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Which breed of dog is right for you?

Find the right dog for you and insure your pet

published: 23 June 2020
Read time: 5 minutes

A dog can be one of the most rewarding pets you can have, but make sure you choose the right breed to suit your circumstances

Choosing the right dog breed

Little or large, fluffy or fearless, introducing a new pup into your home is a big commitment. To help you make sure everything goes smoothly, MoneySuperMarket has compiled an in-depth guide on everything you need to know about the UK’s top breeds.

The most popular dog breed in the UK is the Labrador Retriever

According to Stickee data, correct as of March 2020

Dog on owner

Things to consider before you buy

Before you get your heart set on a particular type of dog, it’s important to take some time to think about which breed your lifestyle is best suited to. Some of the most important considerations include:

  • Adult vs. puppy. Raising a puppy has its own set of unique challenges that some dog owners, novices especially, aren’t prepared to undertake. Instead, consider an adult dog that may come house-trained and well-socialised, meaning they can quickly fit into your family’s way of life.

  • Space. Typically, large breeds won’t be happy to be cooped up in a small flat or city apartment and certain high-energy breeds may need access to open spaces rather than just a back garden.

  • Temperament. While some dog breeds make great pets because they’re people-orientated and sociable, others are better suited as working dogs.

  • Grooming. A dog with a thick coat will require more frequent grooming than a breed with a thin coat.

  • Allergies. If someone in your family is allergic to dog hair, you should consider a breed with a non-shedding coat that will reduce allergy symptoms.  

  • Schedule. Dogs are social animals, and many can suffer from separation anxiety if they’re away from their owner for too long. If you’re away from home for most of the day, it’s wise to pick a breed that doesn’t mind being alone – or see if you need to hire a dog walker during the day.  

  • Energy. Some dogs require hours of exercise every day, while others only need a short walk.

What’s the most affordable breed in my location?

The cost of each breed varies from region to region. Varieties of terrier breeds are the cheapest in most areas across the UK, while the Basenji and Japanese Tosa are the most affordable in the East and West Midlands respectively.

The most affordable dog breed in the UK is the Smooth Coat Chihuahua if you buy in Wales

According to Stickee data, correct as of March 2020

Ongoing costs

With so many different breeds to choose from, prospective owners should also consider the ongoing costs related to dog ownership. Some of these costs include:

  • Food

  • Toys

  • Bedding

  • Grooming

  • Kennel fees (for holidays)

  • Insurance

  • Veterinary fees (for services not covered by your pet insurance)

  • Microchipping

  • Spaying and neutering

Of course, costs will vary from breed to breed, so it’s vital that when you choose your new dog, you consider the ‘lifetime cost’, not just the price tag.

How much will I have to pay in pet insurance?

As part of your dog’s ongoing costs, you’ll need to pay for pet insurance. In general, pedigree dogs cost much more to insure than crossbreeds:



Annual Insurance Premium*


French Bulldog



Dogue De Bordeaux






Great Dane





While some of the least expensive dog breeds to insure include: 



Annual Insurance Premium*


Patterdale Terrier



Shih Tzu



Lhasa Apso



Border Terrier



Jack Russell


*According to Stickee data from Q1 2020, correct as of June 2020

Should I get a crossbreed?

Crossbreeds – dogs whose parents come from different breeds – are some of the UK’s most popular types of dog, with small and medium sized crossbreeds the top two choices.  

Crossbreeds boast traits from both their parents, and benefit from a much wider gene pool than purebred dogs, which tends to make them healthier than pedigree breeds. However, anyone thinking about getting a crossbreed should be aware that this can also mean that it’s difficult to predict their temperaments and sizes.

That being said, there’s a reason they’re so popular. With Labradoodles (Labradors crossed with Poodles), Dorkies (Dachshunds crossed with Yorkshire Terriers), Puggles (Pugs crossed with Beagles) and many more to choose from, there’s a perfect crossbreed out there for everyone.

Overall there are around seven million quotes for crossbreed dogs requested a year

According to Stickee data, correct as of March 2020

Characteristics of the UK’s top pedigree dog breeds?

Cost is just one aspect of choosing your new breed of dog. We’ll explore some of the most important things you need to know about the UK’s most popular pedigree breeds.

Labrador Retriever

Average cost


Average annual premiums



The two-layer coat of a Labrador needs to be brushed once a week with a nylon or natural brush.


Labrador Retrievers aren’t particularly fussy. As long as they eat a balanced meal twice a day, they’ll be happy.

*Average breed cost and premium data from Stickee, June 2020.

Sociable, friendly and warm-hearted, Labrador Retrievers are excellent family dogs. They’re especially good for households with young children, but since they’re a working dog, they need lots of activity and exercise (around 2 hours every day) to keep them fit and healthy.

