More than 2,500 dogs were stolen last year, the most in seven years.

Hot spots popped up all over the UK, with London, West Yorkshire and Kent being among the worst areas for dog napping.

To help protect your pets, experts at have put together their top tips for looking after your dog.

How to protect your dog on a walk

  • Walk with a friend - Where possible, opt for safety in numbers, a friend will provide an extra witness and backup should you encounter a dognapper.
  • Avoid routine - This makes it harder for dog kidnapping gangs to track you and work out when to intercept and steal your dog.
  • Do not give out your dog’s name - Putting your dog’s name on their collar, harness or ID may make it easier for strangers to lure them over.
  • Be aware of the surroundings - Keep your eyes on your dog and avoid distractions like mobile phones. Try to always have a charged phone and not wear earbuds when walking your dog.
  • Practice recall - In case there is an emergency or threat to your dog, it’s vital to ensure they’ll respond to your calls. Try using tasty treats for your dog as this will greatly assist in recall.

How to prevent dog thefts at home

  • Lock and alarm gates
  • Watch dogs in the garden
  • Lock your dog flap when not in use
  • Don’t showcase puppies online
  • Leave a light on if dogs are home alone

Dog breeds most at risk of dog theft

Criminals are known to target dogs based on the price they could get for selling them on.

According to, these are the dog breeds most at risk of being stolen

  1. French Bulldog
  2. Bulldog
  3. Yorkshire Terrier
  4. Chihuahua
  5. German Shepherd Dog
  6. Maltese
  7. Shih Tzu
  8. Labrador Retriever
  9. Poodle
  10. Siberian Husky