A voluntary organisation that tries to reunite owners with their stolen and missing pets says it's seen a big rise in the number of dog thefts during lockdown.
Last year more than 170 cases were referred to DogLost UK by owners who'd reported a dog theft to the police, but this year by mid August alone there were 200. The organisation says they're seeing two thirds more reported thefts than the same period last year.
In the West Midlands alone, police say they were contacted every single month during lockdown by dog owners reporting a theft.
According to Pets4Home, the most commonly stolen dog breeds are:
Pedigree Pomeranian dogs with Kennel Club papers reliably change hands for over £1,000, and so there is a significant market for them.
Like the Pomeranian, they are small, portable and easy to take.
A popular breed that can easily fetch several thousand pounds.
Despite being fiesty, this breed is tiny and very portable.
The mixed-breed Labradoodle is one of the most popular dog types in the UK, to the extent that this non-pedigree dog is actually recognised as a target for theft at the same rate as some popular pedigrees.
Staffordshire bull terrier
Pure bred Staffordshire bull terriers and non-pedigree dogs of the Staffy type are one of the most popular breeds in the UK.
Adult German shepherds are often speculative about strangers and won’t be willing to go with someone they don’t know, but puppies and younger dogs of the breed are often targeted.
Good quality Labradors are always in demand, and the breed’s open, friendly personalities make them a target for theft. Puppies and younger dogs are again usually the most common targets.
Demand for trained working dogs is high, as well as there being a significant demand for pet dogs of the breed too.
The desirability of the breed and their appealing, wolf-like looks may make them a target for theft.
A petition calling for pet thefts to be made a separate crime was discussed by MPs earlier this year but the move was rejected by the Government who said existing legislation was sufficient.