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The five most popular breeds of dog in the UK

Updated on October 8, 2009


According to the Kennel Club the most popular breed of dog in the UK is the Labrador Retriever. The Labrador comes from Canada, but was given its’ name in Great Britain in the 1830’s when it was brought to Britain by fishermen from Newfoundland and Canada where it had been used to aid them in landing their nets – hence its alternative name of Fishermans Friend. The Labradors coat is usually a shade of black, gold or brown and is short and dense. They are named according to their colour e.g.: Golden, Chocolate or Black Labradors. Potential health problems of the Labrador Retriever include hip dysplasia, epilepsy, eye problems and skin allergies.

Cocker Spaniel

The Cocker Spaniel is the second most popular breed of dog in the UK and was originally bred to hunt small game. Its’ origins can be dated back to the 1800s, and its name gives it away in that ‘spaniel’ comes from the word ‘Espagnol’ which means Spanish, which is where all of the Spaniel breeds hold their origin. ‘Cocker’ refers to the fact that they were once used for hunting woodcock pigeons. The Cocker Spaniel has a flat and beautifully silky coat which comes in a variety of shades. Health problems related to the Cocker Spaniel include eye and ear infections.

Springer Spaniel

The English Springer Spaniel is the third most popular UK dog and was bred originally for bird retrieving. Like the Cocker Spaniel its origins are from the 1800s and it can be traced back to Spain. The word ‘Springer’ comes from the fact that they forced their quarry to spring out of wooded areas, and were used as at that time there were no shotguns for hunting. The spaniel would make the game take flight in order for the hunter’s hawk to catch and kill it. English Springer Spaniels are usually black and white, and can be with or without tan colouring. They tend to suffer from ear and eye infections and elbow dysplasia.

German Shepherd

The German Shepherd or Alsatian is our next favourite dog who as his name suggests comes from Germany. They were originally bred for herding sheep and they can be dated back to the 1700s. When the German association was unpopular after the war the breeds name was changed to Alsatian Wolf Dog after the German-French border area of Alsace-Lorraine. The ‘Wolf Dog’ part of the name was also dropped soon after, as it was thought that this would scare people and also lead to the dog’s unpopularity. The name was changed back to German Shepherd in 1977. The German Shepherd coat can be black, grey, tan or gold and white. Potential health risks for the German Shepherd include skin disease, congenital heart disease, hip dysplasia, panosteitis (inflammation of the bones of the legs) and bloating.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Our next favourite is the Staffordshire Bull Terrier or Nanny Dog, which of course derived from Staffordshire in England in the 1800s and was bred for the hunting of mice and rats. It was also used for bull-baiting dog fighting. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier has a short, dense red, fawn, white, black or blue coat. Problems with health tend to include hip dysplasia and cataracts.


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      Amilia 3 years ago


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      blacklabradors 7 years ago from Out on a walk with my dog

      Thanks for the nice post, and nice to see the labs on top where they belong.