The trend for designer dogs fuels an increase in thefts

Freedom of information requests to police forces by Direct Line Insurance revealed that five dogs a day were stolen in 2017, an increase of almost 7% on the year before.

Some breeds can fetch more than £1,000, making them prime targets for thieves.

Prit Powar, head of pet insurance at Direct Line, said: “The rise in popularity of ‘designer’ dog breeds among celebrities and the ‘fashion’ for certain types of dogs means people are willing to pay thousands for an animal, which unfortunately makes them prime targets for thieves.

“Pedigree owners need to be especially vigilant. There is no excuse for the theft of an animal but some of the reasons behind dog theft include using the animal for dog fighting, breeding or selling on.”

The Staffordshire bull terrier continues to be the most commonly stolen breed, but French bulldogs, popular with celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Lady Gaga, chihuahuas and huskies are increasingly being targeted.

Last year 1,909 dogs were stolen across the UK, with the Metropolitan Police recording the highest number of abductions (225).

But there is also some good news as the figures showed that 388 animals were eventually returned to their owners.

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