Dogs are part of the fabric of British life, but some dog breeds are more likely to make it into our hearts and homes than others - and it seems that Instagram is the latest social media craze to impact on the type of dog that we are choosing.
Statistics released by the Kennel Club ahead of our Discover Dogs event at ExCeL London this coming weekend - where people can meet more than 200 breeds of dog - show the top dog breeds throughout the UK, and those that are rising most quickly in popularity. The Labrador Retriever and the English Cocker Spaniel remain in the top spots in almost all areas of the UK, but we are seeing shift and changes elsewhere that say a lot about the lives that we lead and the things that we are most influenced by.
The French Bulldog is a phenomenal success story, rising by 554% in popularity over the last five years. The other breeds that are whizzing up the dog charts include the Smooth Coat Chihuahua, Pug and Miniature Smooth Haired Dachshund.
Why is this? Partly, it is a down to changing lifestyles. People are tending to favour the smaller dog breeds, perhaps because they live in urban areas where space is limited, and they want a dog that will more easily fit into their fast-paced metropolitan lifestyles.
But that's not the only reason. In fact, it's a myth that small dog breeds are universally better suited to the urbanite than some larger dog breeds. There are 215 breeds in the UK - many of which are very different - and some small dogs require more exercise and stimulation than some bigger breeds.
In fact, one of the main reasons we are seeing this change is because smaller dog breeds are often seen gracing the arms - or handbags - of celebrities. From Jessie J's French Bulldog, Jonathan Ross's Pug and Paris Hilton's Chihuahua, there is no doubt that celebrities have long been influencing our choice of dog.
And there is another player in the mix too. The internet. Or more precisely social media and the growing popularity of dogs on photo sharing internet site Instagram. French Bulldog Manny the Frenchie with 846k followers, Bruno the Dachshund (@brunotheminidachshund) with 35k followers and Staffordshire Bull Terrier Ramsey (@bluestaffy) who has 80,000 followers - the dogs of Instagram are taking the world by storm. People simply can't get enough of seeing these dogs online.
It is great to see breeds that have long been struggling in the popularity stakes, such as the Pembroke Welsh Corgi (one of the Kennel Club's At Watch breeds because the numbers are so low) suddenly rising by more than 50% this year - no coincidence perhaps after Winny the Corgi (@winnythecorgi) and others have suddenly acquired a following.
But it can also be a danger, if people buy a dog on a whim because they love the way that it looks (and we know that looks are the reason one third of people in this country choose their particular dog breed) without researching whether it is right for their lifestyle.
That is why the Kennel Club is giving people the chance to meet more than 200 breeds of dog under one roof at its Eukanuba Discover Dogs event this weekend (17 and 18 October at ExCeL London). People can get up close and personal with all sorts of breeds and talks to experts about what they are really like. They can even meet some of the top dogs of Instagram and chat to their owners - including @bluestaffy, @grrl_genius, @noodlethedachshund, @brunotheminidachshund, @winnythecorgi, and @huskymika
You can find the most popular dogs in your area