11 August 2023

Can you guess Canberra's most popular dog breed? The answer might surprise you

| Sally Hopman
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Three dogs

Eddie, Hazel and Basil – they’re so up there, Jack Russells … what with their tails, their ears, their everything. Especially if something might be happening on the neighbour’s farm, 20 km away. Photo: Genevieve Jacobs.

Seems there’s a rather excellent dog rescue group around that (in between saving animals from death and finding them their rightful place on a bed, doona, couch, private jet or whatever they’re soft on) also has the time to survey which breeds of dog are the most popular.

A few weeks back, dear reader, you may recall a story about how dog owners are a breed apart. Like that needed explaining. Well, we have to say, this new survey about the most popular dogs may need a little explaining.

It claims that Canberra’s most popular dog is, wait for it – you really will have to wait for it because they run like the clappers – the Jack Russell.

READ ALSO RSPCA ACT’s Pets of the Week – Ashlyn & Fella

First off, you have to ask, why would you favour something with two Christian names and why, if it has been so well endowed, do owners call their Jack Russells neither Jack nor Russell?

I had a Dalmatian once and called her (duh) Spotted. She loved that everyone knew her name. She was followed by a Lassie dog who, yes, I called Lassie.

Well, she was blind and had issues – like she kept banging into things – so the least I could do was to ensure that most everyone knew her name even though she was mostly pretty dopey from banging into so many things.

But I’m going off the lead a bit/lot here.

OK, you can take my picture now, this is my best side, says Jazz the Jack Russell, more than ready for her day in the sun. Photo: Shayna Siakimotu.

This latest survey is by Central Animal Records (CAR). According to its microchip database (they were originally potato chips but the Labradors ate them because they didn’t make the final popularity cut) it reckons the three most popular dogs in the country are the Maltese, Staffordshire Bull and Jack Russell terriers.

CAR has millions of pets on its database, including cats, horses and other companion animals, lifeblood when it comes to matching pets with their owners when one or the other gets lost.

According to the CAR survey, Canberra’s most popular dog is the Jack Russell, followed by the Maltese and Staffie. I’ve never had a Jack Russell but I’m warming to them. Especially after discovering that so many of my colleagues have such cute pics of them. How could you not love the Three Bottoms, pictured above? The New Small Things in music. Or Jazz, who lights up a room.

READ ALSO It’s official: Pet owners are a breed unto themselves, national survey shows

In neighbouring NSW, the top three are the Staffie, Maltese and Border Collie. Only in the Northern Territory does the mixed breed take top honours, followed by the Maltese and Jack Russell.

In Victoria, it’s the Jack Russell, Maltese and Labrador; Queensland has Maltese, Border Collie and Staffie; Tasmania has Border Collie, Maltese and Labrador while in South Australia, it’s the Maltese, Border Collie and lab followed by Maltese, Staffie and Kelpie in Western Australia.

I never thought I’d be pleased that the dog I had for the longest time, a black Labrador called Brian – his full name being Brian The Wonder Dog – didn’t live to discover that his kind, boofy, clumsy, dribbly kind was not a favourite in any state or territory.

But he did love his best mate, a popular little bloke called Jack.

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Definitely “stray” – most Canberrans don’t seem to be able to afford a basic leash for their dogs these days.

Gregg Heldon8:54 am 15 Aug 23

We have three Skye Terriers. Once popular but now rare and considered a vulnerable breed. Our eldest, Monte, just turned three and was our first Skye and I now wouldn’t have any other breed.
When I take them out for their twice a day walk, we always have people stop and ask me about them. People even stop us whilst driving.
They are loyal, loving, companionable, fun, independent of thought (stubborn) and are intuitive enough to sense changes in my mood due to my mental injury (C-PTSD) and attend to me accordingly. They have saved my life by there presence and have calmed me down when I’ve had bed sleep.
There are about 8-10 Skyes in the Canberra region and only about 60-65 in all of Australia.
They are not perfect (no dog or breed is) but my three are perfect for me.

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