Although they’re a healthy breed, they can be afflicted by a number of health problems, including:

  • Hereditary Cataracts

  • Total Retinal Dysplasia

  • Hip Dysplasia or Elbow Dysplasia

  • Centronuclear Myopathy

  • Exercise Induced Collapse

Labrador Retriever Labrador Retriever

French Bulldog

Average cost


Average annual premiums



With a relatively short coat, French Bulldogs don’t require too much maintenance. However, their skin folds and flaps should be cleaned on a regular basis.


French Bulldogs thrive with a balanced, nutritious diet.

*Average breed cost and premium data from Stickee, June 2020.

Fun and affectionate, French Bulldogs are a low-maintenance breed that makes friends with everyone they meet. They’re great with children, and because they’re so easy to train, they make for an excellent first-time pet. Their exercise needs are modest – just a couple of short daily walks are required to keep them fit and healthy. 

French Bulldogs tend to suffer from a number of health issues, some of which are hereditary:

  • Cleft palate and hare lips

  • Hemivertebrae

  • Degenerative myelopathy

  • Hip dysplasia

  • Spondylitis

  • Corneal ulcers

French Bulldog French Bulldog

Cocker Spaniel

Average cost


Average annual premiums



Cocker Spaniels have a glossy, medium-length coat that needs to be brushed daily to stop it getting matted.


Cocker Spaniels have a big appetite, which can mean make them prone to overeating. A diet of dry food – with portion sizes dependent upon the size of the dog – should be enough to keep a Cocker Spaniel well-fed.

*Average breed cost and premium data from Stickee, June 2020.

Cocker Spaniels are energetic, cheerful and love going for long walks outside – but you need to keep an eye on them when they are let off the lead. Because of their sociable nature and desire to get involved, they make wonderful family pets.

This breed can be particularly prone to Dry Eye Syndrome. Other potential health problems include:

  • Otitis externa

  • Cataracts

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy

  • Retinal Pigment Epithelial Dystrophy

  • Distichiasis

  • Entropion or Ectropion

Cocker Spaniel Cocker Spaniel

English Springer Spaniel

Average cost


Average annual premiums



Because they have longer coats, plenty of attention needs to be paid to grooming. Ideally, they should be brushed once a day.


English Springer Spaniels need plenty of protein

*Average breed cost and premium data from Stickee, June 2020.

An ancient, attentive and obedient breed, English Springer Spaniels can be a wonderful addition to an active home. They need plenty of exercise and can sometimes suffer from separation anxiety (meaning that they need plenty of love and attention), but because they’re so friendly and eager to please, they make excellent family dogs.

Because of their large, overhanging ears, English Springer Spaniels can suffer from a range of ear problems, which is why it’s important to clean their ears after they go out for a run. They’re also susceptible to:

  • Hereditary Eye Disease

  • Goniodysgenesis/Primary Glaucoma

  • Fucosidosis

  • Epilepsy

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Shih Tzu

Average cost


Average annual premiums



With long, silky coats, Shih Tzus require daily grooming in order to stay tangle-free.


The Shih Tzu is not an especially fussy breed, and needs to be fed a couple of times a day to get all the nutrients they need.

*Average breed cost and premium data from Stickee, June 2020.

The Shih Tzu is a small, playful dog that’s known for its friendly personality and strong sense of loyalty. They form strong attachments – which can mean that they’ll want to sleep in your bed – and make for the perfect house dog. They’re suited to city apartments or country farms and love to play with children (although their small size can put them at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to rough and tumble).

Health wise, Shih Tzus can suffer from a number of ailments, including:

  • Hip dysplasia

  • Breathing issues

  • Hernias

  • Dental problems

  • Bladder stones

  • Progressive retinal atrophy

Shih Tzu Shih Tzu

Border Collie

Average cost


Average annual premiums



Border Collies require minimal grooming. They shed lightly throughout the year, and weekly grooming sessions can help to keep their coats sleek and shiny.


Because they’re so energetic, Border Collies need a nutrient-rich diet. Meat should be the main ingredient, but it’s worth remembering that some dogs can become hyperactive after too much red meat.

*Average breed cost and premium data from Stickee, June 2020.

In the right home, a Border Collie can be a magical companion. Since they were originally bred as pastoral dogs to herd sheep, Border Collies need plenty of exercise to stay in shape, at least 2 hours every day! They’re not the type of dog to laze around all day, and need to have some sort of outlet for their energy to really thrive. And if you want them to live with children, they need to be well trained to avoid any accidents.

Collies can be susceptible to a few health problems, including:

  • Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA)

  • Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome

  • Multi Drug Resistance gene

  • Imerslund-Gräsbeck Syndrome

  • Hip Dysplasia

  • Epilepsy

Border Collie Border Collie

Need dog insurance for your new pup? Compare pet insurance deals with MoneySuperMarket.

Ready to save on your pet insurance? Or need to know more before you get a quote? We’re here to help.

Reviewed: 13/10/2022

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