Dog theft is on the rise. The American Kennel Club reported a 40 percent increase in 2011 and a 70 percent increased in 2012. “Pet flipping” is a growing problem as thieves steal dogs in order to resell them for stacks of cash. Any dog owner should do their best to guard against theft, but if your dog is one of the highly sought-after, frequently stolen breeds on this list, you may want to be extra careful. For more on how to guard against dog thieves, read our “10 Ways to Protect Your Pet From Pet Flippers.”
The adorable Yorkshire Terrier is the most stolen breed of dog in America, according to the American Kennel Club. It’s no puzzle to see why. A Yorkie is a perfect mix of qualities that are enticing to potential dognappers. They’re a popular breed, which means a lot of people want them and are willing to pay for them, and pay a lot. Purebred Yorkshire Terriers can sell for thousands of dollars. Plus, these tiny dogs are simply easy to steal — physically. One can scoop up, conceal and carry a Yorkie away with ease.
In November, pet thieves stole four Pomeranian puppies from a pet store in Chubbuck, Idaho. The criminals drove a vehicle through the store’s entrance and snatched the dogs. The Chubbuck puppies were worth $1,400 combined. A popular breed that's often considered fashionable, Pomeranians can sell for a pretty penny, and their small stature make them an easy target for a quick snatch-and-run.
Maltese dogs also fall under the category of dog breeds that are dognapping targets for being small, popular and valuable. Last November, in the same week during which the Pomeranian puppies were stolen in Idaho, a thief boosted three Maltese puppies in Missouri in two incidents over two days. It wasn’t difficult to do. Security footage showed the thief simply placing one of the puppies in her bag and walking out of the pet store with it.
Boston Terriers are an extremely popular breed of dog for a long list of reasons. They are intelligent, small, calm, quiet and eager to please. They’re so social and glad to know you, in fact, that they often are willing to pal around with anyone who is friendly to them. All of these attributes are good for owners, but sadly, they also combine to make these dogs ideal targets for dognappers.
Last week, an alleged pet flipper stole 15 puppies and one adult dog in Miami. All of the dogs were French Bulldogs. The breed is the third-most frequently stolen in the United States according to the American Kennel Club. That's unsurprising, given the breed's popularity, small size and all the other qualities it shares with its Boston Terrier cousins that French Bulldogs resemble so closely. Fortunately, the stolen French Bulldogs in Miami were found and returned, and the thief was arrested. We wish all stories of dog theft ended that way.
Chihuahuas are among America’s most popular breeds, increasingly so in recent years due to their appearances as accessories to high-profile celebrities. While Chihuahuas are great dogs, the portability that makes so many socialites fond of carrying them in purses also makes dog flippers fond of scooping them up. “They’re probably the top dog to be stolen in cities now,” said Jayne Hayes of online lost-pet database Dog Lost. “It’s quite easy to pick them up and put them in your pocket.”
Generally speaking, purebred dogs are more frequently stolen than mixed breeds because they fetch higher payouts when thieves flip them. However, so-called “designer” dog breeds like Labradoodles, are very trendy and therefore extremely valuable. They may be as desirable — or even more desirable — to a thief than purebred dogs.
Not all frequently stolen dog breeds are targeted for being small, friendly and portable. Pit Bulls are also often dognapped. Neither small nor purebred, Pit Bulls are valuable to pet flippers for entirely different reasons. Crime begets crime, and these dogs are often stolen to be used in illegal dog baiting and dog fighting.
Dog thieves often target German Shepherds for the same or similar reasons why they target Pit Bulls. German Shepherds may not be as easy to steal as a Yorkshire Terrier, but if a dog thief is looking for an attack dog or a fighting dog, the German Shepherd is a frequent choice. And unlike many Pit Bulls, for which pure breeding isn’t a factor, a purebred German Shepherd also can command top dollar. Other breeds that traditionally are seen as tough, fighting types — such as Doberman Pinschers or Rottweilers — may be similarly targeted.
Next: How to Protect Your Dog From Theft
Labs are not particularly small, nor are they seen as being vicious, but they are often stolen for a very simple reason: The Labrador Retriever is the most popular breed of dog in the United States. That means they an easy pets to flip, and also abundantly available for dognappers to dognap.
10 Frequently Stolen Dog Breedsspotlight on...
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