Photo: Pixabay, Free-Photos
The Chihuahua is considered the most popular breed in Switzerland. Photo: Pixabay, Free-Photos
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Small dog, big presence

A look at the latest canine population figures for Switzerland reveals a surprising shift: the Chihuahua has knocked the Labrador off the top spot in the list of most popular dog breeds.
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Over 25 500 Chihuahuas are currently registered in the national canine database Amicus. The sweet miniature breed has thus overtaken the Labrador, the long-time number one among Swiss pedigree breeds, by around 600 pets. Since the start of 2016 all dogs living in Switzerland and Liechtenstein must be registered on Amicus ( As of 30 June 2017 a total of 543 596 dogs were listed, including over 149 000 crossbreeds.
According to Amicus, over 500 dog breeds are represented in Switzerland in addition to the many crossbreeds. After the Chihuahua and Labrador, the most popular types include two other small dogs: the Yorkshire Terrier and the Jack Russell Terrier occupy the fourth and fifth places with populations of 19 400 and 17 600 respectively. The only Swiss breed to be classed in the top ten in 2016 was the Bernese Mountain Dog, but its numbers are down to 10 200 and it has now slipped to 11th place after the trendy French Bulldog. The Appenzeller Bläss breed, numbering nearly 5 000, sits in 18th place behind the Maltese, Pug, Shi Tzu and the likewise fashionable Tsvetnaya Bolonka toy dog

Canine population distribution

Four out of ten Swiss dogs live in the four most populous cantons, with roughly 65 400 in the Bern canton, 61 100 in Vaud, 57 800 in Zurich and 39 800 in Aargau. Ticino canton (29 600) ranks fifth but has the second-highest canine population density in the country with more than eight dogs per 100 inhabitants.
The most dog-friendly canton is Jura with 13 dogs on average for every 100 persons. Basel-Stadt ranks lowest with 2.5 dogs per 100 inhabitants, along with Zug, Nidwalden and Zurich, each with fewer than four dogs per 100 inhabitants.It has been obligatory to register dogs in Switzerland since 2006. The cantons aim for "full traceability" and the prevention of illegal imports with the database and obligation to microchip. Cats, guinea pigs and other pets can continue to be voluntarily registered.
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