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Dogs have soared up to 450% in value during the pandemic – with the French Bulldog being the most popular breed.

Since the UK entered lockdown last March, dog thefts have erupted as prices rocket for pooches.

The biggest price rise was for the rare breed Brazilian dogo, a muscular working dog from South America, which cost £500 before the Covid crisis but now fetches £2,750.

And in early 2019, a retriever could be bought for £450 but will now set buyers back £2,500.

French Bulldogs have increased by almost 60% from £1,240 to £1,977.

But Chihuahuas can boast the most Instagram fame, raking in 42,892,924 hashtags followed by pugs (40.8m) and French Bulldogs (38.4m), the price comparison site GoCompare found.

Sally Jaques, pet expert at ­GoCompare, said: “Many people who dreamed of owning a dog took the plunge while spending so much time at home during lockdown, which is why the price has risen so sharply.

“Owning a dog is a big investment.

“Worryingly, that rise seems to have coincided with an increased number of dogs going missing, presumed stolen, so it’s crucial owners make sure they know what they are covered for on their pet ­insurance policy.

“We know owning a pet isn’t all about the money, but insurance policies can help you offer a reward to find your lost or stolen pet as well as advertise for its safe return.”

The Toy Bulldog has risen from £1,844 to £3,572, a Black Russian Terrier from £1,521 to £2,800, a Miniature Poodle from £860 to £2,129, an American Cocker Spaniel from £485 to £1,608 and a Corgi from £500 to £1,583.

Top 10 most popular breeds
1 French Bulldog

2 Labrador retriever

3 Cocker spaniel

4 German shepherd

5 Bulldog

6 Staffordshire bull terrier

7 Miniature short-haired dachshund

8 English springer spaniel

9 Border collie

10 Golden retriever