You may not have heard that there's a National Dog Day in the UK on the 26th of August 2023 to celebrate all breeds of dogs from pedigree to Heinz 57 mixes. For those who have dogs, they're such a wonderful part of the family, providing fun times, love, and exercise for their owners. Harvard Health studies acknowledge that pet ownership provides companionship, keeps people active, improves the lives of older adults, eases stress, and makes people feel less isolated. For children who grow up with pets, it makes them calmer, feel more secure, and makes them more responsible. In short, owning a dog makes people healthier even suggesting that people who own dogs have lower blood pressure, lower risk of heart disease, and healthier cholesterol levels. These are all reasons to adopt a lifelong pet, which is what #NationalDogDay is all about.
The day aims to encourage people to adopt a forever dog and also to acknowledge all that dogs do for society (aside from individual health benefits) – from personal protection to law enforcement to service for the blind and disabled, for military operations like detecting bombs, for drug detection, and for pulling victims from wreckages of tragedy and natural disasters. Some dogs can also detect cancer and seizures, alert emergency personnel if their diabetic owner experiences low blood sugar, support autistic children, and even some dogs that detect allergens.
National Dog Day is against breed bans and celebrates all breeds of dogs.
Let's take a look at some of the UK's favourite breeds.
The top #25 dog breeds in the UK
According to Kennel Club surveys that are up-to-date this year, these are the top twenty-five favourite breeds by popularity in the UK.
- Labrador Retriever
- French Bulldog
- Cocker Spaniel
- Bulldog (excluding English and French Bulldogs)
- Miniature Smooth-Haired Dachshund
- English Springer Spaniel
- Golden Retriever
- German Shepherd
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- Miniature Schnauzer
- Border Terrier
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Hungarian Vizsla
- Shih Tzu
- German Shorthaired Pointer
- Border Collie
- Bull Terrier
- Doge de Bordeaux
Each year these rankings change slightly, but some of the same breeds crop up again and again with labrador retrievers topping the list for several years in a row. People seem to love this dog breed for its medium size and its affectionate, intelligent, and playful nature. These dogs love water and do well in active households. On the opposite end of the spectrum and second on the list is the small, fun-loving, mischievous French Bulldog, often chosen for its cute features such as oversized ears and sweet temperament. The third on the list is the beloved Cocker Spaniel, seen all over the UK, and these beautiful dogs are small, energetic, happy, and affectionate. They were traditionally hunting dogs, but they are known as gentle-natured pets. Do you own any of the top three? How about the top twenty-five?
The UK canine population is currently around 12.5 million (versus 67.3 million people in 2021) and since 2020-2021, there has been an 18% spike in dog ownership as a result of the pandemic. Many people adopted dogs during the pandemic to stave off loneliness, provide a reason for daily exercise, and protect mental health.
The British UK Kennel Club (KC) recognises 222 breeds of dog, with the US counterpart, the American Kennel Club (AKC), only recognising 197 breeds.
What is National Dog Day?
Founded in 2004 by Colleen Paige, who is a pet and family lifestyle expert, animal rescue advocate, dog trainer, and author, the day is celebrated every 26th of August to bring attention to the plight of forgotten and unwanted animals around the world, encouraging adoption.
She chose the date because this is the day when she was ten years old her family adopted her first dog, Sheltie, from an animal shelter.
Paige also founded many other animal-related holidays such as National Puppy Day, National Mutt Day, National Cat Day, National Wildlife Day, and other philanthropic days to encourage adoption and provide loving homes for unwanted animals in the world.