Dog theft is every pet owner's worst nightmare. When a four-legged friend becomes part of the family, the thought of losing them is beyond heartbreaking.
SEE: 10 dog-friendly places in London to dine with your furry friend
Lockdown brought about a fur baby boom, with nearly three million homeowners adopting a dog in the UK over the last year. Unfortunately, there has also been a significant rise in cases of dog theft, with dog nappers taking advantage after the price of puppies soared during the pandemic.
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Thanks to the latest reseach, we now know the dog breeds most likely to get stolen – although no pup is completely risk-free.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are among the most popular dogs in the UK, so it's no surprise that they’re one of the most commonly stolen dogs, counting for 19.4 per cent of thefts over the last five years.
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In close second are Chihuahuas, with their tiny size making them an easy target for criminals.
Another small breed of dog is the third most commonly stolen, the French Bulldog. Frenchies usually cost between £1,000 and £2,000, but can be worth upwards of £3,000, up to £10,000, so it’s easy to see why thieves target them.
Over 3 million homes gained a pandemic puppy in the last year
10 dog breeds most likely to get stolen
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier - 367 thefts
- Chihuahua - 163 thefts
- French Bulldog - 149 thefts
- Jack Russell Terrier - 107 thefts
- Pug - 97 thefts
- Bulldog - 94 thefts
- German Shepherd - 93 thefts
- Yorkshire Terrier - 77 thefts
- Cocker Spaniel - 66 thefts
- American Bulldog - 63 thefts
Most popular breeds are now worth several thousands of pounds
It's never been more important to understand how you can protect your pooch from thieves and learn how to keep your dog safe.
Here are the best ways to guard against dog theft, according to money.co.uk.
How to protect against dog theft
Microchipping is now required by law, so if you haven't yet got your pup chipped – you should. It helps vets and local authorities trace you if your lost dog is found or hurt.
Unless you're confident your furry friend is trained well enough to return to you when you call it, be cautious letting your dog off the lead in large public spaces. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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