The Most Stolen Dog Breeds in the USA

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Most Stolen Dog Breeds In The UsaPet theft is a heinous crime that significantly affects pet owners both financially and emotionally. Many dog owners will report their furry friends getting snatched from their gardens, homes, and even during walks. In this article, we list the most stolen dog breeds in the USA and answer common questions about dog nappers.   

Why Do People Steal Dogs? 

While it might be unthinkable for some people to snatch a family member away from their home, others will simply do it for monetary gain. Gaining a lot of money is often the motivation for dog flippers, people who steal dogs for an easy profit. These people will sell stolen dogs for a higher resale value which is usually $2,000 or more. 

However, others may steal to use dogs for breeding purposes or because they have misguided information regarding certain breeds. In this case, they may try to sell intact (breedable) dogs to ethically questionable puppy mills or sell them for research and even illegal fighting rings.      

What are the Most Stolen Dog Breeds?

Below are some of the most stolen breeds in the country, which are unsurprisingly also some of the most popular breeds.   

French Bulldog

French BulldogThese dogs have recently experienced an explosion in demand during recent years, along with the popularity of small dogs in general. With their images all over social media, and with Celebrities like Lady Gaga making them more popular than ever, French Bulldogs are some of the most commonly stolen dogs today. As such, French Bulldog owners should be more vigilant — these dogs are highly valuable and sought after in the black market. 

German Shepherd

German ShepherdBecause German Shepherds are versatile, loyal, and smart, they can fit into all kinds of jobs, including service dogs, search and rescue dogs, or police dogs. Their protective nature, trainability, and their fame as great guard dogs make them a common target for dog thieves who want to make a quick buck. Unfortunately, these dogs will often be stolen during their years as a puppy because thieves are too scared to go up against these canines once they become adults.  

Labrador Retriever

Labrador RetrieverAccording to the American Kennel Club, Labrador Retrievers are some of the most popular dogs in the world but are also one of the most commonly stolen breeds. This dog is an easy target for thieves because of their outgoing and friendly nature, which makes them unsuspecting of strangers. Because these purebred dogs are so family-friendly, they are in high demand and will often be used for breeding, and even dogfighting. 

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire TerrierThe Yorkshire Terrier is a well-known dog loved for its small size and gorgeous coat. Thieves will often see these dogs to be highly desirable thanks to their elegant appearance, compact size, and high resale value. Along with the Chihuahua, these smaller breeds are a popular choice for dog flipping because of their stylish and distinctive coats, so owners of Yorkies should keep a close eye on their dogs.   

Shih Tzu

Shih TzuThese loving and affectionate dogs are known for their tiny size, friendly demeanors, and flowing locks, making them a prime target for thieves, much like a lot of toy breeds. Just like the Yorkie, these pups come with a distinctive look and friendly personalities that make them appealing to people looking to make a quick profit. Moreover, their value as great companion dogs makes these little guys such a magnet to dog thieves.       

Pit Bull

Pit BullThese dogs were originally bred to protect farms and assist with hunting and were once considered to be so trustworthy that they were frequently used as children’s nursemaids. Unfortunately, they don’t have the same reputation today thanks to the media — despite their perceived aggressive nature, these dogs have a bite force less than the Rottweiler and the German Shepherd. Pit Bulls are often stolen to be traded in dog fighting rings, where younger dogs are often taken from their parents. 

Boston Terrier

Boston TerrierKnown as the first official breed created in the United States, the Boston Terrier is so popular that they will often fetch a high price when sold to unsuspecting buyers. One of the main reasons they’re sought after is their playful and friendly nature, and their abduction will often be seen as grand theft and is prosecuted as a felony. Unfortunately, this won’t help deter people from trying to snatch your four-legged friend since apprehending thieves is proving to be difficult.     

Siberian Husky

Siberian HuskyThese striking dogs are known for their multicolored or blue eyes, wolf-like appearance, and thick coats. Siberian Huskies can tolerate cold temperatures, have great endurance, and are perfect for pulling sleds, so they are strong dogs. But apart from their strength, Huskies are often taken by thieves to sell them for their aesthetic appeal and to be used for breeding. 

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Staffordshire Bull TerrierOften referred to as Staffies, these dogs come with a stocky and muscular build, which may be the reason for their reputation as aggressive. However, they’re very affectionate and friendly, which is why they are sometimes used as bait dogs for truly violent dogs. Because of this, they are often targeted by individuals looking for fighting dogs or those who wish to sell them in puppy mills. 

