Due to an increase in demand for dogs in lockdown criminal gangs have started swiping dogs from their owners.

Research carried out by Benchmark Kennels has revealed the priciest puppies in the UK, finding average asking prices ranging from £1,050 to £3,700, over double the pre-lockdown 2020 value. View the full piece here.

With puppy prices climbing since the start of last year and dog theft cases increasing by 170%, the Benchmark Kennels team decided to investigate which breeds are now the most expensive and at risk of criminal activity.

Across the 42 popular breeds surveyed, the team found that puppy prices have risen by £1,249 on average since March 2020. This cost has increased by 132.3%, doubling in price from £1,066 to £2,315.

Cheryl Sampson, Marketing Manager at Benchmark Kennels, said:“The increase in puppy prices has been driven by a huge surge in demand over the past year.

“If you’re in the market for a dog, buy one from someone locally that you know. Try to avoid buying a puppy online, but view the dog with its mother if you do.

"Don’t be persuaded by a low-priced advert stating the dog must go quickly either, as this is a sure sign the dog could be stolen or bred on a puppy farm."

She added: “If you’re prepared to care for a dog but want to avoid excessive puppy costs of up to £3,700, consider adopting from a local rescue centre.

You could save thousands while giving a dog in need a forever home.”

Certain breeds and designer crossbreeds are much more highly sought-after than others.

Here are the breeds most vulnerable to theft in the UK.

Ayr Advertiser: The most inflated puppy prices. (Benchmark Kennels)The most inflated puppy prices. (Benchmark Kennels)

2021’s ten most expensive dog breeds:

Chow Chow - £3,700

The most expensive breed is the Chow Chow, now worth an average of £3,700 for a puppy. This price has risen by 84% in just one year, from £2,015 in March 2020. 

Golden Retriever - £3,360

The Golden Retriever is the second most expensive dog. Within the most expensive breeds, Golden Retrievers have seen the largest price increase, rising from just £1,430 to £3,360 over the last year.

English Bulldog - £3,300

The English bulldog was the most expensive breed in March 2020 and is now third place, worth £3,300.

Cavapoo - £3,030

Cavapoos are the most desirable designer dog, almost doubling in value from £1,615 to a stunning £3,030 in a year.

Goldendoodle - £2,976

The Goldendoodle is the fifth most desirable breed during lockdown, with puppy prices averaging at £2,976.

Miniature Schnauzer - £2,930

The Miniature Schnauzer is next on this list, costing £2,930 per dog.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel - £2,784

Spaniels and spaniel crosses are some of the most sought-after breeds. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is now worth £2,784 on average.

Standard Poodle - £2,770

Poodles are in high-demand as they produce the highest value designer crossbreeds. The standard poodle has risen in value from £990 to £2,770 in the past year.

Cockapoo - £2,740

In ninth place is the cockapoo, worth an average price of £2,740.

Labradoodle - £2,700

Rounding out the top ten is the fourth designer crossbreed on this list. Labradoodles are now worth £2,700, which is £400 more than the Labrador Retriever, one of the most popular UK breeds.

Why are some breeds more desirable?

The traditional dog breeds are currently most popular. Golden Retrievers are one of the most beloved breeds in the UK and are now the second most sought-after, worth £1,045 more on average than most breeds.

Patterdales, Cocker Spaniels and Staffies have seen the largest increase in relative price

Over the past year, the average Patterdale puppy price has risen from £290 to £1,240, rising by 328%, which is the largest relative increase in value of all the breeds compared.

The classic Cocker Spaniel has seen the second-largest price rise, from a reasonable £631 to an average of £2,520 - an increase of 299% in value. The cost of Staffordshire Bull Terrier follows, having soared by 245% in value, from £650 in March 2020 to £2,240. Another spaniel, the English Springer Spaniel, has seen a 205% rise in value, with puppies now worth £1,920.

Tips to keep your dog safe

  • Avoid walking the same route every day at the same time.
  • Keep your dog on a lead or close-by, especially when at a park near people you don’t know.
  • Avoid taking photos or using hashtags on social media that give away your location.
  • Make sure your garden is secure and fit floodlights, bells and other alarms.
  • Make sure your dog wears a collar with ID and get them microchipped.
  • Don’t leave your dog outside of a shop or in the car.