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10 Dog Breeds Most Likely to be Stolen (with Statistics)

chihuahua scared

There can be few more painful experiences than having your pet go missing. No one wants to think about their best friend being stolen, but the sad fact is that hundreds of dogs across the country are taken each year. You may be wondering whether some dog breeds are more likely to be taken, and you are completely correct. The breeds most likely to be dognapped are the most popular, expensive, friendly, and conveniently sized breeds. Read on to find out which pups are most at risk.


The 10 Dog Breeds Most Likely to be Stolen

1. French Bulldog

female french bulldog sitting
Image Credit: Piqsels

French Bulldogs have become incredibly popular in the last few years, rising to first place in the AKC’s most popular dog breeds. They are having a fashion moment—and this trendy status is part of what places them so high on our list of breeds most likely to be stolen. They are also compact and less likely to bite than most other dogs, which is a major advantage for would-be crooks. There are some terrifying stories on what some people are willing to do to take a French Bulldog, so be careful out there. Karlin TarQwyn runs a small private investigation agency in Nebraska that specializes in helping find missing pets. She says the number of people looking for French bulldogs has increased about 60 to 70 percent in the last 18 months, averaging three to five requests a week.

2. Bulldog

male bulldog standing on grass
Image Credit: Pixabay

According to the AKC, a Bulldog’s personality should be kind, peaceful, and dignified. Breeders have worked over generations to reduce and remove aggression from this breed, and today, most make excellent family pets because of their friendliness and patience. It’s easy to understand what makes them attractive to criminals.

3. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier standing on a wooden table
Image Credit: Mr. SUTTIPON YAKHAM, Shutterstock

Small and spry, Yorkshire Terriers attract new friends wherever they go. Cheeky, playful, and eternally popular with urban families, the Yorkies’ combination of small size and open personality makes them an ideal pup to steal.

4. Chihuahua

chihuahua dog
Image Credit: HG-Fotografie, Pixabay

Another breed known to bark—and occasionally bite!—Chihuahuas pack a ton of personality into a tiny package. Loyal, eager, loving dogs, Chihuahuas adore their special people and are wary and tense around almost everyone else. But despite their territorial energy and protectiveness, their tiny size makes them tempting prey for dognappers.

5. German Shepherd Dog

Adult and Puppy German Shepherd
Image Credit: Pixabay

We were surprised to find the German Shepherd so high on the list of dog breeds most likely to be stolen. Although certainly popular—ranked in the AKC’s most popular dog breeds year after year—GSDs have a reputation for protectiveness and aloofness. And that perception of ferocity is why German Shepherds are typically stolen while they are still puppies, when their playfulness and smaller size make them easier targets for thieves.

6. Maltese

Image Credit: Pezibear, Pixabay

Often referred to as the ideal dog for city-dwellers, Maltese are energetic and fun-loving, yet it doesn’t take much to tire them out. A glamorous-looking dog with luscious, silky-white hair and large liquid-brown eyes, Maltese are actually great watchdogs. They will bark and create a fuss if they feel threatened. However, as they only weigh in at around seven pounds, they are still all too easy to steal.

7. Shih Tzu

shih tzu with tongue out
Image Credit: Michael Mong, Shutterstock

Bright, intelligent, affectionate little fellows, Shih Tzus were bred specifically to be lap dogs. They are happiest when snuggled up close to a human. This makes them some of the kindest small dogs around—far more inclined to make instant friends with a dognapper than defend themselves or bite. Their small size also makes them easy to grab and transport.

8. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever
Image Credit: Tina-Rencelj, Shutterstock

Labradors have consistently been rated the most popular breed of dog there is. Loving and friendly, with just a snack or some affection, Labs are easily tempted into a lifelong friendship. This breed is more likely to greet strangers with a wagging tail than a bark. The qualities that make Labs warm companions, loving family pets, and sensitive therapy dogs are unfortunately exactly what makes them easier to steal.

9. Poodle

white and brown poodle dog sitting
Image Credit: Anna_Bondarenko, Shutterstock

We know popular breeds are more likely to be stolen, and one of the AKC’s consistently most popular dog breeds is the Poodle. Despite the chic and haughty looks of a fully groomed Poodle, they are sweet and loving dogs. Factors that make this breed so beloved include its hair coat (which produces fewer allergens than fur), and its sunny personality, intelligence, and devotion to family. Unfortunately, there is a ready market for stolen Poodles.

10. Siberian Husky

Siberian Husky
Image Credit: Konstantin Zaykov, Shutterstock

These dogs are beautiful to look at, expensive to buy, highly energetic, and love to play. Despite their wolf-like appearance, they are not threatening in any way. Siberian Huskies are friendly with strangers and for that reason don’t make good guard dogs. Their sweet temperament makes it all the easier for thieves to spirit them away.


Who Steals Dogs?

Sometimes people may steal a dog for themselves, perhaps because they can’t afford to buy that particular breed of dog. These types of crimes are generally more opportunistic than planned. However, some dogs are expressly stolen to be flipped or resold. In particular, with expensive, small dogs, such as French Bulldogs, Bulldogs, and Yorkies, there is a ready market. This type of crime tends to be more organized and planned out in advance. This type of criminal may be willing to use force to get the particular dog they want.

dog licking person's hand
Image Credit: Pixabay

Why Are Dogs Stolen?

Pets may be stolen from one family to become the perpetrator’s pet or taken with the intention of reselling the dog for an easy profit. With pedigree dogs costing several thousands of dollars, it’s easy to see what motivates their theft.

How Likely is it That My Dog Will be Stolen?

In the U.S., where no major advocacy group or law enforcement agency collects new data, tracking pet theft is challenging. According to AKC reports, 496 dogs were stolen in 2019, which represents a decrease of eight percent since 2018, although experts say that dog theft has since increased significantly during the pandemic. While the AKC and say their evidence of an increase has been anecdotal, amateur and professional pet detectives claim there has been a substantial increase. We do know that the number of dog thefts in the U.K. has increased 170 percent from 2019 to 2020, according to DogLost, which reunites lost dogs with their owners. Karen Harding, the group’s police liaison, said that as of March 2021, 106 dogs had been reported stolen this year, compared to 55 during the same period last year.

How Does a Thief Target My Dog?

We know you want to share your beloved puppy with the world, but you may be attracting the wrong sort of attention. In general, it’s important to be cautious about your high-value personal items on social media. Thieves can use your personal information to find out about where you live, where and when you work, places you visit. Don’t advertise the things on which you have spent a lot of money.

How Can a Thief Steal Your Dog?

Unfortunately, stealing a dog is much easier than you may think. For example, dogs have been grabbed from cars, taken from outside of storefronts, and lured from yards with treats. Dogs have even been taken while off-leash at the dog park. It’s a heartbreaking experience for both the pup that’s been separated from his family and for the grieving owners who never know what happens to their best friend.

unconscious dog
Image Credit: Pixabay

How Can I Keep My Dog Safe?

It’s really important to make sure your dog is microchipped and to keep its contact information up to date. If your stolen dog is taken to the vet, your contact information will show up, and you must be contacted. Many stolen dogs have been recovered through this process.

Should I Report My Dog as Stolen?

If the worst happens, as soon as your dog is stolen, report the crime to the police, call your microchip provider, and inform any lost-dog databases in your area. Also, get in touch with local shelters and distribute fliers. Now is the time to use social media to spread the word about your missing dog. Acting immediately should increase the likelihood that your pet may soon be returned to you.

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Featured Image Credit by: Pixabay

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