What is the most popular breed of dog in UK

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American cocker spaniel laying in green grass
American Cocker Spaniel Laying In Green Grass

Many of the most popular dog breeds have their origins in the United Kingdom, and especially in England. A lot of these breeds were developed for their working skills, which included hunting, retrieving and pest extermination.

We have listed below some of the most popular English dog breeds, along with details of what makes them a desired choice.

  • 01 of 10


    Bulldog running for a ball on grass
    Bulldog Running For A Ball On Grass

    The Bulldog is probably one of the most well-recognized breeds in the world. In 2018, the American Kennel Club listed them as the fifth most popular breed in the United States, and they're also similarly popular in the UK.

    They're known for being extremely good-natured and tend to be calm, fun and family-friendly dogs that get on well with other pets too.

    Over the years, Bulldogs have become flatter around the face, have more wrinkles and their bodies have become squatter and less athletic. Their popularity has meant they have also fallen foul of unscrupulous puppy mills and backyard breeders.

    Unfortunately, this has lead to the breed being plagued with a myriad of health issues. They can commonly have breathing issues, eye disorders and problems with their joints.

    Breed Overview


    14 to 15 inches at the shoulder


    40 to 50 pounds

    Physical Characteristics:

    Straight, short, smooth coat that comes in a variety of colors; thick-set, low-slung, muscular and with a wrinkled brow and flat-face

  • 02 of 10



    If you enjoy an active lifestyle and are looking for a fun-loving, energetic, even-tempered companion that can slot in well to family life, then the Beagle could be a good match. These characteristics make them a popular breed, and they rank just behind the Bulldog in terms of popularity in the United States.

    It won't necessarily be all plain sailing though. Beagles were bred back in 16th century England as rabbit-hunting hounds. They still retain that great sense of smell and can have a high prey drive for small furries. They're also known for their baying howl.

    Sometimes mischievous, Beagles can have an independent, stubborn streak, and will need consistent and positive training and plenty of enrichment. This will help prevent problems behaviors developing as a result of boredom or because of a lack of direction.

    Beagles tend to be very foody, and care needs to be taken to ensure they don't become overweight.

    Breed Overview


    13 to 15 inches at the shoulder


    20 to 25 pounds

    Physical Characteristics:

    Close, hard coat that comes in colors including tri-color, red and white, and lemon and white; beagles have low, long ears and an erect, high tail

  • 03 of 10

    Yorkshire Terrier

    Close up head shot of a Yorkshire Terrier
    Close Up Head Shot Of A Yorkshire Terrier

    The Yorkie is another one that made it into the top ten most popular breeds in the AKC's list in 2018.

    With their compact size, large ears and long, silky coat, they certainly look adorable. These dogs may look dainty, but they have big personalities and can be feisty, unfailingly loyal, protective and aren't afraid to let their voice be heard.

    Yorkshire Terriers are very smart too, but they can have a stubborn streak, so patience and reward-based methods are best employed when it comes to training. Originally developed to hunt out vermin in the factories around Yorkshire, England, this breed still has a high prey drive, and care should be taken around small furries.

    Their glossy, long coat will need a lot of grooming to prevent mats and tangles from developing.

    Breed Overview


    8 to 9 inches


    5 to 7 pounds

    Physical Characteristics:

    Long, straight and silky coat; comes in black and gold, black and tan, blue and gold, and blue and tan coloring

  • 04 of 10

    Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

    Tri-color Cavalier King Charles Spaniel standing on grass
    Tri-color Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Standing On Grass

    With a history that dates back to 17th century England, these dogs, as their name suggests, have been much-beloved companions to Royalty throughout the years.

    Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are exceptionally popular in their native UK, and still in the top twenty in North America too. This is largely down to their temperament. They're known for being very biddable and tend to get on well with children and other dogs. They're also less busy than their Springer and Cocker Spaniel relatives, so don't need quite as much exercise and stimulation.

    Their long and silky coat does have higher than average grooming requirements and, unfortunately, they can be known for having a number of potential health problems. Heart problems and a condition called Syringomyelia, which involves fluid building up on the spinal cord, are relatively common in the breed.

    Breed Overview


    12 to 13 inches


    13 to 18 pounds

    Physical Characteristics:

    Long, sleek, silky coat with feathering around the legs, ears, chest and tail; long ears and soft expression.

  • 05 of 10

    English Springer Spaniel

    English Springer Spaniel aged one year old called Twiglet, Sydney, Australia
    English Springer Spaniel Aged One Year Old Called Twiglet, Sydney, Australia

    English Springer Spaniels were developed in the 19th century to spring up and flush out game for their hunter owners. They're known for being full of energy, stamina, enthusiasm and affection. If you lead an active lifestyle, you'll have an unfailingly devoted and eager to please companion.

    Their busy nature and natural boisterous and excitable nature means they may not suit a home with very young children, although they do tend to get on well with kids and dogs alike.

    Their desire to be in the company of their people also means they need someone around most of the day to prevent potential problems with separation anxiety developing.

    Breed Overview


    19 to 20 inches


    40 to 50 pounds

    Physical Characteristics:

    Medium-length flat or wavy, glossy topcoat, and a short, profuse and soft undercoat; ears, legs and chest often have longer feathering; commonly seen in white and black or white and liver coloring; long ears, a gentle expression and usually a waggy tail

  • 06 of 10


    Bullmastiff standing in garden, California, USA
    Bullmastiff Standing In Garden, California, USA

    Bullmastiffs were developed in England for their courage, strength and bravery. This was put to use when hunting big game, guarding livestock and estates, and even as war dogs.

