Dog Breeds Most Likely to Be Stolen

French Bulldog on leash in park dog breeds most likely to be stolen
(Photo credit: CandyRetriever / Getty Images)

There is no greater fear in the heart of every dog owner than dognapping. Despite dog owners’ best efforts, dog theft continues to rise. According to the World Animal Foundation, “as many as one out of three goes missing during their lifetime, and around 10 million dogs and cats are either lost or abducted in the USA annually.” While any dog can be the victim of dog theft, certain dog breeds are more likely to be stolen.

Determining the most stolen dog breeds can be challenging as no centralized database specifically tracks stolen dogs. However, based on anecdotal evidence, media reports, and discussions within the dog community, thieves tend to target certain breeds more frequently. Specific dog breeds may be at risk of theft due to their popularity, resale value, or distinctive features. Here are 10 dog breeds that are highly desirable to dog thieves.

Dog Breeds Most Likely to Be Stolen

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers are among the most popular dog breeds worldwide due to their friendly and outgoing nature, trainability, and versatility. Unfortunately, their popularity makes them susceptible to theft. Thieves may target Labs for resale because of the demand for these family-friendly dogs. Others may take advantage of their intelligence and trainability for illegal activities such as dogfighting or breeding operations.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Staffordshire Bull Terriers, often referred to as Staffies, have a muscular and stocky build, which can create a misconception about their temperament. Despite their friendly and affectionate nature, these pups have a reputation for aggression due to their physical appearance. This misguided perception can attract individuals involved in illegal activities who seek them out for dogfighting or as status symbols. Consequently, Staffies become targets for theft.

French Bulldog

French Bulldogs have recently experienced a surge in popularity, making them highly valuable on the black market. Their small size, unique appearance, bat-like ears, and endearing personalities have made them a sought-after breed. Their popularity and potential profitability make them enticing targets for thieves looking to sell them through various channels, including online platforms or unauthorized breeders.


Chihuahuas are small, portable dogs highly desired as lap dogs and companions. Their diminutive size makes them vulnerable to theft. Thieves target Chihuahuas because of their resale value and popularity as fashion accessories. Their small size and endearing traits, such as loyalty and devotion to their owners, contribute to their desirability among thieves.

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terriers, commonly known as Yorkies, are small dogs with sumptuous coats. Thieves see them as desirable due to their elegant appearance, high demand, and potential resale value. Like Chihuahuas, Yorkshire Terriers’ size makes them easy targets for theft. Their distinctive and stylish coat adds to their appeal, making them sought-after pets.

English Bulldog

English Bulldogs are distinctive-looking dogs with stocky builds, wrinkled faces, and high price tags. Thieves often target them due to their recognizable appearance and perceived value, using them for resale or breeding.

German Shepherd

German Shepherds are intelligent, loyal, and versatile. They often work in various roles with police departments, search and rescue teams, or as service dogs. Their trainability, protective nature, and perceived prestige make them valuable to thieves who may use them for illegal activities or sell them to individuals seeking a well-trained working dog. Because of their brave and protective nature, most German Shepherd thefts occur when these dogs are puppies.


Maltese dogs are tiny, adorable, and have distinctive silky white coats. Their luxurious appearance and friendly temperament make them desirable pets, and their small size makes them easy to steal or smuggle. Additionally, their popularity and potential resale value contribute to their attractiveness to thieves.

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus are small, affectionate companion dogs known for their flowing hair and friendly disposition. Their distinctive appearance and gentle nature make them appealing to potential pet owners. Their size and value as companion dogs increase their theft risk, as thieves can steal them without drawing much attention.

Siberian Husky

Siberian Huskies are striking dogs with striking blue or multicolored eyes, thick coats, and a wolf-like appearance. They have excellent endurance, tolerate cold weather well, and have superb sled-pulling capabilities. Thieves may use Huskies for resale or breeding due to their aesthetic appeal.

Protect your dog from being stolen

It’s important to remember that the dog breeds above may be more likely to be the victims of theft, but that any breed of dog can be stolen. Read more about how to keep your dog safe from pet thieves.

ChatGPT assisted in the creation of this article.

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