Dog statistics UK 2020

What are the most popular dog breeds and how many Brits are choosing to insure them?

Bringing a new dog home for the first time can be one of the most fun and memorable events in your family’s life. You’ve set up its bedding, bought food and treats and got the leash and toys ready. Everything is set for the big arrival. But have you remembered insurance?

A prolonged health issue can end up costing a minor fortune in vet bills, so many people look to avoid this risk with pet insurance. We wanted to see how many dogs were insured in the UK and look at some of the common costs that come with owning a dog.

Most popular dog breeds UK

The most popular dog breeds in UK during 2020 are mixed breeds, Labrador retrievers and Cocker spaniels. Did your favourite make it into the 20 most popular dog breeds? Find out in the table below:

Ranking Dog Breed
1 Mixed breed
2 Labrador retriever
3 Cocker spaniel
4 Jack russell terrier
5 Staffordshire bull terrier
6 Cockapoo
7 French bulldog
8 Border collie
9 Shih tzu
10 Chihuahua
11 Dachshund
12 German shepherd
13 Golden retriever
14 Yorkshire terrier
15 English springer spaniel
16 Pug
17 Cavalier king charles spaniel
18 Beagle
19 West highland white terrier
20 Bichon frise

Average cost of pet insurance in 2020

The average annual cost of the lowest coverage pet insurance for dogs and cats in the UK shows that insurance for dogs is £149 more each year than it is for cats. Insuring a cat with a standard insurance policy will cost you £10 per month on average, while a dog is closer to £23 per month.

Average cost of pet insurance Per month Per year
Dogs £23 £274
Cats £10 £125

Average cost of dog insurance in 2020

All types of insurance policies are more expensive for dogs, except for accident-only insurance, which is more than double the cost for cats as it is for dogs. The most expensive plan is, unsurprisingly, lifetime insurance for dogs, which costs £419 per year. As well as being the most expensive annually, lifetime insurance policies increase by up to 25% for dogs and up to 20% for cats every year, with the increase in cost being higher with each year that your pet ages.

The most expensive dog to insure in the UK is the English Bulldog, for which the monthly premium will cost you £66.50 per month on average. A Border Terrier is a whole lot cheaper, costing just £17.84 per month.

As well as the breed of the dog affecting the cost of insurance, so will the dog’s age. Insuring a mixed breed puppy costs on average £23.28 per month, which increases to £28.25 when the dog turns 5. If your dog is 12 or older, the cost climbs to £79.83 per month. This means that there’s an average increase of 12% per year for the cost of pet insurance. The biggest increase occurs between the dog’s 8th and 9th birthday, when the premium rises by a staggering 55% from £38.66 to £60.11 per month.

Age Cost of dog insurance per month
Puppy £23.28
1 year £22.67
2 years £22.78
3 years £23.70
4 years £25.25
5 years £28.25
6 years £31.36
7 years £34.53
8 years £38.66
9 years £60.11
10 years £65.09
11 years £74.70
12 years £79.83

890,000 dogs in the UK (10%)

are not registered with a vet.

What does pet insurance cover?

  • Veterinary fees for check-ups and the treatment of illnesses
  • The cost of damage caused by your dog towards property, humans or animals
  • The purchase price of your pet if your dog is lost, stolen or passes away due to illness or injury before a certain age
  • Advertising costs if you lose your dog, and the cost of the reward for the finder
  • Hospitalisation if your dog needs to stay the night at the vet
  • Reimbursement if you need to cancel your holiday due to emergency surgery for your dog
  • If your dog is travelling with you under the Pet Travel Scheme and it gets hurt abroad

Most common claims for dogs

Illness Percentage
Stomach issues 29%
Skin conditions 20%
Ear infections 11%
Eye conditions 7%
Pain 7%
Unusual growths 6%
UTIs 6%
Allergies 5%
Ligament injuries 5%
Limping 4%

What pet insurance doesn’t cover

It’s important to take note that most insurance plans have a waiting period of 10-14 days before they become valid. As well as this, most pet insurance plans won’t cover:
  • Pre-existing illnesses or injuries that were present when you signed the insurance contract
  • Vaccinations
  • Spaying
  • Flea treatments
  • Worm and tick treatments
  • Teeth maintenance
  • Pregnancy and birth assistance

Pet population

  • 23 million UK households (41%) have a pet. Out of these, the most popular pet is a dog.
  • 59% of pet owners have called or visited a vet in the last 12 months.
  • 13% of dog owners paid more than £750 for their furry friend.
  • 33% of all pet owners in the UK think it should be mandatory to have pet insurance.
  • Insuring a cat with standard insurance will cost you an average of £10 per month. For a dog, it’s £23 per month.
Pet Population
Cats 11.1 million
Dogs 8.9 million
Rabbits 1.0 million

The cost of a dog

As it turns out, most people think that their pets are cheaper than they actually are. A survey carried out in 2018 showed that 28% of dog owners thought the cost of their dog was between £21 and £40 per month, while 78% believed they spent £80 or less per month.

How much people believe their dog costs per month

Guessed cost Percentage
Up to £20 19%
£21 to £40 28%
£41 to £60 23%
£61 to £80 8%
£81+ 22%

In reality, the monthly cost for a dog is much higher than these estimates. On average, we spend £144 per month on small dogs and up to £209 on large dogs. One way to keep the costs down is to have a good insurance plan.

How much dogs actually cost per month

Dog size Monthly cost
Small £144
Medium £164
Large £209



Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK Communications Manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806

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