French Bulldog challenges Labrador Retriever for 'top dog'
Are you thinking about getting a new puppy this Christmas or in the New Year? If so, have you got your heart set on a particular breed or will you adopt from your local rescue centre?
The Kennel Club's puppy registration figures have revealed the nation's most popular breeds, including some perennial favourites alongside one or two rising stars.
Millets analysed the statistics and found that one in seven of all pedigree puppies registered last year was a Labrador Retriever, ensuring this friendly and intelligent dog maintained its top spot as the UK's most popular breed.
However, this year it faces a challenge from the French Bulldog, which was in second place last year and became 'top dog' for the first time in the first quarter of 2018.
With famous owners including Lady Gaga and the Beckhams, the French Bulldog has seen its popularity soar in recent years: just 1,025 pups were registered in the UK in 2008, but the figure rose to a staggering 30,887 in 2017.
Also inside the top five last year were Cocker Spaniels, Pugs and English Springer Spaniels, followed by the Bulldog in sixth place.
Commenting on the rise in popularity of smaller dogs, Caroline Kisko from The Kennel Club said: "Celebrity ownership or advertisers using breeds in film and television can influence the public to purchase a puppy due to its celebrity or fashionable status rather than because breed suits their lifestyle. City lifestyles are also a huge factor in the changes in popularity, as smaller dogs can be a good fit for urban life.
"We can see that a large proportion of puppy registrations are concentrated in the top 10 most popular breeds. There are actually a huge 221 pedigree dog breeds in this country to choose from - each with their own distinct characters - so people need to take care when choosing their four-legged companion, that they get the right one for them."
If you've done your research and have chosen your puppy, make sure the animal is bright, active and friendly, the RSPCA advises.
Check that the puppy has clear and bright eyes, with no sign of dirt or redness. Its nose should be cold and slightly wet, with wide open nostrils, and its mouth should be clean, with white teeth and pink gums.
Breathing should be quiet and effortless with no snoring, coughing, grunting or wheezing, and its skin should be clean and dry, with no signs of soreness or folds that can become infected.
Most importantly of all, remember 'a dog is for life, not just for Christmas' - make sure you're ready for the commitment of owning and taking care of a dog for its whole life.