    The modern-day Mastiff is known for being more docile and affectionate than their original ancestors, and these are just a couple of the qualities that endear them to large breed enthusiasts. Despite their size, Bullmastiffs are known for being patient, loving and gentle with children, and they make devoted guardians.

    Their protective nature can sometimes mean they can be prone to guarding behavior and wariness of strangers, so early, appropriate and ongoing socialization and training are important.

    These big dogs obviously need a lot of space, will require a hefty feeding budget and, with their wrinkled faces, they can be prone to excessive drooling and can overheat more easily too.

    Breed Overview


    24 to 27 inches


    100 to 130 pounds

    Physical Characteristics:

    Short coat in fawn, red, or brindle; distinctive broad, wide and wrinkled skull; broad and muscular body shape

  • 07 of 10

    English Cocker Spaniel

    Black and white ticked English Cocker Spaniel against green background
    Black And White Ticked English Cocker Spaniel Against Green Background

    English Cocker Spaniels, like their Springer Spaniel relatives, were developed in England to flush out game. Their smaller size meant they were prized when it came to hunting woodcock, and this is thought to be where their name is derived.

    This is another busy breed that needs a home where they will get plenty of exercise, stimulation and affection. They're known to form strong bonds with their owners and are people pleasers that can develop separation anxiety if left on their own too long, too often.

    Their coat will require more maintenance than a short-coated breed, and care should be taken to keep their long ears clean and dry to prevent infections developing.

    This breed is separate to the American Cocker Spaniel which has a shorter muzzle and squarer looking face. They do, however, both share a lot of the same temperament traits.

    Breed Overview


    16 to 17 inches (males); 15 to 16 inches (females)


    28 to 34 pounds (males); 26 to 32 pounds (females)

    Physical Characteristics:

    Silky, medium-length coat with feathering on ears, legs and chest; long, pendulous ears, long snout and softly contoured body

  • 08 of 10

    Airedale Terrier

    Airedale Terrier running across grass in front of trees
    Airedale Terrier Running Across Grass In Front Of Trees

    The biggest of all the terrier breeds, the Airedale is smart, independent, versatile and full of energy. Often referred to as the 'King of Terriers', they definitely have very defined and strong personalities. This endears them to enthusiasts of the breed, but it also means they might not be the best choice of dog for a novice dog owner.

    These versatile dogs were often used as vermin catchers, livestock herders and protectors, and gun dogs back in 19th century England. The breed still has a high prey drive and they have bags of stamina. They're best suited to an active home where they will get lots of opportunities to put their smarts to the test.

    While Airedales are known for being fun-loving, playful and loyal with their people, they don't always get on with other dogs. Their short-wiry coat isn't high maintenance and, with their distinctive beard, they have a very regal and characterful look.

    Breed Overview


    23 to 24 inches (male), the female is slightly smaller


    40 to 65 pounds

    Physical Characteristics:

    Hard, wiry, dense, straight, short topcoat, with a softer undercoat; head and ears are tan, and the body is a mix of tan and black or dark grizzle; largest of the terriers with long legs, long head and a prominent beard

  • 09 of 10


    Whippet standing in a forest with people in the background
    Whippet Standing In A Forest With People In The Background

    One of the smallest of the Sighthound family, Whippets are often confused for just being exceptionally small Greyhounds.

    They do share many of the same characteristics. They tend to be calm, gentle, playful and loving. They usually get on well with children and other dogs and tend to be quiet and sedate around the home.

    Their size and quiet nature make them a popular choice of dog for apartment living. They do still need plenty of exercise and stimulation, though. Their affectionate nature also means they can be prone to separation anxiety if left alone too much.

    When Whippets do go out, they're lightning-fast and can often be seen enjoying zoomies in an open space. Because they were used by the English working class to hunt small game, they do have a high prey drive. You'll likely need to work hard on achieving a solid recall, and may have to be careful if you have other small furry pets.

    Their smooth, short coat means they don't have a high maintenance grooming regime.

    Breed Overview


    18 to 22 inches


    25 to 40 pounds

    Physical Characteristics:

    Short, smooth coat in a variety of colors including black, blue, fawn, red, white, and various shades of brindle, or a combination of any of these colors; deep chest and slim waist; appear like smaller versions of Greyhounds

  • 10 of 10

    Bull Terrier

    White Bull Terrier running through a meadow
    White Bull Terrier Running Through A Meadow

    Bull Terriers were used as fighting dogs in 19th century England, and with their rounded head and muscular physique, the breed certainly still looks tough.

    These days, though, they're better known for being exceptionally playful, sometimes to the point of being almost clown-like, and they often get on well with the children in a household.

    They don't always get on so well with strange dogs, though, and can sometimes be overly protective. This means early and ongoing socialization and training is important, especially as they can be known for having a stubborn and independent streak too.

    Their athletic physique also means they need plenty of exercise to prevent problem behaviors occurring as a result of boredom.

    Breed Overview


    21 to 22 inches


    50 to 70 pounds

    Physical Characteristics:

    Short coat in nearly any color including white, red, fawn, black, blue, or brindle (or a combination of these); most commonly seen in solid white; distinctive rounded front of the skull, and a muscular and athletic physique

There are lots of popular breeds native to England that charm dog lovers worldwide.

If you're welcoming one of these dogs into your household, as with any breed, make sure you do your research, find a reputable breeder or dog rescue organization, and consider whether your lifestyle will be right for the dog.