Birmingham Has A New Top Dog As City Shuns Old Favourites

New figures released ahead of Crufts, which returns to Birmingham from 9-12 March, show new trends in dog ownership in the city

  • Celebrity favourite, the French Bulldog, which is tipped to become Britain’s favourite breed by 2019, has already overtaken the Labrador Retriever as Birmingham’s top dog, for the first time this year
  • Other breeds favoured by celebrities and often used in advertising, such as the Pug and Bulldog, have shot up in popularity in Birmingham in the last ten years
  • Old favourites including the Labrador, Cocker Spaniel and Staffordshire Bull Terrier are falling out of favour in the city
  • English Springer Spaniel has been knocked out of Birmingham’s top ten favourite breeds and has been replaced by the Miniature Schnauzer, a German breed, and the Dogue de Bordeaux, a French breed
  • Crufts, the UK’s largest dog show, returns to Birmingham on 9-12 March and visitors can meet over 200 breeds of pedigree dog and find out which ones might be best suited to their lifestyle

Birmingham is now choosing fashionable, more exotic, dog breeds over traditional old favourites, according to statistics released by the Kennel Club ahead of its annual Crufts event, which takes place at the NEC in Birmingham from 9-12 March, and dogs gathered at the NEC today (7th March) to highlight the importance of people choosing the right breed for their lifestyle.

The Kennel Club recently announced that the French Bulldog, a breed favoured by celebrities such as the Beckhams, Lady Gaga, Leonardo DiCaprio, Reese Witherspoon and Hugh Jackman, could be set to overtake the Labrador as the UK’s most popular breed of dog, and this has already happened in Birmingham.

Nationally, the French Bulldog has seen a 3,000 per cent increase in the last ten years (2007 to 2016) and even more of an increase in Birmingham – a whopping 4,160 per cent. 

As the French Bulldog’s popularity shoots up, the Labrador Retriever, the favourite in Birmingham up until this year, is seeing a decline, going down by almost 40 per cent in Birmingham in ten years, compared to 25 per cent nationally for the same period.

Other old favourites, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Cocker Spaniel, have also fallen out of fashion in Birmingham. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier has slipped from being third in the city’s top ten list last year to fifth place this year, being overtaken by both the Pug and the Bulldog, with its numbers down by more than half over ten years (56 per cent decrease from 2007 to 2016). 

The Cocker Spaniel’s popularity has gone down in Birmingham by nearly a fifth (17 per cent) in ten years, while it has gone up nationally by five per cent in the same period.

Old British favourite, the English Springer Spaniel has been knocked out of Birmingham’s top ten list this year, having seen a decline of 10 per cent in the last year (2015 to 2016) and a staggering 60 per cent decrease over the last ten years (2007 to 2016). The breed has been replaced by two breeds with foreign origins –the Miniature Schnauzer, a German breed, which is now the ninth most popular breed in Birmingham, and the Dogue de Bordeaux, a French breed, which is now the tenth most popular breed in the city.

The Dogue de Bordeaux is one of the fastest risers of the last year in Birmingham, increasing in popularity by 100 per cent between 2015 and 2016, whereas it has gone down in popularity by two per cent nationally.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “Birmingham’s preference in dog breeds is undoubtedly shifting towards more exotic ones that could be considered as being more fashionable, while some of the more traditional favourites are being overlooked.

“While Birmingham’s new top dog, the French Bulldog, is a lovely breed, we believe that the dramatic increase in its popularity, both in Birmingham and across the rest of the UK, is due to people choosing the breed because of how it looks and because it is considered to be a fashionable choice and owned by celebrities, rather than because it is the most suitable breed for their lifestyle and we would encourage anyone thinking about getting a dog to do the proper research beforehand to make sure they are making the right choice.

“The great thing about pedigree dogs is that they have a certain level of predictability, so people know what they are getting, which helps those who are deciding on which breed would be best suited to them and their circumstances. With all the information available these days, and with events like Crufts at the NEC, where people can meet around 200 breeds and speak to experts in each one, there really is no excuse for buying a dog that is not a good match for you.”

The Kennel Club is inviting people to come and meet around 200 breeds at the Discover Dogs zone at Crufts from 9th-12th March 2017, at the NEC in Birmingham.  

For further information or tickets to Crufts, visit