The North East of England has the most dog owners in the UK – but which breed is the favourite?
A 2014 survey showed that 36% of households in the North East owned a dog of some kind. That was significantly higher than the national average of 24%, and was the highest scoring region in the country. Maybe we’re all just warm-hearted animal lovers up here, or maybe it’s because we have so much amazing countryside in which to take our beloved pooches for exercise. Whatever the reason, we certainly love all kinds of dogs, whether they’re pedigrees or mixed breed, big or small, old or young.
Our best friends
Dogs are great with kids, and many of us first formed an attachment to a family dog when we were just little kids. A dog brings a family together, and it teaches children the importance of caring for something and taking responsibility. A dog can provide love and reassurance when times are tough, and likes nothing better than to celebrate with the whole family when things are going well!
A dog is always pleased to see you when you get in from work or school, and they’re loyal to a fault. Every dog has its own distinctive personality. Some say dogs grow to resemble their owners – so what does our favourite dog breed say about us?
Whatever breed of dog you own, it’s important to take care of them properly. This means adequate, regular exercise, a healthy and nutritious diet, and making sure that they have proper flea and tick protection. Different breeds also have different special needs, so whether you’re buying from a breeder or adopting a rescued dog, make sure to do your research before you commit.
Below we’ve listed the North East’s favourite dog breeds, based on pedigrees registered in the NE postcode between 2005 and 2014, in reverse order.
5. Staffordshire bull terriers
The tough little Staffy sometimes gets a bad reputation, but they continue to be popular for their cheerful temperament, boundless energy and dogged tenacity. These chunky chappies can be incredibly loving and very family oriented, provided they are properly socialised early on and given the right training. Friendly, loyal and determined to please, the Staffordshire bull terrier can certainly be dangerous if ill-treated or provoked. But put in the time and effort and you’ll be rewarded many times over.
4. Border terriers
Small, sturdy and short-haired, the Border terrier is a relatively low-maintenance dog. Nevertheless, they’re no lap dog, and need vigorous, regular exercise to keep them contented and in good shape. A natural hunter, the Border terrier is independent and inquisitive, loving to explore and chase. But they’re also extremely friendly and generally get on well with other dogs as well as people.
3. English Springer Spaniels
The springer spaniel is another popular family dog and has boundless energy and enthusiasm for life. The downside is that this can sometimes result in them getting over-excited too easily. Some English springer spaniels are highly strung and can become hyperactive. They need regular stimulation, as they’re bright and eager to learn; they also need regular grooming for their feathery coat. This dog probably isn’ suitable if you live in a small flat and are out at work all day. But if the family has time between them to give your springer plenty of attention and training then you’ll be on to a winner with this breed.
2. Cocker spaniels
Many dog owners are attracted to the cute and lovable cocker spaniel for their relatively small size. This does mean that they’re a particularly good dog for children, but as with the springer spaniel above, it doesn’t mean that they’re a good choice if you have quite cramped living quarters. What the cocker spaniel lacks in stature it makes up for in boundless energy! With that in mind, these lively, intelligent dogs are a bundle of fun. Just give them plenty of regular exercise and daily grooming to keep their long, flowing coat looking smooth and glossy. Bear in mind that those long, floppy ears can easily attract tics and mites.
The Labrador is not just the North East’s favourite, it’s also the nation’s favourite. What can we say about this classic breed? Originally bred as a gun dog, the Labrador retriever is loyal and loving, great with children and the elderly, and adapts well to being part of a large family. Their intelligence and natural obedience means that they’re easy to train, but they do need plenty of exercise, as given the chance they will overeat and get out of shape! Treat your Labrador well, however, and they’ll be your best friend for life – as many of you have no doubt experienced.