Golden Retriever

Golden RetrieverThe trustworthy and outgoing Golden Retriever is a family dog that’s eager to please and can also be easy to train. They’re known to be friendly and approachable, which is why they’re arguably the most stolen dog breed. While they can certainly be your new best friend, it’s important to keep a watchful eye on them since they can be too trusting and it’s all too easy to steal them while playing at a dog park.  

Cocker Spaniel

Cocker SpanielThese lively, easy-going, and loving dogs are known to be good for families with children — they’re also non-aggressive with people and animals and are accepting of strangers. Because of this, they aren’t the best guard dogs and will often be easy to take from their backyards and gardens. They were originally bred to be work dogs which makes them loyal and intelligent, plus they’re also gentle and kind, making them a great choice for first-time owners. 

Facts About the Most Stolen Dog Breeds

Below are some little-known facts about the country’s most stolen dog breeds.  

Owners Will Often Offer a Reward for the Return of their Stolen Dog 

It’s common for people to offer rewards to get any kind of information regarding their missing pets and to have their dogs returned safely. While the ransom price can vary greatly, the amount needed could be well over the average owner’s budget. Experts suggest that the minimum amount to offer for a stolen French Bulldog should be around $3,500. 

The much-publicized case of Lady Gaga’s stolen French Bulldog — her pup was taken in broad daylight from the dog walker she hired — proves that this issue is rampant. The singer offered to pay $500,000 for the safe return of her beloved pooch, and the criminals were caught attempting to claim the reward. Unfortunately, most owners won’t have this much money to offer to guarantee their pet’s safety, which is why many pets are left to become victims of dog theft.   

The Most Common Targets of Pet Theft are Purebred Dogs 

According to research, purebred dogs are among the most commonly stolen pets which is most likely due to the higher prices that come with their lineage and pedigree. A purebred dog or any designer breed will come with a hefty price tag and can be sold for half its original price. Even so, puppies that cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,500 can still fetch a good amount at half price. 

Apart from Dog Flipping, Dog Theft Can also Lead to Breeding and Dog Fighting  

While stolen dogs are often resold for a quick profit, they are also stolen to be used in illegal breeding and dogfighting. They are used and trained for dogfighting because these dogs can be untraceable and taken without any complications. Animal shelters, on the other hand, will often track their dogs and check the individuals that adopt their dogs, banning those they believe to be adopting for dog fighting. 

The U.S. Doesn’t Provide Enough Regulation and Punishment for Dog Theft

Unfortunately, this crime isn’t always taken seriously by the legal system or law enforcement. This is partly because dog theft is considered to be a minor offense or misdemeanor in many states. As such, the penalties for those who are caught stealing dogs aren’t serious enough to become a deterrent — local authorities don’t have the training or resources to effectively deal with such cases either, and will often result in half-hearted investigations. 

Not All States Have Laws that Deal with Dog Theft

To date, there are only 23 states in the country that have specific criminal codes regarding dog theft, and the legal penalties for this crime will vary greatly by state. In most places, pet theft will often be considered a misdemeanor, resulting in little jail time and small fines. It can be frustrating to know that the consequences of the theft of our beloved pets aren’t up to what it needs to be, but having laws set up around the country is a step in the right direction.   

How You Can Protect Your Dog from Dog Theft 

While there isn’t much information on how you can track down your pet once it’s been stolen, there are preventative measures you can take to keep your pet safe. 

Spay or Neuter Your Dog

Dog thieves who aim to sell your pooch to puppy mill breeders will be on the lookout for intact or unsterilized dogs that can breed. Most dogs will be ready for sterilization once they turn 6 months old. If your lost dog has already been neutered or spayed, there’s a chance that it may wind up in local shelters, so be sure to look through some during your search.  

Microchipping and ID Tags

Does your dog’s ID contain your updated contact information? If it doesn’t, be sure to give it your details to ensure that they can be returned to you should they suddenly run down the street. Having your number and address down on their collar can help keep your dog safe, so reuniting with your pooch can be much easier. Moreover, it’s important to get your pet microchipped for the same purposes. 

Using a GPS Tracker

Some dog collars come with GPS trackers that will let you know your puppy’s whereabouts at all times. While a pet thief can easily take this device off, it can certainly tell you where your dog has been and may help you track them down. 


Because dog thieves are more rampant than ever, we must keep an eye out for suspicious activity in public places. We need to be more vigilant when going out on walks or when playing in the park with our beloved pets especially if they’re in the list of breeds above. If you’re thinking about purchasing a new dog, be sure to look for a reputable breeder who’s willing to share all the information you need about their operation and how they raise their canines.