and clear poster.Downloadable from here.


  • Go online and try social media
    It’s important to create and share a photo and description on social media, send it to local Facebook pages that can share it to a larger audience. It’s also beneficial to submit a description to websites such as CatAware who work as a community to report any missing or found cats according to postcodes.
  • Notify local vets
    Get in touch with the relevant shelters and vets with your cat’s information and visit whenever possible to look for your pet.
  • If you’ve just moved…
    If you’ve recently moved house, check your old neighbourhood if possible. Cats have a strong homing instinct and will find their way to familiar surroundings so may have got themselves back to where you used to live.

It is important not to give up hope when looking for a lost cat, and keep a good group of friends or family with you- more eyes mean more likelihood of finding your missing pet.

For more control over your cat’s freedom, we suggest taking a look at our wide range of Staywell® Cat Flaps. From Microchip access to Magnetic and Infra-red, choose the right one to suit you and your cat’s needs.

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How to prevent hairballs

Cats groom themselves, it’s a fact.
They are also prone to hairballs, that too is a fact.

But why does it happen? What can we do to prevent it?
And what are the dangers when they are ignored?

Why does my cat get hairballs?

cat 1
When a cat grooms themselves, their rough tongue picks up some of the loose fur which they then swallow.

In proportion, the amount of hair they swallow is minimal and can mostly pass out naturally and without any issues.

However, in some cases the hair can form a knot in the stomach which creates a hairball. They can become quite firm and in cases cause a blockage in the digestive tract, though most of the time they are regurgitated without any harm to your cat.

How we can prevent it?

cat 2
Most of the time, a hairball won’t cause any problems and a cat is perfectly fine managing their own, but there are ways in which we can help our furry friends reduce the amount they regurgitate. This can be done by:

    • Brushing
      It’s important to brush long haired cats a few times a week Removing loose and dead fur from your cat’s coat before it is ingested is the best way to prevent a hairball forming.


    • Discourage excessive grooming
      Sometimes your cat will over-groom as a prevention for boredom, to combat this increase your interactive playtime and draw their interest away from grooming. An interactive toy such as the FroliCat® CHATTER™ can be played with whilst you’re not around thanks to its ‘Play while you’re away’ mode.


    • Keep them active
      Regular exercise encourages a healthy digestive system, helping hair move through the system without creating clumps.


    • Remedies
      There are certain gels and pastes available which include a lubricant such as petroleum jelly to help move hair more easily. Always check with your vet before administering the product.


    • Specific diet
      Formulated to treat hairballs, certain cat foods have a high fibre content and include enzymes designed to breakdown hair. Be sure to check with your vet before adapting your cat’s diet.


  • Plenty of water
    Dehydration can affect the digestive system and make it harder to move through the body. Providing fresh and clean water for your cat every day encourages a higher consumption and a healthier digestive system.

The dangers of hairballs

cat 3
Occasionally a hairball may get stuck in the digestive system either in the stomach or throat causing a blockage. Symptoms of a serious hairball appear in the form of:

  • Persistent vomiting, retching or coughing without a hairball coming up
  • Constipation and swollen abdomen
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargy and unwillingness to move about much

In some cases, a lodged hairball may require surgery to correct, so if you witness any of the above behaviours in your cat it’s best to book to see your vet as soon as possible.

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