More than 2,000 dogs were reported stolen last year, the equivalent of six dogs each day, according to new research.

The study, from Direct Line Pet Insurance, found that just one in four of those stolen dogs were returned.

American Bulldogs were the most stolen breed in 2022, with the number more than quadrupling compared to the year before.

Staffordshire Bull Terriers and French Bulldogs were also popular targets for dognappers, with the former seeing a 610 per cent year on year increase. French Bulldogs saw thefts rise by 31 per cent compared to the prior year.

The Bolton News:

The number of dogs stolen overall in 2022 has decreased by 22 per cent compared to 2,760 dogs in 2021.

Beverley Cuddy, editor of Dogs Today magazine, said: “Although reported dog theft numbers may be going down to pre-pandemic levels, the reality is that a significant number of cases still go unreported.

“Coupled with the rise in people using dog walkers, multiple dogs could be stolen at one time.

“Only one crime reference number is assigned when this happens, so we believe the scale of the problem is likely to be much bigger.”

Most stolen dog breeds

  1. American Bulldog
  2. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  3. French Bulldog
  4. Jack Russell
  5. Chihuahua
  6. English Bulldog
  7. Cocker Spaniel
  8. German Shepherd
  9. Yorkshire Terrier
  10. Husky

Madeline Pike, veterinary nurse for Direct Line Pet Insurance, added: “We remain a nation of dog lovers. As more than a third of UK households own a dog, the opportunity for thieves is high, with six dogs stolen each day in 2022.

“Whilst there has been a decrease in the number of dogs stolen, animal shelters have seen a sharp rise in the number of pets being rehomed.

The Bolton News:

“This is likely to be a sign that households are struggling with the cost of living or that they can no longer give their pet the attention they need due to a change in their working patterns.

“Taking precautions such as not leaving your dog tied up outside a shop, in an empty vehicle or keeping it on the lead when in busy areas, will help reduce the likelihood of being targeted by thieves.

“It’s also vital to make sure your dog is microchipped and that your contact details are up to date. This can help identify your dog if it does go missing and is found.”

What to do if your dog has been stolen

  • Firstly, check the local area and your dog’s favourite spots in case the dog has wandered off
  • Engage the local community and make your dog ‘too hot to handle’ by sharing with local groups, putting up posters, informing local media and using social media – include pictures and any distinctive markings
  • There are some specific sites set up to help find lost and stolen dogs, like
  • Report your dog as stolen to the police and provide them with as much detail as possible
  • Report your dog as stolen to local pet related services like vets, animal shelters, pet shops, dog wardens and the council. Provide photos, a physical description and the dogs microchip number
  • Report your dog to the microchip database and make sure your contact details are up to date