The best news of the year about puppies, just in time for National Puppy Day

Almost nine out of ten puppy owners agree their new pets helped them get through the pandemic — and almost eight out of ten admitted that spending time with their new furry friend was the best thing about lockdown. On National Puppy Day, we take a look at the latest Kennel Club statistics.

Twice a year, usually around cranky early-evening time on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, the children start to complain that there isn’t a ‘Children’s Day’.

The response is simple: every day seems to be Children’s Day. The idea that children need a special day will make most 21st century parents roll their eyes, and wonder quite how they’ve manage to turn themselves into their children’s slaves.

I’ll tell you another class of being which has also mastered the art of recruiting willing slaves: the puppy.

Almost implausibly, this is a real dog rather than a stuffed toy.

As with children, every day seems to be puppy day for owners; and yet puppies, unlike small children, have somehow lobbied successfully to have their own day — and apparently it’s today, March 23.

Clearly, the calendar needs another ‘special day’ like Piers Morgan needs training in how to be more obnoxious, yet this is puppies we’re talking about, so we’re happy to let it slide. Happy National Puppy Day, everyone!

And there’s another reason to celebrate puppies today: unlike Piers Morgan, they have a proven positive effect on our wellbeing and state of mind. The Kennel Club have carried out a big survey which has shown that 88 per cent of people credit their new four-legged friend with having helped them through the year of Covid-19.

Some 77 per cent of people even said that spending time with their puppy was ‘the best thing about lockdown’ — a lovely thought after a grim 12 months.

It’s terrific to remember the good news on dogs: most of the stories relating to the boom in dog ownership in the last year has focused on soaring prices, unscrupulous sellers and even the worrying trend for dog thefts. Today is an opportunity to remember that underlying all those (rightly) worrying tales are much happier stories of the joy shared by dogs and their owners.

Dogs continue to be an important source of emotional support for their owners during the pandemic, reducing loneliness during
lockdown and helping us cope mentally during the crisis,’ says the Kennel Club’s Bill Lambert.

‘We’re celebrating puppy love, which includes their abundant energy, endless playfulness and even their cheeky habits, all of which have distracted from what’s going on in the world and brought comfort to many facing difficult times.’

If you’ve decided to join those happy new owners, our how to choose the right dog for your family is the first place to start. You’ll probably also want to take a look at this piece about the cutest dog breeds according to science, and how to avoid becoming a victim of dog theft.

You’ll also need help learning to care for your dog. The Kennel Club are asking people to sharing their tips for those still getting used to looking after their new charges — the site at  thekennelclub.org.uk/be-puppywise has all sorts of info. And as a special bonus, they’ve also shared the top 10 most popular breeds of puppy registered in 2020 — and here it is:

  1. Labrador Retriever

  2. French Bulldog

  3. Cocker Spaniel

  4. Bulldog

  5. Miniature Smooth Haired Dachshund

  6. English Springer Spaniel

  7. Golden Retriever

  8. German Shepherd Dog

  9. Pug

  10. Staffordshire Bull Terrier