French Bulldogs have been named the nation’s favourite dog breed, overtaking the Labrador Retriever for the first time since 1990, according to statistics by the Kennel Club.
Owned by numerous celebrities, Frenchies have seen an astronomical 2,964% increase in the last ten years and is likely to be named 2018’s top dog.
Research by the Kennel Club, the UK’s largest dog welfare organisation, revealed that there were 8,403 French Bulldog puppy registrations in the first quarter of 2018, compared to 7,409 for the Labrador – a 23% uplift on the first quarter of 2017, while Labrador numbers have only rise by 7%.
The popularity of the breed has seen an unprecedented rise in recent years, with a 44% increase from 2016 to 2017 alone.
A warning has been issued to potential dog-owners following the release of the new figures, with the Kennel Club concerned that the dramatic increase in numbers of French Bulldogs is due to people choosing the breed because of how it looks and because it is considered to be a fashionable choice, rather than it being the most suitable breed for their lifestyle.
There is also a fear of undocumented and unregistered French Bulldogs being brought illegally into the country from Eastern Europe, with dogs that have been bred by puppy farmers often suffering with serious health problems. As the French Bulldog is a flat-faced breed, it can be affected by health problems related to its breathing.
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Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “The problem is that rogue breeders are cashing in on this surging demand, which is why it has never been more important that people consider buying from a responsible breeder.
Meanwhile, the French Bulldog Welfare Trust warns that there has been a rise in people handing over Frenchies to a rescue centre after failing to do their research about the breed and realising they cannot care for it.
“We are getting more and more French Bulldogs coming through our doors from people who haven’t thought through whether they are the right dog for their lifestyle,” Sue Worrall, Trustee of the French Bulldog Welfare Trust, says.
“People need to be aware that French Bulldogs require lots of companionship and training and can suffer from serious health problems.”
She adds: “A good breeder will supply any health test results for the parents and introduce the puppy buyer to the mum, and sometimes the dad, so that they can see if they have exaggerated features, such as overly short muzzles, which should be avoided.”
The Kennel Club is urging anyone looking to get a French Bulldog to consider the full range of breeds, including those that are at risk of disappearing like the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Otterhound and the Irish Red and White Setter. Old English Sheepdog numbers are also falling.
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