The rise and fall of the lockdown puppies: trending breeds in 2022

27 July 2022 - 3 min read

This article contains affiliate links. Read more

Spaniel puppies
Spaniel puppies

From April to June 2020, the UK braced for coronavirus. The shops shut and we stayed at home, except for our daily dose of permitted exercise. With so many of us working from home and getting out for daily walks, it created a perfect storm for a puppy buying panic.

In the first week of May 2020, there were around two-and-a-half times as many Google searches for ‘puppies for sale’ in the UK than in the first week of January, which traditionally marks peak puppy buying season.

The first half of 2022 slumped back to pre-pandemic puppy buying levels. Here’s our breakdown of which pups have fallen the most in popularity and what breeds have won an enduring place in the hearts of UK dog owners.

Puppy with heart balloon illustration

Up to £15,000 lifetime vet fee cover for your puppy.

Puppy with heart balloon illustration

The pups the UK went mad for during the lockdown

We checked which puppies under one-year-old people were buying the most pet insurance policies from 1 April 2020-30 March 2021.

According to our data, these were the most popular pandemic puppies:

  1. Cockapoo

  2. Labrador Retriever

  3. Cocker Spaniel

  4. French Bulldog

  5. Cavapoo

  6. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

  7. German Shepherd

  8. Dachshund

  9. Golden Retriever

  10. Border Collie

Astonishingly, Cockapoos accounted for 10% of all the puppies we insured that year.

And one-in-four of all pups insured was either a Cockapoo, Labrador or Cocker Spaniel, showing just how overwhelmingly popular these three breeds became at that time.

But has their popularity endured? Or have some breeds fared better than others in the years since the pandemic?

Which puppies saw the biggest fall post-pandemic?

Some of the most popular breeds saw an absolutely meteoric increase in Google searches during the first few months of the pandemic.

The UK went mad for cuddly Cavapoos, with a 186% increase in interest in these pups compared to two years previously. And although interest in them has declined sharply by April-July 2022, that’s not the steepest drop in interest we noticed.

The pup that the UK seems to have fallen out of love with is the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, which suffered a 74% drop in interest since the pandemic puppy buying boom. That’s despite seeing a 134% increase in interest during lockdown compared with 2018.

Cocker Spaniel puppies have also seen a real boom and bust in popularity from 2018-2022. They had the second-highest increase in interest, but also the second-highest drop in interest post-pandemic.

Out of all these breeds, only the French Bulldog seems to have plunged in popularity compared with pre-pandemic interest.

Dachshunds on the other hand saw a big increase in interest during the pandemic and have remained pretty popular ever since.

Puppy breed Increase in Google search April-July 2020 versus April-July 2018 Decrease in Google search April-July 2022 versus April-July 2020
Cavapoo 186% -64%
Cocker Spaniel 164% -72%
Dachshund 141% -51%
Staffordshire Bull Terrier 134% -74%
Cockapoo 126% -68%
Labrador 121% -67%
Golden Retriever 120% -57%
German Shepherd 93% -59%
Border Collie 80% -58%
French Bulldog 46% -68%

Puppy prices since the pandemic

It’s funny how some of the smallest breeds that peaked in popularity during the pandemic were also the most expensive. The diminutive Cavapoo and French Bulldog were the dogs with the highest price paid in 2020 and remain so in 2022.

The Uk’ favourite Poodle crosses – the Cavapoo and Cockapoo – are the only two that have seen a drop in price during the pandemic. This probably reflects supply and demand – these puppies were so sought after in 2020 that prices rocketed. They've since returned to more stable levels.

Breed Average purchase price 2020 Average purchase price 2022
Cavapoo £1,903 £1,816
French Bulldog £1,587 £1,653
Dachshund £1,543 £1,579
Cockerpoo £1,536 £1,374
Golden Retriever £1,335 £1,660
Cocker Spaniel £1,152 £1,177
Labrador Retriever £1,044 £1,180
German Shepherd £997 £1,065
Staffordshire Bull Terrier £ 720 £949
Border Collie £559 £592

What’s happened to the pandemic puppies?

The Pet Food Manufacturer’s Association (PFMA) highlighted in its 2022 Pet Population Survey that while 4.7m households have acquired a new pet since the start of the pandemic, sadly 3.4m have given up a pet over the last year.

Younger pet owners aged 16–24 gave up a pet mainly due to changes in living arrangements with 34% giving this reason. Financial reasons and a change in working arrangements were also major reasons.

It’s really important to make sure you know how much a dog or cat will cost before you buy a puppy. Pet insurance will help cover the cost of unexpected vet bills, but you should also make sure you understand the cost of annual vaccinations, regular dental care and one-off expenses like neutering and microchipping.

Derri Dunn
Content marketer

Derri is a personal finance and insurance writer and editor. After seven years covering all things motoring and banking at GoCompare, Derri joined ManyPets in 2021 to focus on pet health. She has fostered cats and kittens for Blue Cross and Cats Protection and is owned by tabby cat Diggory and two badly behaved dogs.