Dog Breeds

Every dog breed is different, so we're here to help by sharing all the information you need on the most popular ones.

Find out more about different dog breeds

Owning a dog is a big commitment with lots to think about. Here you can learn about each breed's temperament, exercise and grooming requirements as well as common health conditions they're prone to.

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Owning a dog is a big commitment with lots to think about. Here you can learn about each breed's temperament, exercise and grooming requirements as well as common health conditions they're prone to.

If you have a dog, you may know that certain breeds will suit some lifestyles better than others. If you love the idea of getting a dog and want to know which breed is best for you, imagine your daily routine and consider how active you are, the size of your home and how much outdoor space you have. You might have a family and work commitments that need thinking about. However, whether you own a dog already or are deciding which breed is best for you, it's always a good time to think about dog insurance, as this can help keep your pet happy and healthy.

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Dog Breed History

Throughout history dogs have been referred to as 'man's best friend' and in the 2018 Petplan Pet Census 46% of the UK agreed that their dog was their best friend. The most popular dogs in the UK have changed significantly through the last 100 years as different historical events and changing lifestyles have influenced our decisions, so use our dog breed timeline to explore these trends.


When caring for any dog it's important to consider that breed's susceptibility to illnesses. In 2018 we paid out £39 million just for the top 5 most claimed for conditions. Some breeds though can be more susceptible to specific conditions than others. For example brachycephalic breeds, like the Pug and Bulldog have short noses and flat faces, which means they can develop breathing problems. There are also health issues that can occur in any dogs, such as lumps and bumps, arthritis, skin allergies and disorders, joint issues, otitis and epilepsy. Our dog breed guides can show you what illnesses we see most often for particular breeds.

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Dog Health and Our Top 5 Claims

Types of Dog Breed

Over centuries dogs have been bred and domesticated for different purposes. While today most dogs in the UK are just pets, the different dog breeds can generally be categorised into seven different groups. These different groups are mainly based on the breeds' history and their original purpose, but while many dogs are no longer used in this way, these groups can be useful to get an idea of particular breeds' traits and why they might behave the way they do.

Pastoral dogs such as the Border Collie were originally bred to herd sheep and cattle, and to help move stock to the market. As such they have a strong natural instinct to herd, and often have a thick weatherproof double coat.

Dogs in this group

Working breeds were developed to perform tasks such as guarding and rescuing. They are physically and mentally tough, but require careful training to respect their owner as 'pack leader

Dogs in this group

Originally bred for looks and companionship these are quite often lapdogs. They are usually small, attractive and extremely faithful, making them charming, loyal companions. However, some will be placed in this category just for theirsize.

Gundogs were bred to flush out, locate or retrieve game shot down by hunters. They are usually highly trainable, keen to please and have a balanced, pleasant temperament.

The word terrier comes from 'terra', meaning 'earth', as these dogs were bred tocontrol vermin, pursuing them below ground. They tend to be fun but feisty, and love to chase!

Hounds fall into two key categories: those that hunt by scent and those that hunt by sight. The former tend to be more outgoing e.g. beagle, while the latter are longer-legged and more agile e.g. Greyhound.

Dogs in this group

The Utility group is diverse, including a range of breeds that don't automatically fall into the other six more defined groups. They can range in size quite dramatically from Poodles to Shih-Tzu's but all these dogs were originally bred for a specific purpose now no longer needed.

Watch our video comparing even more dog breeds

Special qualities

You might want to know what the smartest and most trainable dog breeds are - Labradors are known for their intelligence and loyalty, while the Cockapoo was bred to have an even temperament. Do you want a miniature dog like a Miniature Schnauzer that could fit in a small apartment or a huge dog such as a St. Bernard that is good with kids?

If you're looking for a cuddly lap dog that is also extremely hypoallergenic, a Bichon Frise could be for you. Keen runners might want a canine that can match their pace, such as a German Shepherd or Border Collie, which is also one of the cleverest of the dog breeds. For those looking for a family-friendly dog, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier was designed to be a companion and is greatwith kids. If you're worried about not having much space, little dogs like the Chihuahua and Miniature Dachshund are perfect for city living.


With the proper care and attention, dogs make loving and loyal companions. Explore our Pethood section for tips and advice on how to train your new canine friend, covering everything from basic commands to crate training and dog recall.

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