How many Dogs Are There in the UK?

They often say a dog is a man’s best friend and there must be a degree of truth to it as according to stats published earlier this year there are estimated to be 13 million pet dogs in the UK. This figure makes them the most popular pet in the country with their feline adversaries close behind at 12 million. A staggering piece of information is that this number of canine companions has risen quite dramatically over the past 10 years. The number of dogs has grown by close to 6 million and 3 million of those were bought as pandemic pups to help stave off the boredom of lockdowns!

This has meant that now, approximately 34% of UK households own a dog.

As a result, we investigated the data behind the dog to see how the dog population pans out across the UK and unearthed some of the more interesting facts about the UK’s favourite pet.

What is the most popular dog breed in the UK?

With such a large number of pet dogs spread across such a large number of households, it may be hard to pin down each and every one to an accurate number but the data specialists at Statista report that the ever faithful and fun Labrador Retriever leapt to the top of the list as the most popular dog in the UK. With 61,559 being registered in 2021, an increase of over 20,000 in the previous year.

Completing the top five were

2-French bulldog-54.074 registrations

3-Cocker Spaniel-38,910 registrations

4-Bulldog-15,403 registrations

5-Daschund-14,820 registrations

But these breeds could all find themselves in competition with what are known as the “toy breeds”. Toy breeds are the smaller dogs, some may say cuter and perhaps more likely to be seen in a celebrity’s handbag than on a lead in a muddy forest. Think Chihuahua, Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier or Maltese Dog for example. Over the past five years, sales of these breeds have risen by a phenomenal 140%.

Why are dogs so popular in the UK?

The phrase, “Man’s best friend” has always been associated with dogs and it is clear that there is an element of affection and care shared between owner and pet. Dogs are intuitively protective and responsive. Compare this to cats that would much rather sleep or vanish for a few days at a time, and it is no wonder people see dogs as ideal companions.

Dogs allow you to give your physical health a benefit through more time outdoors and your mental health a boost through the affection they are known to administer. Furthermore, their characters can provide you with years of fun and you get to see their personality develop over the time you own it. Even more so if you bought it when it was a puppy.

2 years ago, a survey was conducted among dog owners to see why people chose a dog over other pets. 51% said happiness was the sole reason whilst 35% stated that the companionship provided by a dog was the key factor.

Are dogs expensive to own?

If you are considering being part of the dog-owning set, then it is worth assessing the outlay it may include. Food, vet bills, toys, accessories, and much more all need to be factored in. 69% of dog owners underestimated just how much it would cost to keep their dog happy, healthy, and looked after. This is potentially a reason why there are currently an estimated 100,000 dogs wandering the streets in the UK with no owner to now look after them.

It has been estimated that a dog could set you back an average of £70-£105 per month so it is worth weighing up how practical and affordable it may be for you. In some cases, caring for a dog can range from £600 per year to well over £1000.

Furthermore, it’s become more of a trend to showcase your dog in a variety of outfits, either themed or weather related. This has seen a surge in purchases of these accessories and now 1 in 5 dog owners in the UK regularly spend £20 a month or more on dressing their dog up. A recent look at the top expenditures for pets showed us that this spending is the third-highest expense for dog owners with food and vet bills ahead.

We seem to like to treat them too! Data shows that the market for dry food to feed these pooches was valued at £576m, that’s just dry food!


What benefits do dogs give owners?

Earlier on we touched upon why dogs tend to be popular and the benefits to owners are a huge part of that reason. Research shows that 70% of dog owners felt happier when walking their dogs. In addition, 90% of dog owners say that owning a dog makes them feel happier in day-to-day life and 88% say that their quality of life was improved through owning a pet.

The impact dogs have on people is notably huge and further data shows that 41% of dog owners talk to their dogs more frequently than they do their partners. A similar amount also calls in sick to work to spend more time with their pooches.


Dogs are so popular in the UK that many owners do not want to leave them in kennels when they go on holiday. They would much rather take them on a trip with them. At PBS Pet Travel we facilitate that. Experts in dog travel, we make it easy to take your dog abroad we can even help with the animal health certificate requirements. Whether it be by plane or boat, our expert team can guide you through the process so that your pet can enjoy the whole trip with you. We can also help If you are bringing a pet to the UK. Simply speak to our team to find out about how we make it possible for your dog and you to enjoy more time together no matter where you are.