We analysed a ton of internet search data to find the UK's most popular puppies in 2014. Here are the surprising results...
The Cockapoo is now the favourite puppy of UK internet users, while last year's champion, the Cocker Spaniel, has dropped three places to 4th.
German Shepherd puppies have seen a surge in popularity in 2014, rising six places to 5th, with Husky, Golden Retriever, and Boxer puppies also making gains.
Meanwhile, both Pug and Shih Tzu puppies have fallen 5 places to 9th and 11th places respectively. Chihuahua puppies have also lost ground. Rottweiler puppies, the only new entry to the Top 15, have displaced Border Terrier puppies (BTs were in 15th spot in 2013).
Evergreen favourites like the Labrador, Jack Russell Terrier, and the Bulldog have held their positions, along with Beagles and French Bulldogs.
What's behind the year-on-year movements?
How does demand for puppies correspond to supply?
Interestingly, there is actually very little correlation. At the time of writing, there are 2,064 Chihuahua puppies (15th most popular) listed for sale on Pets4Homes, but only 195 Beagle puppies (7th most popular). Similarly, there are significantly more Pug puppies for sale (1,005) than there are Cockapoo puppies (536). This could mean the price of Cockapoo puppies and Beagle puppies is set to increase, while prices for Chihuahua and Pug puppies fall.
What's the story behind the Trending Puppies report?
At Bought By Many, we spend a lot of time pawing over statistics about dogs. This kind of data is enormously helpful to us in providing useful information to our members, and in matching the right breeds to the right insurers.
One of the most common things we find ourselves searching for is information about how the popularity of different breeds is changing over time. The Kennel Club produces a very interesting report about new breed registrations each quarter. But that data leaves a couple of gaps. Firstly, it only covers puppies and breeders who are Kennel Club registered. Second, there is inevitably something of a lag between a puppy being registered, and the publication of the data.
With Trending Puppies, we hope to be able to provide a leading indicator of the changing popularity of puppies, nearer to real-time.
How is Trending Puppies compiled?
We license a tool called Hitwise from Experian. Among other things, Hitwise enables you to research anonymised internet search data for millions of UK internet users.
For this research, we looked at searches containing the term "puppy" in the 12 weeks to 28th June 2014, and compared them to searches for puppies in the 12 weeks to 13th July 2013. We got rid of the searches that weren't relevant (such as those for Hush Puppies) and then summed up different variations on the same search (for example, "cockapoo puppies" and "cockapoo puppies for sale"). Finally we sorted the data set by the volume of searches to create these results.
A note about Huskies
One the interesting aspects of analysing internet search data is the terminology people use - which does not necessarily correspond to what an expert or insider would say. Searches for "Husky" are a case in point: these occur over 100 times more than searches for actual Husky breeds (such as Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute).