(Written by Georgia Hatton)
At the end of 2021 we carried out a survey to find out more about our customers' dogs.
One of the questions we asked was about the breeds of dogs you own and the results are in!
Taking first place is the Border Collie!
Considered to be the most intelligent breed, these dogs were originally bred to herd livestock, particularly sheep around the English/Scottish border. Their intelligence and drive make them a popular dog of choice for a variety of dog activities, such as agility, obedience and flyball. All pedigree border collies can be traced back to a single dog called Old Hemp, born in 1893!
In second place is the lurcher. A type of dog, rather than a breed, lurchers are the result of crossing a sighthound, such as a greyhound, with another breed, with common crosses being bedlington terriers and border collies. They originated in Great Britain, in the middle ages. It was illegal for the commoners to own hunting greyhounds, and lurchers were the result of illegal meetings between a stray lord's dog and the scruffy farm terrier. The definition of lurcher was first used in this meaning in 1668!
Top of the Kennel Clubs Breed Popularity Rating for 2020, the Labrador Retriever took the third spot in our survey. Bred in the Newfoundland province of Canada - confusingly not the Labrador region - they are traditionally gundogs. As well as being talented at picking up shot game birds and retrieving them, especially from water, they are often the breed of choice for service and guide dog training. The first dogs were recognised by the UK Kennel Club in 1903 and they are now the most popular breed in the world!
4th is the smaller gundog - the cocker spaniel. Known as the “merry cocker”, these cheerful, happy go lucky dogs are a popular family pet. Originally bred to work hunting woodcock, they are an active breed, who will thrive from exercise and companionship. The first cancer detecting dog was a cocker spaniel, who started his career in 2004. In his prime, he was able to detect cancer successfully in over 80% of cases. This single cocker spaniel has laid the foundation for bio-detection dogs, including a team of covid-19 detection dogs!
In 5th was the cockapoo. First bred in the US in the 1960’s, the cockapoo is a cross between the cocker spaniel and poodle - usually the miniature variety. These “designer” hybrid dogs retain the merry cocker personality and drive, but the addition of the poodle tends to make the coat less shedding - but as a crossbreed this is no guarantee!
In 6th place were terrier crosses. The word terrier originates in the 15th century, from the latin word terrarius - meaning Earth. Robust, and hardy, terriers have been bred for hundreds of years to go to ground and dig out their quarry. Terriers come in all shapes and sizes, from the diminutive yorkshire terrier, up to the king of the terriers, the Airedale. In our survey, the most popular kind was the Jack Russell and their mixes. Bred in Derbyshire in the 1800’s, these are amongst the commonest terriers, but despite their popularity they only gained breed status with the UK Kennel Club in 2016.
Rounding up our blog for today, in 7th place is the German shepherd. As the name suggests, this large breed originated in Germany in the late 1800’s, by one man and his dog, to herd and protect the sheep. These high energy working dogs were being developed into a single breed when the first world war broke out and they were promoted from herding dog, to service dog. By the outbreak of the second world war, they were being used by the United States Military, and are now a common feature of police forces worldwide, known for their loyalty, obedience and intelligence.