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Teddy’s Tales: London Dog Tribes

Each style tribe in London has its own stamping ground, its favourite watering holes, choice activities, preferred holiday destinations. So it should come as no surprise that each also gravitates towards particular dog breeds that suit their style,too. I have encountered too many hipster Staffordshire Bull Terriers in groovy East London, small silky Cavaliers and tiny Pugs in smart Eaton and Sloane Square and glossy retrievers stretching their urban legs in Hyde Park before heading off to weekend in the country to doubt this is true.
But the Kennel Club’s latest study, focussing on which dog breeds tend to be favoured where in London, has found that increasingly responsible dog owners are thinking of their dogs needs and environment, too. The figures have been released ahead of The Kennel Club’s Discover Dogs this weekend, an event that enables people to meet more than 200 breeds of dog and find out which they would be most suited to.
The study shows that in the midst of family land, the so-called ‘nappy valley’ of South West London with its sprawling commons, traditional family favourites such as Labrador Retrievers and Cocker Spaniels come top of the list. In North West London, near the open fields of Hampstead Heath, large Labrador and Golden Retrievers rank high, as do playful French Bulldogs, which have risen 605% in popularity over the past five years (I think they may have missed a trick in not recognizing the rise of the Cockerpoo). In fashionable, compact East London, it’s the Staffies that rule. Along with the Retriever, in West London apartment-friendly Pugs and Border Terriers prevail.
Which is the anomaly, the dog that is popular in every London borough – both the affluent and the poor -, despite the bad press that has hounded it? In London’s Top 10 most popular dogs (from 2003-2013) it’s the kind and affectionate Staffordshire Bull Terrier that comes second only to the Labrador Retriever as the favourite dog that crosses all divides. Clearly not just the bully-boy’s dog, I think this says rather more about the Brits enduring love affair with mutts than style or postcodes ever could.
FYI: the Miniature Schnauzer also features in every London area listing (but not so high up as the Staffie), and comes 6th in the London Top Ten, after the German Shepherd and before the French Bulldog. If all Mini Schnauzers are like Teddy then I shouldn’t be surprised: he can run for hours or sleep away the day, he is neat and tidy (small’ish and non-shedding), he is an effective watchdog but sociable and playful, too: of course, the ultimate townie, in my view.

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