New research has revealed the 10 dog breeds most likely to be stolen along with expert advice on how to look after your pets.

The research analysed Freedom of Information data on the number of dog thefts people have reported in the last five years, as well as which types of dog were most commonly stolen.

The dog breeds stolen the most over the last 5 years 

  1. Staffordshire Bull Terrier - 367 thefts 
  2. Chihuahua - 163 thefts 
  3. French Bulldog - 149 thefts 
  4. Jack Russell Terrier - 107 thefts
  5. Pug - 97 thefts
  6. Bulldog - 94 thefts 
  7. German Shepherd - 93 thefts 
  8. Yorkshire Terrier - 77 thefts 
  9. Cocker Spaniel - 66 thefts 
  10. American Bulldog - 63 thefts 

Staffordshire bull terriers are among the most popular dogs in the UK, so perhaps it’s little surprise that they’re one of the most commonly stolen dogs. However, when we also take into account the various crossbreeds too, Staffies actually account for 19.4% of dog thefts over the last five years.

Not only are Chihuahuas understandably a very desirable dog, but their tiny size, unfortunately, makes them an easy target for criminals too. This desirability also gives them a high resale price, with 163 being stolen in the last five years, although that’s still fewer than half as many Staffordshire Bull Terriers. 

Another small breed of dog is the third most commonly stolen, the French Bulldog, with 149 thefts in the last five years. Frenchies have grown in popularity over the last five years, but unfortunately, this means that thefts have as well — growing by just over double from 20 in 2016 to 41 in 2020. Frenchies usually cost between £1,000-£2,000 but can be worth upwards of £3,000, up to £10,000, so it’s easy to see why thieves target them.

When we look at the dog breeds with the biggest increase in thefts of the past five years, German Shepherds come out top, followed by French Bulldogs and American Bulldogs respectively.

The research also revealed the UK’s dog theft hotspots: 

  1. Leeds - 346 thefts over last 4 years
  2. Bradford - 244 thefts over last 4 years
  3. Sheffield - 129 thefts over last 4 years
  4. Huddersfield - 128 thefts over last 4 years
  5. Blackpool - 108 thefts over last 4 years

How to protect against dog theft

  1. Microchipping - If you haven’t already, it’s vital that you ensure that your dog is microchipped, not least because it is now required by law. This ensures that your dog can easily be identified and returned to you if they get lost.
  2. Be vigilant - While it’s always nice when friendly strangers come up to chat to you and say hello to your dog in the park, do remain vigilant of people you don’t know. Always be aware of your surroundings and keep a close eye on your dog. Don’t let them off the lead unless you’re sure that they will come back to you!
  3. Keep your garden secure - Try to keep your dog in view when it's in the garden, especially in the front garden if it can be easily accessed from the street. Make sure that any gates are locked and consider fitting a bell so that you can hear if anyone opens it.
  4. Be careful on social media - As much as you might want to share pictures of your dog online, it’s important to be careful. Try not to give away information such as where you live and walk your dog, or take a look at your privacy settings.
  5. Take out pet insurance - Dog insurance doesn’t just protect your dog from expensive veterinary treatments, but some policies will also cover the cost if your pet is stolen or goes missing (sometimes known as ‘missing pet cover’). The very best policies will also cover any costs of advertising if your pet gets lost.